Open Thread March 28, 2023 Dan Crawford | March 28, 2023 7:00 am Open thread March 17, 2023, Angry Bear (angrybearblog.com) Tags: open thread Comments (17) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
What does the U.S. not understand about China? An economist weighs in.
NY Times – March 27
Can the U.S. See the Truth About China?
Just like relationships between people, relationships between countries can all too easily be built on a foundation of unintentional misunderstandings, faulty assumptions and predigested truths. In her forthcoming, at times provocative and disquieting book, “The New China Playbook,” Keyu Jin, a professor at the London School of Economics and a board member at Credit Suisse, is trying to rework the foundation of what she sees as the West’s deeply flawed understanding of China’s economy, its economic ambitions and its attitude toward global competition. And through that work, Jin wants to help improve the frosty relationship between the country and its presumed geo-political opponents. “We’re in an incredibly dangerous world right now,” says Jin, who was born in Beijing and earned her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and whose father, Jin Liqun, served as a vice minister of finance for China. “Without more effort made to understand each other’s perspectives, peaceful coexistence may not be possible.” (Jin joined the Credit Suisse board in 2022, not long after the bank was shaken by a series of scandals and losses. After this interview was conducted, the bank was sold to UBS, another Swiss bank. Through a spokes-person, Jin declined to comment on Credit Suisse’s situation.)
What do U.S. policymakers just not get about China’s economy and the Communist Party leadership’s thinking about competition with America? China’s current economic challenge is to overcome its middle-income trap,1 something that the United States might not relate to. It’s not all about displacing the United States as global hegemon, which would come with a huge amount of burdens and responsibilities. And I don’t think China is ready or willing to do that. To see China solely as trying to displace the United States is only going to stoke more fears. The United States can come up with better policies regarding real national-security concerns, but the government is doing things that to us are so un-American, like reducing the number of visas issued2 or curbing investment in China and Chinese investment in America.3 That doesn’t seem to be the spirit of collaboration. But understanding where China is coming from would be a step forward. …
(Much more at the link. The formatting is a bit unusual for posting.)
The New China Playbook – Keyu Jin
A respected academic provides a nuanced examination of China’s past, present, and future.
China has always been difficult for many Westerners to understand, but the issue has become increasingly crucial as the country’s global role has grown. Jin, who grew up in China and retains strong connections there, was educated in the U.S. and is now a professor at the London School of Economics. With this background, she is well qualified to play the role of cultural interpreter. She has a special interest in the problems now emerging in China as the society struggles to move from an unremitting focus on economic growth to quality-of-life and equity issues. Jin notes that China’s transition from an impoverished, rural country to a wealthy, urbanized society has been remarkably fast. The private sector has driven the growth, especially in the past two decades, but the government remains firmly in control, with a complex system of incentives, rules, easy credit, and government-owned enterprises. …
Thank you for the interview transcript, though the questions are slanted and the responder only interested in being agreeable to the interviewer. The New York Times is starkly antagonistic to China.
Neither the institutionalized architecture of state socialism nor state corporatism constitutes the be-all and end-all of socioeconomic existential possibilities, much less shining even the faintest light on mankind’s elusive spiritualism. Then it should come as no surprise that people that fail to understand their own existence might be miserably poor at understanding the existence of other peoples. It was no accident of fate that Gandhi, MLK, and Mandela were men of religious affiliation. When one is said to be soulless, then it is generally not spoken in praise. Mankind, if it is lucky enough to survive its own folly, still has a lot to learn.
P.S., evolved religions (i.e., religions that survive the inevitable early success period of misappropriation by an elite cadre along with its attendant despotism) exist as one part spiritual faith mixed with five parts communal fellowship. Might roughly the same happen within the political apparatus of state in some far future time?
Neither the institutionalized architecture of state socialism nor state corporatism constitutes the be-all and end-all of socioeconomic existential possibilities, much less shining even the faintest light on mankind’s elusive spiritualism. Then it should come as no surprise that people that fail to understand their own existence might be miserably poor at understanding the existence of other peoples….
[ Really nice. ]
After Doling Out Huge Loans, China Is Now Bailing Out Countries
NY Times – March 27
Beijing is emerging as a new heavyweight in providing emergency funds to debt-ridden countries, catching up to the I.M.F. as a lender of last resort.
Since the end of World War II, the International Monetary Fund and the United States have been the world’s lenders of last resort, each wielding broad influence over the global economy. Now a new heavyweight has emerged in providing emergency loans to debt-ridden countries: China.
New data shows that China is providing ever more emergency loans to countries, including Turkey, Argentina and Sri Lanka. China has been helping countries that have either geopolitical significance, like a strategic location, or lots of natural resources. Many of them have been borrowing heavily from Beijing for years to pay for infrastructure or other projects.
While China is not yet equal to the I.M.F., it is catching up fast, providing $240 billion of emergency financing in recent years. China gave $40.5 billion in such loans to distressed countries in 2021, according to a new study by American and European experts who drew on statistics from AidData, a research institute at William & Mary, a university in Williamsburg, Va. China provided $10 billion in 2014 and none in 2010.
By comparison, the I.M.F. lent $68.6 billion to countries in financial distress in 2021 — a pace that has stayed fairly steady in recent years except for a jump in 2020, at the start of the pandemic. …
In many ways, China has replaced the United States in bailing out indebted low- and middle-income countries. The U.S. Treasury’s last sizable rescue loan to a middle-income country was a $1.5 billion credit to Uruguay in 2002. The Federal Reserve still provides very short-term financing to other industrialized countries when they need extra dollars for a few days or weeks.
China’s emerging position as a lender of last resort reflects its evolving status as an economic superpower at a time of global weakness. Dozens of countries are struggling to pay their debts, as a slowing economy and rising interest rates push many nations to the brink. …
Beijing’s new role is also an outgrowth of the decade-old Belt and Road Initiative, the signature project of Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, to develop geopolitical and diplomatic ties through financial and commercial efforts. China has lent $900 billion to 151 lower-income countries around the world, mainly for the construction of highways, bridges, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure. …
“China’s Global Mega-Projects Are Falling Apart”
Fixed it for you Little John. (run75441)
Been a while for you too . . .
Shooting down three kids & three adults in Nashhville does not rise to the level that requires attention from Congress, it seems.
Shooting Prompts a Shrug in Washington, as GOP Rejects Pleas to Act
NY Times – March 29
… “We’re not going to fix it,” Representative Tim Burchett, Republican of Tennessee, told reporters on the steps of the Capitol just hours after the shooting that killed three children and three adults in his home state. “Criminals are going to be criminals.” …
Mr. Burchett said he saw no “real role” for Congress to play in reducing gun violence, and volunteered that his solution to the issue of protecting his family was to home-school his children.
Likewise, Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, said Congress had done enough.
“When we start talking about bans or challenging the Second Amendment, the things that have already been done have gone about as far as we’re going with gun control,” Mr. Rounds told CNN. …
Trump has been indicted in the Stormy Daniels hush-money matter
which is really a felony ‘falsifying business records’ matter.
Will he show up in court in NYC next seek?
DeSantis can’t stop Donald Trump’s extradition from Florida to New York
but he can slow it down, indefinitely.
Business Insider – March 30
… Florida law allows for two different forms of extradition. One path runs through Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely considered to be Trump’s archrival for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election.
… the Manhattan DA’s office would present the indictment to the legal affairs office of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Hochul, in turn, would send a written extradition demand to DeSantis. Her letter would attach a copy of the indictment, proving that there’s a warrant out for Trump’s arrest in New York. DeSantis is then required to make sure the indictment is valid before ordering Trump’s extradition from Florida.
… The Florida extradition statute describes the governor’s role as simply making sure the extradition demand meets all the legal requirements. That means all DeSantis has to do is make sure Hochul sends her a copy of the indictment and sufficient evidence that Trump’s alleged crime took place in New York.
“The governor doesn’t have the power to stop an extradition,” (Tamara Holder, a Florida-based attorney) told Insider, adding: “The governor’s only involvement is to look at the papers and make sure that the papers are proper to issue the warrant.” …
DeSantis could, however, slow down the process. … he could ask his legal affairs office or a prosecutor to review Hochul’s extradition demand and write a report on it before signing off on it. But if the extradition demand is legitimate, he’ll have to sign it within 60 days. …
(And if the ‘report’ says it’s not legitimate, then what?)
Delay! Delay! Delay!
The Supreme Court election next week (April 4) in Wisconsin may have much to do with the how the 2024 presidential election turns out.
Costly Court Race Points to a Politicized Future for Judicial Elections
NY Times – March 28
A crucial election for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has drawn tens of millions of dollars in spending, turning an officially nonpartisan contest into a bare-knuckle political fight.
It is a judicial election like no other in American history.
Thirty million dollars and counting has poured into the campaign for a swing seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, with TV ads swamping the airwaves. The candidates leave no illusions that they would be neutral on the court. And the race will decide not only the future of abortion rights in Wisconsin, but the battleground state’s political direction.
Yet in other ways, the contest resembles an obscure local election: There are no bus tours or big rallies. Out-of-state political stars are nowhere to be found. Retail politicking is limited to small gatherings at bars that are not advertised to the public in advance.
The result is a campaign — officially nonpartisan but positively awash in partisanship — that swirls together the old and new ways of judicial politics in America, and that offers a preview of what might be to come. It is the latest evidence, after the contentious recent confirmation battles and pitched decisions on the U.S. Supreme Court, that judges increasingly viewed as political are starting to openly act political as well.
Officials in both parties believe the Wisconsin race could lead to a sea change in how State Supreme Court races are contested in the 21 other states where high court justices are elected, injecting never-before-seen amounts of money, politicization and voter interest. …
… Whoever wins will earn a 10-year term and be the deciding vote on a four-to-three majority on the court, which is likely to rule on voting issues before and during the 2024 presidential election. If Judge Protasiewicz wins, Democrats are certain to challenge the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps — and during the campaign, she has called them “rigged.”
The Protasiewicz strategy is to pound away on advertising to energize Democrats while depressing Republican support. …
… Justice Kelly’s liberal rival, Janet Protasiewicz, has been far more open about her political views, seeking to turn the April 4 general election into a single-issue referendum on abortion, which is now illegal in Wisconsin. And she appears to have the advantage, with a lead in private polling and a major fund-raising and advertising edge.
Justice Kelly, who served for four years on the court before being ousted in a 2020 election, has a long conservative record and endorsements from Wisconsin’s largest anti-abortion groups. But he has centered his campaign on the argument that he is not a political actor and will decide cases solely based on the Wisconsin Constitution, a message that even some conservatives worry is less compelling than Democrats’ pleas to protect abortion rights.
Judge Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County judge, has emphasized her support for liberal issues and her opposition to conservative policies. She is, she says, sharing her values without explicitly stating how she would rule on particular cases. …