Random articles

1. With all of the bad news coming out of China (especially the zero Covid idiocy), it’s nice to see a ray of hope. Here’s The Economist:

Meanwhile, China’s regulatory regime has become more friendly. Not long ago, onerous reviews were required for new listings. This led to a backlog, sometimes stretching to thousands of firms, and prevented private-equity investors from exiting investments. A new system, trialled in the star and ChiNext exchanges, is currently being rolled out to others. It is more in line with international standards, setting requirements for listings, but dropping the arduous inspections. Liquidity and stability have also improved. Over the past five years, reforms have encouraged the professionalisation of investment. Volatile retail trading has been reduced. All this fits with Mr Xi’s publicly outlined vision for Chinese finance, in which markets are freer from meddling, operating more like ones in America.

2. The recent increase in anti-Chinese racism in America has consequences:

Racism is another impediment to the spread of liberal values. In a paper published in 2020, scholars at Stanford University in California and Sun Yat-sen University in China argued that Chinese students in America are “more predisposed to favour liberal democracy than their peers in China.” But anti-Chinese discrimination “significantly reduces” the belief among Chinese students in America that political reform is desirable, while increasing their support for authoritarian rule.

3. And another China story:

According to recent analysis of industry data by Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank, China’s share of America’s imports rose from 36% to 39% this year in goods not covered by tariffs. For goods subject to a 7.5% tariff, however, China’s share sank from 24% to 18%. And for those hit by a whopping 25% tariff, which covers lots of it equipment, China’s share of imports fell from 16% to 10%. . . .

This change is more nuanced than it appears at first glance. It seems likely that many of the components used to make goods in India or Vietnam are themselves produced in China. Although the detailed supply-chain data needed to say for sure will not be published for several years, Chinese export figures are certainly suggestive. The two-percentage-point drop in the share of China’s total exports destined for America over the period from 2018 to 2022 is exactly matched by the increase in China’s exports to ASEAN economies.

4. One overlooked downside of a large welfare state is that it crowds out essential government functions such as public safety:

Britain is a libertarian’s nightmare, with the state expanding to 45% of gdp; the tax burden is likely to creep towards levels not seen since Clement Attlee, the Labour prime minister who put Beveridge’s plan into practice. Yet it also manages to be a social democrat horror show, achieving little despite its vast size.

Increasingly the Conservative government provides a welfare state in name, but a bare bones night-watchman state in practice. The police will probably find your killer but they will make no effort to find your stolen bicycle. If you’re hit by a car, the nhs is likely to save your life. But if you require a hernia operation, you may wait a year or two (or give up and go private). A 19th-century concept of the state has collided with a 20th-century vision to create an intolerable 21st-century chimera.

Left wing American cities such as San Francisco have the same problem.

5. On a related note, when the government provides crappy public services, people will have lower expectations for the government. Here’s The Economist:

Yet the Modi government is devoting a much smaller portion of India’s bumper tax revenues to social spending, including health care and education, than its predecessor (see chart 2). In 2018-19 government spending on health represented 3.2% of GDP, down from 3.9% the year before it came to power. Spending on education, at 3.1%, is far below its target of 6%. . . .

The long-abysmal state of public services—and proliferation of private alternatives—have downgraded Indians’ expectations of them. Less than a third rely on public health care. In an international survey in 2016, just 46% of Indians agreed that “the primary responsibility for providing school education rested with government”, the lowest of any country polled. Meanwhile, the BJP’s infrastructure projects, and relentless efforts to put Mr Modi’s imprimatur on them, have made the projects and prime minister alike powerful symbols of national progress.

6. People often ask me what I mean by “wokeness”. The Economist describes its two key attributes:

What links these developments is a loose constellation of ideas that is changing the way that mostly white, educated, left-leaning Americans view the world. This credo still lacks a definitive name: it is variously known as left-liberal identity politics, social-justice activism or, simply, wokeness. But it has a clear common thread: a belief that any disparities between racial groups are evidence of structural racism; that the norms of free speech, individualism and universalism which pretend to be progressive are really camouflage for this discrimination; and that injustice will persist until systems of language and privilege are dismantled.

7. People from a foreign country often have a perspective that is lacking in domestic residents. The clarity of distance. This Razib Khan tweet doesn’t surprise me at all:

My wife experienced China’s Cultural Revolution and noticed the parallels with cancel culture even before I did.

And yet I often see American progressives say, “Cancel culture? I don’t see any cancel culture.” If you don’t see it, there’s a good chance that you are a part of the problem.

8. The Economist has a good article about how East Asian countries are reluctant to go along with US sanctions on China:

Nearly all the countries of the region have deep economic ties with China that they are loth to rupture.

That even goes for Taiwan, the world’s pre-eminent semiconductor powerhouse, which is firmly in the Western camp and subject to relentless Chinese bullying. . . .

Many Taiwanese view the semiconductor industry not only as a source of jobs and prosperity. They see it as Taiwan’s security guarantee: without it, they say, America and its allies would be less likely to defend the island if it is attacked by China. The industry is known locally as the huguo shenshan—the magic mountain that protects Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen calls its semiconductors “democracy chips”.

Biden wants to remove that magic mountain. Can the Taiwanese trust America to defend them?



16 Responses to “Random articles”

  1. Gravatar of steve steve
    19. December 2022 at 15:27

    I’m sure cancel culture exists somewhere but where I live and work people say and do all of the things I see people say they have been cancelled for and no one gets fired. People use the N word and they dont get fired just as an example. I also see lots of people say they are being cancelled just because they get criticized for something they say. Seems way overblown.


  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. December 2022 at 16:33

    Steve, Yes, it very much depends on where you work. But the phenomenon is very real in certain industries.

  3. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    20. December 2022 at 12:27

    This is another failed attempt by Sumner, who has financial interests in China, to humanize a regime that is exterminating uighers and Falun Gong through organ harvesting.

    Another video from South Korea (undercover) shows Chinese nurses offering to sell organ transplants on demand for $10,000 which is utterly impossible unless you have a ready supply of organs that can be harvested on demand. And no country in the world relying on volunteers has organs on demand whenever anyone feels like it.

    There are Chinese graduate students with connections to the CCP who seek to gain a foothold, and penetrate western academic, political and business institutions.

    And as Universities become more reliant on Chinese students for profit, and companies become reliant on the Chinese consumer, they are more likely to advocate for CCP interests or at the very least avoid criticizing the CCP (as Sumner does) for fear that there might be backlash. For example, Sumner’s wife could be arrested for things he says (or doesn’t say), or his Chinese real estate could be taken, or lo and behold he could even be imprisoned when he visits China. Indeed, it might lead one to writing favorable articles in favor of a Nazi look-a-like.

    And then there is the issue of data: data for example, sent via tiktok to a CCP owned data center raises concerns about American individuals being targeted by the CCP.

    The Chinese have also been caught setting up secret police stations across the western world. Italy just found another one this week; and there pesence in NYC have been well documented and ongoing. These police stations, like confucious institutes, have been used to attack falun gong and other dissenters, and have been used to train politically radical organizations such as BLM, and fund and support other community activism (destructivst groups) in inner city neighborhoods; these organizations have also been used to propagate Chinese collectivism over American individualism. That of course is simplyfying a bit, but the end-goal is destructivism, which of course Sumner supports. This is why he wants to “pack the courts” and “remove the electoral college” because nothing would make him happier than watching the constitution get flushed down the toilet; but those who appreciate lockean and kantian ethics and the bill of rights, might want to take a second look at the Chinese regime and wonder whether the two philosophies are compatible.

    The Chinese regime is on the border of India and the Philippines. They are actively threatening Taiwan, have already taken Hong Kong, and have in the past threatened Japan, Vietnam, Canada, U.S, U.K, Australia, and Germany all within the last two years. Vietnamese and Filipinos cannot even fish without being harrassed by Chinese fishing vessels. In some cases there vessels are purposefully sunk. The chinese ships run them over (literally) and watch and laugh as the fisherman abandon their boats.

    Chile and Colombia fisherman have been attacked by Chinese fishing vessels illegally operating off their coast.

    Does this mean that all Chinese are bad? Of course, not. Does this mean they are all spies? Of course, not. But when you are in a cold war, as we were in the 70’s with Russian students, there must be vigilance. Vigilance is not racism. Vigilance is necessary to ensure security.

    There is a reason, for example, why Thai immigration officers check the bags of Nigerian passengers more often than U.S. bags. It’s because Nigerians account for 70% of the drug smuggling. By focusing on Nigerian bags they can reduce the threat. By the same token, focusing on Chinese graduate students will reduce the threat.

    Now if you don’t believe in countries, like Sumner. And you think borders are “hard-right” and “nationalist” then you might support a society where the state doesn’t protect people’s inalienable rights from harm. But if you believe the states obligations are to protect inalienable rights, then you must seek to thwart the implementation of attacks upon American infastructure: including academies, coporations and political agencies. And you cannot do that without investigating possible threats, and one of the main threats in 2023 is Chinese graduate students being recruited by the CCP.

    And by the way, these students don’t have a choice. They cannot say, “no thank you”. The CCP owns them. They have a social credit score. They have a family to worry about. They do as they are told, or else…

  4. Gravatar of mira mira
    20. December 2022 at 19:11

    i’m skeptical that there has been any time period in the vast majority of American regions where police would devote considerable resources to a bicycle theft.

  5. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    20. December 2022 at 19:21

    I don’t know about all this nonsense, but when I woke up this morning to find out that the FBI had paid twitter to cancel the political opposition, that Biden’s mandate forcing vaccines on any company applying for federal subsidies was shutdown by the appeals court, and that a UK radio host who called scientists anti-vaxxers is now in the hospital for blood clots in his lungs (a known mRNA side effect) after his fourth vaccine booster, I was filled with joy.

    Elon is saving the planet from tyranny by exposing the corrupt elite, and the bio-tech gangsters and their social justice “influencers” are now suffering from blood clots.

    What could be better than that?

    I have taken a grand total of zero vaccines, and I got the terrible virus. It was terrible that I was sick for about four hours. It’s been three years, yet somehow I’m still alive. How is it possible? Shouldn’t I have died, like Sumner wrongly forecasted?

    If you look at Sumner’s posts from 2020 to 2021 you can feel the fear in his mind. It’s very palapable. He was freaking out, ranting and raving about how the unvaccinated were going to die, and how people without masks were spreading the virus despite countless studies saying otherwise. I wonder if he bought 200 rolls of toilet paper, and fought with people in the aisles like other radicals.

  6. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    22. December 2022 at 14:03

    TSMC is making immense investments in Arizona. Will this strengthen relations, or will the “magic mountain” accidentally move so far in the US that Biden and Co. no longer see the reason to defend Taiwan? In Taiwan’s place, I would rather keep the essential know-how in Taiwan. I hope they are doing just that.

  7. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    22. December 2022 at 18:33

    One random link:


  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. December 2022 at 09:38

    anon/portly, Thanks, there’s a few I’ll check out. (The Korean film is pretty good, I saw it last month.)

  9. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    23. December 2022 at 15:42

    Another one (I think more interesting):


  10. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    23. December 2022 at 16:52

    Indeed, the chinese organ harvesting is on par with Hitler.
    It’s an attack upon humanity.

    Incidentally, the Chinese also ban most religious groups. And in the U.S., not coincidentally, the radical left, CCP style thugs, are now arresting people for praying outside abortion clinics.

    A prayer is now a crime.

    What’s next? Will thoughts soon be crimes too?

  11. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    23. December 2022 at 20:50

    That’s in the UK Edward, not the U.S., and it’s called a CBO. It’s a derivative of the anti-social behavior orders which existed prior to the 2014 revision.

    And yes, these orders are designed to enforce obedience and conformity to state sponsored “behavior.” And of course this “proper behavior” is uniltaerally determined by pseudointellectual thugs.

    Praying in public, especially outside the intellectuals beloved abortion clinics, is therefore considered “intimidation” and a CBO can be issued by the magistrate; violation of that CBO can result in substantial fines and prison time.

    This of course is a way to get around universality and as you may know the CCP is also a fan of ASBO’s and CBO’s and uses them on their own citizens. It’s just another utilitarian/totalitarian weapon to coerce the masses because it’s in the “public interest” and the “common good.” (which always means state interests, and good for the elite)

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. December 2022 at 21:33

    anon/portly, That’s a good article. I’ll have to check out Get Carter.

  13. Gravatar of Larry Larry
    25. December 2022 at 13:04

    Still don’t see China invading.The casualties would be truly horrific, including the Chinese soldiers who drown when their ship gets sunk crossing the strait. It’s not part of Chinese culture, either, which includes defeat after defeat on the battlefield. Unless they can do it with drones,I see more of a cooptation/slow squeeze ahead.

  14. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    2. January 2023 at 10:56

    Scott, the House GOP has a different definition of woke than you do. They are targeting the Pentagon’s efforts to root out extremists from the ranks, and funding for troops’ abortions, following up on their recent anti-woke attack on vaccines.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. January 2023 at 11:03

    foosion, The House GOP is even worse than the woke.

  16. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    2. January 2023 at 15:48

    Scott, that’s definitely true. It does, however, reinforce my position that “woke” is more of a general attack on anything the right-wing doesn’t like than a well-defined term. BTW, source is https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/01/02/culture-wars-house-republicans-attack-pentagon-woke-policies/10890619002/

    What do you think the Fed will do when the House GOP decides to default the national debt?

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