What will China do next?

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Research, The Manhattan Puzzle

Napoleon called China a sleeping giant. “Let him sleep,” he said. “If he wakes he will shake the world.” China is waking. A new Silk Road is being planned that will see high speed trains connecting China to India, Iran and points west. The year Chinese dominance will be permanently unassailable is projected by some to be 2040, only a generation from now. By 2040 the Chinese economy, at current projections, will be a $123 trillion behemoth, three times the economic output of the whole world in 2000. An intervening Chinese downturn will slow this by a decade, maybe two, but that is all. In 2040 the average Chinese megacity dweller is projected to be living twice as well as the average Frenchman. China’s share of global GDP in 2040, projected at 40 percent, will dwarf that of the United States (14 percent) and the European Union (5 percent). So what will China look like over the next few decades? Already Ikea stores in the outskirts of Beijing struggle to keep up with the numbers of consumers swarming in the doors. This year (2014) China will have the biggest high speed rail network in the world with 800 bullet trains. That’s all very well, but what about other, less promising aspects of modern China? According to a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Senior Colonel, Liu Mingfu, China should build the world’s strongest military and move swiftly to topple the United States as the global “champion”. “China’s big goal in the 21st century is to become world number one, the top power,” Liu writes in his popular Chinese-language book, “The China Dream”. But military power will not be the only outcome of China’s upcoming economic dominance. China will also colonize by purchase. A famous letter warning about this was published by Warren Buffet in 2004. His argument was unassailable. America had been living beyond its means. Has anything changed? China’s sustained growth is a direct result of its banking policies and specifically its approach to the financial crisis. In China the banks and the government are one. The government issues and prints its own money. In America, and in China, the supply of money is inflated by stimulus spending and monetary policy. But in China a higher percentage of stimulus spending goes into the hands of workers and consumers. Simply put, less is needed to repay government borrowing. This process, accelerating in the recent crisis, may lead to China becoming dominant even sooner than predicted above. So what can we look forward to if China does become the world’s leading power? The Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) supports the idea of “Asian values”. The idea that the “welfare” of the collective should always be put ahead of the rights of any individual whenever conflicts between these arise. The Government of the PRC also argues that there is...

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The Manhattan Puzzle – The Devil’s Casino for spoiled princesses

Posted by on Apr 3, 2012 in Mystery Novels, Research, The Manhattan Puzzle

It is clear from Vicky Ward’s book, The Devil’s Casino, that many of the wives of senior Lehman executives were spoiled-princesses. Prostrating themselves at the high-altar of the firm, gilding every ageing lily and fighting like Cinderella’s fat sisters were the everyday obsessions of these icons of corporate triumphalism. It’s not hard to feel a little envy, of course, when you read about the opulence (more Jimmy Choos than it is healthy to imagine) they surrounded themselves with, but outrage at the waste and self obsession follows soon afterwards. And the saddest thing is that none of these wives seems to have been happy. Jealousy, status worry and fear about your husband’s future are not confined to the middle classes. They are sentiments no less keenly felt at a high-altitude corporate camp. Of course an elevated sense of your own superiority, and plush surroundings must be a continuing compensation for them. One that all those billions, and all that risk was well worth, wasn’t it? Vanity Fair had a good article about the Devil’s Casino:...

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The Manhattan Puzzle – US Bailout costs

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in Research, The Manhattan Puzzle

Cost, as of end 2012, of the financial bail out in the U.S. alone: * $29 billion for Bear Stearns * $143.8 billion for AIG (this far) * $100 billion for Fannie Mae * $100 billion for Freddie Mac * $700 billion for Wall Street, including Bank of America (Merrill Lynch), Citigroup, JP Morgan (WaMu), Wells Fargo (Wachovia), Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and a lot more * $25 billion for The Big Three in Detroit * $8 billion for IndyMac * $150 billion stimulus package (from January ’09) * $50 billion for money market funds * $138 billion for Lehman Bros. (post bankruptcy) through JP Morgan * $620 billion for general currency swaps from the Fed ROUGH TOTAL: $2,063,800,000,000 Yes, over $2 trillion dollars. As of the end of 2012. That’s about $6,800 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.A.. But there isn’t enough money available to balance the...

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