“Peking to Paris” – more than a book review: a journey

May 6, 2013

This is the real life story of Dina and Bernard Bennett driving in a road rally from Beijing to Paris in 2007—starting in Beijing, China to the desert sands of Mongolia, braving the potholes of Russia to reach Eastern Europe and eventually Paris, France with endless break downs and repairs to keep an almost 70-year-old car running.

The closest books I can compare this reading experience with is Paul Theroux’s “The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia” and Tom Carter’s “China: Portrait of a People“.

The big difference is that Theroux rode the rails, and Carter walked for most of two years across China. In Peking to Paris, Dina and her husband drove a 1940 Cadillac-LaSalle 52 Coupe that Dina named Roxanne.

On page 79, Dina says, “China is full of surprises.” Then she dives into a description of a café that specializes in Mongolian hotpot. She says, “Behind me is a full wall of shelves and bins stuffed with vegetables, fish, poultry, pork, lamb and beef.  I count four sections, each easily five feet wide, divided by eight shelves reaching the ceiling. Every shelf is crammed with ingredient bins …”

With this description, Bennett shows us that China is an eating culture.  Food is important to the Chinese—very important.

In another chapter, she discovers that the Chinese and Americans have more in common than she had thought when they stay the night at a rustic Chinese dude ranch where urban Chinese come to rough it on vacations spending time with Mongolian herders.

In China, the ride seemed smooth and easy, but once they cross the border into Mongolia, a band of boys exercising their democratic freedoms throw rocks at the car and shatter the driver’s side windshield.

However, when they were still in an undemocratic China ruled by one party, the CCP, no one threw rocks at them. Instead, while driving down remote country roads police officers in fancy dress uniforms wearing white gloves waited at intersections to guide them in the right direction.

A few hundreds yard into Mongolia, the paved roads they had enjoyed in China suddenly end and the rest of the trek across this landlocked country is mostly on dirt and sand taking a heavy toll on the mechanical health of the LaSalle. Then they reach Russia’s paved roads where the challenge becomes avoiding horse-trough sized potholes capable of swallowing cars whole.

Because of this experience from Peking to Paris, Dina and Bernard are bitten by the travel bug and they have now completed more than a dozen road trips all over the world—after you read this memoir, you may want to follow them by visiting  the author’s Blog at Dina Bennett.net

I’m planning to.

Oh, and lest I forget, I was contacted by Dina’s publicist and agreed to accept a complementary uncorrected proof, which I read in record time. I have never met or talked to Dina and her husband online or in person.

 

The LaSalle in the above video is not the one that Dina and Bernard drove in the 2007 rally from Beijing to Paris, but the video gives you an idea of the car they drove 7,800 miles across China to Mongolia, then Russia to Eastern Europe and eventually Paris, France—thirty-five grueling days.

It has been some time since I read a book that I wanted to wake up early in the morning to read and eagerly waited to read before I slept. For me, reading Peking to Paris was an adventure, and I highly recommend it.

Discover Country Driving with Peter Hessler

 

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Communism and Socialism are NOT the SAME

October 26, 2012

There would not be many choices for someone that wanted to move to a socialist country. There are only four in the world: PRC (mainland China), Republic of Cuba, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. These countries once had Communist governments but that isn’t entirely true anymore.

However, there are 189 countries (of the 193 that are members of the United Nations) that are not socialist but do have socialist programs/policies.

Socialism and communism are ideological doctrines that have many similarities as well as many differences. One point that is frequently raised to distinguish socialism from communism is that socialism generally refers to an economic system, and communism generally refers to both an economic system and a political system.

The fall of communism in the Soviet Union does not mean socialism failed. It means that the autocratic one-party system that defines communism failed.

Russia, for example, still has Social Security policies that fund health and pension programs.  With at last five years of coverage, men age 60 and women age 55 are covered for old-age pensions. Russia also offers a disability pension and a survivor pension.

To discover the details of Russia’s socialist policies, I suggest you visit this site at the U.S. Social Security Administration. In fact, the SSA has information on its site for Social Security programs/policies around the world


The GOP and Mitt Romney may want to return to industrial capitalism. Pay attention to the video to discover what that means. You may be shocked and decide that some socialist policies are necessary to protect the quality of life for most people that do not have the benefit of achieving great wealth.

As an economic system, socialism seeks to manage the economy through deliberate and collective social control. Communism, however, seeks to manage both the economy and the society by ensuring that property is owned collectively and that control over the distribution of resources is centralized to achieve both classlessness and statelessness. Under communism, all people are considered equal and are provided for equally, regardless of their contributions to the economy or to society.

Having Socialist policies does not mean a country is socialist or communist. For example, the United States is not a socialist country just because it has socialist policies such as Medicare, Obamacare or Social Security–the United States still has private ownership of property and businesses and has a multi-party political system.

In addition. although China’s Communist government adopted capitalist policies in the early 1980s and joined the World Trade Organization, a substantial part of the economy is still state-run, although there are not as many social programs as there once were and universal healthcare has been eliminated but China still has a Socialist-type foreign policy, for the most part, due to decisions made within the CCP based on consensus (majority opinion). There are eighty million members in China’s Communist Party and they vote.

To learn about China’s Socialist Policies, here’s the link at US SSA Office of Retirement and Disability Policy

In addition, in China no one in the private sector may own land (yet).  Instead, private citizens may lease land in urban areas while land in most rural areas is still owned by village collectives in conjunction with the central government and cannot be bought or sold because no one holds the title to most rural land.

Discover Dictatorship or One Party Republic

NOTE: The reason for this post is a conservative site at Right Punditry.wordpress.com where I left a comment. The response to my comment was an ignorant unreasoned emotional rant, and then I had trouble leaving reasoned comments with cited evidence and sources in response to that trollish rant. In reality, my voice was censored—a common practice among American far-right neoconservatives and fundamentalist evangelical Christians (FECs) that attempt to control the conversation with bully insults and logical fallacies. This is the second time I’ve run into this sort of conservative, political site. The first time was a Tea Party loyalist site that censored (removed) a comment I wrote that did not meet the American Tea Party’s rigid beliefs. You may not know this but 40% of the Tea Party membership are FECs. Both American neoconservatives and FECs practice the use of the noble lie to achieve political and/or religious goals as evidenced by Mitt Romney and his VP running mate during the Presidential and VP debates of the 2012 election in the US. I’ve written a number of posts focused on the debates at Lloyd Lofthouse.org and the last post in this series will appear Saturday, October 27, 2012.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Dog that Turned on its Master

August 27, 2012

This morning while reading a few Blog Posts on China topics, I ran into another example of manipulating the facts to influence public opinion—we could call it a white lie but I believe it is much worse than that because one day telling such half truths may lead to a war that kills millions of people and does unimaginable destruction to human civilization.

The Buffalo Hair Gazette International, claiming to be a News and Video and Resource Portal (in the worst possible way), reported that the “Free Syria Army Stocks Up  with Weapons Captured (Thank You Russia and China For Supplies).”

Besides a photo of weapons and bombs, that was it.  What that headline says may be the truth, but what was your first impression? Did you think that Russia and China were supporting the Assad government in Syria?  How about America—did you feel that America was a role model in this area and believed that it would never do the same thing as a champion of democracy in the Middle East?

If you formed an opinion that America was the good guy and Russia and China were evil, then you have been mislead by another example of how the media in the West twists facts and manipulates public opinion.

For example, America and other Western democracies have praised Egypt’s recent democratic election, which saw an Islamic fundamentalist president voted into power. Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s new civilian president, is the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

What does this mean for the West?  Who knows? We may only guess.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood’s credo was and is, “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but the current government of Iran was voted into power through democratic elections and yet Iran is considered one of America’s most dangerous enemies second only to al Qaeda and one day soon, we may be at war with Iran.

Again, correct me if I’m wrong, there is a reason why America’s Founding Fathers despised democracy—they believed it would lead to mob rule and eventually the end of the freedoms spelled out in the US Bill of Rights.

After all, doesn’t a democratically elected mob rule Iran?

Oh, I thought you should know that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is known as an enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Syria, this Islamic fundamentalist political party has been suppressed for decades. His father, Hafiz al-Assad was ruthless with the Muslim Brotherhood too.

Sometimes it’s better to stay with the devil you know.

Anyway, back to Buffalo Hair Gazette International’s manipulation of public opinion by only telling some of the truth.

War is Business.com reported, “Between 1950 and 2009, American weapons merchants sold 47.6% of the weapons that ended up in Muslim countries. In 2009, that percent was 52.7%.”

In fact, if it weren’t for America, there would be no al Qaeda.  The US funded and trained al Qaeda to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan and when the Soviets were defeated, al Qaeda turned on America.

Have you forgotten 9/11 yet?

The Economist also ran a piece on this topic. Click on the link and read what The Economist has to say. You will discover that between 2006 – 2010, Russia sold 23% of the global share of weapons while the US sold 30%.  In fact, if we add up four of the top five weapons merchants—the United States, Germany, France and Great Britain—the total is 52% of all global weapons sales. France even sells to China as does Russia.

When we look at a ranking of the World’s largest arms exporters, China ranks sixth place while the US is first place.

1. United States

2. Russia

3. Germany

4. France

5. United Kingdom

6. China
(In fact, China sold less than one eighth of the weapons US arms manufacturers in the private sector sold to other countries with the blessing of the U.S. government.) Source: Arms industry.Wiki.org

Then we have the clincher—a story reported by Foreign Policy Magazine that fills in the rest of the blanks ignored by the Buffalo Hair Gazette International.

Foreign Policy asks, “Why is the U.S. Selling Billions in Weapons to Autocrats?” — Published Saturday, June 23, 2012

An excerpt from Foreign Policy Magazine says, “The Export of American arms to countries around the world—even those actively repressing their own citizens—is booming.

“Every May and June, different branches of the State Department paint contrasting portraits of how Washington views dozens of strategically significant countries around the world, in seemingly rivalrous reports by its Human Rights and Political-Military Affairs bureaus.

“The former routinely criticizes other nations for a lack of fealty to democratic principles, citing abuses of the right to expression, assembly, speech, and political choice. The latter tallies the government’s latest successes in the export of American weaponry, often to the same countries criticized by the former.”

Discover What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 6/6

February 20, 2012

RUSSIA

The CIA Factbook says of Russia’s ‘Environment – current issues’ that “air pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides”


Toxic Dzerjinsk

The CIA says Russia’s land area covers 16,377,742 sq km. Arable land covers 7.17% of that area while permanent crops cover only 0.11%  with irrigated land covering 43,460 square km.

As one of the most polluted cities in the world, “Dzerzhinsk, Russia’s toxic groundwater contamination  has reduced the average life expectancy to 42 for men and 47 for women.” Source: World Resource Institute

Pollution Issues.com says says, “An area of Karabache, Russia, where soil has been poisoned by high concentrations of lead, arsenic, nickel, cobalt, and cadmium.”


The City That Kills It’s People

Wikipedia says of Russia’s environment and water, “While Russia possesses vast mineral and energy wealth, this does not come without some price both to Russia and to the greater globe. Particularly, oil and gas extraction exacts a heavy cost to the health of the land and people. Drilling waste water, mud, and sludges are accumulated, annual volumes have been estimated at 1.7 million tons of chemical reagents contaminating 25 million cubic meters of topsoil.”


Crude Oil Pollution Exposure Kills Whole Families with Cancer in Russia

Country Data.com says, “Russia devotes about 10 percent of its land to agriculture, but land quality is declining. Erosion carries away as much as 1.5 billion tons of topsoil every year. In the past twenty-five years, Russia’s arable land area has decreased by an estimated 33 million hectares, with much of that loss attributable to poor land management. Experts fear that agricultural land management may deteriorate further under Russia’s new land privatization as individual farmers try to squeeze short-term profit from their new property

“In Russia an estimated 74 million hectares of agricultural land have been contaminated by industrial toxic agents, pesticides, and agricultural chemicals. Considerable land also is lost in the extraction of mineral resources. Unauthorized dumping of hazardous industrial, chemical, and household waste takes land out of production. Flooding is a problem near the Caspian Sea and in Stavropol’ Territory, where the construction of reservoirs has removed land from use.”

________________________

This comment was originally posted at Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 6 on January 31 at 23:34 by an anonymous reader called Bosshard.

Deceit upon deceit?

Dear author, what we find most annoying in the behavior of others are those same behaviors of which we are equally guilty. You appear to dislike: lies, half truths and manipulation.

Regarding water-

You have much to learn.  Boiling water is good for killing bacteria and the like but does nothing to stave off the ill effects of heavy metals like copper, lead and the like. According to the BBC, at least 10% of all Chinese land is contaminated with heavy metals, which are not rendered inert by boiling. Thus, boiling water in China does no good when these elements are present.

When you made your comment, were you engaging in ““willful deception and a refusal to play by the rules?” when you state that boiling Chinese water is an anti-dote?

And an aside, do you personally drink the same water as the folks in Guizhou or Gansu, or do you purchase bottled water, a thing many of them cannot do?

As for your forgone conclusion that the need for water is greater than that of religion, I would disagree. Freedom of religion is paramount to many souls, just ask the Tibetans who will take their own lives in order to achieve such an end. If I were forced to give up my religion for water, I would not do so.

Please do not pretend to know the mind of the masses when yours may not be as open as you may believe.

This site has much information, but the author, like the Jesuits of old appears to have conjured up a China that he wishes us to believe in. The brutal reality of the communist regime  and havoc it brings to its people can best be understood by reading books like Empire of Lies, The Beijing Consensus, Poorly Made in China, The Party, and a host of others.

I will not return to this comment nor website but would like to offer this question:

If you have lived in China, and all of your readers, then you truly know the truth of this place. And if you truly know the truth of this place, then do you think it’s right to knowingly deceive the people about it?

God bless and keep all His children safe and informed.

_____________________________________________

Note from Blog Host: And when China announced that 10% of its agricultural land was contaminated with heavy metals and the CCP plans to do something about it, the critics (such as Bosshard) condemn and criticize.  It is a shame!

 

Return to Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 5 or start with Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 1/6

February 15, 2012

In “Deceit upon Deceit?” an anonymous reader called Bosshard left a comment to another post, which I decided to delete and republish in this series after I did some research on the subject.

In fact, the entire comment will end each post in this series as a reminder of what Bosshard wrote, because I see his comment as an example of a double standard, which means China is judged in isolation while many other nations with the same problems/challenges [or worse as you will discover] are often ignored.

When I first read the comment and approved it for the other post, I came away feeling as if Bosshard had singled out China as a villain when in fact, heavy metal pollution of soil and water is a global problem and not exclusive to China.

When I said the Chinese could boil water to rid it of pathogens, I had not considered heavy metals, which I know may only be removed with special filters or by distilling the water.

In fact, drinking unsafe water with pathogens may lead to a miserable death much sooner than drinking water contaminated with heavy metals.  Survival Topics.com says, “According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.”


safe drinking water is a global problem.

However, when rural Chinese are faced with the choice of drinking water that may be contaminated with both pathogens and heavy metals and all that is available is boiling, what choice do the Chinese have? As a backpacker that has hiked many times in California’s mountains, I have used both a ceramic filter to purify the water and boiled it.

Drinking water contaminated with pathogens may lead to a quick and miserable death much faster than drinking water contaminated with heavy metals.

Anyone interested in the Health Risks of Heavy Metals may want to click on this link and read about it. Then you may want to make sure to buy a filter designed to remove heavy metals from water or buy a countertop distiller.

If you watched the videos with this post and heard the comment that two billion people, about a third of humanity, drinks unsafe water, then Bosshard’s comment was disingenuous since he focused his criticism on China while ignoring the rest of the world.

Nation Master.com published an environmental ranking of freshwater pollution in sixty-nine countries. Number ONE was Israel with the most freshwater pollution at 27.07 tons/cubic km. China was listed as number FOURTEEN (3.78 tons/cubic km)  right behind Japan (4.27 tons/cubic km).

In fact, South Korea was number NINE with 5.68 tons/cubic km. The United States was number THIRTY with 1.14 tons/cubic km.

What does this mean? It means that thirteen countres had worse freshwater pollution than China did.

Maybe Bosshard didn’t know these facts, because he is only interested in what happens in China. I may never know the answer since Bosshard said, “I will not return to this comment nor website” after he dropped his misleading logical fallacy of a bomb in my lap. What he says may be true but how he said it may cause others to blame China for something that is a global problem and not unique to China.

In the rest of this series, there will be posts that focus on soil and water contamination in America, another on Canada, then China, India and last Russia—five of the world’s largest countries measured by land area and/or population.

________________________

This comment was originally posted at Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 6 on January 31 at 23:34 by an anonymous reader called Bosshard.

Deceit upon deceit?

Dear author, what we find most annoying in the behavior of others are those same behaviors of which we are equally guilty. You appear to dislike: lies, half truths and manipulation.

Regarding water-

You have much to learn.  Boiling water is good for killing bacteria and the like but does nothing to stave off the ill effects of heavy metals like copper, lead and the like. According to the BBC, at least 10% of all Chinese land is contaminated with heavy metals, which are not rendered inert by boiling. Thus, boiling water in China does no good when these elements are present.

When you made your comment, were you engaging in ““willful deception and a refusal to play by the rules?” when you state that boiling Chinese water is an anti-dote?

And an aside, do you personally drink the same water as the folks in Guizhou or Gansu, or do you purchase bottled water, a thing many of them cannot do?

As for your forgone conclusion that the need for water is greater than that of religion, I would disagree. Freedom of religion is paramount to many souls, just ask the Tibetans who will take their own lives in order to achieve such an end. If I were forced to give up my religion for water, I would not do so.

Please do not pretend to know the mind of the masses when yours may not be as open as you may believe.

This site has much information, but the author, like the Jesuits of old appears to have conjured up a China that he wishes us to believe in. The brutal reality of the communist regime  and havoc it brings to its people can best be understood by reading books like Empire of Lies, The Beijing Consensus, Poorly Made in China, The Party, and a host of others.

I will not return to this comment nor website but would like to offer this question:

If you have lived in China, and all of your readers, then you truly know the truth of this place. And if you truly know the truth of this place, then do you think it’s right to knowingly deceive the people about it?

God bless and keep all His children safe and informed.

Continued on February 14 at Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 7/7

January 17, 2012

The CIA Factbook [where I found the data used in this post] says China’s GDP [Purchasing Power Parity or PPP] was more than $10 trillion and its real GDP growth rate was 10.3% in 2010, foreign exchange and gold reserves were about $2.9 trillion and its external debt was $529 billion. The current account balance was a positive $305.4 billion (2010 est.)  Public debt was 16.3% of GDP (2010 est.).

India’s GDP [PPP] was $4 trillion with a growth rate of 10.4%, reserves were $287.1 billion and its external debt was $316.9 billion. The current account balance was a negative – $51.78 billion. Public debt was 50.6%.

Brazil’s GDP [PPP] was about $2.2 trillion with a growth rate of 7.5%, reserves were $288.6 billion and its external debt was $396.2 billion. The current account balance was listed as a negative – $47.36 billion.  Public debt was 54.7%.

Russia’s GDP [PPP] was a bit more than $2.2 trillion with a growth rate of 4%, reserves were $479.4 billion and its external debt was $538.6 billion. The current account balance was a $71.13 billion.  Public debt was 9%.

South Africa’s GDP [PPP] was $524 billion with a growth rate of 2.8%, reserves were $43.84 billion, and its external debt was $109.4 billion. The current account balance was a negative – $9.987 billion.  Public debt was 33.4%.

Summary for the BRICS

The BRICS combined GDP [PPP] for 2010 was $18.9 trillion, overall growth of GDP was 7%, foreign exchange and gold reserves were about $3.99 trillion and its external debt was almost $1.9 trillion so the BRICS had more than twice the reserves than it did external debt. The current account balance was a positive $168.263 billion

The WEST

The Economic Health  [or should I say Illness] of the United States

Meanwhile the United States GDP [PPP] was more than $14.6 trillion with a GDP growth rate of 2.8%, reserves were $132.4 billion and its external debt was $14.71 trillion, which means debt is more than 111 (one-hundred-and-eleven) times that of reserves. The current account balance was a negative – $470.2 billion and public debt was 62.9% of GDP.

The Economic Health [or should I say Illness] of Canada

Canada’s GDP [PPP] for 2010 was $1.33 trillion with a GDP real growth rate of 3.1%, reserves of foreign exchange and gold were $57.15 billion, and its external debt was $1.181 trillion in June 2011. The current account balance was a negative – $48.5 billion (2010 est.) and public debt was 84% of GDP (2010 est.)

The Economic Health [or should I say Illness] of the European Union

Member states of the EU (year of entry) — Austria (1995), Belgium (1952), Bulgaria (2007), Cyprus (2004), Czech Republic (2004), Denmark (1973), Estonia (2004), Finland (1995), France (1952), Germany (1952), Greece (1981), Hungry (2004), Ireland (1973), Italy (1952), Latvia (2004), Lithuania (2004), Luxembourg (1952), Malta (2004), Netherlands (1952), Poland (2004), Portugal (1986), Romania (2007), Slovakia (2004), Slovenia (2004), Spain (1986), Sweden (1995), United Kingdom (1973)

The CIA reported that in 2010, the European Union had a GDP [PPP] of $14.82 trillion with a GDP growth rate of 1.8%, there is no listing for foreign exchange and gold reserves. However, the current account balance was a negative -$11.07 trillion with external debt of $16.08 trillion as of June 2011. Public debt is listed for each member country but not for the European Union.  For example: Germany’s public debt was 83.4% of GDP, the United Kingdom was 76.1% and Greece was 142.7%.  Source: CIA Factbook

Summary for the WEST

The WEST’s GDP [PPP] was $30.75 trillion, the average GDP growth rate was 2.56%, external debt was $31.971 trillion and the current account balance was a negative – $11.525 trillion.

As of 2011, the five countries that make up the BRICS were among the fastest growing emerging markets.

Return to The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 6 or Start with Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 6/7

January 16, 2012

When you read something disparaging or criticizing another individual or a country such as China or one of its BRICS partners, you may see something like the question Troy Parfitt recently asked in a comment on this blog: What about China’s debt problem?” The immediate thought after reading Parfitt’s entire comment might be that China has a debt problem that will slow or stop its economic progress leading to a crises.

In fact, few readers dropping by for the average thirty seconds to read a blog post will take the time to find out the facts to see if the claims of critics are as bad as they sound.

The result is that individuals motivated by cultural biases that resort to using confirmation bias in what they write will often leave behind a negative image of the subject they have criticized.

A cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one’s own culture, and confirmation bias is a method used to support this.

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias, my side bias or verification bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way.

Another example of country’s economic health may be found in the spending and saving habits of its households. Canada’s household savings rate in 2008 was 3.8%, the United States was  2.7%, the EU total was 5.8%, the Russian Federation was 12.6% in 2005, Germany’s household saving rate was 11.2%, Greece was a minus -7.3% in 2006, and the United Kingdom was a minus – 4.5%.  Source: Global Finance magazine

For a comparison between China and the WEST, I discovered a paper from the Congressional Budget Office, Washington D.C. titled, “Why Is China’s Saving Rate so High? A Comparative Study of Cross-Country Panel (November 2010)

On page 45, Table 1, the GDP per Capita and National Saving Rate (annual average) for China was 54.4% up from 35.6% in 1980-1990.  Wow! More than fifty-four percent saved (annual average) out of what a family earns!

On page 43, Figure 6, there was a chart comparing the saving rates of China with the United States.  In 1980, the US saving rate was about 12.4% but by 2008, it was down to almost 5%.  By comparison, China’s household saving rate was closer to 15% in 1980 and climbed from there to about 30% by 2008. After the 2008 global financial crises rolled across the globe from New York, the household saving rate in China jumped allmost 20%.  Talk about saving for a rainy day!

If a financial crises is coming to China, that household saving rate tells us that the average Chinese family is getting ready to survive it.

Before ending this series, there are more economic facts and comparisons to consider in The Economic Health of BRICS – Part 7 on January 17, 2012, or Return to Part 5

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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