Who’s fooling who at the BBC about the rise of China?

<em>Image credit: <a href="http://www.123rf.com/photo_9991487_yuan-graph-on-china-map-flag-illustration.html">fintastique / 123RF Stock Photo</a></em>Robert Peston is the BBC’s new economics editor. He has opened his new role with a programme called ‘How China Fooled the World’. For a time it is available on BBC iPlayer and Peston’s own summary is here.

In the blog and the programme Peston argues that China dodged the global economic crisis by increasing investment, specifically state-led investment. But the prevailing level of investment was already excessively high, the argument runs, and merely postponing the crisis by increasing it further will only exaggerate the inevitable crash. Continue reading

North Korea, and the autonomy of violence

jang-song-thaekI am extremely concerned by the events in North Korea, and the recent execution of Jang Song-thaek. I have written before about the brutally appalling and yet comic opera absurdity of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), here, here, here,and here.

It is worth reflecting upon how, once unleashed in any given society, the entry threshold for political violence becomes lower and lower. Continue reading

Kim Jong-un and the purge

After decades of loyal service to the Kim dynasty, “despicable human scum … who was worse than a dog” was probably not the epitaph Chang Song-thaek hoped for. But the very public and very final defenestration of the “traitor for all ages” says a couple of things I think professional Kimologists and the BBC are missing.

The idea the “Great Comrade”, or whatever absurd title he’s using this week, offed his uncle to secure his power is true. But making that kind of observation is a bit like saying Lehman Brothers collapsed because it ran out of money. It doesn’t grasp the underlying dynamics, the shifting factions and patterning of influence cloying for favour and office in Kim the Younger’s new regime. Continue reading

Selling pig semen to China is hardly the stuff of a great economic revival

Pigs might flyThere is something pitiful and desperate about, first, Osborne and Johnson, and then Cameron flying off to China to beg them on bended knee to come and invest in Britain with every incentive laid on and every regulation pushed sideways if it gets in the way. As a result the Chinese are now wheeled in to fund the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant on very favourable terms alongside the French EDF. Then Osborne sets about luring Chinese banks into the City of London by allowing them to be regarded as branches, and hence unregulated, as opposed to subsidiaries which would be regulated. Then Cameron crows that his latest massive trade delegation to China has managed to sell British pig semen for £4.5m. Continue reading

George Osborne and ruling class decadence

George_Osborne_in_ChinaIf you think this is about the chancellor’s youthful larks with Natalie Rowe, you will surely be disappointed. What’s more important – and far more damaging – from the standpoint of British capital is his current game of footsie with the Chinese Communist Party. The very notion that not only is he letting the Chinese state build and run a cornerstone of Britain’s electricity generating capacity at Hinkley Point C, but will also be shovelling hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ cash their way as a sweetener is flabbergasting.

Forget the EU and its silly rules about straight bananas, if I was a UKIP’er I’d be hopping about in a panic because the chancellor has handed over a large chunk of British sovereignty to a COMMUNIST power! In fact, what is interesting about this deal is how the hard right, those doughty defenders of this sceptred isle, that die-in-a-ditch-for-queen-and-country brigade haven’t so much as raised a murmur of protest. Instead, it has been the liberal-left Keynesian Will Hutton to jab the boot in. Continue reading