Beijing notes

by on June 21, 2017 at 1:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

To consider the delta, for all the talk of lactose intolerance, dairy products are booming.  Taxi drivers seem to have lost their reluctance to pick up Westerners.  More and more hutongs have been removed from downtown (duh).  There is a street with three different outlets selling Mexican-style churros.  Overall it feels nicer and more normal.

I am the odd bird who prefers Beijing to Shanghai.  The food is more representative of China as a whole, the faces show more drama, you are more likely to see “weird random ****” driving around in a cab, and the core culture is less chi-chi.  It’s the most important city in the world.  Let’s hope Washington does nothing to reclaim that mantle, New York never will.

1 prior_test2 June 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Won’t argue about ‘Nexican style,’ but maybe you need a bit of a refresher on churros, which are about as Mexican as pizza is American – ‘The origin of churros is unclear. One theory suggests they were brought to Europe from China by the Portuguese. The Portuguese sailed for the Orient and, as they returned from Ming Dynasty China to Portugal, they brought along with them new culinary techniques, including altering dough for youtiao, also known as Youzagwei in southern China, for Portugal. The new pastry soon crossed the border into Spain, where it was modified to have the dough extruded through a star-shaped die rather than pulled.

Another theory is that the churro was made by Spanish shepherds, to substitute for fresh bakery goods. Churro paste was easy to make and fry in an open fire in the mountains, where shepherds spend most of their time.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churro

2 prior_test2 June 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Mexican or Nexican – no need to argue about which is correct.

3 Aaand June 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Noodles were brought to Italy from China but I feel comfortable calling some pastas Italian style.

Churros have many styles – Mexican, Andalusian etc.

4 EverExtruder June 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I can’t stand Beijing, but can’t stand Shanghai either. The pollution, congestion, logistics, ugh who needs it. I’ve always been much more fond of Dalian, Nanjing and Chongqing, although your mandarin needs a bit more work to be truly independent in the Chongqing.

You’re right about Beijing’s cuisine though, pretty much all of the sub-cultures are represented somewhere in the city. Highly recommend Donkey and traditional Xinjiang cuisine if you’re feeling adventurous.

5 Just Another MR Commentor June 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Tyler loves these shitty cities. Long time readers will recall he thinks highly of Brassilla. He enjoys eating in strip malls. Beijing is not at all “the most important city in the world”

6 Ray Lopez June 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

TC may have a point, though I doubt Beijing is that important, it’s after all a developing country that’s reaching saturation due to an aging population. Another 10 years max before they decline.

Brassilla gets a lot of high scores for modern architecture, not unlike the Sydney Opera house (which is totally beautiful and totally unsuitable for music, due to acoustical properties, last I heard they are remodeling the inside).

7 Brassillo June 21, 2017 at 4:20 pm

the fuck is Brassilla?

8 Larry Siegel June 21, 2017 at 11:03 pm

A cleaning compound for brass, like Brasso (TM).

9 Mr. Econotarian June 21, 2017 at 4:07 pm

What makes a “most important city in the world?”

Is it political choices for military violence? (DC, Moscow)
Is it development of most transformative technology? (SF/Bay Area…Seattle)
Is it manufacturing of most transformative technology? (Shenzhen)
Is it most influence on global culture? (Los Angeles)
Is it most influence on global financial markets? (New York, still)

10 Rob June 22, 2017 at 6:55 pm

+100

11 John Orford June 21, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Mexican & Beijing food are two-brothers-from-a-different-mother.

Wraps, ‘churros’ etc. are Beijing to the core.

12 Hoosier June 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Can anybody decide those last two sentences for me?

Why should we fear Washington or New York getting raised in status?

13 wait June 21, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Because Tyler thinks it raises his own status to put down American cities and elevate those he knows few would even consider.

14 y81 June 21, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Yeah, I meet so many ambitious Americans who hope their children can get a visa so they can live and work in Beijing. Cocktail parties with Wall Street financiers, faculty parties with Columbia professors, wherever you go in NYC, that’s what the movers and shakers talk about.

15 Ray Lopez June 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Well, there’s always Jim Rogers.

16 Heh June 21, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Oh shush. Tyler is going to put his money where his mouth is and resign from GMU to move to Beijing U.

17 Heh June 21, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Lol. Beijing has taken over from Davos for Tyler

18 nigel June 21, 2017 at 2:24 pm

I think Tyler was saying the following: China is a rising power and the US a declining one. The transition from one global hegemon to its successor can happen peacefully, where the civilization in decline focuses inward on its on problems and/or remains blissfully content in its decadent slide, or it can happen traumatically, where the dying hegemon tries to maintain the place at the top it has in its view unfairly lost, and lashes out. Things can get “kinetic” at that point, worst comes to worst, but even if not they will not be pleasant. NYC and DC are proxies for America, NYC for old pre-WWI capitalist America and DC for subsequent command and control military industrial warlike global policeman America.

19 Ray Lopez June 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Well said, not unlike the transition for the UK, pre-and-post WWII (the Suez canal incident comes to mind). While I don’t agree with your narrative (I think India might be a superpower, if they get over their tribalism; ditto Africa–the U.S.A (Africa) would be a tough act to follow), I think one test of whether China wants to take the next step and be a superpower is if they can reign in North Korea. The way to do it, cheap, is for CHN to lure Kim to a banquet feast and poison him, a classic ancient empire ploy.

20 Frank June 21, 2017 at 3:29 pm

China is a temporary fixation. Remember how the Japanese were taking over in the 80s? The communist countries did a great job catching up economically post WWII and the same arc is playing out in China. There is a limit to their rapid growth and China has not reached it yet. History will repeat. Without any major incident, USA will keep it’s status as the most important country and economy to well past 2050 and it’s easy to see in the demographics. The smartest people in the world are immigrating to the USA and anything Trump has done to dissuade is temporary with Canada picking up those immigrants next door (which means many of them will end up in the USA in 10 years). All major anglo countries have the Chinese (and Indians) as a top source of immigrants. Relatively speaking, nobody immigrates to China, India or Africa. The future is still American.

21 Todd Kreider June 21, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Well, both views are wrong.

Barring war, China will continue to rapidly grow for many more years as it soon democratizes and results in decreases corruption. Demographic arguments will be obsolete (they already have been for years) as the health pills and medicine in general becomes far more advanced in the 2020s and 2030s. U.S. influence will steadily decline relative to China, Japan and the Europe/Britain but not be overtaken by any country.

22 Mr. Econotarian June 21, 2017 at 4:11 pm

There are more naturalized citizens of Japan than China…

23 JWatts June 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm

“U.S. influence will steadily decline relative to China, Japan and the Europe/Britain”

China I could see, but I don’t see the case for a relative US decline compared with Japan. And I think it’s most likely for the US and Europe to keep the status quo.

24 yamishogun June 21, 2017 at 6:30 pm

“China I could see, but I don’t see the case for a relative US decline compared with Japan.”

覚悟しろ!

25 Ricardo June 21, 2017 at 11:51 pm

China’s population is about ten times that of Japan and four times that of the U.S. China can remain relatively poor in GDP per capita terms but still be responsible for a huge chunk of global GDP and international trade.

26 dux.ie June 22, 2017 at 12:10 am

From IAB brain drain dataset and the obfuscated data on percent university graduates converted to the non PC IQ values, the exchange of migrants for USA with serveral sample countries 2010,

Host Source Out In IQDiff

US AU 124.98 116.49 -8.49

US CA 116.14 113.72 -2.43

US DE 105.48 116.13 10.64

US FI 98.97 119.34 20.37

US FR 117.50 121.68 4.18

US GR 107.90 100.05 -7.85

US IE 112.93 103.20 -9.73

US NZ 109.80 115.48 5.69

US PT 103.19 97.72 -5.47

US SE 110.39 121.11 10.71

US UK 116.60 114.06 -2.54

US CN ? 128.5

US IN ? 119.5

USA had relative brain drained to CA, AU and UK.

27 KM32 June 21, 2017 at 3:55 pm

You think a united Africa would be a super power? You couldn’t even make that work in a science fiction novel.

28 Ray Lopez June 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Believe! Ripped from today’s headlines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaft_in_Africa (1973) (“Shaft must then embark upon a mission to infiltrate and destroy a human trafficking and slavery ring in West Africa and France.”)

29 Hoosier June 21, 2017 at 2:53 pm

What you said makes sense. I just didn’t realize TC was completely on board with the idea that the world order was going to change that dramatically.

I find it hard to believe that in the near future Beijing will be in a similar position to New York today, and attracting people from all over the world to live and work there.

30 nigel June 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Yeah I tend to agree with you. Tyler’s probably making that determination based on voluminous reading but oddly enough saying China’s the next big deal is sort of the facile answer. You and the other commenters all make the good point that people still immigrate here. Which will probably only remain true if our legal institutions remain somewhat uncompromised. There are other barriers to immigrating to China I suppose besides an opaque and repressive government but I really don’t see them “democratizing” in any case. Anyway it isn’t really democracy that made America desirable to foreigners it was individual rights. There actually wasn’t that much democracy during our peak immigration period. Individual rights run deep, back to Magna Carta and I don’t see the Chinese suddenly becoming convinced overnight that individuals matter in the same way western civilization has over the past 800-1000 years. The fact that their government is experimenting with social networks as social control is sort of case in point. They may build a powerful civilization but I see your point that it will likely not be a global cosmopolitan one. We’re Athens and they’re Sparta except instead of swords it’s NPLs.

31 Troll Me June 21, 2017 at 8:19 pm

In referring to the US as a declining power, recall that it continues to rise (economically and militarily), just less quickly than others.

32 anon_senpei June 21, 2017 at 11:12 pm

I took it to mean that if Washington DC rises in status, it means that the Federal government has grown more powerful and that regulations have grown more onerous. This is a libertarian blog after all!

33 wait June 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm

“It’s the most important city in the world.”

lol ok

34 Ryan W June 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Lactose intolerance (and allergy to alcohol) are more typical in Southern China, where almost all of the Chinese diaspora came from until recently.

One thing that has changed in the last year is the city government has been bricking over store-fronts and demolishing others in some of the more vibrant parts of the city. The official reason is to restore historical buildings, but making the alleys more convenient for black German-make sedans seems to be the impetus.

35 CM June 21, 2017 at 2:20 pm

The assertion that Beijing is the most important city in the world requires some better explanation. I get that Beijing is the capital of China and China’s development may be the most important ongoing story in the world right now (highly debatable). But on other measures of urban influence, Beijing is rather pedestrian.

https://www.citylab.com/life/2015/03/sorry-london-new-york-is-the-worlds-most-economically-powerful-city/386315/
http://mori-m-foundation.or.jp/pdf/GPCI2016_en.pdf
https://www.atkearney.com/documents/10192/8178456/Global+Cities+2016.pdf/8139cd44-c760-4a93-ad7d-11c5d347451a
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city

It would be interesting to hear more on this.

36 Ray Lopez June 21, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Change is not delta, cuck. Change is just a scalar, delta is a scalar plus a direction (a vector). +1 if you agree!

37 Barkley Rosser June 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm

When I was there in December, the pollution was horrible. Is that any better? Of course the hutongs are continuing to disappear, and it is true that there is plenty of representation of the various regional Chinese cuisines in Beijing.

As for being the world’s most important city, well, I think that is premature and may yet never come to pass, although obviously it is becoming more important as Washington becomes less important as most of the world turns its back on the US with the stupid and irresponsible behavior by our current occupant of the White House, although his shenanigans have not obviously diminished the importance of New York, despite the fact that he comes from there.

38 TMC June 21, 2017 at 4:51 pm

“although obviously it is becoming more important as Washington becomes less important as most of the world turns its back on the US with the stupid and irresponsible behavior by our current occupant of the White House – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/06/beijing-notes-2.html#comments

CURRENT? At least you finally recognise what’s happening, though it took eight years.

39 Barkley Rosser June 21, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Yes,TMC, current. The big back turning has been since January. Our previous president was (and continues to be) one of the most respected figures in the world. Go check publicly available polls on this. He did pull off negotiating both the Iran nuclear deal, despite idiotic opposition by the domestic opposition party and the Israeli political leadershiip,although not reportedly its serious military/intelliogence leaders, who quietly supported it, as well as the Paris climate accord, signed by all but two nations on the planet, although some of them have not ratified it. The latter very much involved serious negotiations with China,and the current president’s wthdrawal from that accord is a major reason why Beijing is currentlyi moving up in world recognition and respect while Washington is moving down.

40 Todd Kreider June 21, 2017 at 9:52 pm

“The latter very much involved serious negotiations with China,and the current president’s wthdrawal from that accord is a major reason why Beijing is currently moving up in world recognition and respect while Washington is moving down. ”

Of course, you don’t have any polling data to show this.

41 Barkley Rosser June 22, 2017 at 12:24 am

No, Todd, I do not have polling data specifically on the withdrawal from the Paris accord, although the withdrawal was denounced almost immediately by a wide array of world leaders, led by Angela Merkel, with China’s Xi Jinping making a very well-received visit to Europeo shortly thereafter, where he promised to stay with the accord and received public praise for this.

The onlhy international poll I have found on Trump was from France reported on May 4. As of then, Trump had an 83% unpopularity rating, Putin was at 71% unpopular, Xi Jinping at 43%, and Angela Merkel at 23%. So, Xi Jinping appears to be far more popular at least in France than Trump. There is plenty of evidence that with the exception of a small number of countries, Trump is deeply despised in most of the world.

42 prior_test2 June 22, 2017 at 12:29 am

Just politics, like this – ‘The European Union and China will issue a statement Friday declaring climate change “an imperative more than ever” in the face of expected U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

A final draft statement seen by E&E News, prepared for a meeting Friday, is the first-ever bilateral agreement on climate change between the European Union and China. It will be backed by all 28 E.U. member states, including the United Kingdom.

The draft also called the Paris Agreement a “historic achievement” and “proof that with shared political will and mutual trust, multilateralism can succeed in building fair and effective solutions to the most critical global problems of our time.” President Trump’s national populism has been seen as a rebuke to post-World War II multilateralism.’ http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/first-time-china-and-eu-join-forces-climate

The world’s rejection of Trump is something that is seemingly impossible for someone living in the U.S. to even begin to grasp. Let us put it this way – George W. Bush had his international defenders, but it is essentially impossible to find anyone outside of the U.S. that finds Trump remotely competent as president. About the only major difference in opinion is between him being considered a laughably transparent buffoon or a laughably transparent fraud, with no one respecting him in the least.

43 Art Deco June 22, 2017 at 9:57 am

Our previous president was (and continues to be) one of the most respected figures in the world.

Yeah, he danced with Ellen DeGeneres on her show.

44 Thiago Ribeiro June 21, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Sad to see so many people gushing over Communist China. The blood of the toung Americans murdered in 1950-1953 calls for justice. Mericans are exchanging their firstborn right for a mess of spring rolls.

45 Thiago Ribeiro June 21, 2017 at 7:27 pm

* young
* Americans

46 Q June 21, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Have you had a stroke?

47 Thiago Ribeiro June 22, 2017 at 5:10 am

My keyboard is awful.

48 Ralph E June 21, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Perhaps the most important city not because China is the most powerful or will be the most powerful, but because the decisions made in Beijing determine the future of China, the second most powerful country whose future is much more volatile than the complacent West. Bad policy in Beijing could easily lead to war with a Japan/U.S. alliance, or collapse the domestic Chinese economy, bringing the world economy down with it.

49 Heh June 21, 2017 at 10:35 pm

+1

50 Peter June 21, 2017 at 10:11 pm

“Taxi drivers seem to have lost their reluctance to pick up Westerners.”

Not if you’re black, in which case Beijing is worse than pretty much any American city on this score.

51 dux.ie June 22, 2017 at 12:37 am

It seems that China does not rely on intellegent immigrant from other countries, it relies on Chinese returnees.

https://unchronicle.un.org/article/chinas-return-migration-and-its-impact-home-development

The Thousand Talents Programme launched in 2008 has attracted more than
3,300 high-quality professionals from abroad to China’s key areas. …
78 per cent of the (university) presidents, 63 per cent of PhD advisers …
72 per cent of directors of key laboratories are returnees.

This might have set up a reverse muscial chairs globally, as reflected in the decline of NatureIndex.com scientific output WFC scores for several countries over the last few years, and the rapid increase in the Chinese’s scores.

52 Kevin June 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

Devil is in the details. Many of these returnees could not find descent job in foreign countries. Those on high positions mostly stayed in foreign countries for short period of visit.

53 dux.ie June 23, 2017 at 12:30 am

If those US educated Chinese students wanted to stay in US the percentage of them getting H1B visas should be comparable to those for Indian students. On returning home they face two situations, 1) with about 3.5% graduate in the country they have some advantage, but 2) when compared to those locally trained graduates who entered local university with very high local government set cutoff they would appear to be weaker. These are obvious consequences of the situations.

Another consequence would be the often talked about that there are few Chinese students in the very top end. The reasons are simple. 1) those at the very top end will be able to enter their local Chinese universities without paying the hefty US tuition fees, 2) It is unlikely that the Chinese government will allow them to leave unless they are children of the party officials who will ensure their return. These people are usually without much public profiles and working on some hash hash government projects in some remote towns. Occasionally there could be news that some group of school children in some remote towns have much better academic performance than those at Shanghai. Just like Los Alamos has high percentage of National Merit Scholars.

54 Brad June 22, 2017 at 6:48 am

Beijing is a wonderful city. Everyone who goes to Beijing first prefers it to Shanghai.

55 msgkings June 22, 2017 at 11:18 am

What if you go to Shanghai first, does the order of visiting matter?

56 Jeffrey Deutsch June 22, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Taxi drivers seem to have lost their reluctance to pick up Westerners.

When I was there (1999-2000), the taxis hailed me.

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