Entries Tagged as 'China'

Great Leap Backwards

December 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 am 20 Comments

The head of a major union lauding a model where striking gets you shot?

Lord I miss George Meaney and Lane Kirkland.

Topics:  , ,

China’s Pound of Euro-Flesh

October 31st, 2011 at 3:26 pm 7 Comments

As the euro bailout proceeds, rx there are almost daily references to some foreign country that is being lobbied to “contribute” to an aspect of the fund. China and Japan are the most commonly mentioned potential suitors for guaranteeing or buying new eurobonds. The details are sketchy as to the extent of both’s participation, and likely undetermined for now.

Japan may be interested only to show some countervailing flushness to China’s largesse, but there may be a unique opportunity here for China as well.

Click here to read more

China Can’t Confront its First Revolution

David Frum October 10th, 2011 at 12:00 pm 28 Comments

In my column for CNN I discuss why modern China can’t discuss the 1911 revolution:

The memory of 1911 is embarrassing in many other ways to the present government. 1911 was a revolution inspired by ideals of democracy and personal liberty. Those ideals are cynically disregarded — or brutally suppressed — by China’s present government. 1911 was a revolution in defense of traditional Chinese culture against a foreign dynasty, Manchurians who had ruled in China since 1644.

But who has done more damage to traditional Chinese culture than the regime in place since 1949? And not only to the bulldozed monuments of China, but to the country’s inheritance of art and scholarship, reviled and massacred in the Cultural Revolution.

Click here to read more

Beck Didn’t Warn Me Gold Can Fall!

September 27th, 2011 at 12:13 am 76 Comments

The gold market meltdown — with prices plunging in recent weeks from over $1, healing 900 an ounce to under $1, seek 600 — is a reminder that the precious metal is a volatile, speculative commodity. It also signals a bear market in credibility for the many right-leaning cable-news and talk-radio hosts who have touted gold relentlessly in recent years as a hedge against economic calamity.

Click here to read more

Still Sound as a Dollar

September 23rd, 2011 at 2:32 pm 22 Comments

Conservatives nowadays routinely worry about the dollar’s strength and stability. The dollar, tadalafil however, illness refuses to cooperate. Instead, malady it lately has been rising in foreign-exchange markets, as it typically does in times of international economic and financial stress.

The dollar serves as a safe haven. Investors tend to transfer funds into dollar-denominated assets, such as U.S. Treasuries, at moments when financial markets around the world are being buffeted. This occurs even if the U.S. economy is not in good shape. As long as the dollar and dollar-denominated assets are seen as relatively safe, the dollar will tend to strengthen in times of trouble.

Click here to read more

The Manchurian Campaign

David Frum September 14th, 2011 at 11:51 am 15 Comments

Mitt Romney’s tough-on-China talk has achieved one interesting real-world consequence: Nike chairman Phil Knight has just signed up as an economic adviser to Jon Huntsman.

From a Huntsman campaign press release:

Orlando – Jon Huntsman for President today announced that John Mack will serve as chairman of the campaign’s Business Advisory Council. Other members include Gary Loveman, Phil Knight and Tom Bell.

Topics:  , ,

The Sky is Not Falling

September 1st, 2011 at 1:03 pm 80 Comments

Michael Coren’s inaugural show of The Arena on Sun TV was a tour de force featuring author-columnist Mark Steyn, the fearless Ann Coulter, a laid-back Juan Willams and Muslim moderate Tarek Fatah.

Most provocative was Mark Steyn, who cited an International Monetary Fund prediction that China will be the world’s dominant economic power by 2015.

What’s more, Steyn seemed to believe this. Coren, as host, offered no substantial opinion but probed Steyn who, in his unique way, predicted America was evolving from “a nation of aircraft carriers to a nation of debt carriers.”

Click here to read more

Topics:  , ,

Netanyahu’s Electrifying Response to Terror

August 22nd, 2011 at 2:21 pm 16 Comments

Can there be anyone in the civilized world who didn’t feel a surge of empathy with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he responded to the death of seven Israelis at the hands of terrorists from Gaza?

Most elected leaders would go on the air at such an obscenity and attempt to reassure their people. But not all are Netanyahu.

Click here to read more

Yao Ming, Victim of the Chinese State

July 24th, 2011 at 1:15 am 9 Comments

Houston Rockets star and basketball legend Yao Ming retired this month at the age of 30.  He is a much-beloved player who helped promote professional basketball around the world and his retirement was the result of injuries he sustained playing the sport he loved.  Normally, this would be a fairly standard sports story, but for the context of how Ming developed those injuries.  As Chris Baldwin writes in Houston Culturemap:

China owned Yao Ming from his first day in a Houston Rockets uniform to his last. It can be legitimately argued that’s how it should be, that Yao’s loyalty to his country is a large part of what makes him such an easily-admired man. It’s absurd to suggest that didn’t shape his career though — and in many ways, shatter it.  Yao limps into retirement at age 30 largely because China would not leave him alone. He was too important a national symbol, too crucial to the Chinese government’s self image, to let be. So the 7-foot-6, 300-plus pound giant was pushed to play in every international competition deemed “important,” pushed to go through grueling training camps with his national teammates too (who is he to put himself above the state?), pushed to … breakdown.

Click here to read more

How Reliable Are China’s Statistics?

July 2nd, 2011 at 12:36 pm 44 Comments

Ajay Ravichandran wrote a piece at FrumForum earlier this week in which he asks whether the claims about China’s ability to serve as a model for how to weather the recent global economic crisis match reality.  Ravichandran’s piece cites an article by Minxin Pei which suggests that China is in an asset bubble and that the economic policies of the Chinese government are basically window dressing to hide inflationary problems and other more systemic ills.  These points are well-taken, especially considering the hype one reads about China as a model.  But there may be another issue that should be considered.  As Sean Corrigan, an investment strategist quoted at CNBC states:

“So much of the news flow is controlled, so much of the data is suspect, but if you read the Chinese press that we do get translated into English, there’s an increasing litany of stories of distress, of distortions, of those problems that this top down approach is inflicting on the country, particularly on those outside the state owned enterprise sector,” he said.  Corrigan also questioned the perception that China managed its economy well compared to the West, saying centralized approaches were viewed with suspicion in developed economies.  “I think we have to ask ourselves how well managed is any economy? Can it be managed is the first question.

The second point is one raised in both Pei’s and Ravichandran’s article and is a broad one about the relationship between the state and the economy.  The first one is another point altogether, namely, how can we really know whether the Chinese system is working well if the publicized data itself is suspect?  While Western governments have certainly been known to manipulate data, checks and balances exist in the West (like a free press, freedom of information laws and opposition parties that won’t blindly accept the government’s data) that don’t exist in China, so there’s no real way of knowing whether much of the data we read about China is accurate.  There have been recent revelations (via Wikileaks) about China’s provincial GDP data being described as “man made” and “for reference only” by Li Keqiang, who is now China’s Vice Premier.  Also, there have been reports about inaccurate data from China’s agriculture and real estate sectors, and there is evidence that China’s provinces report GDP growth rates that exceed the national average.

I’m not suggesting that China isn’t a manufacturing and economic powerhouse.  A simple trip to Wal-Mart will prove that.  The point is, policymakers and ordinary citizens inevitably make judgments based on limited information, including with regard to comparisons between our economy and that of China and other countries.  Those judgments should ideally be made with accurate data at hand, and one shouldn’t assume such accuracy when it comes to data produced by the Chinese government or institutions that work under its aegis.  After all, many of the people (including those ostensibly in private business) who are providing the data have their own interests to protect.  This is something to keep in mind while discussing whether China should serve as a model for economic policy or as a good place for investment.