China figured out carrots work as well as sticks


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Since the start of President Trump’s trade war, China has retaliated against US tariffs by raising tariffs on US goods. Less well known is that China has also been lowering rates for everyone else, putting US companies at an even greater disadvantage when trying to sell to China’s 1.4 billion consumers. Companies in the United States and elsewhere used to be on a level playing field, facing an average Chinese tariff of 8.0 percent. Now, there is a 14 percentage point difference between the average Chinese tariff US exporters face versus all other exporters. Some US goods are facing even wider differences in duties, like soybeans, farm and fish products, and certain manufacturing products.

War of the Worlds – in Chinese Sci-Fi


Robert Beatty illustration

❝ Two rival civilizations are battling for supremacy. Civilization A is stronger than Civilization B and is perceived by Civilization B as a grave threat; its position, however, is more fragile than it seems. Neither side hesitates to employ espionage, subterfuge, and surveillance, because the rules of conduct—to the extent that they exist—are ill-defined and frequently contested. But the battle lines are clear: whoever controls the technological frontier controls the future…

❝ When the first volume of the series was published in the United States, in 2014, the models for Trisolaris and Earth were immediately apparent…As Liu Cixin told the Times, “China is on the path of rapid modernization and progress, kind of like the U.S. during the golden age of science fiction.” The future, he went on, would be “full of threats and challenges,” and “very fertile soil” for speculative fiction…

❝ Liu’s tomes—they tend to be tomes—have been translated into more than twenty languages, and the trilogy has sold some eight million copies worldwide. He has won China’s highest honor for science-fiction writing, the Galaxy Award, nine times, and in 2015 he became the first Asian writer to win the Hugo Award, the most prestigious international science-fiction prize.

Science-fiction played an important role in my education. One of my treasures is a postcard from an exchange I had with Ray Bradbury in 1951. The second book club I joined while still in elementary school was named the Science Fiction Book Club…though there were several such around at the time.

Still a genre for the speculative writer to engage in their own signature version of understanding and/or re-ordering the world we know…or don’t, yet.

“The future is Asian” – for anyone interested in trade, economics, global progress…

…Which is why I’ve been a student of economics, economic history, for sixty years.

I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t yet read anything of Parag Khanna’s published work. Catching this 2-segment interview with Mike Walters is changing that. Getting a couple of his books from Amazon.

Economics is rarely my favorite area of science. It can be dull. Khanna’s ability to communicate on the topic in understandable English is impressive. I hope his writing is in the same vein. Meanwhile, I offer these to folks who enjoy looking beyond the narrow alleyway of typical network communications .

The Fake President Called Former President Jimmy Carter To Talk About China


Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

❝ President Trump called former President Jimmy Carter for the first time…[weekend of April 13/14]

❝ Earlier this year, Carter sent Trump a letter with some advice about managing the U.S.-China relationship. Carter oversaw the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries 40 years ago.

On Saturday evening, Trump called Carter to talk about it. It was the first time they’d spoken, Carter said. He said Trump told him that he is particularly concerned about how China is “getting ahead of us…”

❝ Carter said he agreed with Trump on this issue.

“And do you know why?” Carter said. “I normalized diplomatic relations with China in 1979. Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody? None. And we have stayed at war,” he said…

❝ Carter said the United States is “the most warlike nation in the history of the world” due to a desire to impose American values on other countries, and he suggested that China is investing its resources into projects such as high-speed railroads instead of defense spending.

If you read up on uses for a national military, China follows an old model where the military is truly constituted for national service. That primarily means damage control and service to communities hit by natural disasters. Enough of those to go around to keep any standing forces occupied. Plus actual defense.

The wasted money in some quarters is viewed as production of non-consumable goods to aid our economy. A subsidy without calling it such. The Cold War took care of motivation for politicians who got subsidized industries and employment in their districts. Little or no inflation resulted from the subsidies because consumer goods don’t really include tanks or aircraft carriers.

Italy is now a partner in China’s new Silk Road


Reuters

❝ Italy has become the first developed economy to sign up to China’s global investment programme which has raised concerns among Italy’s Western allies.

A total of 29 deals amounting to €2.5bn ($2.8bn) were signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome…

❝ The new Silk Road has another name – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – and it involves a wave of Chinese funding for major infrastructure projects around the world, in a bid to speed Chinese goods to markets further afield. Critics see it as also representing a bold bid for geo-political and strategic influence…

❝ The levels of debt owed by African and South Asian nations to China have raised concerns in the West and among citizens – but roads and railways have been built that would not exist otherwise..

Here I sit in the richest, most powerful country in world history. Our roads suck. Bridges suck. Water systems throughout the land are polluted. And more. Our government doesn’t make infrastructure a priority. Our politicians are glad to blather about their support for rebuilding and repairing national infrastructure decades old – as long as they aren’t actually pushed into doing a damned thing.

New Silk Road, old Silk Road. If someone is putting their political and economic clout behind better, easier commerce…try to keep the whining down to a minimum, folks. You’re on the wrong side of history. I know what construction contracts look like going back to the original build-out of the US Interstate System. It was justified to keep our military happy. Which was Cold War bullshit. The victory was owned by US trucking companies.

Who’s making the biggest hole in worldwide oil? Chinese electric buses.

❝ While electric cars are displacing global oil demand at increasing rates, new research shows electric buses are making a much bigger mark overall thus far.

Electric vehicles have displaced about 3 percent of total oil consumption growth since 2011, a larger share than ever before. And so far, more than three-quarters of that oil displacement has come from electric buses, Bloomberg reports.

❝ The report estimates that “for every 1,000 electric buses on the road, 500 barrels of diesel are displaced each day.” The same number of battery-powered electric vehicles only displaces 15 barrels of oil a day, by comparison.

Most of this is occurring in China, Bloomberg notes. A report last year found that of about 385,000 electric buses in the world in 2017, about 99 percent of them were in China, with rapid growth still taking place. The city of Shenzhen alone announced in 2017 that it had completely electrified its fleet of 16,000 buses.

Not that you’re going to see much about this on Fox News. Or most mainstream media for that matter.

VW China or VW USA?

The Volkswagen Group has started construction of the first plant that will solely build cars based on the new modular EV platform known as the MEB….

Settled near Shanghai, China, where Tesla also plans a plant, the VW Group’s new EV plant will first build electric SUVs for the SAIC-Volkswagen joint venture starting in 2020.

The Shanghai plant will span nearly 151 acres and feature 1,400 “Industry 4.0” robots for increased automation. VW also said the plant will feature artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality components to digitalize the production facility.

In addition to building the MEB-based electric cars, the plant will assemble batteries. And to ensure the electric cars minimize their carbon footprint, the plant will employ 27 types of environmentally friendly technologies. Most of the technologies will focus on water preservation, energy saving, and the reduction of carbon dioxide.

There were rumors of VW making the United States the core of their global electric car production. That was before the election of our fake president. Trump opposes any significant electrification of the US consurmer fleet. He also opposes the sort of green manufacturing regime planned by VW. Folks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have their hopes up for expansion of existing VW facilities; but – personally – I think they’ll just get enough leftovers to let Republicans brag about their voodoo economics. That’s all.