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Thread: Xi Jinping's historic power grab in China

  1. #61
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    what's particularly interesting for me is how the old mid-90s/early-2000s half-hearted reforms-- "village democracy", "intraparty democracy", etc-- have all been decisively squashed. same with a lot of the polite fiction of separation between party and government.

    the whole term-limits issue is a side-show compared to the immense amount of centralization coming around with the recent changes to the party-government structure.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    The middle income gap mainly seems to apply to a couple of places where the rise in GDP per capita (which isn’t income) stalled out after hitting anything from $1,000 to $10,000. Countries with this problem are said to have poor investment and industrial diversification. Doesn’t sound like China to me: Household private consumption expenditure has grown 9.3% a year in the past decade, which doesn’t exactly sound like stagnation to me. Capital investment rose about 10% p.a.
    There's that theory about their economic strategy out the window. Back to the drawing board.

    Deng Xiaoping dealt with the steaming pile Mao left behind, while battling his co-Elders over policy, ideology and succession. By the time Jiang Zemin accidentally came to power, the old guys were pretty well spent. Deng made sure the next generation -- Li Peng and Yang Shangkun, in particular -- didn't derail Jiang, but that's about it.

    Jiang didn't give Hu Jintao the support he needed to succeed, partly because Jiang's family was knee deep in corruption. By the time Xi Jinping got the nod, people at the top apparently were ready for a strong leader. Those who weren't, well they didn't last very long.
    I remember you telling me the trouble Jiang had and just being puzzled. Authoritarian, efficient bla bla. Then we hear Hu isn't strong enough and here we are with Xi who also isn't strong.

    It's not Mao that Xi is trying to be keeping aside the personality cult, China wants another Deng. No leader since has come close.

    Pragmatic and powerful. Second phase of development. Those are mighty big shoes to fill.

    So what killer ideas are going to enable that second phase.

    Jury's still out.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 23 Mar 18, at 19:23.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    citanon,



    Derek Scissors probably didn’t deliberately set out to deceive, but if you look to the American Enterprise Institute for analysis of how much of China’s economy is state-owned, well don’t be surprised if the data is twisted in a way that delivers an “us good, them bad” kind of message.

    Dr Scissors (whom I’ve met, briefly) uses data from the China Statistical Yearbook, and by following his links you get to the 2014 edition. Change the URL to 2017 and you can find the data below. (I’m using the term “non-private” to signal that it’s everything that isn’t strictly private. You’ll want to do your own calculations.)

    2016 Urban employment (Table 4-1)
    Non-private 23.7% _ _ _ Private 76.3%

    2016 Total investment in fixed assets (Table 10-1)
    Non-private 31.4% _ _ _ Private 68.6%

    2016 Retail corporations (Table 15-1)
    Non-private 5.6% _ _ _ Private 94.4%

    2016 Retail employment (Table 15-1)
    Non-private 11.4 _ _ _ Private 88.6%

    2016 Retail purchases (Table 15-1)
    Non-private 13.5% _ _ _ Private 86.5%

    2016 Retail sales (Table 15-1)
    Non-private 5.5% _ _ _ Private 94.5%

    http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/ndsj/2017/indexeh.htm
    Great find on this resource!

    However, China state council also wrote this in 2015:

    http://english.gov.cn/news/video/201...5190586155.htm

    Echoing findings by Fortune:

    http://fortune.com/2015/07/22/china-...ernment-owned/

    And People's Daily also notes continued dominance of state sector companies in strategic sectors of the economy:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/busines...t_30328022.htm

    Finally, here's the US government's big picture analysis of SOEs in China:

    https://www.export.gov/article?id=Ch...ed-Enterprises

    The findings of the various reports and your statistics are easily reconciled once we realize that:

    1. Your statistics only cover certain sectors of the Chinese economy.
    2. Fix asset investments statistics count commercial real-estate and buildings but not public infrastructure.
    3. Although SOEs now have a minority of GDP and employment, they dominate the commanding heights such as banking and infrastructure
    4. Full control of strategic industries and direct control of 30% to 40% of GDP allow government to be THE dominant driving force in the economy to an extent far greater than in Western market economies.



    Hence, in a very real sense, the Chinese economy is still a state centered, command driven economy.

  4. #64
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Great find on this resource!

    However, China state council also wrote this in 2015:

    http://english.gov.cn/news/video/201...5190586155.htm

    Echoing findings by Fortune:

    http://fortune.com/2015/07/22/china-...ernment-owned/

    And People's Daily also notes continued dominance of state sector companies in strategic sectors of the economy:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/busines...t_30328022.htm

    Finally, here's the US government's big picture analysis of SOEs in China:

    https://www.export.gov/article?id=Ch...ed-Enterprises

    The findings of the various reports and your statistics are easily reconciled once we realize that:

    1. Your statistics only cover certain sectors of the Chinese economy.
    2. Fix asset investments statistics count commercial real-estate and buildings but not public infrastructure.
    3. Although SOEs now have a minority of GDP and employment, they dominate the commanding heights such as banking and infrastructure
    4. Full control of strategic industries and direct control of 30% to 40% of GDP allow government to be THE dominant driving force in the economy to an extent far greater than in Western market economies.



    Hence, in a very real sense, the Chinese economy is still a state centered, command driven economy.
    So, you like the China Statistical Yearbook? Great.
    I’ve been using it since the 1978 edition. Having it on-line means I don’t have to input every digit anymore. Saves a ton of time. But, remember: quantity may have a quality all its own, but is isn’t the same as quality.

    Sort of like the People’s Daily. Before they started publishing an English edition, it was pretty easy to recognize the pure propaganda value inherent in the paper. Once it came out in English, suddenly people started to believe it. Very strange.

    “Data for private companies is more difficult to come by, but a look at the 2015 China’s Top 500 Enterprises . . .” right there you have hit the nail on the head: the statistical authorities don’t have much data on private sector companies (“hard to come by,” as if that wasn’t true everywhere), so they tend to ignore them. Same for smaller companies, which are the backbone of the economy.
    If you can’t easily measure it, ignore it.
    Oh, and 2015, which means 2014 data, at best.
    Same as Dr. Scissors.

    As for Fortune and the US government, you won’t find data that they don’t get from the official sources. The exception might be trade, where the US generates its own data. The only original data Fortune has is magazine advertising and circulation.

    As for “my statistics” only covering sectors of the Chinese economy, well let’s just agree that the portion of the economy that I did cover – which you pointed to, such as retail – is oceans more than the portion of the economy where you actually brought some data to the game.


    - - - - -

    If I was one-tenth as sure of myself in the subject of the armed forces -- of which I am but a casual student -- as you are in your confidence in the inner workings of China and its economy -- several very worthy people around here would have handed me my head, and probably a vacation, long ago.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  5. #65
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    Nvm. delete t
    Last edited by hboGYT; 02 Apr 18, at 15:34. Reason: Replied to an older post

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    So, you like the China Statistical Yearbook? Great.
    I’ve been using it since the 1978 edition. Having it on-line means I don’t have to input every digit anymore. Saves a ton of time. But, remember: quantity may have a quality all its own, but is isn’t the same as quality.

    Sort of like the People’s Daily. Before they started publishing an English edition, it was pretty easy to recognize the pure propaganda value inherent in the paper. Once it came out in English, suddenly people started to believe it. Very strange.

    “Data for private companies is more difficult to come by, but a look at the 2015 China’s Top 500 Enterprises . . .” right there you have hit the nail on the head: the statistical authorities don’t have much data on private sector companies (“hard to come by,” as if that wasn’t true everywhere), so they tend to ignore them. Same for smaller companies, which are the backbone of the economy.
    If you can’t easily measure it, ignore it.
    Oh, and 2015, which means 2014 data, at best.
    Same as Dr. Scissors.
    Do you think you know more about China's economy than the State Council because you read numbers from a book that one of their subordinates publish?


    As for Fortune and the US government, you won’t find data that they don’t get from the official sources. The exception might be trade, where the US generates its own data. The only original data Fortune has is magazine advertising and circulation.

    As for “my statistics” only covering sectors of the Chinese economy, well let’s just agree that the portion of the economy that I did cover – which you pointed to, such as retail – is oceans more than the portion of the economy where you actually brought some data to the game.
    But this still doesn't support your original argument that China's economy is not state dominated.



    If I was one-tenth as sure of myself in the subject of the armed forces -- of which I am but a casual student -- as you are in your confidence in the inner workings of China and its economy -- several very worthy people around here would have handed me my head, and probably a vacation, long ago.
    You are very active about pulling numbers DOR but bad about interpreting them correctly. You can pull all the numbers you want, but when they don't support your point, they are merely interesting, and not convincing.

    Pulling numbers since 1978.... well, maybe time to actually start using them for concrete arguments instead of spinkling strawman arguments and red herrings to cover up logical failings?

  7. #67
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    citanon,

    Can you tell the difference between reality and propaganda?

    Just as only the most naive people believe Trump’s rants are gospel truth, no one but the most ignorant would believe a State Council statement isn’t designed to send a certain message to some constituency or another.

    I had a very nice career “pulling numbers” and interpreting them.
    What’s your specialty?
    What have you spent more time on that anyone else on this board?

    As the literate know, I have a very strong aversion to taking things at face value. If you think the State Council is telling the truth in every press release issued, then you probably also believe the data put out by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

    But, since you’ve already made up your mind, I’m wasting my time.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    citanon,

    Can you tell the difference between reality and propaganda?

    Just as only the most naive people believe Trump’s rants are gospel truth, no one but the most ignorant would believe a State Council statement isn’t designed to send a certain message to some constituency or another.

    I had a very nice career “pulling numbers” and interpreting them.
    What’s your specialty?
    What have you spent more time on that anyone else on this board?

    As the literate know, I have a very strong aversion to taking things at face value. If you think the State Council is telling the truth in every press release issued, then you probably also believe the data put out by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

    But, since you’ve already made up your mind, I’m wasting my time.
    But your signature tells us not to trust you precisely because of your past profession. So it is all fair on citanon's part.

    But yeah, how do you tell what's for internal consumption, what's real?
    Last edited by hboGYT; 03 Apr 18, at 10:34.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    citanon,

    Can you tell the difference between reality and propaganda?

    Just as only the most naive people believe Trump’s rants are gospel truth, no one but the most ignorant would believe a State Council statement isn’t designed to send a certain message to some constituency or another.

    I had a very nice career “pulling numbers” and interpreting them.
    What’s your specialty?
    What have you spent more time on that anyone else on this board?

    As the literate know, I have a very strong aversion to taking things at face value. If you think the State Council is telling the truth in every press release issued, then you probably also believe the data put out by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

    But, since you’ve already made up your mind, I’m wasting my time.
    The problem here is you're taking numbers to an interpretation that they don't support.

    You want to challenge the accepted wisdom that China's economy is state lead and state dominated, but you only cite retail and real estate.

    On the other hand, we know the Chinese state owns the largest banks and the biggest construction companies, backs the biggest infrastructure providers and supports national champions in advanced technology.

    We also know that local governments own all the land and the ultimate controls on real estate development.

    We don't need some propaganda or conspiracy theory because of course the ownership and the relationships are there plain as day.

    That's why it's the conventional wisdom. If you say different, onus is on you to prove it.

    I've had the good fortune in my career of dealing with some very smart and distinguished people. Some of them have been at their jobs an awful long time. Never has one said I'm X and have been at it for Y years and so you should just believe me. They are very conscious that the moment they need to say that, they've lost their touch.
    Last edited by citanon; 03 Apr 18, at 12:22.

  10. #70
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    The problem here is you're taking numbers to an interpretation that they don't support.

    You want to challenge the accepted wisdom that China's economy is state lead and state dominated, but you only cite retail and real estate.

    On the other hand, we know the Chinese state owns the largest banks and the biggest construction companies, backs the biggest infrastructure providers and supports national champions in advanced technology.

    We also know that local governments own all the land and the ultimate controls on real estate development.

    We don't need some propaganda or conspiracy theory because of course the ownership and the relationships are there plain as day.

    That's why it's the conventional wisdom. If you say different, onus is on you to prove it.

    I've had the good fortune in my career of dealing with some very smart and distinguished people. Some of them have been at their jobs an awful long time. Never has one said I'm X and have been at it for Y years and so you should just believe me. They are very conscious that the moment they need to say that, they've lost their touch.
    I only cited retail and real estate.
    That shows I understand the data and you can read other people's work. (If you want to find out the public/private split for tin can manufacturers, do your own calculations.)

    The Chinese state owns some of htt largest banks and biggest construction companies in the world.
    Quit changing the subject when you can't back up what you say. Those companies are not going to out-weigh millions of other businesses.

    Local government owns all the land.
    In the UK, it's the Queen. Get used to it.

    Plain as day.
    You've made up your mind and cannot tolerate anything I say.

    Onus is on you to show any shred of credibility.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  11. #71
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post

    But yeah, how do you tell what's for internal consumption, what's real?
    40 years of experience?
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    I only cited retail and real estate.
    That shows I understand the data and you can read other people's work. (If you want to find out the public/private split for tin can manufacturers, do your own calculations.)

    The Chinese state owns some of htt largest banks and biggest construction companies in the world.
    Quit changing the subject when you can't back up what you say. Those companies are not going to out-weigh millions of other businesses.

    Local government owns all the land.
    In the UK, it's the Queen. Get used to it.

    Plain as day.
    You've made up your mind and cannot tolerate anything I say.

    Onus is on you to show any shred of credibility.
    So the state owns the primary lenders snd construction firms and has developers in its palms via control of land, in addition to having nearly arbitrary power over all other businesses at its whim and you don't think the economy is state led?

    You cited evidence that doesn't support your point except to show that you can read and use a spreadsheet. What am I supposed to give you a cookie?

    40 years huh? I take that as evidence that experience doesn't necessarily equal wisdom.

    Since you do not seem to have figured it out in four decades, let me tell you about a little trick in academic discussions, it's called narrowing the field and defining the topic. Namely:

    I make a big a sweeping statement like : China's economy is state led.

    You counter with here's all this retail data.

    I then tell you but your data doesn't speak to the larger issue, and btw, Here are all these authoritative sources that disagree.

    This is normally where you break down into butt hurt gibberish. Instead, calm down and apply the trick:

    You say: well, here's what I think about when I think about the terms "leading" and "dominating", in my view all these small companies are what employs people and interacts with consumers. Although the state has t/e commanding heights, the small businesses are like little people tieing Down the state Gulliver. For example, during the past 5 yearsthe state has had to reverse course on this this and that issue.

    Then I say, oh, how interesting. But, on the other hand, the infrastructure development is continuing a pace, the...

    Then you say: well, maybe we can start breaking down this big lump of "state dominated" into a more nuanced viewing the different industries and economic activities...

    And so on and so forth it can go while we all get to learn something.

    Do you see how this works?

    You think people like the Col got the deference and respect they enjoy on this board by simply stating that hey were from the military?

    You see that join by date next to my name? I joined this board 11 years ago, AFTER having already known the col and some others for years on China defense forum.

    In all I've been talking with some of these guys online for about 15 years. They EARNED our respect by supplying insight after insight, and engaging counter arguments not just with facts glued together into coherent arguments by COGENT LOGIC.

    What attracted me to this board is that the members here use their intellect to win respect and stick to the merits of their arguments rather than the bullet points on their resume. You might try it some times.
    Last edited by citanon; 03 Apr 18, at 22:46.

  13. #73
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    So the state owns the primary lenders snd construction firms and has developers in its palms via control of land, in addition to having nearly arbitrary power over all other businesses at its whim and you don't think the economy is state led?

    You cited evidence that doesn't support your point except to show that you can read and use a spreadsheet. What am I supposed to give you a cookie?

    40 years huh? I take that as evidence that experience doesn't necessarily equal wisdom.

    Since you do not seem to have figured it out in four decades, let me tell you about a little trick in academic discussions, it's called narrowing the field and defining the topic. Namely:

    I make a big a sweeping statement like : China's economy is state led.

    You counter with here's all this retail data.

    I then tell you but your data doesn't speak to the larger issue, and btw, Here are all these authoritative sources that disagree.

    This is normally where you break down into butt hurt gibberish. Instead, calm down and apply the trick:

    You say: well, here's what I think about when I think about the terms "leading" and "dominating", in my view all these small companies are what employs people and interacts with consumers. Although the state has t/e commanding heights, the small businesses are like little people tieing Down the state Gulliver. For example, during the past 5 yearsthe state has had to reverse course on this this and that issue.

    Then I say, oh, how interesting. But, on the other hand, the infrastructure development is continuing a pace, the...

    Then you say: well, maybe we can start breaking down this big lump of "state dominated" into a more nuanced viewing the different industries and economic activities...

    And so on and so forth it can go while we all get to learn something.

    Do you see how this works?

    You think people like the Col got the deference and respect they enjoy on this board by simply stating that hey were from the military?

    You see that join by date next to my name? I joined this board 11 years ago, AFTER having already known the col and some others for years on China defense forum.

    In all I've been talking with some of these guys online for about 15 years. They EARNED our respect by supplying insight after insight, and engaging counter arguments not just with facts glued together into coherent arguments by COGENT LOGIC.

    What attracted me to this board is that the members here use their intellect to win respect and stick to the merits of their arguments rather than the bullet points on their resume. You might try it some times.
    Did you think you could throw in “”nearly arbitrary power over all other businesses at its whim” and I wouldn’t notice? I reject the premesis.

    I cite evidence that supports that part of the issue you raised.
    You cite none.
    Forget the cookie; give me some evidence that you know what you’re talking about.

    March 12, 2018:
    The state still controls the majority of assets and investment. Some of the state controlled firms are nominally mixed asset firms. Others are joint ventures with a large state interest. Yet still others, such as local retailers and real estate investment companies, are really partly controlled by local governments. Many of these latter mixed types of firms are operating with heavy state influence, to the extent that they are arguably private sector extensions of the state command economy. Thus, the state's hand is in every sector of the economy, even if its tendrils are diffuse and hidden.
    That’s the point where we got started on assets, retailers and real estate.

    If you didn’t want to be so specific that I could easily dismantle your thin excuse for an understanding of what’s happening in China, you should have been less focused. Instead of making a big, sweeping statement that is difficult to counter, you narrowed the discussion down to a small handful of sectors . . . and, ones where the state isn’t all that dominant.

    That didn’t go so well, so you decided to change the subject and claim I narrowed it to those sectors. But, you forgot that I’ve been debating for a long time.
    I keep track of what I say in response to other people’s comments.

    You might want to try that sometime.

    (That’s your cue to go dig up something I said years ago.)

    Oh, and I was on the China Defense Forum in the early 2000s, too.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Did you think you could throw in “”nearly arbitrary power over all other businesses at its whim” and I wouldn’t notice? I reject the premesis.
    And you reject this clear fact because? You conduct business in an authoritarian regime, they have arbitrary power over you. Since I wrote it in a response to you, yes, I meant for you to notice.

    If you didn’t want to be so specific that I could easily dismantle your thin excuse for an understanding of what’s happening in China, you should have been less focused. Instead of making a big, sweeping statement that is difficult to counter, you narrowed the discussion down to a small handful of sectors . . . and, ones where the state isn’t all that dominant.
    Banking, infrastructure construction, real estate development, high technology, small sectors?

    That didn’t go so well,
    Really???

    so you decided to change the subject and claim I narrowed it to those sectors.
    Really? I didn't know retail was banking or infrastructure construction. Maybe you meant, retail banking? *wink* *wink*

    Also, are you confused between fixed assets and infrastructure? Do you not know that the former category can exclude the latter or just hoping to pass that under the radar?

    Did you know that funds invested in real estate is not the same thing as people making land available for those funds to invest in? Or did that simple logic escape you?

    I don't think that word "narrowing" means what you think it means.


    But, you forgot that I’ve been debating for a long time.
    I keep track of what I say in response to other people’s comments.

    Oh, and I was on the China Defense Forum in the early 2000s, too.
    Then you've got even less excuse for equating how you debate to how others have discussed matters.
    Last edited by citanon; 04 Apr 18, at 09:42.

  15. #75
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    So, “nearly arbitrary power over all other businesses at its whim” is a fact because . . . you said it was?

    The IRS can confiscate your bank account and wreck your business and your life in the process of investigating whether or not you owe them money. They don’t need warrants or even much in the way of probable cause (although they tend to have some clues before acting badly, at least most of the time). Is that “nearly arbitrary power over all other businesses at its whim”? Do you even know what the typical business in China does vis-a-vis the municipal, provincial or national government?

    If you had any experience with how business works in China you’d realize that the scary “nearly arbitrary power” has very little impact – if any – on the vast majority of companies. But, someone on Fox News said so, therefore it must be a fact.

    Adding banking, infrastructure construction, real estate development, high technology (really?) and small sectors (whatever that is) at this point is changing the subject because you haven’t got any facts to back up what you started with. I'm not sure what you were on about in the rest of the post, so I'll just stop here.

    What is your problem?
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

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