Further assorted links

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cubans made some reforms in 2010 to permit self-employment. right now self employment is flourishing:
http://www.cadenagramonte.cu/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5701:cuba-self-employed-workers-now-exceed-300000&catid=2:cuba&Itemid=14

it seems that central planning does is not helping that much (Spanish):
http://www.havanatimes.org/sp/?p=1354

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No doubt the many international trade agreements and trade-friendly laws within developed countries tend to confound efforts to restrict free trade, as the authors argue. But more generally this is more a symptom of a general inability of the public to become outraged. Look at the acceptance by the public of the bailouts of banks and the rapid return of profitability in the financial sector - here an industry screwed the public, got bailed out by same public, and proceeded to exploit monetary policy (intended to jumpstart the economy) to pump up their own profits while the public's fortunes have continued to languish. Yet no concerted outrage - not a single prosecution, never mind a public stoning - and no noticeable outrage. So it's hardly surprising there's little public pressure to do anything about dysfunctional trade policy.

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Stephen Roach's job is defending China's economic prospects.

He not only praises the Chinese political system, at the end of the article he actually intimates that he prefers the Chinese political system to whatever he means by the "West". You know, those messy and inefficient democracies.

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Roach, like most academics, favors a benign philosopher-king type ruler:
"unlike the West, which is trapped in a dysfunctional political quagmire, China has both the commitment and the wherewithal to deliver on that strategy."

There was no mention of the huge property bubble / pop which might be going on now (? how to check); no mention of gross and eco-destroying factories belching raw chemical toxins into surrounding areas.

Yet, with the High Speed Rail guy getting sacked for wasting limited investment resources, Roach might well be right that now is not a good time to bet against China.

With Greenspan's 1996 (Dec) irrational exuberance speech being a couple of years early; and The Economist (& others) warning about the housing bubble in 2002--2004, there is a huge question about the "optimal timing" of predicting a future, negative event. I think two years or more is too long; maybe even 1 year is too long. Where is good research about the most influential times to predict a bad outcome.

Palin's correct warning about inflation and QE 2 seems pretty well timed; and also in cooperation with bad food harvest weather.

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"Chinese universities graduate more than 1.5 million engineers and scientists annually."

Seriously?

The definition of "engineer" and "scientist" is often generous in Chinese statistics. They may include people Americans would normally consider technicians.

But yes, there are a lot of Chinese engineers.

There are 1.6 million engineers in the US total. Mind-boggling.

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The title "engineer" doesn't mean much. Wide variation in quality; only 50% of these might be employable as engineers.

That's still 750,000 engineers! Massive oversupply.

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Some of the statistics Roach cites are not as meaningful as they seem. An "engineer" in China is comparable to auto mechanic in the U.S. Their patents are generally junk. Building codes are subpar or ignored -- did you see what happened to their high speed rail project? Their investments are not always working out well.

There was a lot of low hanging fruit between "basket case Marxism" and "corrupt crony capitalism" but they're going to start running short soon -- if they aren't already; gov't statistics should be taken with a large grain of salt. I doubt they will exceed Mexico's GDP per capita without major political reforms. And remember, China still has a billion people living in Third-World conditions. That's why they have ghost cities -- demand isn't a function of the # of people, it's a function of what those people can afford based on their productivity.

What Roach calls "commitment and wherewithal" is a command economy, what he calls "dysfunctional political quagmire" we call freedom and democracy.

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This shows which they last very much lengthier and thus saving you income which could otherwise are actually utilized to purchase new ones.

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