The prevailing attitude [in China] is chabuduo, or ‘close enough’. It’s a phrase you’ll hear with grating regularity, one that speaks to a job 70 per cent done, a plan sketched out but never completed, a gauge unchecked or a socket put in the wrong size. Chabuduo is the corrosive opposite of the impulse towards craftmanship...it implies that to put any more time or effort into a piece of work would be the act of a fool. China is the land of the cut corner, of ‘good enough for government work’.
China has very strict controls on moving money out of the country. China's new president, Xi Jinping, has been cracking down on corruption at the highest levels, consolidating his control over the government. What to do if you're a corrupt official worried you may find yourself on the wrong side of the new regime? Buy a Japanese son. Japanese surrogacy ring producing Japanese-citizen babies for Chinese nationals: Part 1, Part 2
A New Look At China's Cultural Revolution - "Historian Frank Dikötter says newly opened archives offer fresh details about the chaos China experienced in the 1960s, when Chairman Mao urged students to take to the streets." [more inside]
FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment - "The Finnish government of Juha Sipilä is considering a pilot project that would give everyone of working age a basic income."[1,2,3] (via) [more inside]
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
The University of Southern California's US-China Institute has a huge number of videos on YouTube regarding China, Taiwan, history, global diplomacy, etc. [more inside]
Chinese Provinces and Indian States : "local leaders are increasingly running much of India and China, which are home to a third of all humanity, from the bottom up. That is affecting how both countries act in the world, which means that these countries need to be understood from the inside out"
To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America's Trash Is Treasure: Johnson Zeng is a Chinese trader who travels across the U.S. in search of scrap metal. By his estimate, there are at least 100 others like him driving from scrap yard to scrap yard, right now, in search of what Americans won’t or can’t be bothered to recycle. His favorite product: wires, cables, and other kinds of copper. His purchases, millions of pounds of metal worth millions of dollars, will eventually be shipped to China. [more inside]
The Forces Of The Next 30 Years - SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks to students at Olin College about sci-fi, fiction, speculation, the limits of computation, thermodynamics, Moore's Law, the history of travel, employment, automation, free trade, demographics, the developing world, privacy, and climate change in trying to answer the question What Does The World Of 2043 Look Like? (Youtube 56:43)
A brief history of the Chinese growth model [note: not so brief] - "the Chinese development model is an old one, and can trace its roots at least as far back as the 'American System' of the 1820s and 1830s. This 'system' was itself based primarily on the works of the brilliant first US Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton..." [more inside]
"Today, the Chinese working class is fighting. More than thirty years into the Communist Party’s project of market reform, China is undeniably the epicenter of global labor unrest." — Eli Friedman from Jacobin
Mark Sweep describes an interesting game from his childhood which helps explain why companies move and keep their manufacturing in China.
"This is an intriguing little video summarizing the hypothesis of a new study by Vamsi Vakulabharanam. It looks at the puzzle of why China and India are exceptions to the Kuznets curve, that economic development at first increases income inequality but then starts to produce less disparity. But that did not occur in India and China. Vakulabharanam argues that the difference lies in changes in institutional arrangements, and the inflection point was roughly 1980."
We're All State Capitalists Now 'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
“You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.” Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher of the NY Times give an in-depth report on Apple's migration of electronics manufacturing to Asia and its impact on middle class Americans.
Adam Humphreys created a successful business helping people navigate the Chinese embassy's bureaucracy (in a van parked across the street).
In 2009, Urumqi, China exploded in riots. The assessment of Western media was on-going ethnic clashes. Behind the scenes, Beijing now stands accused of The Xinjiang Procedure, ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. [more inside]
Made in America: small businesses buck the offshoring trend - "For US manufacturing to make sense, factories must make extensive use of automation. That's getting easier, given that the cost of robots with comparable capabilities has decreased precipitously in the past two decades." [more inside]
Hu Jintao, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions. He was received less kindly by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees. [more inside]
China is now the world's second-largest economy.
Recently, Paul Krugman has been advocating for US trade protectionism to counter China's apparent undervaluation of renminbi. Peking University Economics professor Yiping Huang disagrees.
The End of Influence - the latest in a long series documenting the US' relative decline (esp wrt China 1 2 3 4 5) Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen reflect on what has brought us to our past, but now fast-fading glory: "Roosevelt's strategy [entering WW2] was to make Britain broke before American taxpayers' money was committed in any way to the fight against Hitler." Before delving into our present predicament, however, it might also be useful to briefly consider some of the lessons from Bretton Woods and what the wealth of nations is really built upon.
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
There's no way we get all this stuff and everything is done fair and square and everyone gets treated right. A Chinese employee of Foxconn, entrusted with fourteen (maybe sixteen) prototype iPhones misplaced one before they could be shipped; what followed was his detainment and torture at the hands of company police, and his eventual suicide. Shanghaiist has confirmed the story. Fake Steve weighs in.
The new monetary standard: Copper.
The cover of a major financial publication warns: If you're holding U.S. Treasuries, GET OUT NOW! [more inside]
Adam Smith in Beijing Embedded Flash film 1hr59mins "Is US power in decline? What are we to make of the rise of China? Will a possible equalization of North-South relations herald a more brutal capitalism or a better world? Giovanni Arrighi, Joel Andreas, and David Harvey give their perspectives in this forum, for a discussion of Arrighi's 2007 book Adam Smith in Beijing. The event, filmed in Baltimore, MD, in March of 2008, was organized by the Red Emma's collective."
"The Vital Triangle: China, the United States, and the Middle East"- seeking to understand the effects of the China-Middle East relationship on the United States, the U.S. Middle East relationship on China, and the Sino-American relationship on the Middle East. Book excerpts (Chapter 1) (Chapter 3). Interview with Jon Alterman, co-author. Via the very useful SUSRIS.
The algae problem was taken care of. But the smog is the worst it's been in several months. All kidding aside, is China the next world superpower? Maybe, maybe not. [more inside]
A couple recent documentaries have accurately shown how China is changing and developing at lightning speed. The People's Republic of Capitalism speaks mainly of China's all-consuming economic growth and its ramifications. I was riveted by Frontline's Young and Restless in China and Frontline World: Jesus in China. These show the struggles of the Chinese to keep up with the changes, deal with their hypocritical government and define their beliefs in a society still riddled with corruption.
Natural disasters are good for the economy. No, they aren't. Yes, they are. Well, maybe sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't. (pdf) It helps if somebody makes a movie or a television show about it. The Broken Window fallacy.
Everything you think you know about inequality is wrong. This guy disagrees. But it's not that bad, honest. And free trade with China is a good thing for poor Americans. But are these guys the next Yugo?
The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberal System Survive? "China's rise will inevitably bring the United States' unipolar moment to an end. But that does not necessarily mean a violent power struggle or the overthrow of the Western system. The U.S.-led international order can remain dominant even while integrating a more powerful China -- but only if Washington sets about strengthening that liberal order now." [more inside]
"The church of global free trade, which rules American politics with infallible pretensions, may have finally met its Martin Luther." A thorough summary in The Nation of the brilliant but ignored Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests by Ralph Gomory, former IBM Senior Vice President for Science and winner of the National Medal of Science. His heresy? Arguing, with supporting technical and economic data, that multinational corporations and their home countries have divergent interests in shipping skilled labor and advanced technologies overseas, and that this "divergence" is a net negative for the American economy and the American public. Globalization, he argues, has its losers, the United States paramount among them.
With all the talk about the emergence of Europe as an economic rival to the US, is there a more likely rival emerging? A real strategic partnership between Russia and China could be exactly the combination of nuclear power, boots on the ground, and economic momentum to truly create a new bipolarity. Apparently, there has been serious collaboration in military philosophy between the two powers at least since the USSR broke up, and flash gamers have known about it for at least a couple years, but now it is becoming very real. Conventional wisdom says that there are longstanding disputes over trade and territory, but things generally seem to be warming up. You want to know what the world will look like in 20 years? Look to Siberia.
China's Building Blitz. In scale and pace, the building boom currently sweeping over China has no precedent in human history. China is spending about $375 billion each year on construction, nearly 16 percent its gross domestic product. In the process, it is using 54.7 percent of the world's production of concrete, 36.1 percent of the world's steel, and 30.4 percent of the world's coal.
China. Abandons Communism. Gets AIDS. May be about to lose its shirt. While everybody on the pink side of Ebenezer Scrooge is pissing and moaning about the state of America, here's one American who thinks the state of the Middle Kingdom is at least equally interesting (as in ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times.")
Jiang outlines plans to make China wealthier Ah, Adam Smith in and K. Marx out. Brting on the Krispy Kreeme franchises. Bet there won't be labor unions in the near future but an economically powerful China plus the EU will give America some strong competition.
"Trade with x only benefits the repressive government of x; it does not get into the hands of the people." How does the White House policy towards x make sense in light of Bush's statement that "Free trade supports and sustains freedom in all its forms. When we open trade, we open minds. We trade with x because trade is good policy for our economy, because trade is good policy for democracy"? Well that's because the first x refers to Cuba and the second x is for China. How's that economic engagement working out with China? Why don't we ask the Tibetans, Falun Gong or the Uighurs? Which foreign policy is the right way to go? Economic isolation or engagement?
Speaking of Tokyo Rose: AOL/Time Warner, with assistance from the Bush administration, signed a "landmark deal" with China. AOL/TW gets to broadcast a Chinese-language station in the area of China that already gets Western programming (although illegally), and in exchange AOL/TW agrees to broadcast a Chinese state sponsored English language channel in Los Angeles, New York and Houston. "We are very pleased to have achieved this landmark agreement, which represents a significant step in the growing relationship between AOL Time Warner and the people of China," said CEO Gerald Levin in a statement. Why does this make my skin crawl?
China, our new buddy It seems like history may be made today. I hope that if China does receive favorable trade status that it will go to improve human life in that nation and improve ties between our countries. I'd like to buy China a Coke...