Tuesday assorted links


#4: Well, that reads more like a "gotcha" article than a real insightful analysis on this current mess. First, Trump and his team say all sorts of things for political reasons and to use them as economic facts for analysis is just silly. Second, there are some important non-economical reasons for tariffs that are worth considering. At the end of the day, I see the anti-trade movement wrong in some important areas (no, it will not bring jobs back to the US or close the trade deficit) and right in another (yes, tariffs are not "destroying" our economy and it does impact China's economy big time and by definition this will have geopolitical consequences ). So yeah, we need more

I don't see an "anti-trade movement". I see a free trade movement fighting China's preferential treatment and criminal activities.

And the EU's preferential treatment and criminal activities. And Mexico's preferential treatment and criminal activities. And Brazil's preferential treatment and criminal activities. And India's preferential treatment and criminal activities... Oh, God.

“Trump and his team say all sorts of things for political reasons and to use them as economic facts for analysis is just silly.”

You’re basically just saying he says this stuff so the rubes will vote for him or support him but they’re really just lies that us sophisticates understood were lies all along?

That is correct. Trump lies, and lies constantly (he is not the only one to do that by the way, but he does take it up a notch). If that's all you want to write about, go ahead. I think there are much more interesting things to write about.

My perspective is that Trump is brutally honest. SO give me an example, what is Trump's worst lie?

is hilariously retarded

SO give me an example, what is Trump's worst lie?

5. It's almost a sure thing that the Hong Kong protests, like protests against government everywhere, are heavily infiltrated by agent provocateurs. Since there doesn't seem to be an obvious leader in the protests, it's likely that they are, in fact, being guided by the party itself as a means of identifying and rooting out real and potential opposition.The CCP is using the reactions of various parties to the situation to judge their attitudes toward the regime and what future relationships will be.

There are huge Chinese diaspora populations in Canada and the US that are looking at what's going on in HK and whispering under their breath, "Told you."

You're definitely right there's some there there, and on both sides too. While I understand the legitimate gripe of the protestors, I have to be honest if I were to tell them that this really does end badly for them if an amiable - and most especially face-saving - solution isn't found.

Hong Kong is PRC. If it looks on the surface that China is playing for time, you're not blind. Time is free. They have no problem dragging this out while building evidence, discovering networks, and inflicting economic pain on all HKers that in the long run will turn them from pro, to neutral, to anti.

The mountains are not high, and the emperor is not far away.

So that's 1956 all again.

I wasn't trying to make a moral statement, just stating the obvious. This isn't the same thing as Warsaw pact members getting out of line.

People who are not familiar with Chinese history of the last 200 years don't appreciate the severity and seriousness with which they take territorial integrity, unity, and contiguity. There's no sentimentality, especially not for protestors that have been filmed waving US and British flags...zero.

I think the protestors have a legitimate gripe, but in China you have to be careful. You need to realize that when you decide to 'die on a particular hill' in China the state may very likely call your bluff...and be more than willing to suffer reputation damage for 30 years as Nancy Pelosi and those like her wax and wane about support for your long-dead corpse thereafter.

It doesn't explain why we are surrendering. We wre being bulljed by a bunch of savages.

Not the first time an American corporation has bent over and dropped it's pants for China.

Just close your eyes and keep whispering, "a billion consumer market..."

Well, at least the Chinese leaders are committed to both increasing the number of consumers, but increasing the amount of money flowing into consumer pockets.

And increasing living costs.

The GOP, on the other hand, is committed to cutting both the number of consumers in the US and also cutting the amount of money flowing into consumer pockets.

The GOP has been frustrated by Democrats which insist on putting more money in all consumer pockets, and forcing them to spend it.

The result in the past decade is China consumers have very large increases of money flowing into their pockets, and they have increasing their spending by driving up living costs, a big priority for many Chinese.

And in the US Blue America has more money going into consumer pockets but Red America has less.

"With their output surging as a result of the big-city tilt of the decade’s “winner-take-most” economy, Democratic districts have seen their median household income soar in a decade—from $54,000 in 2008 to $61,000 in 2018. By contrast, the income level in Republican districts began slightly higher in 2008, but then declined from $55,000 to $53,000."

Note how Trump, Inc in one of the juniors laid out plans to rent seek in Red America off the Trump brand, but has abandoned that because you can't extract rents from people with little money going into their pockets. Beyond MAGA hats. Red America has no place Trump is willing to lay his head, no place able to prop up any resort Trump will put his name on.

Economically, China and the GOP/Trump are the opposites, but socially they are the same, trying to dictate what people believe. That the GOP defines Red America is appropriate given its desire to beat Red China in controlling how people think and act.

Infiltrated with agent provocateurs. That's the stupidest thing that I have ever heard. You obviously don't know anything about Hong Kong. First of all, people in Hong Kong don't even speak the same language as people on the mainland. They have a different culture. Plus, a large part of this group are kids. It would be impossible for China to infiltrate the protesters even if they wanted to. Hong Kongers can spot a main lander a mile away. Secondly, the protesters are decentralized. They plan online. Anyone can see or participate in their planning if you go on to Telegram and can read traditional Chinese. There is not some mysterious group behind the protesters. Third, the protesters are everybody. There are some of the super rich and small business people that are not supporting the protesters, but if you follow the protests and ask simple questions like, "How did they do that? Where are their supplies coming from?" You will soon realize that virtually the entire population has to be participating at some level. Just go online and search for videos of Hong Kongers singing their new anthem. They fill up malls (all of the malls) every weekend to sing in protest. When they shut down the airport, the police close in to try to capture the protesters. (The airport is on another island.) An armada of cars, taxis, etc. flood the island to take the protesters back to the city before the police could get them. Finally, this is not want China wants. The Communist party knows that its grip on power is based on fear. If someone successfully stands up to them, they are finished. But, taking troops into Hong Kong also exposes them, and may not be successful. China is stuck. They depend on Hong Kong. It would be like America taking out New York City.

You're right. That was stupid. During both the American Revolution and the War Between the States it was easy tell who the spies were just on the basis of language. Even easier now for Americans to detect Chinese and Russian spies. They're all caught in short order. Of course Russian plants managed to get Trump elected so they were doing something right. And the Chinese government had to have been very much surprised by this revolt, not suspecting anything like this being possible they would be completely unprepared.

6: The guy says "Note that it's possible there's some measurement error here."

You don't say!

Well, that's never a problem at MR!

Well... the author does point out that there was a big government push for IUDs in 1967, which is when fertility tanked.

Goebbels Warming, Melting ice, Polar bears, Rising sea levels, ...

#5 But I thought Brazil and Poland were dangerous dictatorial regimes.

#5. South Park was wrong after all, NBA is not loyal to the CCP values!



I watched that South Park episode. The best one since they made the one about Canada building a wall in response to Trump.

Apparently, we will take this lying doing too.

#6: did TV finally arrived there =)

#5 The NBA still made the right call on this one, Professor Cowen?

It's so clearly the case that American business and academic elites need a crash course on how Chinese power works. The public gets it, and you don't. In your desperate hope to try to avoid a new Cold War you fail to ask the most basic question: is one actually avoidable?

Is there any reason to care about this, at all? China has a huge consumer market and will soon be the largest in the world, PPP or no PPP. Businesses need to cater to their customers. Anyone who sells to China needs to cater to the Chinese Communist Party. Seems reasonable.

There’s no need for a Cold War because we have no interests here one way or the other. Let’s drop the idiotic tariffs and go back to business as usual. Rising tide lifts all boats.

So that is it. Munich again.

Thiago, you’re slipping.

Who is slipping what?!

Give me a break! This "rising tide" is draining our personal freedoms, there are costs that you are purposely ignoring. Morey posted the mildest of criticisms of the Chinese system on Twitter (which is banned in China by the way, so no delicate Chinese mind should have seen it). The result was his organization disavowing his opinion, and yet still the CCP decided to punish everyone in the NBA further with an indefinite ban. They have successfully exported their method of social control, and you are blind to it. Trade with ideologically similar countries lifts all boats, trade with China means self censorship and collective punishment become normalized in America.

If Morey doesn’t want to be censored by his employers, he shouldn’t alienate 800 million customers. 800 million! Think about that.

There’s an old 30 Rock episode where the Cristal CEO goes on a racist tirade and alienates his customer base. This is pretty much on par.

Drop the tariffs.

So Morey is racist? Have your run that one by HK or Taiwanese Chinese? Your Free Trade Über Alles shtick wasn't working, so you are grasping for racism now?

What? No, the hilariously tone deaf infuriating of one’s customers is the analogous point.

The alienating of one’s customer base in this case, 800 million NBA fans, has nothing to do with racism. Rather, this has to do with Hong Kong and what mainlanders see as dangerous separatism.

Companies should stay away from doing things that upset their customers. We used to call this common sense.

Let's be absolutely clear here: the CCP has decided that 800 million Chinese fans have been offended, not the market.

The NBA's customers in China are not infuriated. The dictator is. Go live in a totalitarian regime if you think it's so great.

I don’t know if Morey is racist or not, but our overall conflict with China is certainly part motivated by racism. For example, Trump’s state department policy director said that our conflict with China is because they aren’t “within the Western family” and “it’s the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian.“


And the Chinese have detained an entire ethnic group for no crime other than the suspicion based on being born into that group. Yes, take for granted race is a factor in the struggle here, whether we want it or not.

I don’t think China has detained every single Uighur, that would be over 10 million people. Most reports suggest they’re detaining the religious ones or ones with foreign or terrorist ties. I’m not justifying it, but I don’t think it’s motivated by race/ethnicity. In fact, China encourages Han and Uighurs to intermarry (whereas racial supremacists usually want to ban intermarriage).

How convenient, Han / Uighur intermarriage dilutes the Uighur stock. And only 5-10% of them being imprisoned at any given time with rotations should be cold comfort.

Let's be honest, race is much more important to the Chinese strategy than that of any Western democracy. They will use a trusted network of Han Chinese distributed globally to the extent they can to pursue their goals. And when some get caught, they will claim racism on the part of the West. There is no comparable integration if non-Han people in Chinese institutions, and for good reason: China weaponized race long ago.

Hitler didn't kill all the Jews, so I guess we've been a little unfair to the Nazi's too. I can't believe how stupid people can be. And, of course, they "encourage" intermarriage because they are trying to wipe out Uighur culture as they have been doing in Tibet, as they are doing in Hong Kong.

No one is being forced to do business in China. Revenue from Chinese fans isn’t mission-critical to the NBA. It increases people’s freedom to have the option to do so, regardless of which conditions are attached to that option.

Collective punishment was normalized by the trade war, which penalized every business in China and every American importer even ones that have nothing to do with any wrongful acts of the Chinese government.

You are right, no one is forced to do business with China. That is increasingly the message the angry American public has for its companies. The trade war is much bigger than Trump at this point, the NBA and others will have to pick the Chinese market or the Everywhere Else market and stick with it. Google and Netflix already came to this conclusion years ago, FB last year it seems, and it will seem Blizzard and the NBA will be forced to choose this year.

No one wanted China's social credit system here in America, but it seems with dual markets it has become inevitable. With NFL players taking a knee, Americans at least have demonstrated that differences of opinion between players, coaches, managers and fans will be allowed to be played out in front of the public. It's clear if NBA players take the knee for Uighurs, the entire organization will simply be banned from China. So be it. The fantasy of a delicate balance between values and profit is dead, your time is up, so pick a side.

Well, Colin Kaepernick was effectively banned from the NFL after he took the knee.

And it’s fine for some companies to continue to do business in China while others don’t. Some businesses have also chosen to remove their American operations due to excessively onerous regulations of the US government. Ultimately, if a country puts too many onerous regulations on business, its own people will suffer as businesses will not want to operate there. This is how world trade has always worked, except for a brief and thankfully passing period when the US was so dominant that most companies had to do whatever the US government wanted them to do.

The case of Kaep is an effective ban of a single individual who repeatedly made the personal decision to pursue his beliefs regardless of consequences. The case of Morey and the NBA is an official ban of the entire organization because they failed to ideologically police their members, in particular an individual who committed a single infraction then apologized. I think I know which is the more reasonable country to do business in...

Well, that’s just because China failed to coerce the NBA to punish the individual. Had the NBA fired/divested/sanctioned Morey (not sure how this works exactly but you get the point), then perhaps we would have an instance of a single individual being punished.

Also, what country is more reasonable to do business in probably depends on what you’re protesting. Sure, it’ll be easier to protest Hong Kong without adverse business consequences in the US. But it’ll be easier to protest BLM without adverse business consequences in China.

The consequences of supporting of BLM would not come from government or regulations, as is evident from the many companies and employers supporting BLM in the US.

Perhaps not BLM, but the government does punish companies for supporting BDS on Israel. Moreover, the guarantees of the US constitution largely do not apply to foreigners; the government punishes foreign companies and denies visas to foreign businessmen because of their political views all the time. Recently this happened to a Harvard student from Lebanon who was not allowed into the country because of his friends’ social media posts.

I would also not be so confident that “everywhere else” would align with the US. We have had to resort to coercive measures to get countries to ban Huawei, and even then those have not always worked. Many foreign countries are just as resentful of the way the US tells them who they can and can’t do business with, as seen by the European reactions to our Iran sanctions. They ultimately complied because they had no choice, but they weren’t happy with it. In the long run, I could see many foreign countries preferring a world economy with more dispersed infrastructure, some of which will be in China, so that they aren’t subject to rule from Washington.

Yes, and China has to coerce everywhere else that HK and Taiwan are a part of China. No one besides mainlanders would believe that on their own. The game of coersion is not new to great power conflict, and that is precisely where we are going. A new Cold War.

What do you mean? Hong Kong is part of China. It’s a special administrative region, and its foreign and defense affairs are under Chinese jurisdiction.

Taiwan is not de facto part of China, but *both* countries follow the One China policy. In fact, the Taiwanese government is called the “Republic of China” and still claims all territories inside China’s 1911 borders. When both participants to a dispute agree on something, outsiders shouldn’t double-guess them.

Regardless of legality, HK and Taiwan have been de facto their own countries for decades. No one would confuse opening a company in HK or Taiwan with opening one in China.

No, it penalized every American consumer, as all tariffs do.
As in many other countries, television broadcasting in China is a state function. They can deny access for whatever reason they wish.

Taxes are pure injustice against the people, but banning media for any reason is the privy of a national government. Got it.

#1 No kidding! Ever met someone on a plant-based diet?

#6. Many socio-economists act like these trends happen and can't be changed. But they can. If Greenlanders could have high birth rates eight years ago, they can do that again today with some basic willpower.

...as won't. Has fertility ever plummeted and then bounced back to the past high level anywhere? And no I don't mean France getting their rate up from 1.5 to 1.8 or whatever, after being well over 4 once upon a time.

#2: What she called a risky “freelance life” was actually subsidized by wealthy patrons, the first being the publisher Roger Straus, whom she met when her first novel, called (as it happens) The Benefactor (1963), was accepted by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Straus became her benefactor for life (and her occasional lover). He published all of her books, paid her advances for books she never wrote, often took care of her household bills, and contributed to her medical expenses. (He eventually hired David too, and kept him on the payroll for a decade.) As Moser writes, “Roger made Susan’s career possible … He kept her alive, professionally, financially, and sometimes physically”.

Stronger than a man, indeed.

Leibovitz paid for the mortgage, the maintenance, car services, a maid, a private chef, a studio, an office, assistants and vacations, and paid expenses for David. While they were together, Moser reports, she gave Sontag at least $8 million. Leibovitz was honoured to be her benefactor: “I felt like a person who is taking care of a great monument”. Yet Sontag was so insulting and abusive to her in public, calling her “an utter fool” for making a grammatical mistake, for example, that friends did not want to have dinner with them. More hurtfully, Sontag refused to acknowledge openly that they were lovers. She lied about her homosexuality to her sister, and angrily denied it to journalists.

Who was it that's supposed to be a cancer on human history, again? Someone remind me, I can't remember.

There's an old Chinese proverb 殺一警百. You kill one to warn a hundred. I guess the hundred has been warned.

There's another old saying. "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." The hundred are probably less aware of this one.

6. “Greenland went from a fertility rate of 7 children per woman to a fertility rate of 2.3 children per woman in *eight years*.”
Not too many eight year old girls have babies.

It is not what they meant!!

3. Quantum computing investments.
Find the hologram then automate a matching trading pit for a tree trunk. The quantum supremacy is the ability to find a set of exchanges that best support the hologram with a minimal number of steps. There is no serialized method superior. They keep the next best solution for a round tree trunk one step away.

The guy at the source link allows that there may be a mistake somewhere, bad data.

At any rate, it seems unlikely. Total Fertility Rate is the sum of current year births per thousand women, in 5 year spans, divided by 200.

In Asia you see an occasional big drop during "unlucky years" (parents afraid "unlucky" daughters won't find husbands), but that recovers the next year.

In other news, PG&E is warning that it may cut off power to up to 800,000 customers in 34 counties tomorrow, to prevent fires.

Solve for the equilibrium.


1. I would say knowledge of economics is more important. Most people don't understand how an economy works. We have produced two or three generations of economically stupid people. Of course, it all goes back to critical thinking. A little knowledge of history helps a lot.

#2: By coincidence I just read Janet Malcolm's review in the New Yorker of Moser's Sontag bio.

The reviewers have very different takes on it. Showalter likes Moser's book, Malcolm does not, or at least doesn't like Moser's attitude.

Despite this, we see a lot of agreement among both reviewers and Moser on the most important aspects of Sontag's personality and life story.

Tyler's already cited Moser's book but didn't give an evaluation. OTOH he didn't say "recommended" or "self-recommending" so that's a bit of an evaluation right there.

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