New Thread

In case anyone has no place to go as the holiday winds to a close….

Something to chew on:

The global economy will slow close to a halt this year as more than $2 trillion of bad assets in the United States help sink economies from Russia to Britain, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.

Bank losses worldwide from toxic U.S. assets may reach $2.2 trillion, the IMF said in a report, more than the $1.4 trillion that the fund predicted in October. World growth will be 0.5 percent this year, the weakest postwar pace, the fund said in a separate report.

The reports signal that write-downs and losses at banks totaling $1.1 trillion so far are only half of what’s to come and that already contracting economies may worsen. Advanced and developing countries need to be “even more supportive” of demand than they already have been, with lower interest rates and fiscal stimulus, the lender said.

“Unless stronger financial strains and uncertainties are forcefully addressed, the pernicious feedback loop between real activity and financial markets will intensify, leading to even more toxic effects on global growth,” the IMF said.

I remember one commenter saying snarkishly, “The sky is falling!” Well, guess what?

He must feel pretty dumb today.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 33 Comments

Here is an interesting article about China being shovel ready:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/business/worldbusiness/23yuan.html?_r=1&scp=10&sq=China&st=cse

We are indeed living in an exciting time. Imagine that in the next few years, the railway to Lhasa
will be extended first to Shigatze and then to India. All the trade you can generate in Chindia…

January 30, 2009 @ 7:02 am | Comment

China will have to train many more people than the number of experienced crews that exist now, which takes time.

January 30, 2009 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Very true. A lot of job opportunities here.

January 30, 2009 @ 10:13 am | Comment

And alot of lag time with not much construction going on. Experienced people will need to be pulled off of the NSW project as new supervisors as well.

January 30, 2009 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

Well, that should not be a burden but an opportunity

January 31, 2009 @ 12:37 am | Comment

In terms of “shovel ready” projects, if China continues to expand its version of an “interstate highway” system, it will be a great time to travel by car. I know that my wife and I are looking forward to driving from Yunnan province to Xinjian and the silk road. Eventually (if the situation in Myanmar ever improves, especially for Americans) we would like to drive India. The prospect of a railroad connection from Singapore to Kunming is also very exciting. It’s nice to have some hope in these trying times.

January 31, 2009 @ 1:04 am | Comment

China Reports Seventh Case of Bird Flu This Year

http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-01-31-voa21.cfm?rss=asia

Chinese health officials say there is no evidence that the potential for an outbreak of bird flu is on the rise.

Everything is normal, do not worry.

February 1, 2009 @ 3:26 am | Comment

And someone is having fun quoting himself…?!

February 1, 2009 @ 5:52 pm | Comment

I don’t recall ever insulting richard. He’s a real person that puts his name and photo up so I (try) to type how I’d speak to a person in real life.

But you, Bao, are a douche.

February 1, 2009 @ 6:00 pm | Comment

I’m just suspicious about your persona. With the kind of things you are saying here, I think I’m being reasonable.

Some inspiration for you…

February 1, 2009 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

I had to cycle that 3 times for a name I liked

February 1, 2009 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

‘Scuse me Sir, what time is it?

It’s time for the New World Order!

“The time has come, off the back of the current crisis, to proclaim that the great neo-liberal experiment of the past 30 years has failed, that the emperor has no clothes,”

Maybe some of you will remember when I was speaking about “social experiments”…

Funny, how the news always catch on eventually.

Dirk Dirk dirky dirky…

February 1, 2009 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

Richard, got database errors for the last few days when I tried to visit.

Rand Study on domestic trends in US, China and Iran and implications for the US Navy

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG729.pdf

February 1, 2009 @ 11:06 pm | Comment

Thanks for sharing Michael, Happy to see I’m not the only paying attention to that.

One addendum, Pakistan is the major decoy now, not Iran. Notice the role of Pakistan in the future. It’s already starting.

February 2, 2009 @ 12:03 am | Comment

And the one thing I’m noting of course in the report is: I’m not crazy, this is confirming a lot of things I was envisioing as well for China.

I’m telling it again: Expansionism

An ugly word in 2009, but I don’t see any future for the Chinese nation unless they go this way. And of course, the world reaction to it.

Grimm. VERY, Grimm.

“By 2020, China will enter a “perfect storm” of economic, environmental,
and social problems largely of its own making. In the next
10–15 years, while trying to grow and transform its economy, China
will confront the intertwined problems of premature depletion of its
energy resources, faltering economic growth, inadequate provisions for
its aging population, and the need to remediate an extensively damaged
environment. China’s ability to modernize and expand its military at
the same time will be constrained by these domestic challenges.”

February 2, 2009 @ 12:12 am | Comment

China is a dying patient. Surviving on very costly medicines. But everybody knows that their days are counted. There won’t be any magical China rising anymore, the threshold is already reached. It just won’t happen, for economical and ecological reasons.

China is doomed to failure. And I’m utterly convinced of that. Very sad, but true. I hate this thought, but this is what will happen, and don’t even think about India, they won’t even get a chance.

I’m not pro US or Pro whatever, it’s all about who’s coming first in the race. And China is the last runner.

February 2, 2009 @ 12:25 am | Comment

Nicholas Bequelin: China’s New Propaganda Machine Going Global

From Wall Street Journal Asia: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123326012456829891.html?mod=todays_asia_opinion

February 2, 2009 @ 3:20 am | Comment

I hate this thought

Oh yeah I’m sure you do, this is why you’ve been fantasizing about it for the last 10 years.

China’s not going to collapse and it won’t be allowed to be expansionist.

February 2, 2009 @ 5:23 am | Comment

LOL. I guess now that Bao has established what the future holds, we can all make plans to leave China, it’s always good to beat the exodus rush.

February 2, 2009 @ 2:44 pm | Comment

“I guess now that Bao has established what the future holds…”

I think it’s better to take the things I say with a grain of salt… ;)

February 2, 2009 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

But it’s always worth keeping an eye on trends…

Chinese military chief vows nuclear, conventional build-up

“China will accelerate the build-up of its nuclear and conventional arsenal to form a credible deterrent…”

“China will also develop “a nuclear and conventional missile force corresponding to the needs of winning a war” in conditions changed by modern information technology, it said.”

Gearing up for something? Winning a war against who? I don’t know many Nuclear states that China currently need to be afraid of… Except the US of course.

Notice the double language in the news, always the same pattern, one side is about dialog, understanding, and the other side is about building up defenses and flexing muscles.

February 2, 2009 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

Notice the double language in the news, always the same pattern, one side is about dialog, understanding, and the other side is about building up defenses and flexing muscles.

Seriously Bao, that can be said for the US as well. Of course, unlike China, the US would never be so foolhardy as to actually start an unnecessary war.

Why should we be surprised to see China arming? Is it good, do I like it? Not particularly. But it’s doing what just about every aspiring power has done since the start of human history. I want to think they’re not stupid enough to start a war, but if they follow my country’s example, who knows?

February 2, 2009 @ 6:04 pm | Comment

I agree, my point about the news was for both sides, not just for China.

February 2, 2009 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

Why should we be surprised to see China arming? Is it good, do I like it? Not particularly. But it’s doing what just about every aspiring power has done since the start of human history.

Nonsense! Why does China need to have such a high military budget? Why does China need all these advanced fighter jets, cruisers, missiles? What reason?

US and UK and France have same or higher military spending? How can you compare China to other peace-loving democracies? We can have high military budget because we maintain the world in peace! But why does China need high military budget? I can only conclude that it needs it to threaten its freedom loving and democratic neighbors like Taiwan and India and Russia and South Korea.

China must be stopped, must be stopped.

February 3, 2009 @ 1:33 am | Comment

Anyways, all our nations are way past the threshold of the deterrence theory. They can increase it to ridiculous numbers, US, China, UK, etc..

There’s plenty enough nuclear power right now to crap the world beyond any hope of recovery for thousands of years, in just a couple of hours (minutes?).

This is all face value bullshit.

February 3, 2009 @ 1:54 am | Comment

News are catching on again…

The danger of an attractive America

I’m thinking about starting a 1-900-BAO-WAS-RIGHT line. I’d have preferential prices for people like Ferin (confidentiality assured, don’t worry).

But before my ego reaches astronomical size, it might just be a sign that in our era, information is spreading very fast.

2009 Jack in the box Bao’s keyword: Noosphere

Dirk, Dirk Dirky Dirky!

February 3, 2009 @ 2:23 am | Comment

Except you’ve been wrong about everything, and that news article is written by a fanatical Obamite. No one knows what Obama is really going to do, the Europeans were just glad to see Bush go.

February 3, 2009 @ 6:01 am | Comment

used the wrong name up there

February 3, 2009 @ 6:39 am | Comment

Hong Kong suggests that China could be hiding bird flu outbreak

Looks like I’m wrong again…

An outbreak would be catastrophic for China right now, considering the economic climate. Which of course could motivate the government to repeat the only scenario they know when dealing with a crisis:

Hush-hush -> Irresponsible / chaotic / immoral / repressive actions -> BIG FAT UGLY SCANDAL EXPOSED TO THE WORLD -> China loose face again.

The very near future will tell us… As usual. Meanwhile, take some precautions if you can.

February 4, 2009 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

Unfortunately for you, Bao, bird flu isn’t the black plague.

February 5, 2009 @ 5:33 am | Comment

Putting this in the same tread…

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=390772

CHINA has built up stockpiles of domestically produced vaccine for human cases of bird flu to combat a possible epidemic, the nation’s food and drug regulator said yesterday.

The vaccine is designed to protect people aged 18-60 against the H5N1 virus.

February 12, 2009 @ 10:10 am | Comment

Are we witnessing a silent crisis again ?

China Health Ministry Party chief replaced

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2009/200902/20090212/article_390782.htm

“The website didn’t give a reason for the change, only saying that the central government made the decision out of “work necessity and prudent study.”"

Work necessity and prudent study… Hmmm….

This is my last comment about this.

February 12, 2009 @ 11:12 am | Comment

Ok Ok, I know I promised that my previous comment was the last about the Avian Flu…

But this is just too weird…

Panasonic Corp. has ordered Japanese employees in some foreign countries to send their families home to Japan in preparation for a possible bird flu pandemic, a spokesman said Tuesday.

“We wanted to take action early before it gets difficult to book flight tickets,” he said.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jFX14blXVvoh4Q3z6XtKKFeydIug

Do they know something that we don’t?

Anybody heard recently about such measures in their company (real question)?

February 12, 2009 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

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