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Canada must not be naive when dealing with China’s authoritarian regime
March 4, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HUGH SEGAL, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Claws of the Panda, Jonathan Manthorpe’s new best-selling book, a meticulous and well-researched highly readable history of decades of Canada-China relations, is important because it's a primer on the central challenge of our era – how democracies address the scope and depth of an authoritarian wave now picking up momentum.....The Communist Party of China, its presumption of sovereignty not only at home, but also over ethnic Chinese worldwide, is not about to relinquish or dilute its central and presumptive power and control. It certainly won’t do this as a result of peaceful entreaties from middle powers, however respectful or well-meaning.....while the People’s Republic of China has every right to manage its internal affairs without interference, we also have the right to pursue our own national interest without undue Chinese influence......Manthorpe’s work clearly underlines is the economic, social and political equation at China’s core: Prosperity is the result of central control, focus and a clearly defined Communist Party and state-driven purpose. Qualities we hold as important – the right of dissent, democratic pluralism, freedom from fear – are seen by the Chinese government as weaknesses in our democratic societies to be exploited in the new great game of global trade and diplomatic competition.......Our challenge, in terms of diplomatic, trade and strategic policy, is with the Communist Party and the government and forces it controls, not with the Chinese people.........In assessing the intent of any global competitor, contextual awareness is one of the first requirements for tactical understanding and strategic planning. The revelations of Claws of the Panda offer a clear set of contextual conclusions for a well meaning middle power like Canada......We need new rules of the road.

Our engagement with China must set aside the temptations of presuming fair minded universal intent on the part of Chinese state-controlled instruments, economic, diplomatic or military. We must be more focused on the protection of our own security and freedoms from Chinese subversion, including the freedoms of our fellow Canadians of Chinese extraction. Countries that wish access to our resources, technology and investment on normative terms do not get to launch cyber attacks against us, from military and intelligence units controlled by the state. We must invest more with our allies in counter-intelligence and joint naval, air and cyber capacity in the Asian Pacific, not to threaten China’s legitimate regional dominance, or peaceful global economic aspirations, but to preclude illegitimate adventurism which a Chinese communist authoritarian regime might well pursue if costs and risks to them are unclear.
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Claws of the Panda gives a detailed description of the CCP's campaign to embed agents of influence in Canadian business, politics, media and academia. The party's aims are to be able to turn Canadian public policy to China's advantage, to acquire useful technology and intellectual property, to influence Canada's international diplomacy, and, most important, to be able to monitor and intimidate Chinese Canadians and others it considers dissidents.
authoritarian  alliances  Asia_Pacific  authoritarianism  books  Canada  Canada-China_relations  centralized_control  China  China_rising  Chinese  Chinese-Canadians  Chinese_Communist_Party  counterintelligence  cyberattacks  economic_protectionism  history  Hugh_Segal  maritime  mercantilism  middle-powers  naivete  new_rules  primers  rules_of_the_game  situational_awareness  worldviews  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  security_&_intelligence 
16 days ago by jerryking
Breitbart -- Six Ways China Uses Economic Villainy to Edge Out Competitors
'Ironically, “communism” is probably the least important factor in the Chinese system as of Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s ascendancy, a fact that is not lost on hardcore Chinese Marxists who grumble about Xi’s departure from the true communist faith. Unfortunately for them, Xi Jinping’s philosophy kept all of Maoist China’s authoritarianism, so they must grumble quietly lest they disappear. -- The single term that best describes Xi’s government is probably fascism since it relies upon the core fascist concept of capitalist energy harnessed by the all-powerful central government for nationalist ends. Those who do business with China try very hard to avoid noticing that the boundaries between the Communist Party, the government bureaucracy, and “private” Chinese industry are very thin. In a communist system, the government would own all of the big companies outright. Under fascism, the corporations have “private” owners who are careful to keep their Communist Party memberships in good order and the government tells them what to do, either openly or behind the scenes. -- In return for strict obedience, the Chinese government uses its power and money to benefit its corporations and suppress foreign competition. When business tycoons who are also effectively Communist Party royalty get in trouble, Beijing swings into action. -- This aspect of China’s system can be described as mercantilism, a system where the government interferes with markets to protect favored companies, rigging the marketplace with aggressive and unfair practices to increase national economic power. The historic definition of mercantilism involves using government power to maximize exports and minimize imports. That is not a bad way to understand every other aspect of China’s economic villainy. Almost everything modern China does is a step toward that goal of maximized exports. The Chinese definitely see international markets as a zero-sum game where some nations “win” at the expense of others, as the classical mercantilists did. -- Some of President Donald Trump’s actions towards China have also been denounced as mercantilism – which, if we can take a step back from the heat of current partisan debate, raises the interesting question of whether it is possible to compete with an aggressively mercantilist Great Power without becoming one. Nations as large and powerful as China have vast resources to bring to bear against foreign companies, as the rest of this article will demonstrate. Truly independent market-based capitalist business entities have great difficulty standing against the coercive might of a nation-state without protection from their own governments.'
america  empire  china  statism  mercantilism  fascism  communism 
12 weeks ago by adamcrowe
Michael Hudson -- EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS WRONG
'A Review of Michael Hudson’s new book ... and Forgive Them Their Debts As published on Naked Capitalism by John Siman -- ... “Mesopotamian societies were not interested in equality,” he told me, “but they were civilized. And they possessed the financial sophistication to understand that, since interest on loans increases exponentially, while economic growth at best follows an S-curve. This means that debtors will, if not protected by a central authority, end up becoming permanent bondservants to their creditors. So Mesopotamian kings regularly rescued debtors who were getting crushed by their debts. They knew that they needed to do this. Again and again, century after century, they proclaimed Clean Slate Amnesties.” -- Hudson also writes: “By liberating distressed individuals who had fallen into debt bondage, and returning to cultivators the lands they had forfeited for debt or sold under economic duress, these royal acts maintained a free peasantry willing to fight for its land and work on public building projects and canals…. By clearing away the buildup of personal debts, rulers saved society from the social chaos that would have resulted from personal insolvency, debt bondage, and military defection” (p. 3). -- Marx and Engels never made such an argument (nor did Adam Smith for that matter). Hudson points out that they knew nothing of these ancient Mesopotamian societies. No one did back then. Almost all of the various kinds of assyriologists completed their archaeological excavations and philological analyses during the twentieth century. In other words, this book could not have been written until someone digested the relevant parts of the vast body of this recent scholarship. And this someone is Michael Hudson. -- So let us reconsider Hudson’s fundamental insight in more vivid terms. In ancient Mesopotamian societies it was understood that freedom was preserved by protecting debtors. In what we call Western Civilization, that is, in the plethora of societies that have followed the flowering of the Greek poleis beginning in the eighth century B.C., just the opposite, with only one major exception (Hudson describes the tenth-century A.D. Byzantine Empire of Romanos Lecapenus), has been the case: For us freedom has been understood to sanction the ability of creditors to demand payment from debtors without restraint or oversight. This is the freedom to cannibalize society. This is the freedom to enslave. This is, in the end, the freedom proclaimed by the Chicago School and the mainstream of American economists. And so Hudson emphasizes that our Western notion of freedom has been, for some twenty-eight centuries now, Orwellian in the most literal sense of the word...' -- 'ADDENDUM: Moral Hazard: When I sent a draft of my review to a friend last night, he emailed me back with this question: Wouldn’t debt cancellations just take away any incentive for people to pay back loans and, thus, take away the incentive to give loans? People who haven’t heard the argument before and then read your review will probably be skeptical at first. -- Here is Michael Hudson’s response: Creditors argue that if you forgive debts for a class of debtors – say, student loans – that there will be some “free riders,” and that people will expect to have bad loans written off. This is called a “moral hazard,” as if debt writedowns are a hazard to the economy, and hence, immoral. -- This is a typical example of Orwellian doublespeak engineered by public relations factotums for bondholders and banks. The real hazard to every economy is the tendency for debts to grow beyond the ability of debtors to pay. The first defaulters are victims of junk mortgages and student debtors, but by far the largest victims are countries borrowing from the IMF in currency “stabilization” (that is economic destabilization) programs. -- It is moral for creditors to have to bear the risk (“hazard”) of making bad loans, defined as those that the debtor cannot pay without losing property, status or becoming insolvent. A bad international loan to a government is one that the government cannot pay except by imposing austerity on the economy to a degree that output falls, labor is obliged to emigrate to find employment, capital investment declines, and governments are forced to pay creditors by privatizing and selling off the public domain to monopolists. -- The analogy in Bronze Age Babylonia was a flight of debtors from the land. Today from Greece to Ukraine, it is a flight of skilled labor and young labor to find work abroad. -- No debtor – whether a class of debtors such as students or victims of predatory junk mortgages, or an entire government and national economy – should be obliged to go on the road to and economic suicide and self-destruction in order to pay creditors. The definition of statehood – and hence, international law – should be to put one’s national solvency and self-determination above foreign financial attacks. Ceding financial control should be viewed as a form of warfare, which countries have a legal right to resist as “odious debt” under moral international law. -- The basic moral financial principal should be that creditors should bear the hazard for making bad loans that the debtor couldn’t pay — like the IMF loans to Argentina and Greece. The moral hazard is their putting creditor demands over the economy’s survival.'
history  economics  debt  predation  statism  mercantilism  landlordism  "capitalism"  MichaelHudson 
november 2018 by adamcrowe
Trump’s beggar-thy-neighbour trade strategy is anything but foolish - The Globe and Mail
CHRISTIAN LEUPRECHT AND ROGER BRADBURY
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

The U.S. administration’s tariffs are actually perfectly rational – from Mr. Trump’s perspective (i.e. his worldview).

The extent of the punitive tariffs Mr. Trump is imposing is unprecedented. They threaten to bring down the system of global trade – Bretton Woods' meticulously calibrated, multilateral system of rules has 164 member-states and comprises tens of thousands of products--by design.

World Trade Organization (WTO) tribunals – which are about to grind to a halt because the United States has not named a judge to the seven-member Appellate Body – were meant to ensure that everyone sticks to the rules....
The President is now intent on destroying co-operation within the WTO by driving wedges between the world’s trading blocs and countries. The United States would be in a much stronger position if it could negotiate with each trade bloc directly. ....Mr. Trump’s recent musings about replacing NAFTA with two separate trade agreements with Canada and Mexico are further evidence to that effect. Canada risks selling out the WTO by making concessions to the United States.

China, too, is negotiating bilaterally with the United States and is already caving to American demands. In the end, the large trading blocs are likely to divide up the world among themselves; countries with little leverage, such as Canada, could become collateral damage......Where once the goal of the United States was to rise to global hegemony, today its goal is to maintain that dominance.

So, that same rules-based system is now causing competitors.... Under these conditions, it is no longer in the interest of the United States to co-operate; as the global political and economic hegemon, the United States can win a strategic competition for wealth and power. Everyone ends up poorer, but the United States remains top dog because everyone else grows poorer faster than the United States. Beggar thy neighbour. Literally.

But being frank will not sit well with Canadians; painting Mr. Trump as a crazy buffoon is more politically expedient. So, along with the EU and China, Canada falls right into Mr. Trump’s bilateral trade-negotiation trap. R.I.P. WTO. Score: Trump 1; Canada 0.
beggar-thy-neighbour  bilateral  Canada  Canadian  China  collateral_damage  crossborder  Donald_Trump  EU  international_system  international_trade  Justin_Trudeau  middle-powers  multilateralism  negotiations  punitive  rules-based  tariffs  WTO  worldviews  mercantilism  zero-sum  NAFTA  Bretton_Woods 
june 2018 by jerryking
为什么古代的商业国家里没有一个持久的强国?
本账号系网易新闻&网易号“ 各有态度 ”签约账号 问丨 这些年来,好像出现了很多吹捧商人,歌颂商人国家的文章。但回头一看,发现那些以商业立国的地方,其实没有出现过一个持久性的强国。往往是稍有发展,就很快陷入一种速断不快但持续性的衰退。造成这种现象的原因是什么? 道理很简单,…
history  narrative  mercantilism  nation  from instapaper
march 2018 by aries1988
Aeon Essays -- We should look closely at what Adam Smith actually believed by Paul Sagar
'... Crucially, however, Smith did not offer up any kind of premeditated plan regarding how to strike the right balance between commercial freedom and watchful political control. On the contrary, he pressed home the deep underlying difficulties of the situation that commercial societies found themselves in. -- Political actors, Smith claimed, were liable to be swept up by a ‘spirit of system’, which made them fall in love with abstract plans, which they hoped would introduce sweeping beneficial reform. Usually the motivations behind these plans were perfectly noble: a genuine desire to improve society. The problem, however, was that the ‘spirit of system’ blinded individuals to the harsh complexities of real-world change. As Smith put it in The Theory of Moral Sentiments in one of his most evocative passages: "[The man of system] seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chessboard. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chessboard have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chessboard of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder." -- Smith’s point is easily misunderstood. At first glance, it can look like a modern Right-wing injunction against socialist-style state planning. But it is much more subtle than that. -- What Smith is saying is that in politics any preconceived plan – especially one that assumes that the millions of individuals composing a society will just automatically go along with it – is potentially dangerous. This is because the ‘spirit of system’ infects politicians with a messianic moral certainty that their reforms are so necessary and justified that almost any price is worth paying to achieve them.'
humanaction  praxeology  economics  politics  statism  mercantilism  corporatism  "capitalism" 
january 2018 by adamcrowe
Breitbart -- Delingpole: Elon Musk Cons South Australia out of $50 million
'The slippery snake oil salesman and rent-seeker extraordinaire has been down to South Australia – now reduced, pretty much, to a third world state under its disastrous left-wing administration – and conned the hapless locals out of $50 million to build them an all-but-useless giant battery to make up for the energy they have lost by blowing up their coal-fired power station and relying on wind power instead....Australia, by the way, is a large island consisting underground of almost nothing but fossil fuels and other useful mineral deposits. The idea that it should be powering itself using bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes and then trying to store some of their excess power in lithium batteries quite defies belief. -- Here, again courtesy of Paul Homewood, is the chart that puts this lunacy into perspective: here’s coal, still providing 73 percent of Australia’s electricity, with gas providing another 14 percent. Wind power, meanwhile, provides just 3 percent.'
mercantilism  environmentalism  grifting 
november 2017 by adamcrowe
Breitbart -- Delingpole: Elon Musk, Solar Snake-Oil Salesman, Hits a New Mark...
'My top financial advice for the week: #shortTesla. -- Actually, this has been my top financial advice for some time. But it’s starting to look cannier and cannier as Elon Musk’s taxpayer-funded business empire begins to crumble and more and more people start to ask awkward questions like: “This solar snake oil you’re selling. How exactly does it work for anyone other than the guy who’s selling it?” -- In Hong Kong they’ve already wised up to this. Tesla sales have plummeted to zero after the government removed the tax breaks. -- People only buy impractical, expensive, virtue-signalling cars when heavily bribed by the government to do so. Who would have thought, eh?'
mercantilism  environmentalism  grifting 
july 2017 by adamcrowe
Mercantilists and the Midas Touch | MSH - Middle School History
The lesson begins with a reading, Mercantilism—Show Me the Gold!, which provides students with an understanding of the basic tenets of mercantilism. The impact of exports and imports on a nation's holdings of gold is discussed. A second reading, The Golden Touch: Was King Midas a Mercantilist?, tells the story of King Midas, who believed that being able to turn everything he touched into gold would make him the happiest man on earth. After he is granted his wish, he finds that the golden touch is a curse, rather than a blessing. The lesson asks students to compare the beliefs of the mercantilists with those of King Midas.
mercantilism  history  hum8 
march 2017 by jaxbeachdude
Center for a Stateless Society -- Wealth is Concentrating Too Fast to Keep Up by Kevin Carson
'Remember the Oxfam report early last year that found sixty-two individuals owned as much wealth as the entire bottom half of humanity put together? It’s gone down to only six — that’s right, six — in the past year: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Amancio Ortega, Mark Zuckerberg, and Carlos Slim Helu. The total wealth held by those individuals increased in that time from $343 billion to $412 billion — a 20% increase in one year — bringing their total wealth to an amount equivalent to the total wealth of the bottom 50% of the whole human race. -- From sixty-two to six. That’s an astonishing increase in the concentration of wealth: especially in just one year. -- ... If you look at the richest people and largest corporations in the world, you will find that their wealth comes not primarily from producing things, but from controlling the conditions under which other people are allowed to produce. That’s right — they collect rents for the “productive service” of not obstructing productive activity by other people. -- Most of the world’s food is not grown by people feeding themselves on their own land or cultivating their land to produce food for others. It is grown by people working land — most of it stolen — owned by other people who demand tribute for access to it. Most of the world’s manufacturing corporations no longer manufacture anything themselves. They outsource actual production to independent sweatshop employers, and simply use their ownership of “intellectual property” — patents and trademarks — to enforce a monopoly on sale of the finished product. And the biggest concentrations of wealth of all come from the state-granted privilege of lending the circulating medium into existence and advancing credit against future production: a function that, absent bank licensing and legal tender laws, could be performed by the producing classes themselves advancing credit against each other’s future output. -- The Gateses and Buffetts of the world, in obtaining their wealth, are every bit as much a beneficiary of the state as any feudal landlord or Soviet commissar.'
economics  landlordism  mercantilism  corporatism  intellectualproperty  centralbanking  statism  parasitism  "capitalism"  rentseeking 
march 2017 by adamcrowe
Michael Hudson -- Trump Infrastructure Plan = Developer Welfare
'... #MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, he’s talked a lot about infrastructure and there are a lot of different ways of doing infrastructure. I don’t think his way will be the way that it was done a hundred years ago. The whole idea of the Republican Party in the 19th century was for the government to finance infrastructure, and especially transportation, to lower the cost of living and doing business. But I don’t think that’s what Trump is going to do, because he wants to cut back government spending and he wants to cut back taxation. So what I worry about is when he says, “I’m going to build infrastructure” is that it means that he’s going to create a huge trillion-dollar market for Wall Street’s high finance. -- They’re going to fund infrastructure by bondholders, and through private-public partnership, rail lines and transportation lines. Who are going to be the beneficiaries of this, and who’s going to pay for it all? If the government doesn’t pay for it, it’s going to be the bondholders and Wall Street. And the question is what is the cost of this transportation going to be, and who will be the main beneficiaries? -- A hundred years ago, it was to build free roads and it was to lower the cost of living. But the reverse is happening today. Take for example the New York City subway’s Second Avenue Line, which was just finished a couple of weeks ago. It calls for $10 billion for just six stations. -- The way this was funded is for the Metropolitan Transport Authority that runs the subways to borrow $10 billion from Wall Street. It pays bondholders interest, and will meet this cost by raising subway fares for all the riders in New York. To the extent that the New York City and New York State subsidize it, they’re going to raise sales taxes here, and also income taxes. So New Yorkers are going to have to pay more for the subway. -- Who are the beneficiaries? -- The politicians say, “Well, the people along the transport lines are going to be the beneficiaries – people who live on Second Avenue and First Avenue and York Avenue, who had to take those crowded Lexington subways.” But the real beneficiaries are the landlords. The $10 billion that’s been spent on the Second Avenue subway is probably increasing their land values, the real estate values of real estate developers by from $10 to $20 billion. -- Already, wage-earners who live on Second Avenue – the supposed beneficiaries – are complaining that they’re being told their rents are going to go up by a couple of hundred dollars a month. Now that these neighborhoods have more easy transport, that makes it more valuable. So they’re worried that they can’t afford to live there anymore. They worry that they will have to move to Queens, Westchester or outside of New York City. -- So there’s a giant windfall for the landlords, a give-away thanks to the subway that cost $10 billion, making $10-20 billion of “capital” (land-value) gains. -- All this could have been financed by a windfall gains tax. If the subway and transportation, such as Mr. Trump wants to build throughout the United States, is going to increase the value of the rent of location for real estate landlords and developers, then there could have been a windfall gains tax. That would have captured all this $10 billion added value from the subway, to repay the MTA, the subway authority, for the cost of building it. But that hasn’t been done. -- So what you have is the public paying for the 1% to benefit. That looks to me like the plan that Mr. Trump has. So when he says he wants to help all Americans, he means he wants to help all Americans in the 1% by really letting Wall Street get a huge debt from the 99% of the Americans. It’s just the opposite of what people believe. -- The same fight is going on in Vancouver. They’re trying to spend about $6 billion in transportation up in Canada. How are they doing it? The transportation – the bus lines and train lines – are going to increase what already is the highest priced real estate in Canada. This promises to make a bonanza for the landlords. But they’re paying for this transportation by a 0.5% sales tax, that is going to cost consumers in Vancouver $250 million a year. So, again, the users of the transportation are having to pay, not the property owners along the route. They get the gains. -- I think you could call this the Thorstein Veblen Law: that whenever there is a public expenditure on infrastructure, the benefits go to the absentee owners, the landlords. Civic improvement is basically a real-estate development.'
economics  geoism  land  rent  rentseeking  landlordism  "capitalism"  mercantilism  MichaelHudson 
january 2017 by adamcrowe

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