Archives For China

Made in China - inscription on Red Rubber Stamp.In this age of electronic banking the way to shut down any organization is to go after their access to money. It looks like that is just what is currently happening with North Korea at least to an extent.

“We need to step up and target those financial institutions in Asia and beyond that are supporting the brutal and dangerous North Korean regime.”

When challenged by Royce about “a number of small banks” still doing business with North Korea and the need to choke off the country’s access to hard currency, Glaser replied: “That’s exactly what we are trying to do.”

Royce said he hoped a bipartisan bill he sponsored that would label North Korea “a primary money laundering concern” would be passed by the Senate this year….

The country’s main economic ties are with China and, according U.S. government reports, its tiny economy has supported itself with money-making scams ranging from counterfeiting $100 bills to illicit arms and drug sales.

SOURCE:  U.S. takes aim at North Korea’s remaining financial links – Yahoo News.

Being a simple guy I just can’t understand how we can give China so much power over our day-to-day lives when they support those who would love to see us annihilated from this earth. I don’t know about you but it seems everything I buy almost anywhere today comes with a “Made in China” tag. It is about time we started putting conditions on transferring our wealth to that country. Millions of good paying jobs have disappeared to be resurrected in mainland China at pennies on the dollar and the primary purpose is to provide more profits for their most often times very rich stockholders..

I know doing something about this problem will be a hard-sell for the Republicans in congress. They simply believe that what our corporations do to make their profits is their own business and the government should stay out of it. And again if Obama comes out for it they will naturally be adamantly against it whatever it is. I think this same thing would be happening no matter who the Democrat was that occupies the Oval Office. Its pure politics and it is getting uglier by the minute. But I am getting off topic here.

How can we allow China to help North Korea with their illegal schemes and not suffer any consequences?  Of course part of that reason, maybe the biggest part, is that we are already so deeply dependent on China that we simply can’t afford to confront them. If they for whatever reason decided to stop sending us the products they now make our economy would likely collapse. How did we get into this type of arrangement is of course because of greed. When a bigger profit can be made using Chinese labor at pennies per hour as opposed to dollars per hour for home-grown labor greed will go off-shore every time. But I kind of think that even those who made these decisions to move their production to China are surprised at the speed at which the total transformation occurred. They all seemed to rush there without really considering the consequences.  But then again greed has never been much of a forward-looking thing…

America unleashed…

February 3, 2014

2014-01-24_10-50-34At the same time, while many people mindlessly repeat the phrase, “We don’t make anything here anymore,” it’s simply not true. The fact is the United States remains the preeminent manufacturing power in the world, producing about 20 percent of the world’s manufactured goods in the United States, and a lot more outside the country. Though China produces almost as much as the United States does within its borders — also about 20 percent of the world’s goods — there is a big difference between what our two countries make.

China is a world power in low-margin electronics assembly, textiles and machinery. But the United States is a powerhouse in high-end, high-margin, sophisticated manufacturing processes. The United States leads the world in aircraft engines, turbines, avionics, advanced material fabrication, helicopters, business jets, and — depending on the year — airliners. We are also the leader in sophisticated radar and telecommunications technology, and, of course, in weaponry. In addition, the United States has retained its leadership in space, with private companies, like SpaceX, building some of the world\’s most sophisticated rockets.

There is a lot of evidence that there was movement underway to repatriate manufacturing to the U.S. from abroad before the 2008 crash. That movement stopped during the Great Recession but has now resumed. American companies, as well as foreign firms, are expanding their manufacturing in the U.S. BMW, for example, is now making all of its SUVs for the world in the U.S.

SOURCE: America unleashed: Why we’ll be number one once more | PBS NewsHour.

This is one of the few upbeat articles about the U.S. that I have come across lately. Although I am skeptical about all the claims there is enough evidence to show that we might be on the verge of a comeback in 2014. That is good news indeed, except maybe for those who are not qualified for these more intellectual jobs that are being created.

Except for the decision by Apple Computer to build their top-of-the-line $10,000 Macbook here,I haven’t heard much about companies wanting to repatriate manufacturing within our shores. On this topic of U.S. jobs there is a mountain of hype going on so it is hard to discern fact from fallacy. Everyone with a particular agenda has their own story and it often directly conflicts with another story.

While China may have started out as Japan did in the 1950s with low-cost, low margin manufacturing they are quickly moving beyond that state. They are currently setting up manufacturing for commercial airliners, automobiles and such. It took them only five years to come up to par with the U.S. in manufacturing. What will the next ten years be?  I hope someone besides China is looking that far ahead?

Now if we can just get our educational system that prepares people for these “sophisticated” systems jobs we might must live to fight another day….

 

PollutionBeijing’s heavy pollution concerns parents

Smog can cut off sunlight to Beijing for days. At the International School of Beijing, parents want routine air quality measurements, and the school has built a $5 million dome to enclose a playground and filter the air. Seth Doane reports.

via Beijing’s heavy pollution concerns parents – CBS News Video.

One of the major prices China is having to pay for their sudden industrial dominance is pollution. Since there is a much bigger priority on economics than there is on environment the big industrial areas of the country are becoming very polluted. I know there are those in the U.S. that will be screaming about this but wasn’t that also true for our own economic development?

In the early 1900s going to almost mid-century our major cities like Pittsburgh, Gary Indiana, and the like were enveloped in giant pollution clouds. When the automobile became dominant that list also included cities like Los Angeles. We, like China now, were choking on our own dirt. So, it can be hard to righteously wag a finger at China for doing the same thing that got us to our prosperity today.

The major difference this time is that China’s pollution will pile on our own to cause what someday could be the tipping point for our planet.  Last night I watched an episode from “The Wonders of Life” narrated by Brian Cox who is a physicist and professor of a large British college. The episode was called the “Thin Blue Line” and was about how fragile our atmosphere actually is. It was a very eye-opening show that explained how other planets in our solar system have much different, and much more deadly, environments than ours and that the difference is not that great between them and us.  I would highly recommend this series to anyone who wants to learn more about the world we live in. Brian is quite a young man (if you believe 45 year olds are young men) 🙂

I am one of those who will not condemn China for wanting to prosper as we have. They are simply looking for a better way of life for their people much like, as I previously mentioned, we did a century ago. But that is another post…

We Are Just Cheap…

June 26, 2013

Banner -Off The Top

Storm1We are a nation who puts top priority on everything being cheap. No, that doesn’t apply to our military. We throw so much money into our war machines their top priority has to be figuring out how to spend it all. But since there are so many outstretched hands  wanting to relieve us of our hard-paid tax dollars  that even ends up not a big problem.

Getting back to the topic at hand. Among our European neighbors we in the U.S. are mostly known for the shabby goods we readily accept.  Don’t get me wrong, we know quality when we see it and sometimes we actually demand it but for the most part if something is ten cents cheaper than another choice we will plunk down less money.

I don’t know how many of you have heard the phrase or seen the movie “The Perfect Storm”. Here is how Wikipedia describes that:

A “perfect storm” is an expression that describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically. The term is also used to describe an actual phenomenon that happens to occur in such a confluence, resulting in an event of unusual magnitude

In our search for ever cheaper goods and services we seem to have found our “perfect storm” in this arena.  China has charged upon the world stage as the premiere producer of low-cost goods. Of course that is because there are billions of people in that country who will toil endlessly for hours and hours for pennies a day pay.  And since the Chinese government has also developed a strategy to eventually take over as the world’s manufacturer they will do whatever it takes to get all those jobs into their country.

So China is one of the things that is part of  “a rare combination”. Another part is our insatiable greed when it comes to capitalism. Almost our entire economy is geared toward maximizing profits. Little else seems to matter in our business world. There used to be what was known as the “three-legged stool” in American business: owners, employees, and customers.  Equal weight was put on pleasing all three. That concept went out the window during the Reagan years.

The last part of the “perfect storm” combination is the stagnant wages for the majority of us in the U.S.  Except for about the top 10% wages in this country have actually declined over the last thirty years. But, unfortunately the marketing pitches to buy more and more is still pushed on us and worse yet, readily accepted. So in order to buy more and more with less and less we have to buy cheaper and cheaper. So this is the final string to the perfect storm hairball that we find ourselves in today.

Are we poised for the perfect storm of seeing our economic and industrial power being rapidly drained from us? Who am I to say?

Time Mag  june 17 2013Three years ago, Liu wrote a best-selling book called China Dream: Great Power Thinking and Strategic Positioning of China in the Post-American Age. In his hawkish tome, Liu explained that China needed a strong, martial leader and offered advice for his resurgent nation: “When China is threatened, it has no choice but to use war to protect its right to rise, to break through America’s military containment.”…..

A nation that half a century ago counted Albania as one of its few trading partners is now the world’s second largest economy–and could eclipse the U.S. as the biggest within five years. The Chinese Communist Party has engineered the fastest and greatest expansion of wealth that any country has ever experienced, lifting 300 million people out of absolute poverty. China’s trove of superlatives carries global weight: the country’s 83 million overseas travelers are the world’s biggest spenders; its banks hold the most foreign-exchange reserves; its factories, power plants and vehicles produce the most greenhouse gases; its consumers rank as the No. 1 buyer of luxury goods.

China may well become the world’s largest consumer market by 2015. Already it is the largest exporter on the planet and one of the top five sellers of weapons. How China sees the world matters because Chinese aspirations, tastes and fears will shape the lives of billions of people across the globe. Indeed, after a couple of centuries of lying dormant, China–and its worldview–may once again dictate the narrative of our age. ….

Source: China’s Place in the World – TIME.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not China is on the cusp of being a world leader. Will they replace the U.S. in that mode or move along side us? Given our current totally dysfunctional government that question if very much up for grabs. As an economic powerhouse there is not much doubt that China will overtake the U.S. in the very near future. When that happens will they so willingly buy up all our IOUs that fund our current U.S. lifestyles?

As this article clearly shows China has a different view of the world than we do. In some ways maybe a more realistic view.  China and India totally dwarf our population. As living breathing bodies we are just a smudge compared to them.  By shear numbers China will overtake us in less than two years in being the world’s biggest consumer market. That rapid rise is pretty scary to those of us who follow these sort of things.

Since their basic culture and form of government are so different from ours, I wonder what kind of conflicts will result when they have more say on the world/economic stage?  Will the bravado of many in this country cause a rift in the relations of the two countries that might not be easily healed. Will our form of government, which is in total disarray right now, have the strength to even affect anything in this area?

IndiaChina’s leaders never tire of saying it: Asian giants India and China, the two most populous nations in the world, have so much in common that neighborly relations should be natural and fruitful.

Source: Chinese premier visits India, talks up trade and trust – CSMonitor.com.

What would happen if countries in the same region started to trust each other? What would happen if they made in a priority to do  business together and to act in their self interests?  What would happen if they decided to try to solve the regions problem among them selves?  Those are questions that should strike fear in all the power brokers in Washington and elsewhere in our country.

China and India are regional neighbors who collectively have 2,700,000,000 people or about ten times the population of the U.S. If they decided to get along better and work together it could pretty much make the U.S. irrelevant in the world!

Maybe the only way to get us out of being policemen of the world is to make us irrelevant in world matters. That is pretty much the reason that Great Britain lost their super-power status. They were made irrelevant by the aggressiveness and innovation of the United States. If that were to happen for us we could join the rest of the advanced world in spending much much less on our military/industrial complex. We could then take that $5 trillion in the next ten years and use it to improve infrastructure and provide healthcare for all our citizens.

If China and India ever realize the power they have just by means of people we could quickly move like so many countries before us as “have been” world powers and in my mind that might not actually be a bad thing. In some ways this possible result is of our own making. We insist on getting all our “stuff” as cheaply as possible and to do that we run around the world looking for the poorest of the poor to make it for us. Bringing up third party nations just might serendipitously end up being our lasting legacy in world history. I know that is way down on the intended affects of our current actions but…

China and India have been growing economically at a horrendous rates during the last decade or more. As they grow they buy more and more of our ever increasing debt and even a little more of our U.S. made products. When they finally discover that the United States doesn’t have much to do with their prosperity any longer I suspect they will cut back drastically on buying our IOUs. I think that point may be coming much sooner than many realize. I just hope we can cope with that reality.