Power Corrupts and Great Wealth buys that Power

February 20, 2019

In the United States, autocratic billionaires are destroying the country. For instance, since 1973, the Koch brothers have systematically and deliberately built a machine to subvert America’s Constitutional Republic. Charles and David Koch are not alone. They have at least 2,000 other wealthy allies that belong to an organization the Kochs launched in 1973. It is called ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council, a non-profit, private sector organization with one goal, to subvert the U.S. Constitution and strip the federal and state governments of their power.

But in China, the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to limit the power of that country’s billionaires. For instance, in 2013, The Atlantic asked, Why Do Chinese Billionaires Keep Ending Up in Prison?  The subtitle says, “In China, the rich get poorer.”

The Atlantic continues: “In the last fifteen years, China has produced greater overall wealth than any other country. The number of its billionaires has gone from a mere 15 to around 250 in just six years, but for a number of these people this vaulted status is short-lived. According to one study, 17 percent of those on the list end up squealing their way to court or end up in jail. If they’re lucky, those who are caught are investigated and jailed. Some are even executed.” …

“What accounts for the sharp rise and fall of China’s wealthiest? In a business environment in which personal connections and favors — referred to as guanxi in Chinese — predominate, many tycoons have amassed large fortunes without concern of rules and regulations. However, such a fast and loose atmosphere can cut both ways.”

That piece in The Atlantic appeared in 2013. Five years later according to Business Insider (December 27, 2018), China now has 373 billionaires, a 5% increase in billionaires since the previous year (2017) while the US, where billionaires run rampant spreading corruption with their great wealth, and seldom if ever end up in prison, there are 585 with an increase of 4% from the previous year.

Lord Acton, a member of Parliament in the UK (in office 1859 – 1865), wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you super-add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”

While the United States is drowning in the corruption Lord Acton mentions, China is struggling to contain the abuse of that power.  For instance, the Los Angeles Times ran this piece in 2017: “Some of China’s richest and most powerful men have mysteriously vanished.”

If U.S. citizens Charles and David Koch had been Chinese citizens, they would have probably vanished a long time ago and the world would be better place without them.

Beware, China, great wealth can become a terminal cancer and it will eventually eat you too no matter how hard your leaders try to stop it.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China

Advertisements

Who Will Survive the Next Big Global Economic Crises

February 13, 2019

When the next global economic crises hits — not if, but when — how will China deal with it compared to the United States?

First, as of October 2018, the U.S. government owes China $1.138 trillion dollars.  That’s 29 percent of the $3.9 trillion in Treasury bills, notes, and bonds held by foreign countries. The rest of the $21 trillion U.S. national debt is owned by either the American people or by the U.S. government itself. That is equivalent to about 47.6% of GDP.

On the other hand, the national debt of the People’s Republic of China is the total amount of money owed by the government and all state organizations and government branches of China. As of October 2018, it stands at approximately CN¥ 36 trillion (US$ 5.2 trillion),

In 2007, the United States federal government was only $9-trillion in debt. Today, it is $22.7 trillion in debt and with Trump cutting taxes and spending more; it is going to grow much bigger. The United States recorded a government debt equivalent to 105.40-percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2017, and there is no end in sight.

After 2008, almost nine-million Americans lost their jobs, and there were more than 3.1 million foreclosure filings issued during 2008, and that was just for that one year. That can’t happen in rural China and most of China’s factory workers have homes in rural China. When a job is lost in an urban city, the government gave the unemployed workers a free train ticket to go home to the countryside where the family home was not at risk of being taken away since there was no mortgage or property tax to worry about.

What happened in China after 2008 reveals how the Chinese will survive the next global financial disaster.

“The lack in demand from abroad meant factory closures, resulting in high job losses all over China. Guangzhou, a major manufacturing town, lost tens of thousands of workers in 2008, forcing citizens to return to their home in the countryside.”  Along with being forced to go home, most if not all of those Chinese citizens were allowed to retire early and collect Social Security. Younger workers were put to work in state owned factories and sent to work on infrastructure projects.

HROne says, “China’s Social Security System consists of 5 mandatory insurance schemes (pension fund, medical insurance, industrial injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance) + a housing fund (only applicable to Chinese employees).” … “An individual can receive a pension based on the amount accumulated in his/her individual fund after retirement.”

“In general, individuals need to pay at least 15-years of contributions prior to receiving a pension in China. Some industries have different retirement ages, but mainly men are 55 years old, women are 50 years old (blue-collar work), men are 60 years old, and women are 55 years old (white-collar work). The amount of retirement benefits depends on local regulations. Due to China’s population problems, these ages may soon change.”

The difference between the United States is China incorporates the characteristics of socialism, capitalism, and communism. China is not a pure communist or socialist or capitalist state. It is a hybrid and the CCP holds the reins of power.

As a socialist-capitalism country, all of China’s land is owned by the government. In urban China, the government leases homes and businesses but doesn’t sell the land. In most of if not all of rural China there is no mortgage or property tax, so losing your urban job and returning to your rural village home in the countryside doesn’t mean you are going to lose your home and become homeless. China also launched a $586 billion stimulus package designed to encourage more consumer spending and build new infrastructure putting people to work.

The United States is one of the most capitalistic countries in the world. Capitalism is an ideology where the means of production is controlled by private business. This means that wealthy, powerful individual citizens run the economy without government interfering in production or pricing.

What did the United States do in 2008?  President G. W. Bush, not President Obama, signed TARP’s 700-billion dollar bailout program. The initial purpose was to save the banks … not the people. The TARP program quickly turned around the banking industry but the U.S. didn’t do what China did to generate consumer spending and create infrastructure jobs. Yet infrastructure in the US is in horrible shape from its electric grid, its highway system, to its railroad network and bridges. G. W. Bush never intended the banks to pay the government back. When Obama became president, he changed that and most of that public money was paid back to the government.

While China used its government bailout money to help its people, the United States did nothing for its working-consumer class and more than a decade later many Americans are still struggling to survive financially.  When the next global economic crises hits, no one knows what will happen in the United States, because that depends on who is president at the time and what political party controls one or both Houses of Congress

For instance, instead of improving the social safety net in the United States, MarketWatch.com reports, “Why the latest warnings about cuts to Social Security and Medicare are a reason to worry.”

Here’s how bad: “Unless something’s done to shore up Social Security, monthly checks could get cut 23% by 2034.”

I think it’s a safe bet that China’s government will do something similar to what it did in and after 2008.

The United States will probably also do the same thing it did last time: bail out the banks and big corporations while continuing to keep cutting taxes for the wealthiest one-percent of Americans. As for the social safety net that’s supposed to be there for most U.S. citizens, who knows how it will weather another economic crises since it is already at risk.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


How the Chinese saved GM’s Buick Brand and Donald Trump is killing American Jobs

December 5, 2018

Malignant Narcissist and the embarrassingly ignorant Donald Trump used his “BULLY” pulpit as the president of the United States to threaten: “General Motors Should Pay Back Bankruptcy Aid.”

Trump said this, “One day after General Motors reported it will shutter five North American assembly and powertrain plants.” The reason: the tariffs President Donald Trump has placed on steel and aluminum in his trade war with the world.

After Losing $1 Billion to Tariffs, General Motors Announces 14,000 Layoffs

And the BBC.com reports. “(Trump’s) Critics point out the US gets most of its (imported) steel from Canada and the EU – staunch US allies.”

In addition, ABC News reports, “The U.S. produced 81.6 million metric tons of steel in 2017, according to steel trade group The World Steel Association (WorldSteel).” How much steel did the U.S. import: “In 2017, there were 36 million metric tons of steel imported to the U.S.”

In June, Trump already had “imposed a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese goods, including China-built cars such as the Buick Envision.”

The Envision was first introduced publicly in China on July 1, 2014, with a photo of the car under a cover and placed between a Buick Encore and a Buick Enclave.

The Buick Envision has never been manufactured in the United States and no American jobs were lost jobs because of the Buick Envision being produced in China.

Back in July 2014, NBC News reported, “How China, Not Your Grandfather, May Have Saved Buick’s Future.

The reason China saved Buick is because in China Buick became a luxury car equal to BMW and Mercedes Benz. “In the late 1990s, when General Motors wanted to become one of the first Western automakers to set up a plant in China, government officials told then-CEO Jack Smith they wanted GM’s ‘best brand,’ he once recalled — not Cadillac, not Chevrolet, but Buick. Today, GM is the second-largest automaker in China and Buick is its top brand.”

How many GM Buicks are sold in China vs the United States?

Forbes.com reports, “When GM went through bankruptcy a decade ago and euthanized Saturn, Pontiac, Saab and Hummer, the custodians also pressed the case to relegate Buick to the automotive graveyard along with Mercury, Plymouth, Hudson, Studebaker, AMC, LaSalle, etc. But they were deterred by a passionate case for Buick made by GM executives stating that if the brand were killed in the U.S., it would probably dramatically impact the brand’s bizarrely healthy business in China. That’s right. Buick sells more than 800,000 Buicks a year in China. In the U.S., Buick did about 220,000 last year.”

Do you think the Chinese would be willing to buy that many Buicks if China allowed them to be imported, with a price increase, if GM moved manufacturing back to the United States for Buicks sold in China?

In fact, some U.S. made vehicles are exported to and sold in China. USA Today reports, “Altogether, Chinese sales of U.S.-made vehicles totaled about 266,657, representing less than 1% of the world’s largest automotive market.” Compare that number to how many cars made in China were sold in the US: USANews.com provides the answer: 50,000.

What country will lose the most jobs if the U.S. is forced to stop selling more than a quarter million cars made in America to Chinese consumers while China stops selling fifty-thousand to U.S. consumers all thanks to Donald Trump’s trade war?

Let’s not forget that Donald Trump has said he is a stable genius, very intelligent, and a great businessman … that caused U.S. banks to lose more than a billion dollars from Trump’s six biggest bankruptcies. Did you know that Donald Trump said during the 2016 presidential election debates that he never had a bankruptcy?

It is safe to say that if Donald Trump brags about how great he is, he is lying.

If you are curious how to sell China manufactured products in China, visit the China Law Blog here.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


Is China already the World Leader in Climate Strategy

November 14, 2018

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports, “As the United States steps away from global climate leadership, China is stepping up. EDF has been working there for more than 25 years, and now we’re helping the Chinese government launch a national system to control climate pollution.”

How serious is China?

In 2017, the BBC wrote, “China leads world in solar power production” …

“The largest solar farm in the world – Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, all 30sq km of it – is a Chinese project. And the country recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, in Huainan, Anhui Province.”

CNBC reports, “China continues to lead global wind energy market, says new report.” …

“The GWEC said that Asia would lead growth, with China – which installed 23 GW in 2016 – leading all markets.”

CNBC also says, “China now produces more solar, wind and hydro power than the US and EU combined.” … “And, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), last year alone China pumped over $44 billion into increasing its renewable energy reach.

“This model of renewables replacing coal is now being replicated throughout Asia.”

China is also in the process of replacing its taxi fleet with electric cars.  Quarts reports, “China added as much battery-storage capacity in 2018 as all previous years combined.” … “China isn’t building gigafactories,” says Patrick Hurley, chief technology officer of A123, a lithium-ion battery company. “It is building gigacities.” … “In 2017, CNESA estimates that China built 40 GWh worth of batteries for electric cars and buses. That accounts for the batteries in more than 50% of all electric vehicles sold globally in the same year.”

“Beijing Leads China in Promoting Battery Electric Vehicles,” Inside EVs says. “Beijing is one of the most EV rich places in the world with 188,000 all-electric vehicles, which is 11.6% of all electric cars registered in China.

“The Chinese capital increased the number of BEVs this year by 17,000. Around 140,000 out of a total of 188,000 were purchased by individuals and companies, while the remaining 48,000 were used in the public sphere.

“All those vehicles can use roughly 130,000 charging points – 93,000 privately installed for home use, 20,000 accessible to the general public, and 17,000 installed for the public transport system.”

And Vox.com reports, “By 2020, every Chinese coal plant will be more efficient than every US coal plant.

China’s efforts to tackle coal are comprehensive and ambitious, a new report shows.”

What has President Donald Trump done in the U.S. to cut back on fossil fuel emissions/pollution?

Nothing!

 

In fact, Trump has signed executive orders that allow coal mines to pollute US rivers and coastal waters with more toxic emissions. … “Old coal-fired power plants may get to keep polluting the air we breathe and the atmosphere that sustains life on earth, thanks to Trump’s call to toss out the Clean Power Plan. And future power plants may not be held to tougher standards that would have largely prevented new coal plants from coming online.”

Vox continues, “China is waging an aggressive, multi-front campaign to clean up coal before eventually phasing it out — reducing emissions from existing plants, mothballing older plants, and raising standards for new plants. Unlike the US, it is on track to exceed its Paris carbon reduction commitments.

“In short, while the US dithers along in a cosmically stupid dispute over whether science is real, China is tackling climate change with all guns blazing. The US, not China, is the laggard in this relationship.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


What Nixon Built with China Trump’s Wrecking Ball Destroys

October 24, 2018

In 1969, the Soviet Union was planning a nuclear attack on China. The USSR only backed down when President Nixon’s administration warned Moscow that such a move would start World War Three since the US would bomb Russia in retaliation.

The United States, under President Nixon (1969-1974), clearly indicated that China’s interests were closely related to America’s.

Then in February 1972, President Richard Nixon went to China and changed the course of history. His motives may not have been meant to encourage China to become the economic powerhouse it is today. However, if it weren’t for Nixon, the odds say the Soviet Union would have bombed China with nuclear weapons and China would have retaliated.

Nixon’s trip to Beijing wasn’t to see if China would help get the US out of Vietnam. Instead, the trip was designed to put pressure on the USSR with a goal to make them agree to strategic arms limitations.

Trump’s trade war with China is reversing everything President Nixon achieved with China.

The Financial Times reports, “Chinese soldiers join Russia’s largest military exercise since cold war.”

“Russia’s biggest military exercise since the cold war, and its first to be conducted with a country not from the former Soviet bloc, is the strongest sign yet of the deepening strategic bond between Moscow and Beijing that has been prompted by Russia’s souring western relations and may herald a redrawing of the region’s geopolitics.”

The Washington Post reports, “Washington is fighting a trade war with China and imposing mounting sanctions on Russia. The Trump administration has reoriented the U.S. national security strategy toward “great-power competition” with Russia and China, describing both countries as seeking to “shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests.” …

“The Chinese right now are sending a clear signal that, one, they don’t see Russia as a threat, which already should be a concern to the United States,” said Michael Kofman, senior research scientist at CNA, a U.S.-funded research organization based in Arlington, Va. “They are increasingly wishing to signal that increasing confrontation with the United States will drive them toward greater balancing behavior with Russia.”

But it isn’t just China Trump is alienating.

Business Insider says, “Trump’s fight with Turkey is helping Russia and Iran” … Trump is strengthening alliances between countries that don’t have America or the West’s best interest’s at heart. By punishing Turkey with sanctions, he is only pushing the country closer to other nations who see the strategic importance of having Turkey on their side.”

My question is this: Is Trump doing what Putin wants him to do, to alienate the United States from China and the rest of the world so Russia can step in and replace the U.S.?

What’s more alarming is what CNN Money says, “Russia has rapidly sold off the vast majority of its stash of American debt.” … “Between March and May, Russia’s holdings of US Treasury bonds plummeted by $81 billion, representing 84% of its total US debt holdings.”

While Russia’s holdings of US debt are insignificant, China’s are not, and Asia Times asks, “Russia is dumping US Treasuries. Will China be next?”

The Council on Foreign Relations attempts to answer the previous question. But no matter what happens, the fact is that what Nixon built with China is being dismantled by Donald Trump and the winner will be Russia.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


Uphill War to End Pollution in China

September 26, 2018

In 2017, National Geographic reported, “More than a million people are thought to die a year from air pollution in China, but now the country is fighting back with innovative solutions.”

“Three years ago, at the Communist Party’s annual congress, Premier Li Keqiang declared war on air pollution in China. At the party congress this past March, he renewed his vow ‘to make our skies blue again.”’ Among Li’s main weapons: Reducing the production of steel and of coal-fired electricity. To replace coal, China is rolling out the world’s biggest investment in wind and solar power.”

The result: a year later, DW Made for minds reports “Over half of world’s new solar capacity is in China.” … “Despite being the largest investor in renewable energy, China has faced an uphill battle transitioning from coal, which is used to generate roughly three-quarters of its power, according to the International Energy Agency. China burns more coal than any other country worldwide and bears the title of top greenhouse gas emitter.

“Still, the country (China) is seen as a potential leader in the fight against climate change after US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Paris accord struck in 2015.”

What else is China doing? “In the recent decades, many efforts have been made by the coastal scientists and engineers for the explosion of tidal stream energy in China, as tidal stream energy is considered as one of most promising resources of marine renewable energy.”

CNBC reports “From China to Brazil, these are the world titans of wind power … China maintained its position as a wind energy powerhouse, installing 19.7 GW, while the European Union added 15.6 GW of capacity. The U.S. installed a little over 7 GW of capacity.” … China as the “driver of global market growth for most of the last decade.” The “largest overall market for wind power since 2009,” … more than double any other market.”

The New York Times reports, “China Cancels 103 Coal Plants, Mindful of Smog and Wasted Capacity. … China is canceling plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants, seeking to rein in runaway, wasteful investment in the sector while moving the country away from one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation …”

In addition, the South China Morning Post says, China pips US in race to start the world’s first meltdown-proof nuclear power plant. China has 20 nuclear power plants under construction, more than any other country on earth.” … “Compared with current technology, the AP1000 reactor is theoretically 100 times safer, requires 80 per cent less piping, 85 per cent fewer control cables, and need a third fewer pumps.”

Compared to China’s efforts, what is the United States doing to clean up its environment?  The New York Times reports, “Since taking office last year, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


What’s happening in the South China Sea is all about Natural Resources

September 25, 2018

There is nothing new going on in the South China Sea except recent interference and meddling by the United States in what has been a regional issue for more than two thousand years.

China’s historical claim over the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands has a long history, which is documented in detail by Dee Woo.

  • 200BC around – China discovered the Spratly Islands
  • 220 – Nansha (Spratly) Island was settled by Chinese monks, building up a monastery on that island.
  • 789 – The Tang Dynasty, China included the Nansha Islands into its administrative map
  • 990 – Spratley Islands became a part of the Northern Song area in Hainan
  • 1121 – Kublai Khan controlled most of the islands during China’s Yuan Dynasty

Woo’s final piece of evidence is a link to a 64-page document titled, China’s Sovereignty over the South China Sea islands: A Historical Perspective, which is archived at the Oxford Journals.

China’s leaders argue that they and other nations in the region can work out their differences without intervention from the United States. They allege the U.S. is intruding and attempting to make this an international issue.

The South China Sea is bordered by ten nations and includes some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and fisheries. Another motivation to possess this territory is the critically important mineral resources found there, including oil (with reserves thought to be the fourth largest in the world).

In fact, Oil Price.com explains How Oil Drives the South China Sea Conflict. “While Western geologists seem to only recently appreciate the area’s oil and gas potential, the Chinese have known it for years. Perhaps, that’s why they even refer to the South China Sea as a Second Persian Gulf and will undoubtedly continue to not only build there but defend it with rhetoric and if push comes to shove, by force.”

Historically, the South China Sea dispute is no different from any the United States has been involved in since defeating the British Empire and becoming a nation. Another example is when the U.S. paid France for the Louisiana Purchase, while millions of North American natives still lived where their ancestress had lived for thousands of years.

How can anyone buy and sell something that they never occupied or owned? The answer is that it happens all the time.

The Atlantic reports, “Europeans arriving in the New World met people all the way from the frozen north to the frozen south. All had rich and mature cultures and established languages. … Sites in the Yukon that straddle the U.S.-Alaskan border with Canada give us clues, such as the Bluefish Caves, 33 miles southwest of the village of Old Crow.

“The latest radio-dating analysis of the remnants of lives in the Bluefish Caves indicates that people were there 24,000 years ago. These founding peoples spread over 12,000 years to every corner of the continents and formed the pool from which all Americans would be drawn until 1492.”

In 1941, Europeans invaded North and South America and waged war against the people already there, and the United States continued that brutal practice after 1776, against Native Americans because of the resources and wealth that came with the land.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  What China is doing in the South China Sea is no different than what the Europeans did in North and South America.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China