Bo Peng

Bo Peng
Contributor since: 2008
Both Fed and treasuries dept publish the data daily, with history also.
Actually, fx swap lines serve quite legitimate purposes of lessening the impact on international trade and finance. It can be for self-interest.
Right on, The Recusant. In a severe liquidity crisis, gold is a risk asset. But there's no sign of severe inflation yet. I agree that one day, when leverage finally recovers, central banks will not have enough political will to withdraw money in time ("you're killing the fledgling recovery!"), thus leading to severe inflation. But that day is still beyond horizon of the US.
China, India, and Brazil is another story. They've had their own printing, plus the indirect printing from the Fed, and lack of deleveraging.
Of course, any change in the Euro structure would be a historical event. And it will happen. I just don't think it'd be soon. But then again, black swans are by definition unexpected....
Yes, I think Bernanke does realize the risk of diminishing return of QE. But so far there's no indication of any change in Bernanke Put's strike level.
The evil of Krugmanism, the al Qaeda arm of Keynesianism, is that it completely ignores the individuals, assuming people can generate income in perpetuity. Modern economics views savers as enemy of the society. Herein lies the core of the Ponzi nature of modern economics. Savers are the foundation upon which the game could sustain as long as it has; yet they must be trampled on and destroyed.
This is where baby boomer gen can and should make one, last transformation to the society for the better. You're being screwed, boomers.
Thanks for answering it for me, AlexS. You got it.
um, there goes my career plan in psychiatry. ;> Thanks for the correction.
lol, I guess this got hijacked into a warlike racial thing after Davewmart brought up "peace loving orientals". As I emphatically said in the earlier comments, I do not believe the reason why east Asian history is relatively more peaceful compared to that of Europe has anything to do with race. It's an irrelevant detour.
Neutrinoman,
A few weeks ago I was browsing some Chinese forum. Somebody was trying to send some viral msg about Japs shipping some radioactive fish to China. I said "um, who imported the radioactive fish, or did the Japs force it on China with guns? Isn't the importer the bigger asshole here? If somebody is willing to buy, who's the Japanese to refuse to sell?" The parallel between this and Americans cursing cheap Chinese sh*t is, for the lack of a better word, delicious.
Yes, somebody has to run the deficit. But it doesn't have to be you, nor does it have to be chronicle.
Both the core and the peripheral, both the elite and the people, got something out of the euro experiment. It was good while it lasted. Now the game is up. I have equal sympathy and apathy for all, as long as they get it over with. ;>
Oh, the mongols. They were barbarians, not peace-loving orientals! Even Europeans were no match! They were the Vikings of Asia!
OK, that was a bad joke, appropriate only the context of this jabbing thread.;> The mongols were extremely effective militarily. They revolutionized warfare by introducing and perfecting cavalry. But they were quite incompetent as administrators. Don't bother googling for more oriental history. I'm very much aware of the history of war, revolt, famine, and oppression in east Asia. The keyword, again, is "relative".
And my bringing up Britain pushing drugs in China with invasion is somewhat uncalled for. It was not the first time European powers kicked China around, nor the last. In fact there were two Opium Wars, the second time joined by the French and backed by US and Russia (yes, in the name of free trade but let's be serious ok?). But I've found through the years that, when discussing history with a British, bringing up the Opium War often has various kinds of interesting and amusing effects. ;> It seems to be something the British psyche has yet to come to full term with, somehow.
From the Warring States until the Brits came selling opium with gun ships, if you call that 2000 years in between as cherry picking my timeframe, then I'll cherry pick my timeframe.
Internal oppression, at least in the explicit and violent systemic form, in China is also a very recent phenomenon. The Confucius society has always been extremely oppressive, which I detest deeply. But it's not the same as Cultural Revolution or holocaust.
Relax, nobody is claiming any superiority here, at least not the "orientals", yeah? But it pays to have a detached view of history.
Davewmart, please read my reply to Ricard above. "Peace loving orientals," as you put it nicely, is a historical fact. But the fact is NOT due to some sort of superiority, as I presume you were afraid of me saying; it's a product of historical happenstance and simple geography.
I don't mean to deny Lincoln's greatness but I happen to think that a big part of the reason why he was so "merciful" towards the south was that state power had been intentionally made strong, and federal power weak, by the founding fathers. The POTUS had been largely a figurehead. There was little budget, little power, and he could call for war only when allowed.
Personally, I see the emphasis of state power over federal power as THE defining characteristic of American sociopolitical structure. No other major countries in human history are formed this way, from bottom-up. If we lose this, as we have been gradually ever since the civil war but much more rapidly since WWII, I fear US will gradually lose its uniqueness. Washington naturally uses every excuse to expand federal power. And people gradually give away their power in exchange for perceived security, unaware of how precious it is.
Davewmart, your points are all valid but you consistently miss the keyword "relatively".
Presto! We at least have one rooting for the United States of Europe! A rarer sighting than black swans nowadays. ;>
I'm enjoying the discussion immensely. Unexpected pleasure.
Good to see you again, Ricard.
The mongols did reach India, not over the Himalayas. The Silk Road had been there way before then. The monk in the Tang Dynasty reached India by himself in 631AD. But, yes, it was not an easy route and it certainly helped the peace.
I'm not saying China is more peace-loving than others by nature. It's just that the Chinese Empire expanded very wide and very early compared to the technology of the time, so much so that the emperors had relatively little desire to expand further. I assume the same holds for ancient India.
A story, not 100% sure whether it's historically accurate. During the Qing Dynasty there was a meeting between Chinese and Russian officials at the border to draw up, well, the border since it had never been drawn. The Chinese officials got exhausted by the time they reached some river a few hundred miles from supposed meeting place at the border, said "oh f*ck it this is stupid" and took camp. The Russians waited and waited at the meeting place, for days, then decided to go further. There was only one possible route across the region, the old Silk Route. After a few days they met the Chinese delegation and said:"Look, dudes, you can't even go beyond this point and it's all wasteland there anyways, so let's draw up the border here yes?" And the Chinese lazy asses readily agreed.
The notion of sovereignty was also quite different from that in Europe. Borders were seldom clearly drawn because, almost by definition, the border areas were not good places for agriculture and living, thus deemed insignificant.
This is very different from European history. After Rome, there has never been one encompassing empire, and there's no natural barrier between the more or less equal powers on the continent. Constant warfare is a natural consequence of this, which also provided motivation for constant innovation and application thereof. China, on the contrary, got too comfortable too early. Neither the emperors nor the people saw great needs to develop technology diligently since what they had were already "good enough" until the rude awakening by Europeans.
Thanks for the enlightenment but I was aware of the Soviet-German part of WWII. The comment you pointed out was meant to be a half-joke. But I'm sure you're also aware of the Soviet-German alliance before it broke down and how it broke down. After WWII, given the cruelty of the Soviet-German front, you'd expect Russians hating Germans to the guts for a long time. But the fact is they don't. Yes, Soviet troops attacked German troops without mercy and killed German POWs (for very pragmatic reasons -- they could hardly feed or move themselves in the harsh environment and logistic conditions). But they quickly forgave the Germans, certainly much more so than the French or British. Russia always wanted to be accepted as "proper" European. It's a complex. French would never recognize that. British even less so, as do the Vikings. Southern Italians, maybe, but they're not accepted as "proper" European themselves. German/Austrian are their best hope.
And Germans invariably find Russian resources the only alternative, most reliable among the only choice.
Thanks, Tompa. This is consistent with what I was guessing.
One comment about PIIGS, though. If they don't like the half-assed pretend austerity so far, it'll get much more real, and worse, if they hang on to the euro. I guess they're just hanging on to it one day at a time, as you implied.
Yes, I've watched many European soccer games. Pretty crazy stuff. Scary when you think that nationalism in Europe is a fairly recent phenomenon in the historical context. Few of the countless European wars before WWI were "the people's wars" -- mercenary armies fought for money/honor, noncombatants went on with their lives.
From what I read (not living in Europe), I have the same impression as you do -- popular discontent against the elite-imposed euro is high. But I haven't seen any real indications yet, at least not nearly strong enough. So I'm a bit puzzled and confused.
No, it was not directed at you at all, Stanley. Sorry for the confusion. My comments were prompted by Portuguese' new found admiration for Salazar pointed out by Davewmart. I should've made that clear.
Thanks! This coming from someone living in Europe, I'm flattered.
One thing I don't understand is how much popular support there is for the euro. Judging by the fact that Rome is still not burning yet, I have to assume people want to keep it? Is it only because the pain hasn't been quite enough, or do the elites actually have more popular support than the media show?
Very interesting perspective, change, especially the analogy between ECB and monarchy.
Maybe I understood you wrong, but sovereign is always a process all over the world, as implied by your handle no less. ;> If you refer to the aspect of states joining and seceding, I submit that similar mechanism and examples abound in history -- collapse of USSR, ancient China, ancient India. But I think this element is missing from European history. Europeans take by force, and give when forced. ;>
American democracy and its political setup are different from those of Europe, and civil war is hugely important to this country. I'm just trying to understand what you meant. I feel you may be onto something here, but not sure what.
Could not edit the above comment so I'll add another one.
In the 5000+ years of their respective civilization history, China and India had never had any adversity until very recently, which is more like an instant in the historical timeframe. It is quite remarkable, and probably unique in human history, for two big and advanced (at the time) countries located close to each other yet with no wars for so long. I hope the two peoples realize and appreciate this important fact.
Even between China and Korea, China and Japan, the coexistence had been mostly peaceful until the Europeans came. Well, ok, except a few invasions now and then. ;> Seriously, the frequency and intensity of conflict in Asia before European colonists came are almost negligible compared to Europe.
The prevailing view of history and world in the west is biased and western-centric. This is quite understandable, and less severe than it could've been. But this doesn't mean it's right.
One more point, "stark naked". The implication in your comment is that everybody hates China. This is very true currently. Everybody loves to hate China -- the government for sure, the society, the culture, maybe even the people; the line gets blurry at the shallow end of the gene pool. But if you zoom out in time and look at broader history, the opposite is more true.
The US government's manipulation of public opinion, especially in foreign affairs, is subtle yet extremely effective. In the early 80's, when US and China were fast warming up for an alliance against USSR, China was such a beautiful place, full of hope and desire to change -- as portrayed in the US. Then it became clear that China would not be a member state of the empire. So the media love faded.
In the late 90's, US and India were warming up for an alliance against Russia and China. All of a sudden there was a wave of media articles and TV programs touting India, the history, culture, fledgling democracy. Then it gradually dawned on the US that India would not fully join the empire, either. So the media love gradually faded, also. Then India snubbed US fighter jets earlier this year, and there was a front page article on NYTimes THE NEXT DAY talking about India's dysfunctional democracy and economy. I mean, WTF?
Of course. Slavery was a sideshow, freeing slaves was a by-product. It was a great inspiration for the slaves and a great irritation for slave owners, for sure. But to make it a central theme and motivation for the war is ludicrous. I reckon it's nice to think that so many white Americans, decedents of those who slaughtered native Indians, were willing to give their lives for the freedom of slaves way back then. It moves one to tears. But such self-glorification is sad and laughable. And if it weren't for the moral highground the US has taken since WWII, it would've been the butt of jokes all over the world.
Maybe we should discuss these points in more depth over drinks. ;>
The world has been itching to find a way to fight wars without going nuclear. Seventy years without a major war, can you imagine how painful that is? Being the crazy assholes that we are, I think we're at least close to the solution, and it's only a matter of time before someone tries it out. Limited in scope and goal. The risk is, of course, whether both sides can control the escalation especially when nationalistic/religiou... fervor kicks in. It's a dangerous game that we can't help but playing.
Another grave danger I see is the fragility of democracy under the pressure of nationalism. This has been demonstrated with painful clarity in Europe before WWI, and then again before WWII. Yet the modern western society has refused to examine this. The common unspoken assumption is that US is such a melting pot it's by nature immune to nationalism. But many of my immigrant friends, both Asian and European, clearly see the nationalist fervor in the US. Seems only the natives (as in Gangs of New York) are blind to it. This worries me.
Based on my limited understanding and experience, Russians secretly admire Germans while Germans, well, they just don't have anything better to do. ;> They've flirted several times throughout history after they rose from obscurity, both somewhat mysteriously I might add. The attraction is mutual and irresistible.
When the going gets really tough, the crazy gets going. If the west really goes through a great depression, I'm afraid western liberalism (in the traditional, social sense) would be cast away and laughed at, and all kinds of crazies would come out in the open.
I'm intrigued by your comment about civil war creating a new culture that's uniquely North American. Would you care to elaborate and expand on that?
India has been playing the balancing game between the powers as a way to maintain some semblance of independence, which is a sensible strategy for all big but weak countries, as China has done and still trying to do, only to a less extend and in different form. Right now it's still mostly between US and Russia for India, but they're trying to bring in Europe. I expect them to continue this approach if there's the New Axis. As to the rest of Asia, they have to make a choice, Japan included. They don't have enough weight to form a separate pole.
What the heck, it's Friday.
Amazing. Guy still gets paid for applying historical seasonal return patterns.