Wednesday, October 31, 2012

China: Too Little Too Late

A Chinese governmental think tank has suggested ending China's population control policy which is commonly, if inaccurately, known as the one child policy.  China's elite are starting to realize, or perhaps knew for some time, the demographic trap that they are in. The unfortunate truth is, ignoring the inevitable bad end to state directed economy, is that they will get old before they get rich. China has seen a rather dramatic change in the make up of their country already.

Back in the 1980s, around the time the policy was introduced, the median age of China was 22, making it a very young country, and is now 34, which is only 3 years fewer than the United States. In fact, from 2010 to 2050 while the US population is expected to grow by 30%, assuming that the coming economic crisis doesn't reverse our immigration trends, while China is expected to decrease by 3.4%.  The population drop could even be more drastic for China if we consider the implications of a major economic contraction in China; a possibility that I am almost certain will happen.

The key lesson to take away from this is that China has effectively shot themselves in the foot.  While I am sure that an economic contraction will happen in China, if they had still been a young country, there is a possibility that they could weather it. But instead they will also have to deal with an old population, and the lack of their greatest advantage, a cheap young workforce. Even worse is that the article fails to mention a major gender imbalance, due to the one child policy, that will make it incredibly difficult to avoid a dramatic population contraction.

 This is the best, or shall we say worst, example of the ability of the state to dramatic harm to the future of its people even if the fallout is unintentional.  As bad as the FED and the effects of monetary depreciation are, societies and nations can survive them, see Rome, Germany, the American colonies, so on and so forth.  It is a very difficult thing for a society and a nation to survive when its population have collapsed, see the Minoans, Etruscans, Ainu, Sumerians, Aztecs, Mayans, and countless others. Of the hundreds, or thousands, of cultures that exist today, they are but a small microcosm of the millions that have been snuffed out and no longer exist.  Given the size of the Han people I don't see their culture completely disappearing, but it could very well be drastically different, in terms of size and cultural impact in East Asia a century or two from now.

Crusaders Have Too Much Time On Their Hands

This is wholly evident considering that PETA is pettitioning officials in Irvine to establish a memorial for the fish that were killed in a traffic accident. Crimmeny.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cognative Dissonance

This my friends, is a display of cognative dissonance. They cannot fathom that individuals might not what Obama has done, and must bring out the tired old trop that it must be whiteys racism.  According to the New York Times 43% of the white electorate voted for Obama, a sizable minority of the white vote. Of the 55% who voted for McCain it would be absolutely foolish to think that even a majority of that number voted against Obama because he was black; and in fact more whites voted for Obama, both absotely and proportionally, than they did John Kerry.

But no, the whites who oppose Obama must be latently racist, and the blacks that oppose him must be race traitors by that same logic. If anyone wonders why racial tensions are high, it's because of bogus bullshit studies like this. Personally, I think the results of such a study, based on very subjective criteria and analysis, is suspect; however, if we assume this line of thought to be logical, it isn't, then shouldn't we consider an alternative hypothises? That to the 51% of white Americans did not display 'anti-black' sentiment back in 2008 may have gotten tired of racial guilting and accusations of being racist because they were simply opposed to Obama's policies and not Obama the black man?

Either way this study is pure and utter fiction that proves nothing and only continues to insulate those who cannot see anything outside of a racial lense; or have the ability to recognize questionable sutdies.  Trying to guilt people into revoting for Obama is not going to work. White guilt is overplayed, you'll only succeed in getting raised eyebrows from generation y and x collectively, and the fact is, that Obama has had a very controversial presidency and the economy is in the crapper.  That is why Obama is having a close reelection, not because of any suppossed negative views about black people.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gangster Economy

Essentially an entire economy run like a mob operation, it can make certain leaders, and officials, incredibly wealthy.  This should also explain why so much Chinese money is knowing flowing into the US and European countries for investment visas and permanent residency. Now our politicians certainly make use of their power to accrue wealth and help elevate their relatives, this happens in business as well, however there are two major differences.

One is that outright profiteering is rather rare, rather, connections are used to open doors and avenues that allow one to create wealth for themselves. The second is that, considering the differing and more mild nature of nepotism and cronyism in the west, it is unlikely that minor officials will be thrown under the bus.  This does not exist in China, and as the case of Bo Xilai shows, even major party officials are now open to being ousted if they fall on the wrong side of the political battlefield.

This isn't to to say that there isn't corruption in America, or that it hasn't gotten worse, as I blogged in parts one and two of what makes a nation prosperous corruption plays a very big roll, perhaps an even bigger roll than democracy; though the two are generally correlated.  But by all accounts of various groups, and by many who travel, the US is a far less corrupt place than China.  Corrupt regimes, be they democratic or authoritarian, are far less stable than uncorrupted ones.

What will happen to China, if at one point, the leadership, or strongest faction within the leadership, starts to go after a political individual that won't go down quietly? Or what if that person happens to be very influential with the PRC military? Ever heard the phrase crossing the Rubicon? It means to go past the point of no return; it refers to Julius Caesars march to Rome were he used his military might to install himself as a dictator.

Caesar had done this for two reasons, one, he had acquired a lot of debt from very influential friends and he needed another pro consulship so that he could commit the tacitly approved of, within reason, grafting. And the other was that he had made a lot of enemies in a lot of high places, and he had broken a lot of laws, and the consulship provided legal immunities to his person.  When his political opponents, who in fact were just as guilty as Caesar of malfeasance, used legality to deny him his pro consulship and order him to return to Rome; where he would be tried for breaking various laws.

Now how do we expect this to go down? A man who conquered modern day France and defeated a foe that had beset Rome since its founding is simply going to disband his army and return to Rome in disgrace? Hardly.  The same could very well happen in China, or even America if we continue on our current path, and nothing destroys wealth and prosperity like a civil war.  The best case scenario in this instance would be a return to the warlord days of the early 20th century and a divided and weak China.

So mule this over for the rest of the day. How stable can a country be when an elected leaders family can use its influence to not just get wealth, but fantastic amounts of wealth on the order of billions of dollars, when almost 600 million Chinese live in abject poverty? And an economy that is at best stagnating, or worse in recession? I think the answer is pretty apparent; not very.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Winning the Battle But Losing the War?

Now that the race is neck and neck, with real clear politics giving Romney a narrow edge in the popular vote and Obama the edge in electoral votes, if we discount battleground states, the likelihood of Obama being dethroned is a possibility; though I have always maintained that if it were Ron Paul versus Barack Obama the election would have been decided months ago, and a republican victory a foregone conclusion in a 1980s style electoral landslide.  However, Obama has shown us that hope and wishes do not make something into reality, so let us continue in reality.

The republicans will absolutely remain in control of the house at the end of this election cycle.  They also stand a chance of gaining the senate, though I am pretty sure the senate will remain in the control of the blue party. As for Romney, here is the electoral map at Rasmussen which shows Obama with 237 electoral votes to Romney's 235 and 66 toss ups, meaning 7 states are in play.

Of those 7 states Colorado and Virginia look like they will go to Romney, giving him 21 needed electoral votes, and that would bring his total to 257; just 13 shy needed to win. Rasmussen shows Romney winning by 2% of the popular vote in New Hampshire, though Real Clear Politics shows Obama up by a small margin.  Assuming that it goes to Romney his total electoral count would go to 261. Meaning if he wins Wisconsin then he wins the day without the much vaunted Ohio.

But Romney probably won't win Wisconsin based of the the the current  polls I have seen; though to be fair there are instances were the polls can be very off like in 2010. A 2% chance is pretty large, so baring a major stumble by Obama and Romney, not outside the realm of possibility, I think that state will go to Obama.  Likewise Nevada looks like it will tilt towards Obama.  However if Romney won both Nevada and Iowa he would still win, despite losing Ohio.  Yet the surest bet at this point is that Romney needs Ohio.  If Romney wins Ohio, with its 18 electoral votes then the only other battle ground state he would need to take, outside of Virginia, would be New Hampshire, or Colorado.  Colorado will probably go to Romney, so if Romney wins Ohio, he pretty much is guaranteed the election.

But that is neither here nor there for me. I am not a polster so my guesses are nothing more than lazily thrown darts, and I have no bone in this race as I am not voting for Obama or Romney; OK I lied, there is a small bone for me. I would derive some small temporary pleasure from the gnashing of teeth from my blue blooded friends and the pathetic cries of racism by certain public figures and talking heads.  I personally bear no ill-will towards Obama as he was no different than Bush, Clinton, Gore, or McCain, or even Romney, but I am exceedingly tired of the cult of Obama that has been perpetuated ever since he won his senate seat all those years ago (I wonder if opponents to Scipio Africanus were also tired of the cult of personality that surrounded him those many thousands of years ago?).

I will also attest to being some what concerned. In my eyes, Romney is really no different than Obama, if perhaps more competent. I know all too well that the president has very little power to make major changes to policy. Domestically the power resides in congress, as the constitution intended, to pass laws and decide the course of the country. And internationally, whatever the president may wish, his actions are constrained by realpolitik. At the beginning of his term Obama wished to reset the relations with the world, and look what has happened, his policies have differed very little from Bush; who himself had expressed a desire to move away from nation building and world policing when he ran for office. 

The most a president could do domestically is make it harder for bad laws to pass, via their presidential veto, and small changes in foreign policy.  Ron Paul would have done this. I am not so foolish enough to think that all our military bases, or military treaties, and clandestine activities would come to an end. Yet, he would move slightly that direction and the most egregious actions and superfluous bases would probably have been closed. Obama and Romney will do none of that. And Romney will not use his veto power to help reign in congress, I have seen or read nothing that indicates that he would.  Don't be fooled by his selection of Paul Ryan; he is a fiscal welter weight compared to either Paul the older or younger.

So here we stand, the republicans have picked a presidential ticket, that in my mind, will do nothing to stop our descent into fiscal and economic madness.  There is no way that what we are doing can continue to go on for another 4 years.  Japan may have gotten away with 20 years of propping up a deck of cards, but that was done with an economically strong Europe, China, and America willing to play ball.  There is no one capable, or even willing at this point, that can keep the charade going.  We will redescened into recession, there will be a major global currency crisis, we will have to pay the piper.  If I had thought Romney could have forestayed, or even lessened, the coming pain I would have voted for him; but he won't, so I won't. My greatest fear at this point, is that the republicans have won the battle, but ultimately lost the war for us.

People will blame Romney and the republicans for the next saga of our crisis. They will utter lines about failed policies of the past, leftist policies but leftists won't tell you that, and blame free markets. We defenders of liberty, who have seen small gains these past few decades, will be forced to defend what little we have.  I fear there is a very real possibility of a quickened descent away from free markets into Argentinian or Greek style democracy.

So even if Romeny wins don't breath a sigh of relief, rather, batten down the hatches and prepare to argue more voraciously against the economic foolishness we are witnessing. We cannot go the way the anti-war movement did when Obama won.  Now if Obama wins then we are in a much better position to argue for the cause of freedom once everything goes down. But if Romney wins, well, sharpen your swords, string your arrows, and ready the dogs of war.






Government Spending By The Minute

Credit goes to Odins Lounge for reintroducing me to this group.  So here is a nice little breakdown of government spending by the minute.  And let me just give my own answer to the question on whether or not we have a spending or revenue problem; if you cut the entirity of the US defense budget and still cannot make up the difference between spending and revenue then you have a spending problem.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Price of Parasites

Parasite, it is a noun. It means one of three things.
"1. An organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known s the host from the body of which it obtains nutrients"
Think tapeworms and the like.
"2. A person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others with out giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others"
Think of that one guy you meet in college that was living on the couch of your dorm room friends yet didn't see the need for businesses to make profit. Alternatively it could be expanded to children who have no intention of ever repaying their obligations to their parents, either financially, or through care during their parents golden years. Lastly, physically capable bums and welfare queens come to mind.

And funnily enough in ancient Greece it meant:
A person who received free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.
 
Think of the legion of toadys and sycophants that follow the rich famous in the private sector or the legion of hangers-ons in the political sphere.

But what I am posting about refers to the first quote.  We have a huge parasite problem in America, and throughout the West, today. The trillion dollar deficit alone attests to this, and before the crisis it was a $ 400 billion dollar deficit. Finally, even discounting our deficit we simply need to refer to government spending as a portion of GDP and see how it has continued to creep higher through out America's history.

The ultimate problem we have is that no one wants to admit that they, or their company, or their industry, are engaged in parasitic behavior.  Just look at this article on Ars Technica and the weak defense, or rather apologetic argument, put forward towards federal programs funding video games. It is one of the most frustrating things today.  Everyone is in favor of a balanced budget and conservative spending habits, but their program is absolutely vital to the nations interest and needs to be funded by the government. Why in the age of near free information and ubiquitous communication do we need to spend $ 445 million on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting? And how can we justify Federal spending on a hobby that generates more revenue than Hollywood!

If you try hard enough, and are willing to suspend reality long enough than we can certainly justify any government spending.  The problem America has today is that rather than ask "Is this something we (the government) should spend our money on?" we instead go "Why isn't the government doing something about it?" or "We need government money". And not only have we slowly turned ourselves into little more than clientela in a modern day form of Roman patronage but we actively sneer at those who generate wealth. 

Currently 41% of our entire GDP is somehow government spending related, local, state, and federal. That is 6 Trillion dollars, more than the GDP of any other nation on earth save China, and we some how don't spend enough? What you are seeing now, decreasing economic opportunity, is the result of parasitism, patronage, socialism or whatever you want to call it. 

But think about it this way, you as a citizen of the United States all ready owe $ 51,000 in Federal debt alone and chances are that is more than you make in a year. But to add further salt to your growing wound that debt isn't shared evenly, no it is not by a long shot. If your working at all, and thusly have your wages garnished by Uncle Sam, then that makes you a tax payer, you have to shoulder the burden of everyone else who cannot pay, which raises your share of the debt to $ 141,000. That is the price you will pay for parasites.
 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If Regionalism Is An Issue In Many European Nations Then How Can We Expect The EU To Survive?

Separatist movements of one form or another have always existed.  Usually they are merely the idle talk of academics and or fringes, unknown to most of the public who reside in the very areas the activist seek to 'liberate'; just look at the Republic of Cascadia movement in my neck of the woods. However, there are times when serious movements arise and have potentially major geopolitical impacts.

For two decades we have been told of the inevitability of the European Union. That this new supranational entity would sweep the barbaric concept of nationalism under the rugs and create a European counterweight to the United States.  Yet, here we stand, just a scant 3 years after the Treaty of Lisbon and I have very serious questions regarding the long term viability of such a union.  There is a Scottish Independence Referendum coming up. Catalonia is actively pushing Spain for more autonomy. There is talk of partitioning Belgium between the Walloons and the Flemish.

These aren't eastern European nations like Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia that were held together by passing political circumstances, these are nations with long histories of being tied together.  Begium, a nation of the Dutch speaking Flemish and French and German speaking Walloons, has existed since their independence from the Netherlands in the 1830s.  Scotland and England have been a part of the United Kingdom since 1707 and the same monarchs since 1603. Spain has existed as an essentially unified nation, albeit with many secessionist and autonomous movements throughout its history, since the late 15th century.

So if nations with histories spanning hundreds of years, through varies economic difficulties and wars, are having trouble holding themselves together during this time of crisis; then how exactly am I supposed to believe that the European Union has a future?

Yes Sotomayer I Want to Gut it

How things have changed in just a few short years. In perhaps the most unanticipated outcome ever, the supreme court is reviewing affirmative action for colleges, and it looks like they might change their ruling from less than a decade ago.  A quick recap, back in 2003 the Supreme Court ruled that while outright quotas for race were unconstitutional, that colleges could leave promoting diversity up to their own judgement. Essentially saying that as long no one openly admitted it, selecting students based off of race was OK since it promoted the ever sought and much praised diversity.

Now in a twist of irony:

Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the university and who filed the lawsuit before the justices, whether the modest racial preferences used by the university (University of Texas at Austin) crossed a constitutional line.
 
I say irony because women have benefited heavily from many affirmative action like programs, and now that they constitute the majority, especially Caucasian women, of individuals who attend college they are now speaking up about the how wrong such policies are.  Imagine the reception a Caucasian man would have received if such an argument was brought to the supreme court?  Now, I know there are some out there that would attribute this to a feminist conspiracy to keep the gains they have received via government action and redistribution and don't want to risk losing them, since in many ways men are the gender that has been suffering most recently, but I don't think that is the case.

Despite the feminists wishes, we do not live in matriarchal society, men still occupy the majority seats of power, but we do live in a feminized culture.  And this feminized culture is one that is artifically supported.  Once the grass eating herb prostrating males learn that endorsing such wrong headed ideas earns them nothing but contempt; and once the charasmatic but character deficient alphas see no benefit to be had from crusading for the she-demon brigade, then the system ends and comes crashing down.  There aren't even enough women who support modern feminism to keep it alive, and without the support of men, then the results are forgone.

But I digress. The real news is that there stands a decent chance that a terrible policy, that I would argue has actually hurt minorities, will be overturned.
The member of the court who now probably holds the decisive vote, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, tipped his hand only a little, asking a few questions that indicated discomfort with at least some race-conscious admissions programs.
Those questions, along with his voting record, suggested that Justice Kennedy may be prepared to limit the Grutter decision. He told Mr. Garre that he was uncomfortable with the university's efforts to attract minority students from privileged backgrounds.
"What you're saying," Justice Kennedy said, "is that what counts is race above all." 
If a relatively liberal judge can express unease with the policy as it stands, and considering that justice Kagan has recused herself from the proceedings means that there is a real chance this law policy could change.

Now this is ignoring how utterly worthless college has become for so many individuals; but that is a separate battle in itself. What we see here is, perhaps, the beginning of the end of equalism.  That ill-conceived notion that everyone is equal outside of just being treated equally under the law. Who knows, this may even save some minorities from majoring in worthless degrees and foisting upon themselves tens of thousands of dollars of debt for a degree in victim studies that will never see a positive return on investment.

Of course there are those who are expressing the gradual of real justice and fairness where we abandon the victim mentality and start judging individuals not off their genders or race, but off of what they have done. The meritocratic system that made us so great.  Cue Barack Obama's appointee who thought that a Latina women, with the richness of her life, could reach a better conclusion than a white man.

"You don't want to overrule Grutter," she said. "You just want to gut it."
Yes Justice Sotomayor I want to gut it. It is wrong, unethical, and unconstitutional.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Statism In Its Current Form Will Not Survive Generation Y

Ignoring the ill-effects of misbegotten government entitlement policy, and how the ensuing austerity will certainly kill the public's faith in socialism; there is one other reason why statism will not survive in its current form. Obama and the democrats have noticed a growing trend in this country, that trend being, as Joe Kotkin dubs them, the growth of the single nation.  Singles have overwhelmingly bought the narrative by Obama and the democrats for a variety of reasons. None the least of which is that an entitlement society allows member of my generation to prolong adolescence.  However, as Joe Kotkin points out, more and more married couples are starting to move towards the other side of the isle. It makes sense on the surface since those of us with progeny care about what happens to America 20 and 40 years down the road, at least in theory.

Now of course the republicans are only a smidgen better than the democrats, and by smidgen I mean that the forces of freedom have established Dunkirk style beach heads from which to argue the cause of freedom and fiscal responsibility in a party that is almost as left as the democrats themselves. However, arguments about fiscal responsibility, traditional American values and worth ethic, and a long term view of the world will most certainly appeal to those with families.

So while the democrats celebrate their growing political clout, as can be seen by the gradual bluing of the electorate, my state was solidly republican less than 20 years ago and now is solidly blue today, those victories will most likely be pyrrhic.  Both in the sense that the democratic party is mortgaging future votes for votes today, and in the sense that the coming generations after us, who will not even have the false promises of an entitlement state that we enjoy today, will solidly reject the democratic party, and perhaps overwhelm the statists in the republican party and turn our little citadels into full style Normandy beach heads of freedom.

Behold the fruits of the EU's labors

Now to temper this article a bit, many news outlets have been screaming for months about increasing xenophobic attacks for quite some time.  Now, first off most mainstream outlets, here and in Europe, use the racist/xenophobic trope constantly to demonize individuals who are concerned about their cultural heritage.  However, attacks like these are serious and shouldn't be trivialized, yes media today is willing to drop say individuals are motivated by racism for too often, France's burka ban raised such complaints, but these attacks do display a rising nationalistic sentiment that is truly dark. 

It is one thing to protest illegals and demand that immigrants confirm to ones culture. I understand this, and I will be the first one to say that all cultures and societies are not created equal. Some cultures are better than others, politically incorrect to be sure, but true none the less.  But attacks against foreign looking individuals hint to something darker in the horizon.  And the worst part is that the EU has no one to blame but themselves.

For a better part decade, perhaps two, and for far longer within each nations respective national governments, patriotic pride and a sense of culture has been actively disparaged, or even quashed by the ruling elite.  Many EU ministers have disparaged the growing nationalistic sentiment displayed by their constituents as quaint, backward, and too old world.  However, just because nationalism is no longer popular amongst the elected and academic elite in Europe, and to a lesser extent in America, doesn't mean that it doesn't matter else where in the world, or even in their own backyards. And by actively suppressing the natural feelings and sentiments of their peoples we now see the fruits of their misbegotten labors.

American leaders and academia take note. By trying to surpress American culture you will assuredly cause this violence in our own land.  This violence is terrible not only because it hurts those that deserve no harm, regardless of a persons nation of origin or how they got into this country, but also because it is indiscriminate. This sort of violence could easily be targeted towards an immigrant who has played by the rules and followed our unspoken social contract, by accepting American values we will accept you, in this country.

It is high time our leaders realize that by ignoring, or slighting, Americans who are concerned about illegal immigration only increases the certainty of such attacks occurring. Americans around the nation can sense that their nation, their culture, and their way of life are falling a part. We see multilingual signs on ballots, in commercials, and civil rights protests where the flags being flown or of another nation.  How could this not raise public ire and anger? At some point violence will break out, and innocents will get hurt.  Will our leaders realize the folly of their universalist creed, that all cultures are equal, before it is too late? I hope so, but I do not remain confident.



*I feel it is pertinent to add an addendum to this post. I do not give two craps about the racial make up of America. As long as a person conforms to American culture and our values I do not care a whit about where they came from. America should be for Americans, but anyone can become an American.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Economic Rainbows and Manufacturing

Stumbled onto to this the other day and I thought I would share it.  Slate magazine apparently decided to list their 5 favorite plans to help reinvigorate American manufacturing. I thought this was interesting enough to click the link and read the articles and then share them with you.  For those of you who don't know Slate is an online magazine that is often featured on mnsbc online, naturally there is a center left biased to most of their editorials. I decided to read the articles posted because I wanted to see how far far away from good economic sense their readership suggestions were. Naturally ,there were some that were very bad, while others were well intentioned but operating off of what I would considered based on flawed or incomplete premises.  Here is one such article with my comments bolded.

'American Manufacturing could be reinvigorated by good wages for factory workers and high consumer product regulation - as strange as that may seem at first glance.' 

It is but I will let you make your case.

'Good Wages for Factory Workers: First of all, American manufacturing companies, and American consumers, need to realize that there is simply no way that factories in American can compete with factories in the developing world on labor price.'

True to an extent. If we ignored the continuing atomization and computerization of many tasks then yes; however, as shown in this article by msnmoney many robots can do the same tasks for humans for pennies on the dollar.

'No matter how many unions are dissolved, how low minimum wage is, or how small benefits packages are, a company simply can't pay an American worker low enough to compete with a worker in a country who can be paid 50 cents an hour. American manufacturing just can't compete on labor costs, it has to compete on something else. That something else has to be consumer confidence and quality.'

America does have an advantage over developing nations in this regard, but it won't necessarily last forever. Japan was once known as the manufacturer of cheap and ill-made trinkets.  Forty to Fifty years later we have seen this reputation completely reverse. Still the author makes a valid point, if we ignore robotizing of many services.

'Competing on labor price is just not possible. High Consumer Product Regulation: Consumers need to know that if they purchase an American made product, that no product in the world is safer or of higher quality. Consumers need to know that if they give their child a Made in America toy, that it would never contain any harmful chemicals, that it is completely safe, and that it was built in a factory by adults who were paid decently. A teenager who buys an MP3 player made in the US should be proud that he purchased a product that wasn't made by children who are forced to work in a factory instead of going to school.'

This would be the unicorns and bunnies portion of this treatise. It is hard for me to fathom how individuals still think that these ideas somehow carry weight.  There has been a buy American movement for at least a decade, if no much longer, and these arguments were constantly made as being the major impetus for why we should buy American.  Yet more people buy foreign goods today.  The fact is that outside of individual who work, or know people who make those products, and those who simply want to feel good, those arguments carry no weight whatsoever.  Now to be fair to the author he did acknowledge this fact in the comments section, but there is still another point that needs to be made.

Americans, particularly those on the left, focus n child labor, or slave labor conditions, all the while being almost completely ignorant of the economic realities that cause people to go into those trades. Believe me, I used to refuse to eat Chiquita bananas after what I saw in Guatemala, and it wasn't until my college economic professor, a Keynesian no less, set me straight.  The fact is this, no matter how terrible those jobs seem to us, they are better than what are available to those individuals in those impoverished countries; they only alternative is back breaking labor in some rice paddy.

 'Selling the concepts of well paid factory workers and high regulation to consumers: American companies need to be proud of the fact that they only employ well compensated adults who use safe machines, work in good environments, and are proud of the products they produce. Consumers need to be reassured by various advertising campaigns and perhaps a "A Safe Product Made in a Safe American Factory" sticker or something similar placed on consumer products.'

A pretty decent idea. I don't think it would have a major effect, at least for now. But it could grab traction.

'Consumers need to be reassured that American manufacturing regulations are there to protect them from dangerous chemicals, and that they cannot be assured that products created in non-democratic countries will be as safe. Documentaries should be made about appalling labor conditions in some offshore factories that create products American consumers buy daily.'

I'm skeptical when it comes to documentaries. It seems its more about egos of the director than the actual display or finding of truth.  But it doesn't really on using governmental force so I have no real qualms against this idea.

'The farmer at my local farmer's market is happy to show me a picture of happy the chickens who laid the eggs he sells. He is proud that they aren't caged chickens. Why don't we pay as much attention to the human beings who build our cell phones as to the chickens who lay our eggs? Companies should be equally proud (and proudly advertise) that they only use adult laborers who are well compensated, live in the United States, and that they do not resort to hiring factory workers in areas of the world where workers' rights and freedoms come second to what the local strong man gang thinks should be done.Additionally, American regulatory agencies need to have the teeth to be able to take way an American company's seal of approval if that company doesn't meet strict health and safety guidelines.'

America doesn't need any more regulation from its regulatory agencies.  The fact is that all these agencies would accomplish is causing the companies to move their plants to other countries that don't attract the ire of regulators.  Yes it will make activist feel good, but it doesn't too much for the poor individuals who just lost their jobs just because their country ran afoul of America. And let us be utterly candid, nations that were on Americas good side would get a pass, while nations that ended up with antagonistic relationships, would be punished. It is very easy to see how this sort of thing would be abuse and fail to solve the problem.

 An American Manufacturing commercial could feature an American mother trying to decide between two dolls to buy her daughter for her 7th birthday. One doll is cheaper and was made in offshore in a country with dubious labor standards and a political leader who was not elected democratically. The other, slightly more expensive, doll was made in The United States. After considering that the American doll is guaranteed to be free of dangerous chemicals and not built by a little girl factory worker who looks just like her daughter - the mother decides to purchase the American doll.'

I don't really have much to say about the ending.  The article was about what I expected, full of good intentions but fails to see how things would turn out with regulations, or even consider why individuals work those kinds of jobs in the first place.

Lastly, a lot of Americans, justifiably, complain about the decline of America's manufacturing.  When it comes to the number of Americans employed by manufacturing this is true; however, wait people fail to realize is that America is still the largest manufacturer in the world.  There is some dispute as some claim that China recently surpassed America.  But the point is that America still manufacture a great deal of items, its just not the items you see every day.  We manufacture high tech high value goods.  But that is beside the point. In the end, even if goose America's portion of gdp that is manufacturing it just won't change the fact that many manufacturing jobs are gone; robotification is the future. And that raises some potential major issues in the future. (Such as what will happen to individuals that literally can do nothing more than menial labor, but have seen their job taken over by robots?)



Combating Gang Violence By Shoving Your Head Up Your Ass

Chicago once again proves as an example that the most common why municipal politicians try to fight gang violence is by shoving their head up their ass.  Soft gun confiscation programs failed. Outright gun bans failed. So what makes these politicians think that a tax will have any effect? It won't, and honestly, even city board president Preckwinckle probably knows this.  While I wouldn't put it past politicians to be utterly clueless when it comes to being able analyze a cause and effect relationship, in this case gun bans resulting in no appreciable drop in the murder or crime rate points the fact that there is no cause and effect relationship between the two, I find it hard to be believe that in this instance the board members honestly believe this law will have any effect. There is simply too much evidence to the contrary.

Now the fact that the city is willing to pass a law, despite it almost certainly being challenged in court, points to a strict adherence to dogmatic belief despite the fact of empirical evidence to the contrary.  Now, unlike the Seattle park handgun ban, which the state attorney general said would be overturned in court, that cost the city millions in legal fees and ended exactly the way the state attorney said it would, this law might have a chance of standing. I can't say for sure, but I have a feeling the Illinois in general is less gun friendly than Washington state.  Still, the challenge will most certainly cost the city, that is already pretty much bankrupt, a lot of money. Which begs the question why? Given the gains made by gun rights advocates recently, and the general attitude about guns in this country, the battle for Chicago will be uphill. So the only other thing that comes to mind, despite their protests to the contrary, is that they hope it will generate some revenue for their deeply indebted city, however little it may be.

It is shame the Chicago's leaders are so horribly inept, as I really enjoyed visiting the city. But the city is getting exactly what they deserve, leaders with heads up their asses, because that is exactly what Chicago is doing, sticking their collective head up their ass, by continually electing in incompetents.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You Got to Be Kidding Me

Now, I never equated age as a good barometer as to the fitness of someones ability to govern will govern. I haven't reached 30 yet but I am pretty confident that I could govern better than the vast majority of individuals twice my age. I could have an excessively high opinion of myself but that is neither here nor there. The fact is that I would rather have a competent 25 year old than an incompetent 65 year old sitting with congress.  But how in the hell is a 19 year old, with a criminal record no less, elected to a city council? I guess there is the possibility that he ran unopposed to his seat, but I mean how is this supposed to turn out any other way than it did? I foresee age qualifications for holding office in Alburtis Pennsylvania in the near future.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cash Leaking Out of China

I have blogged extensively about the economic conditions of China, as what happens in China is very important to the United States.  Now I have repeatedly said that the claims that China would overtake the US are wrong as I believe there are fundamental problems that exist in China that will prevent them from surpassing the US in the near future.  One thing that I have mentioned is that millionaires are leaving China as one of my cases about an imminent crisis that will hit the middle kingdom, a canary in the coalmine if you will.  Well new data from the Wall Street Journal shows that over $ 225 billion dollars has left China

Now you might argue that this news means nothing whatsoever. China is a nation with an increasingly burgeoning wealthy population and it would make sense that the noveau riche would purchase items throughout the world. But the article does make special note to include the quote from a Hong Kong immigrant consultant who says Chinese are buying permanent residency and passport like a certain designer good.  The 'permanent residency' is the most important part.  Passports don't allow for permanent immigration, but permanent residency does. And in some instances permanent residency is not that hard to acquire
Cyprus has become a popular investment destination for wealthy Chinese. The island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean gives permanent European Union residency to anyone who spends €300,000 on a property.
 
 That is just shy of $ 400,000 in the United States.  The EU certainly has made it easier to immigrate than the US has with their E-2 visa, and I can personally attest that Chinese have invested heavily into the US to qualify for one.

And this makes one ask the question. If China is the next super power, then why are billions of dollars from Chinese million and billionaires purchasing investment visas in the US and permanent residencies in Europe?  While the Japanese miracle during the mid to late 20th century did see a lot of Japanese companies purchasing assets in Europe and America, and a lot of tourists to boot; Japanese citizens didn't try to purchase residencies in other countries, they stayed and lived in Japan.  China is a whole other beast entirely.

China has been a state run gangster economy for years, if not decades. And the roosters are starting to come home to roost. Chinese who have means, either legitimate or ill gotten, have seen what has happened to Bo Xilai, and know that another wave of uncertainty is coming.  China, for a nation that strives for a harmonious society, undergoes transformation tempests that are very violent, and often very bloody.  It has been this way in the middle kingdom from time immemorial, and I have seen little to indicate that anything fundamentally changed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Emerging US Doctrine

A good article from Stratfor concerning the evolving doctrine of the United States.  Regardless of who becomes president of the United States, this will be the style of foreign policy for the foreseeable future.  Even in foreign policy, were the president has far more leeway on the course of action he wishes to take than in domestic policy, those actions are directed by real world constraint.

Given those constraints here is what you will see. Less overt military action in areas that are not of prime importance, and a more hands off affair during regional events; provided that these events do not fundamentally challenge US military and geopolitical hegemony.

The US will still be heavily involved in the world, however, it will be in ways that are not easily discernible for the most part.  For nations that would rely on the US but are not strategically important, i.e nations like Georgia or even Taiwan, then this is unwelcome news.  For nations that are very much apart of the US interest, such as Japan, the Philippines, or Poland, then the equation will only change in so much as those nations will receive greater military material support provided that the US feels that they are upping their commitment to joint military treaties.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Even the Mainstream Media is Acknowleding the Truth

Things have been so bad for so long that even the mainstream media is saying that the unemployment statistics are garbage.  Now of course they aren't saying this out right like so many bloggers and non-mainline economists. But despite all the hoopla about jobs being added there remains the uncomfortable truth that there are almost 3 million Americans, who want to work, but have given up. This doesn't even count the ranks of the underemployed, which I had the honor of being apart of for the first two years after I received my bachelors degree.

The situation surrounding large ranks of shadow unemployed, and underemployed, becomes even more stark when you realize that there is essentially a log jam at the highest levels of work that percolates all the way down to entry level positions.  You add in a devaluing currency, excessive levels of debt at al levels of government, a real estate market that hasn't fully reset, an education bubble, and a stock market that is being injected with so much money from the feed like so much bovine growth hormone and you realize that we aren't even close to being out of the woods.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

China Joins the Party

Of being crushed by their pension programs.  It is strange to think that a nation that is supposed overtake the United States by many accounts is being threatened by a pension crisis.  This is happens when a nation messes with society and nature. My future prediction, rather than China bailing out the world, you will see China stumble as social strife becomes a bigger issue for their government.

Slowly But Surely

people and major news networks are confronting a hard truth on worthless degrees.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Productivity and Spinning Wheels

Morning everyone. Apologies for not posting in a while but I have been spending my time getting work done and being blissfully unawares of the presidential election, one of the perks of being able to decide based on a candidates record and not their promises or performance during a presidential debate. For those of you who care, I certainly don't, and do not live under a rock, sometimes I wish I did, pundits, at least at according to slate, Romney wiped the floor with Obama. Once again I want to point to looking at a man's record rather than whatever promise they make during the campaign cycle, it is a far, far better indication of how a man will govern; but I digress.

What I am really posting is the Captain's spinning wheel economic post of and the alarming, though not unexpected point that Americas economy has really not grown all that much, in terms of actual stuff produced, since the early 70s.  I've touched on the deleterious effect government spending has had on our economic growth, but that concerns only GDP not the net domestic product. Some have measured our economy in terms of gold. But the ultimate point is that our economy has not performing to the levels it could or should.

What is interesting is that our lives have improved, not necessarily in terms of real earnings, or the ability to pay for the necessities, shelter, energy, and food. I know this to be true because I wouldn't have survived birth in the 1960s, but I was fortunate enough to have been born in the 1980s. Technology has been the biggest source of improvement for us. And the reason why is that it has made us more productive, which as the Captain pointed out off hand means that far less of our workday is spent doing actual 'work' than in the past.  This is due to our ever increasing productivity, which, until now, has grown with every decade since the 1970s. The reason for our productivity gains rests entirely with technology, computers, word processors, software, cloud informational systems and so on and so forth.

It is technology that allows individuals to buy clothing for far cheaper prices, and at comparably better quality, they we have been in the past.  Yes some individuals will rightly point out that this is due to the exportation of labor intensive industries to more affordable countries, but what also needs to be acknowledge is the increasing automization of these tasks.  Eventually it your clothing will be made in a factory in Raleigh by a machine rather than a textile mill in Shanghai or Ho Chi Minh city; it has already happened with cars so it is only a matter of time until it happens for clothing.

And even outside of automization the information technology industry has certainly buoyed the American middle class. Forget Wal-mart and its low cost shopping. Companies like Ebay, Amazon, Google, and a whole host of others now allow Americans to shop for what they want without ever having access to a brick and mortar store. Want a Brooks Brother 1818 suit but don't want to pay the $ 1,000 price tag? Just go online, exercise some patience and savvy, and you can find whatever you want at a discounted price.  Entire personal business have been built this way and the customer still benefits from the savings.  Remember a time when people used to pay full retail for textbooks? Now you just hop onto Amazon.com.

You also have many small and medium sized business that create entire software programs that streamline, automate, and remove the need for a human being to do busy work. Every single job out there has benefited from time saving programs that allow workers do more in less time. This has allowed companies to become more profitable and help buoy an otherwise difficult economic era. And these new companies have benefited entire cities. My city was a no name logging, fishing, and shipping town until a certain technological monolith came along. However, the regulatory environment threatens these new businesses that allow us to do more for less.

 Environmental regulations and their affects on companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google come to mind, each of these companies rely on cheap energy to power their server centers that store all the data that make their online operations possible. But even without an increasingly hostile, and parasitic, regulatory environment towards these new industries, the fact is that the rest of the world is catching, or has caught, up.  The profits from these industries will be lower and growth more difficult.

I do think that the realities that the Captain has pointed out will become more apparent and start affecting ordinary Americans. For about three decades, the US has enjoyed unchallenged dominance in the nascent computer information industries, however, that position is no longer secure.  Productivity has stalled as the full cycle of new paradigm shifting technologies has run its course. At some point America will have to produce more items to be competitive.  Whether or not we are successful is another story. History is replete with developed nations stagnating and declining. Argentina is perhaps the best example of in the western hemisphere. 

The government will continue to try and address these issues with the same old methods, putting the monetary gas pedal to the floor, but much like a car stuck in quicksand it won't do anygood. The sooner our political leadership realizes that we can no longer drive on the beach the better off we will be, and the sooner we can start real economic growth.

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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.