On China

Wow, a lot to digest here.

I’m way too tired after 12 hours of driving to think hard enough to sound coherent on that piece. Instead, I’ll just list my biases about China and hopefully have the presence of mind to check back in when I’ve learned more:

  1. China is poorer than Mexico (per capita)
  2. Never take futurists or medium/long term forecasts seriously (as a test, I offer some below)
  3. Talk of China’s GDP in 2030 (or whatever) is ridiculous
  4. China has an economic growth profile that is radically different than any developed country
  5. Therefore China’s economy will undergo a radical change when it approaches developed status (was that a forecast?! Watch it, now!)
  6. Informal economic and information channels are the only reliable ones. (ie Official China is more Kafkaesque than capitalist).
  7. Chinese consumers have thus far accepted a lower standard of living than they ‘earn’ (ie high inflation and a depressed currency)
  8. Nevertheless, Living standards are rising rapidly. This makes folks feel good.
  9. In spite of their lack of control, Incumbent politicians are blamed for economic malaise. The capacity for a bloodless purge, however senseless, is of course democracy’s strength.
  10. China isn’t a democracy.
  11. And booms always end.
  12. Michael Mandel has taught me to (selectively) mistrust productivity stats and GDP figures for the USA. I chuckle at the skeptical feeding frenzy he’d have with China’s data (ie it’s possibly all complete BS and will perhaps have a Greece-style reckoning)
  13. Nevertheless, living standards have recently been rising rapidly. This makes folks feel good.

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