Why is everyone so scared of China?


#61

There’s little social turmoil in China compared to India or Indonesia for instance, which have full on separatist wars. China seems very stable.[/quote]
Except for Tibet and Xinjiang. China seems stable because they’re pretty ruthless in supressing any instability.


#62

They’re pretty quick to suppress information about it too.

Anyway, what’s not to fear from the threat of stinky tofu overwhelming the world? Prince Charles was right to be sacred of grey goo running rampant, but he had the wrong goo pegged for the threat.


#63

There’s little social turmoil in China compared to India or Indonesia for instance, which have full on separatist wars. China seems very stable.[/quote]
Except for Tibet and Xinjiang. China seems stable because they’re pretty ruthless in supressing any instability.[/quote]

But that’s not the point…the point is China is very stable and will not collapse anytime soon, as anyone who visits there regularly would know! In fact Western countries are more unstable than China and have been/are going through major changes right now. Even if Western countries pulled back on investment/purchasing from China (which is not going to happen anyway) it would not collapse as it has very significant markets in developing countries worldwide. A lot of folks have the wrong image of China, maybe wishful thinking. It’s like that Gordon Chang book ‘the coming collapse of China’, it should have been said about America and some countries in Europe, no?


#64

There’s little social turmoil in China compared to India or Indonesia for instance, which have full on separatist wars. China seems very stable.[/quote]
Except for Tibet and Xinjiang. China seems stable because they’re pretty ruthless in supressing any instability.[/quote]

But that’s not the point…the point is China is very stable and will not collapse anytime soon, as anyone who visits there regularly would know! In fact Western countries are more unstable than China and have been/are going through major changes right now. Even if Western countries pulled back on investment/purchasing from China (which is not going to happen anyway) it would not collapse as it has very significant markets in developing countries worldwide. A lot of folks have the wrong image of China, maybe wishful thinking. It’s like that Gordon Chang book ‘the coming collapse of China’, it should have been said about America and some countries in Europe, no?[/quote]

No. Your point is ridiculous. Yes, I don’t believe China is going to collapse any time soon but any suggestions that it is more stable than the west is risible.

China achieves stability through massive projection of state power that is felt implicitly or explicitly at every level: the so-called anaconda in the chandelier. But it is insecure enough to have recently banned Avatar. Compare that to the US which freely allowed for a lunatic pastor to burn the Koran and for a free public debate on the matter.

Writing off America because of its current problems but believing that China, with its own vast array of long term security and economic issues, is somehow going to make it, is just another form of wishful thinking.


#65

China is very stable and doesn’t look like getting unstable anytime soon. It has massive currency reserves, strong hold on institutions (army-goverment), mostly support of the people, massive and still growing economy which is upskilling significantly and plenty of resources from it’s deals with developing countries. It is still attracting very large amounts of foreign investment and has a growing internal market along with an amazing infrastructure build-up that is impossible to ignore. Even without the communist party controlling everything there would be some form of ‘strong’ government there, that has always been the Chinese way and most Chinese will continue to support it for the foreseeable future. I think they do really fear further civil wars and strife, even in the educated, and that plays to the autocratic hand. I don’t think there will be any step-change but rather change from within the system itself as the country opens up and develops. Many people have the freedom and money they desire, they don’t care too much about the other stuff to risk losing it. It looks like a giant Singapore to me.

America has two wars (well 1.5), massive debts, huge strife in political system and declining standard of living. Many European countries also have huge debts and rising unemployment. The Euro will also be unstable due to the debts incurred by PIIGS.

These things can change but the facts above stand as they are.


#66

HH: China will be an old country before it becomes a developed country, which is going to cause all sorts of problems, not to mention a host of other issues. Also, the autocratic, nationalistic sentiment in China is a double-edged sword. If makes China very strong, but gives it little flexibility. Countries in the West have all sorts of problems, but it’s highly unlikely that a shock to the system would cause the system to breakdown completely.

Anyway, my point about China and Europe was merely in response to the post someone made where China was asking Europe not to get on the bandwagon about calling it a currency manipulator. Maybe China does have markets elsewhere, but I can’t imagine losing the E.U. would be nice for anyone. Surely tacky crap can be made anywhere in the world. Surely, in that respect, it’s a buyer’s market. Given the growing resentment in both Europe and the U.S. about China, why aren’t other countries putting their hands up and offering to make dodgy shoes, even if that requires some partnership/infrastructure/skills support from the West? Surely even sub-Saharan Africa could pull this off in some instances (as fucked up as that region is, I can’t believe they can’t operate sewing machines), but even if they couldn’t, why aren’t Asian, Latin American, North African or Middle Eastern nations (those without oil) trying to exploit this? Surely Morocco or Nicaragua could do this (not to mention Indonesia or Vietnam) as cheaply as China, and actually be closer to their potential markets. Especially in Muslim countries, this would be a great way for the West to diffuse terrorism by raising living standards, so they could even divert a lot of the money away from The War on Everything to upgrading infrastructre, etc. to make this viable.

The other thing I don’t get is that even if these fools don’t show the initiative themselves, I wonder why Europeans aren’t setting this up themselves. Why isn’t Angela Merkel on the phone to the Ambassador of Belize saying, “Dude, I need some fake Gucci handbags for the next G8 meeting!” or on the phone to the Ambassador of Libya saying, “Man, my landlord’s grandson is an annoying little fuck. Can you whip up some toys with lead in them by Christmas?”

Everyone bitches and moans about China, but who is doing anything about it?


#67

You make a lot of good points GuyinTaiwan, there are plenty of other places in the world to make cheap disposable plastic shit, so why stick with China? Everyone keeps banging on about the US’s debts to China for example, which basically means China has the US by the balls. Well why in fucks name did they borrow the money from China in the first place? Or why not pay it back? Why give China that much power over you? I mean it’s just common sense, if China is pissing you off so much, then do something about it. Take away China’s power, kick them out of the UN, then maybe the people of China will finally waken up and kick those commie fucks out of government and China can become a modern developed nation.


#68

ninman: Well, my understanding of it is that America didn’t borrow the money from the Chinese as such. The U.S. issues debt. Correct me if I’m wrong anyone, but basically, anyone can buy that debt (though I think it’s usually issued in lots of $10,000). I can buy that debt. A corporation can buy that debt. A country can buy that debt. Of course, the U.S. Government could see that any one person, company or country is accumulating a lot of its debt. However, the U.S.'s hands are tied because it’s basically spending more than it’s earning, so it needs to either get that under control or keep issuing debt, and from what I understand, it can’t just outlaw someone from buying that debt (at least not a large country like China) without creating problems.

However, the issue is complicated and the ball is not completely in China’s court. Any nation can inflate its debt away by simply increasing the money supply (although this has dire ramifications in other ways, which sualavaca will be only too happy to tell you about). It’s doubly complicated because the U.S. Dollar holds a special position as the international currency (which is, incidentally, why China and other countries have proposed knocking the U.S. Dollar off that perch). For China, yes, in a sense, they have power over the U.S. (and I wouldn’t want to be in the U.S.'s position). On the other hand, the U.S. has the ability to inflate that debt away, which means that China’s “investment” could lose a lot of its value, which surely worries China (after all, what’s the point in accumulating something only to watch it get eroded away). Now logically, in China’s position, you’d want to get out of that position by offloading that American debt. For me, it would be easy enough because any amount I would hold would be miniscule. China holds a huge amount though and as soon as it started dumping any of it in large amounts, the increased supply would outstrip the demand (and quite possibly cause some sort of panic on international markets) and decrease the value of the remaining debt it held. It can’t exit the position anywhere near quickly enough. It’s one of those situations where it’s a lot easier to get in quickly than get out quickly. Compounding this problem is that because China runs such an enormous surplus, it needs to invest that surplus somewhere. If it doesn’t buy U.S. Dollar denominated debt, then what does it buy instead? Debt denominated in another currency? Up until a while ago, everyone was saying, Go Euro! Go Euro! Now everyone’s shitscared of half the Eurozone countries falling in a heap and decimating the currency. China could try to put all of its surplus into buying up commodities, but there are problems there to do with volatility, amongst other things. It could try to buy up other assets (e.g. real estate or stocks in companies), but given the past couple of years in the U.S. and elsewhere, that’s risky also.

So, there’s this weird situation where neither country is that happy about the situation, but America needs to keep selling debt because of its massive deficits and China needs to park its massive surpluses somewhere. At some point fairly soon, this will all have to come to a head simply because it’s unsustainable.


#69

Yeah it’s much like the China Taiwan situation. The status Quo of Taiwan’s de facto independence can’t last forever. China wants Taiwan to be a province of China, Taiwan wants independence, at least a lot of the Taiwanese people do, even if the KMT and president Ma don’t. The world has been pussy footing around China for years, much like they did with Hitler in the 30’s. This is going to end sometime, when communism finally fails in China, and it will, there will be violence. I really do think WW3 is right around the corner.


#70

It strikes me that a lot of people are hoping China will just make a smooth transition into a modern, democratic country with a market economy. Is the CCP a bad thing? Undoubtably. What will replace it though? Given that they’ve built up so much nationalism there, I think the replacement would be far worse. It would most likely be highly nationalistic populism with a real axe to grind (especially against Japan and Taiwan) and muscles to flex. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, basically.


#71

The question of why China, is a lot easier to understand if you’re involved in manufacturing products. A company may be looking at what the FOB price will be, and its quite competitive, but thats not all,

Lead times for components, imagine you cant ship because a particular size screw is out of stock (seen it happen), or if your shipping and need to consolidate loads, but the traffic is too small, so you either pay a premium or need to wait. Because there is so much manufacturing going on, the resources for the manufactures are plentiful. 

Their margins however, are slim, very slim. Back 5 or 6 years ago I was looking at comparative numbers for factory costs, and China was perhaps 50% lower than say Thailand or south america, but on certain products it was still worthwhile to manufacture in Thailand or south america importing to the states on certain products that had regulations that offset the manufacturing costs. China has become more expensive, I would be interested to have a look again at how competitive they are these days.


#72

Yeah pretty much. You should read some of the comments from Chinese people on this news story (the Liu Xiaobo thing).

bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11499098

Compare them with the comments from Westerners and someone from HK. The Chinese think that awarding the prize to Liu (at least those who know who he is) is the West attacking China. They’ve been brainwashed by the CCP for years into believing all these myths. The West is out to get China, they’ve got 5000 years of history, and so on. Sorry I can’t think of any others now, but it usually involves things like “this is just our culture, you should respect it” or some other shit. We should have just ended this in 1989 when we had the chance, now when it ends it’s going to be a lot more painful and a lot more violent.


#73

I blame Nixon.


#74

That said, look at previous Nobel Peace Laureates. Many do strike me as being incredibly political, as do the Literature Laureates (Pasternak was clearly a political choice because Dr Zhivago was fucking awful, yet the whole political situation regarding it getting published probably helped immeasurably). I can understand why the Chinese would be upset. I’m still upset that Arafat got one.

Mick: Are you saying it’s an economy of scale thing? Surely if the whole of South America got their shit together and worked together, they’d have that economy of scale. I really can only imagine that there’s a certain amount of laziness or incompetence in them not doing so. Surely those guys, or anyone else I’ve mentioned should be able to start stripping business off China. The Asians seem to get it, so I can see Vietnam or others doing that, but Africans, Middle Easterners and Latin Americans seem too fucking hopeless or too lazy to compete with China. Asians seem destined to succeed by the “No Siestas/Long Lunches or Kneeling on a Rug Five Times a Day” principle.


#75

Plus the 'develop CCP businesses so they look like free market independent companies and then force opposition out of the market in a twisted parody of free market policies and pay only lip service to the requirements of being a global responsible citizen while ruthlessly suppressing free speech, dissent, and the rights of the individual" principle.


#76

urodacus: Sure, but many of the nations or regions I’ve listed are hardly sweetness and light. It seems like they’ve got the human rights abuses and questionable business ethics/corruption/nepotism figured out, but just haven’t really capitalised on them.


#77

Why China is so successful at business compared to other countries, well it’s got almost 1.3 billion Chinese…simple really. Chinese people like to run business and worship money. Other Asian countries are not so mercantile or hamstrung by lazier ethnic groups. China is a vast country of many provinces so each province operates like a mini economy and concentrates on different business areas, that is also their secret to success. It is like 10 Vietnam’s or Taiwan’s in one country. Another secret was utilising Taiwanese companies to grow their manufacturing base so quickly. Vietnam has potential but no country has the scale of China except for India and that’s a right mess. Other populous countries like Indonesia or Brazil do not have the hard working and relatively well educated population required to compete with China, they tend to depend on their resource base more. They simply don’t work as hard or as efficiently (this is not to say that Chinese could compare to Japanese or the German, but they hit the sweet spot with working efficiency vs cost). There are signs that countries like Brazil are building more of a manufacturing base but they are behind the curve I think.
As costs go up certain industries will migrate out of China…that’s natural.


#78

Yeah, it’s also why China is so desparate to keep the Yuan artificially cheap and why they spend so much money buying American debt. If the Yuan rises in value all those factories will basically go out of business.


#79

I think the Chinese know this is inevitable but are trying to slow it down, they fear sudden change and they know they are on a good thing at the moment. Now we can see a rolling wave of competitive devaluations (Suvlaca loving it I’m sure) pushing through the system, some of it caused by China’s refusal to increase the value of it’s currency, some by QE in the US and UK etc.


#80

I suppose this is controversial, but if the US wanted to interfere and “spread democracy”, they really should have followed Patton’s advice and rolled back the USSR and Maoist China back there at the end of WW2. oh well, coulda shoulda.