January 15, 2009

How to increase exports

Our gigantic trade deficit must, obviously, fall. It would be a lot nicer if part of the decrease consisted of America exporting more rather than just importing less. How can the government help? Well, one way is for the U.S. to stop being the Dudley Do-Right of international business. From an article by Don Lee in the Los Angeles Times:

When Pasadena-based Avery Dennison wanted to build its road and traffic business in China a few years ago, it hired people like Lily Tang. The Beijing homemaker had an asset the company craved: political connections.

Tang's husband, Chen Qi, is a senior official at the China Communications and Transportation Assn., a quasi-governmental group led by former ministers. That connection, said current and former Avery managers in China, helped the company win contracts for thousands of dollars' worth of government projects.

In one case, according to interviews and a copy of a signed contract reviewed by The Times, Avery received an order to supply $375,000 worth of reflective safety products for highway jobs in Tianjin, east of Beijing, and paid a commission of about 8% to an enterprise operated by a friend of Chen's.

Chen's friend, Guo Longjun of Beijing, said he had passed the money on to "experts," whom he wouldn't identify.

Such payments may be part of an ongoing federal investigation into whether Avery violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. businesses from bribing foreign officials.

Avery reported possible violations on its own in 2005. It characterized them as relatively minor and said it had taken corrective measures. Though it is by no means the only U.S. company involved in a corruption investigation of its business dealings in China, its experience provides a case study of the pitfalls American firms face as they try to capture a piece of the Chinese market.

Justice Department officials say enforcement of the FCPA is second only to fighting terrorism in terms of priority. Currently, at least 91 cases are open, triple the number four years ago, according to a report issued last month by Shearman & Sterling, a New York-based law firm that tracks FCPA cases.

China is getting more attention. Of 25 criminal prosecutions under the law in the last two years, six involved activities in China -- the largest number after Iraq and Nigeria. Among the companies involved were Lucent Technologies, which agreed to pay a $1-million penalty for supplying about 315 trips to the U.S. by Chinese officials.The company recorded some of them as "factory inspections," but they were in fact visits to places such as Disneyland, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, the Justice Department said.

The trips, plus educational expenses for a Chinese government employee, were valued in the millions of dollars, federal officials said. At stake were contracts worth at least $2 billion.

I'm sorry, but this kind of nit-picky stuff should be up to the Chinese to police. If they want to shoot minor Chinese officials for going to Disneyland on an American vendor's dime, that's fine with me, but I think it's counter-productive for the U.S. Justice Dept. to worry about whether a trip to Disneyland was a bribe or a legitimate business entertainment expense. It should be up to the customer to regulate its purchasing officials' behavior in the manner it sees fit.

The two most impressive companies I called upon in my corporate career were Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble. Wal-Mart had a fanatical policy about never letting anybody trying to sell anything to Wal-Mart spend a dime on a Wal-Mart employee. Wal-Mart felt that most retailers had been corrupted by vendors with NFL skyboxes and the like. So, you were not allowed to see Wal-Mart employees in restaurants (which is why the finest restaurant in Bentonville in 1991 was a Ponderosa steakhouse filled with world-class salesmen in $1500 suits and great haircuts, sitting alone, morosely chewing their $3.95 chicken-fried steaks). All negotiations were conducted in windowless interrogation cells. After a few hours of relentlessly being hammered by Wal-Mart employees, not only would you be willing to lower your price to Wal-Mart by 20 percent, but you'd leap at a chance to sign a confession that you were part of a Trotskyite wrecker cell attempting to assasinate Comrade Stalin if only they'd promised to make it all stop.

In contrast, dealing with P&G was civilized. You took them out to nice restaurants. But, much as you tried to ply them with Italian cuisine and fine wine, they never took their eye off the ball.

... U.S. firms are widely considered to operate with higher ethics than Chinese and Western competitors -- in large part because of stringent laws such as the FCPA, which took effect in 1977, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Still, in the last couple of years, Chinese state-run media and court records have identified such U.S. business icons as IBM, McDonald's and Whirlpool as companies connected to bribery cases in China.

Like Avery, more American companies are reporting possible FCPA violations by their own employees. In October, cosmetics company Avon Products Inc. said it had begun an internal investigation to determine whether its China operations had incurred illegal travel, entertainment and other expenses.

Intermediaries

Faced with the choice between bribing officials and losing business, some U.S. firms have turned to middlemen, often from Hong Kong or Taiwan, to grease the wheels for them. And they often set aggressive targets for their Chinese employees without making it clear that certain behavior is prohibited in reaching those goals, said Amy Sommers, a Shanghai-based attorney for Squire, Sanders & Dempsey who has advised clients and conducted workshops on the FCPA. ...

In China, it isn't unusual for a government agency to own profit-generating companies to raise money for research and other efforts. But their legal structures, finances and relationship with government officials are murky. "They are in a gray area and very likely breed corruption," said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

And the fact that much of Chinese business is organized in such a way that incentives aren't aligned with proper behavior is the U.S. Justice Department's problem ... how?

The U.S. needs to export more, especially to China, since they are going to be an ever larger part of the world marketplace. The Chinese like doing business based on "relationships" forged over a lot of expensive food, drink, and whatever. The U.S. government could get out of the way of American business reducing the trade deficit just by cutting the funding for investigating Federal Corrupt Practices Act violations.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obama is not interested in manufacturing.

He is however, taking a good hard look at interfering in the strategically vital region of Darfur.

This may be an even dumber potential disaster than Iraq - at least with Iraq we had the opportunity to seize their oil for our own economic benefit.

iSteve readers, behold your shiny new Hitler flavor for the year, President Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan:

Sudan fears US military intervention over Darfur

Obama administration considering intervention in support of joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force, says Hillary Clinton

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/15/sudan-unamid-obama

jody said...

well, steve, you've got this pretty wrong. the main reason for the huge trade deficit is the oil bill.

in 2008, the US was producing about 7 million barrels of oil per day. meanwhile, it was consuming 21 million barrels of oil per day. that means the US must import 14 million barrels of oil per day, every single day. that's a ludicrous amount of oil. the US imports more oil per day than any other nation uses per day.

the recession has caused US oil consumption to fall to about 19 million barrels per day. production remains at about 7, so that's still 12 million barrels of oil per day, every single day, the united states must purchase.

there are, of course, only 2 ways to change this. produce more oil, or use less oil.

i'll just write that much for now, hopefully this post will show up and not disappear. sorry, i'm honestly thinking you simply steal some of the stuff i write. not sure why else half my posts disappear.

Joe Schmoe said...

It's funny, a Chinese law firm retains my firm fairly often to handle their US litigation. The partners at the Chinese firm are totally straight -- they always take ME out to dinner and have never let me spend a dime on them.

When I first started dealing with them, a bunch of the partners and the general counsel of one of the clients flew to the US. They said they wanted to watch me argue a motion in a case I was handling for them, but I figured what they really wanted to do was see sunny Los Angeles, California. One hand washes the other and all that.

I'm a sleazy lawyer, but even I have some standards, and the situation really bothered me. I decided that I was willing to take them out to dinner -- that's just customary -- but if they were expecting me to take them to strip clubs, on shopping sprees, or to Vegas for a gambling junket, they could forget it. The client was some huge state-owned manufacturing conglomerate, and I really wanted their business, but that's just not how I roll, so to speak.

Fortunately, the clients turned out to be completely honest and never asked me to do anything like that, so there were no awkward moments. In fact, they were sort of earnest and I got the impression that they were trying really hard to do things honestly.

The General Counsel of the client was related to some bigwig in the CCP, and the Chinese lawyers were all graduates of the same university, which was established by, and retains some kind of quasi-official link to, a big government ministry. While they were very self-deprecating it was obvious that these guys were highly placed, and I got the distinct impression that they saw themselves as ambassadors of Chinese society and for that reason were really trying hard to do things on the level.

I'm not saying that my clients are representative of the Chinese system as a whole -- some of the other Chinese companies I have encountered as a litigator have been real pieces of work -- but at least some of the big companies over there really do seem to be making a real effort to play it straight.

I can only hope that this sort of sentiment spreads throughout the business community over there, because if it does it might spill over into the political system. I did get the impression that these guys are really trying to do better.

I represent a few Latin American businesses, and I am sorry to say that I do not have the impression that they are trying to do likewise. They are embarrassed by the corruption for patriotic reasons, and as successful businesspeople understand that it's a huge problem, but for the most part seem to be more interested in making sure they have an escape route than doing something to change things at home. The Chinese really do seem to be trying to make their society a better place, and it's really nice to see.

RKU said...

What makes this a little ironic is the gigantic, massive, stupendous level of "corruption" at the top of the American government today.

Chinese officials takes a few Disneyland trips as bribes in return for giving foreign contracts.

American officials and their families rake in gigantic investment/consultancy fees in order to allow a couple trillion of taxpayer dollars walk out the door.

Offhand, I'm not sure that any civilized nation of the last couple of centuries has had this level of established corruption. Maybe the Ottoman Empire in 1901. Maybe Yeltsin and his Oligarch friends in 1994.

Bernie Madoff admits stealing $50B, and still sits in his mansion, transferring around his stolen money overseas, even after sending out another $1M in New Year gifts to his friends and relatives.

Meanwhile, the FBI naturally focuses on the Disneyland trips ofr Chinese officials...

Mr. Anon said...

"All negotiations were conducted in windowless interrogation cells. After a few hours of relentlessly being hammered by Wal-Mart employees, not only would you be willing to lower your price to Wal-Mart by 20 percent, but you'd leap at a chance to sign a confession that you were part of a Trotskyite wrecker cell attempting to assasinate Comrade Stalin if only they'd promised to make it all stop."

Perhaps that explains why Walmart is so sympatico with communist China - they do things the same way.

I second RKU's observation about the irony ,or rather hypocrisy, of our government's attitude toward corruption. It is illegal for American companies to bribe foreign officials, but quite legal in any number of ways for them to bribe American officials.

Granny J said...

This entire matter should be couched in the terms of "diversity" and respect for the indigenous cultures of the countries where we wish to sell our goodies.

Anonymous said...

these factors have no impact on the trade deficit, which depends on the difference between national saving (including public saving) and domestic investment. As long as the U.S. saves less than it invests, it will run a trade deficit, no matter its polices towards corruption, etc. Here is the basic accounting equation:
EXPORTS - IMPORTS = SAVING - INVESTMENT

Anonymous said...

these factors have no effect on the trade deficit, which depends on the difference between national saving (including public saving) and domestic investment. As long as the U.S. saves less than it invests, it will run a trade deficit, no matter its policies towards corruption etc. Here is the basic accounting identity:
EXPORTS - IMPORTS = SAVING - INVESTMENT

Anonymous said...

Social movements have enormous inertia.

Good luck with getting all those whiter people to give up on the stuff whiter people love nonsense ...

db said...

Worries about the trade deficit are entirely overblown. First off, its meaningless, because much of what the U.S. contributes to the world are high end, human capital intensive services--banking, R&D, marketing, entertainment, etc. These are not counted as exports in the trade deficite even though it is exported economic activity.

Secondly, even if it isn't meaningless and there really is a significant gap between what the world sells us and what we sell the world, it only means we are getting a bargain.

Sure, a deficit sounds bad, but the same phenomenon could be called a foreign investment surplus (its just the other side of the equation). In other words, the rest of the world has enough faith in our economy to give us real stuff in exchange for the opportunity to build up our capital stock, which makes us even more productive. Its a pretty sweet deal for us. Would that our trade deficit were even higher.

Jubilee Year said...

We may not need to deal with China as much as you think. The Chinese economy is going to get absolutely hammered by the GD2, probably they are in the worst position in the whole world, because they are heavily reliant on exports. The ChiCom gov't has been buying its people off with economic development, and as that house of cards falls, there is a strong possibility of civil unrest.

fang said...

anyone else notice a consistent pattern of products made in china circa 2002-2007 falling apart after very little use?

imo china strategy is the opposite of germany. china exports crap that does not stand the test of time. this is a result of the chinese culture apparently. but china is supposed to be the nation with the super long range planning right? was that another lie?

china appears to be a house of cards run by communist apparatchiks who actually don't know what the hell they are doing. their only economic strategy is to ruthlessly exploit hundreds of millions of cheap laborers. quality is not a priority in china. certainly not "job #1" in china. they are mercantilists after the quick buck and that is why their economy is imploding into a reap-what-you-sow black hole.

someone tell friedman that the earth is round. getting into bed with neo-communist china was the most amoral thing the usa ever did. that statement sounds like hyperbole today but just wait until china attacks the usa with weaponry based on american tech that was stolen in the 90's and 00's by a huge network of chinese agents who paid off american greed bags.

the historical record says that the uber greedy china gold rush marked the new american era: a mammon-worshiping post-christian civilization in catastrophic decline.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the reason hyper-inflationary period for the Weimar Republic was not curtailed earlier, was because it made German goods cheaper and thus increased exports.

Bill said...

Well, the problem here is that there is a push to remake China based on American legal standards. I'm skeptical as to the chances for success, but there are a whole lot of smart people who have devoted their careers to this.

Guys who have real world experience with business in China tend to think it's an impossible task, but never underestimate the perseverance of fanatical academics (with tenure). I have to admit, the academics are pretty persuasive -- especially when your grade counts on a proper interpretation of the material.

As for me, I rather like the fine banquets and zuotai xiaojie (tableside girls), but I could do without the karaoke. China's a fine place to do business, and it seems, on an intuitive level, that it would be a shame to bring in the lawyers, but they are hell-bent on intrusion.

I suppose they're kind of like Mongols with laptops.

As for Joe Schmoe:

I'm a sleazy lawyer, but even I have some standards, and the situation really bothered me. I decided that I was willing to take them out to dinner -- that's just customary -- but if they were expecting me to take them to strip clubs, on shopping sprees, or to Vegas for a gambling junket, they could forget it. The client was some huge state-owned manufacturing conglomerate, and I really wanted their business, but that's just not how I roll, so to speak.

Did they take you out for a good time in Beijing or Shanghai? If so, what's really the problem with taking them out here in the states?

Ethics violations? Attorney client issues? See, it isn't about morality; it's about rules here. Is that really so much better? Watch how American attorneys behave when they don't have to worry about these things and any argument about who's better behaved evaporates immediately.

Yeah, watch your back and all, but don't pretend that you're on a higher plane.

Anonymous said...

"Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" my ass. That has to be the latest do-gooder,navel gazing crap from liberals. They want the money but they don't want to know where its coming from. Its practically imposible to do bussines in the FE, ME, Russia or Africa without bribing. Liberals are such f hypocrites.

jody said...

good. now, let me explain how the trade deficit is mainly about oil. remember the US was importing about 14 million barrels per day, and let's say those are $100 barrels. that's $1.4 billion dollars PER DAY of buying oil. 365 days a year x $1.4 billion per day = $511 BILLION DOLLARS IN OIL. the US oil bill actually reached $600 billion 1 or 2 years ago.

the US trade deficit runs about $750 billion a year these days, so as you can plainly see, most of it is for oil.

as previously stated, the US produces about 7 million barrels of oil per day. this is down from a peak production of about 12 million barrels per day back in the 1970s. since then, oil production in the US has declined at a steady rate AND WILL NEVER GO BACK TO 12 MILLION BARRELS PER DAY, EVER, NO MATTER WHAT. let alone 19 million barrels, or whatever figure would be required for the US to supply all of it's own oil at it's current rate of consumption.

note that it does not matter how much oil is in the ground, or appears to be in the ground. all that matters is the rate at which it can be extracted. the bakken formation, for instance, may potentially contain billions of barrels of oil - but it can't be extracted at any practical rate. getting oil out of tar sands and oil shale is like sipping the ocean through a straw. the RATE is what matters, not how much liquid is down there. supplying new york city with water by sucking it from the ocean through a straw is useless. likewise for oil. the united states has already run through all the easy to access, cheap to produce oil.

so, all the republicans who think america can drill it's way to oil independence are very, very wrong. they couldn't be more wrong about this stuff. it's simple math. america just uses way more oil everyday than it can produce.

so, the idea is to replace the oil with some other form of energy. which is what the incoming secretary of energy wants to do. but, it won't happen within the next 4 years, or even 8 years. so, i don't know what these guys really think the plan is.

especially since immigration brings in an additional 1 to 2 million consumers per year. how much oil will americans consume in 2020? that's a lot of mexicans we'll be adding in 10 years and every single one of them will be using gasoline. one of the best ways to mitigate energy consumption is to STOP GROWING.

headache said...

Anon sed:
"This may be an even dumber potential disaster than Iraq - at least with Iraq we had the opportunity to seize their oil for our own economic benefit."

I disagree. Iraq was mainly seen as a disaster because the MSM and Dems wanted it that way. In fact only 4000 US soldiers got killed. That's nothing compared to Vietnam or WWII. In return you guys got a handle on lots of oil. If your pols had any sense they would cut the US free from that well of corruption and usurpation which is Saudi Arabia and instead pump in Iraq. Bush's mistake was the democratization and saving Israel’s ass nonsense instead of leveraging the gains in Iraq; Or just getting out like the MSM and Dems wanted and leaving the resulting mess splattered all over their faces. He was trying to “do the right thing” in his eyes and the MSM and Dems were playing him for it. This is politics right down their alley, easy, cheap with max returns. The result of this is Obama in the WH.

If the MSM want Darfur to be a success they are just going to make it one. Period. And AQ is not going to be strong in Sudan because Arabs generally make better fighters than blacks. So the US will have lower losses in Sudan. If they play their cards right they can get the southern Sudanese animists/Christians to join and use them as cannon fodder. And then there is lots of oil there too.

The problem conservatives have is that since WWII liberals get to decide what is a success or not, irrespective of what cuts on the ground floor. Their medium is the MSM.

dearieme said...

"U.S. firms are widely considered to operate with higher ethics than Chinese and Western competitors"; glad to see that American powers of preposterous self-congratulation haven't yet entered the depression.

Anonymous said...

You can't do that. The Whiter People would never stand for it.

jody said...

of course it is also true that every year, the economic profile of the US changes from a first world nation more into that of a third world nation. the balance between exports of technology and finished goods declines a bit next to exports of raw materials. imports of technology and finished goods incline a bit. so in financial terms the trade deficit with china, japan, germany, and south korea is almost as big of a long term problem as the oil bill. the oil MUST come in, the stuff from china doesn't have to.

here's a great example of just how badly gw bush and the rest of the people running america are doing. wind the clock back a month to when GM and chrysler were begging for federal money. the republicans in congress were against it, but not gw bush. he was now in favor, and helped GM and chrysler get their bailout of taxpayer bucks. loans they called them, but GM will never pay them back.

anyway, the point was to stimulate the national economy right? well, what does GM decide to do? in a competition to see which company supplies the battery for their hail mary, save the company vehicle, the chevrolet volt, general motors selected LG chem, a south korean company. LG chem will now manufacture the battery for the chevrolet volt at their factory in south korea, and ship them to michigan for packaging. meanwhile, the american company who wanted the contract, A123, got nothing. amount of american economy stimulation: 0.

so the bailout worked EXACTLY BACKWARDS. it's even worse than that, of course, because the united states still does not have any native battery industry capable of making the batteries for any of these electric vehicles. none! understand this: the united states literally cannot make these batteries! every battery still has to be imported.

30 years ago, the cutting edge technology would have been produced in an american factory, then sent to south korea for the low wage, low skill job of packaging and assembly. now it's the reverse, with the less intelligent, less educated americans doing the grunt work. this is how the entire automobile factory system works now in the south. the foreigners come in and build factories for dumb americans to work in.

this process will continue as the federal government replaces baby boomers with mestizos. mestizos have a 50% high school graduation rate and are excellent at filling service industry jobs for $9 an hour. meanwhile, chinese men to go college and become scientists and engineers.

who will make all the cars in 20 years? not general motors. in fact, we might as well call them "government motors" now. the united states better hold on to the semiconductor industry with an iron fist. should most semiconductors move to east asia, say goodnight.

headache said...

Jody has some valid points. I did not realise just how dependent the US is on oil imports. I'm sure Europe is even worse.

Jody sed:
"so, the idea is to replace the oil with some other form of energy. which is what the incoming secretary of energy wants to do. but, it won't happen within the next 4 years, or even 8 years. so, i don't know what these guys really think the plan is."

It will happen eventually, but it requires a lot of nitty-gritty work. The kind of nitty-gritty work those stupid Japs and Gerries are always ridiculed for. Doing calculations, building models, testing prototypes, running them on a larger scale in town, rerun the same cycle year in and year out. For decades. The US, being the US, thinks it can just get all its smart-asses from Harvard and MIT and they do this in 6 months, because they are a proposition nation and what not. Nah. This time the Japs and Gerries are the ones who will produce the new electrical cars and low-consumption diesel trucks.

If only we could get all this PC crap off our backs we could get out of the stranglehold that that rotten pit Saudi holds on us in about 10 years. Then watch the moolahs get all sweaty when they can no longer fund the terror, pay off their local radicals or afford enough weaponry to keep the Iranians and Israeli's at bay. I would love that day to come around.

Anonymous said...

Don't assume enforcement won't benefit America in the end. The foreign corporations in China are influential. Because they must follow more stringent laws, the Chinese government has been forced to fix its act when dealing with large international companies. By introducing better practices and curtailing the power of the corrupt elites, I see a healthier Chinese and American geopolitical relationship.

Anonymous said...

In these politically-correct times, one factor thast is curious by its absence is how many business deals are conducted in the brothel and not the restaurant?
Most Americans will be shocked by that statement.But I have it on good authority that in certain parts of east Asia and Europe (yes, Europe), the brothel is always the premises of choice for meeting clients, forging realtionships, corporate entertainment and cutting business deals.
Yes, I know that this seems bizzare to many readers (especially Americans who have been raised since birth to elevate women), but believe me it occurs.
You see the brothel in these countries) has always been seen as the ultimate in 'male-bonding' environments ('the men who f*ck together, stay together)plus it is seen as the ultimate 'boys-club' and most exciting venue for a 'fun' night out.

Anonymous said...

RKU and Mr. Anon,

If the US is so overwhelmingly at the top of the list of most corrupt countries, why doesn't it do worse in the Transparency International surveys?

Anonymous said...

jody is just flat out wrong about many things, but let's just pick one.

LG Chem has a subsidiary in Troy. A123 manufactures its lithium-ion batteries in China and was going for the deal with a German partner. This is not "a korean company" vs. "an american company" in the sense Jody implied.


http://www.mlive.com/naias/index.ssf/2009/01/why_gm_selected_korean_manufac.html

LG Chem and its Troy-based subsidiary, Compact Power, won the contract over a competing team made up of A123Systems Inc. of Massachusetts and German auto supplier Continental. The cells will be assembled into packs produced at a new GM facility in Michigan, the automaker said Monday....


A123, which currently produces its lithium-ion cells in China, last week announced it plans to apply for federal grant money to build a production facility in Southeast Michigan.

Anonymous said...

RE: US OIL

Plenty of oil off the E and W coasts. However we can't drill for that. The possiblity of ruining someone's view is too great, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

The spot price of oil today is $37/barrel. If the US imports 14 million barrels/day, that comes to about $189 billion/year. The trade deficit should be getting a lot better.

Anonymous said...


so, all the republicans who think america can drill it's way to oil independence are very, very wrong. they couldn't be more wrong about this stuff. it's simple math. america just uses way more oil everyday than it can produce.


Ahhh, a simpleton who can do simple math.

You tell 'em, bro.

Bob Dodge said...

I don't know if this post was intended to be a joke. If not, it's about the most myopic take on the public policy underlying the FCPA I've ever read. We don't tolerate U.S. citizens or companies engaging in bribery because the practice corrodes both the U.S. economy and that of the host country.

Widespread corruption in places like China, Indonesia, and Nigeria retards economic development in those countries and helps keep hundreds of millions of people trapped in poverty. U.S. multinationals that pay bribes in third world countries are never able to compartmentalize their sleazy business practices. The sales manager who built his career on kickbacks paid in Jakarta eventually finds himself doing the same thing in Peoria.

Svigor said...

I'm sorry, but this kind of nit-picky stuff should be up to the Chinese to police.

It's completely friggin nuts. My jaw dropped when I read that American authorities are at all concerned about American businesses bribing Chinese businesses.

Who gives a damn? Does ANYBODY REALLY think us venal westerners are going to corrupt the shiny Chinese? Bribery's how they get things done over there for God's sake.

They should busy themselves rooting out Chinese stealing our defense secrets and bribing our politicians.

Maybe these American companies should sue the government for profiling them ("we do business with Chinese companies, so these racist bureaucrats assume we're doing business with criminals.").

testing99999 said...

Steve, you've got it all wrong.

The US must take an international police role in a world full of nukes. From bribery, a commie government proceeds very naturally to picking pockets. From there it progresses to grand larceny, then to assault and battery, then to murder and finally to detonating suitcase bombs in the Pentagon.

Don't post on subjects you don't understand.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, I know that this seems bizzare to many readers (especially Americans who have been raised since birth to elevate women), but believe me it occurs.
You see the brothel in these countries) has always been seen as the ultimate in 'male-bonding' environments ('the men who f*ck together, stay together)plus it is seen as the ultimate 'boys-club' and most exciting venue for a 'fun' night out."

Gross! I'm probably not alone in the Steveo/scientific sphere that reacts to something like this by immediately wondering if my supply of carried sanitizer is adequately stocked.

Americans and other Westerners "elevate women" because of our Judeo-Christian heritage. If you believe Mencius Moldbug, and I do, Progressivism is the child of Brahmin WASPs. It's my opinion that liberal feminism is a bastard child of Christianity.

Matt Parrott said...

It's kind of pointless to talk about what we need to do about economic policy when we don't have any access to it or control of it. The rest of it is simply a matter of applying the national interests in the least intrusive and least ideological way practical.

Ronduck said...

If only we could get all this PC crap off our backs we could get out of the stranglehold that that rotten pit Saudi holds on us in about 10 years. Then watch the moolahs get all sweaty when they can no longer fund the terror, pay off their local radicals or afford enough weaponry to keep the Iranians and Israeli's at bay. I would love that day to come around.

Or we could have been truly ruthless and we could have invaded Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq. As part of an invasion we could have flattened Mecca, and carried away the meteorite that is stored in the Kaaba. We could have confiscated all of their assets held in the US, taken possession of the largest oil field in the world, and humiliated Islam by having infidel tanks in Mecca. We could have gone even further by having Israel participate, thereby having Jews in Mecca.

The problem conservatives have is that since WWII liberals get to decide what is a success or not, irrespective of what cuts on the ground floor. Their medium is the MSM.

Since I'm playing pretend, imagine if we sold the government's spectrum holdings, putting the TV networks out of business, since they lease federal property to broadcast over. The spectrum could even be used to provide better internet access here in the US.

headache said...

Yea Ronduck, that would be a spectacle.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Or we could have been truly ruthless and we could have invaded Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq. As part of an invasion we could have flattened Mecca, and carried away the meteorite that is stored in the Kaaba. We could have confiscated all of their assets held in the US, taken possession of the largest oil field in the world, and humiliated Islam by having infidel tanks in Mecca. We could have gone even further by having Israel participate, thereby having Jews in Mecca.

Why bother with that? There is a much simpler way to defang the Saudis:

Tax gas until its about $3.50 a gallon. Look at how America's consumption habits changed with gas at that price level. No need for any tanks, troops or airplanes. Even Europe would love us for saving the environment.

As a bonus, you defang Russia, Venezuela and Iran all at the same time.

I am Lugash.

Start now said...

"How to increase exports"

We should start by exporting massive numbers of illegal aliens.

Make illegals our #1 export and our broken economy will come back together faster. in other words do exactly the opposite of what has happened in california.

We need an immigration timeout in order to shore up the middle class. the 40 year period after the 1920's immigration act produced the best wages for working people.

Open borders is union busting on a national scale.

Ronduck said...

headache said...

Yea Ronduck, that would be a spectacle.

I doubt Obama cares about the trade deficit, so speculating about what he will do about it is just wishful thinking. So I added my own wishful thinking. Not Operation Barbarossa, but certainly Thinking Big.

Heck, once we're done in Saudi Arabia, we can then plan regime change in South Africa! In fact, there is an opening in the Ronduck administration for a Secretary or War...

Ronduck said...

Secretary of War! Damn!

Ronduck said...

Anonymous said...

If you believe Mencius Moldbug, and I do, Progressivism is the child of Brahmin WASPs.

Right on, now explain Ted Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys realize that most of America's oil comes from the Western Hemisphere? Our main sources of oil are ourselves, Mexico, Canada and Venezuela.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

RKU and Mr. Anon,

If the US is so overwhelmingly at the top of the list of most corrupt countries, why doesn't it do worse in the Transparency International surveys?"

I never wrote any such thing. I never said that our government is among the most corrupt, which it clearly isn't - only that it is corrupt, which it clearly is.

AJ said...

Speaking of eliminating the trade deficit by eliminating the oil import bill, why not eliminate oil use entirely?

Here's talk from Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. It's been a couple years since the Pentagon sponsored his peer-reviewed study... but it's doable, profitable (as opposed to cheap or zero cost) and requires almost no political capital.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/amory_lovins_on_winning_the_oil_endgame.html

Best part -- a good chunk of it is already underway... but speeding it up with a few tweaks would be better.

Anonymous said...

Lugash is simply economically illiterate.
Doesn't he/she realise that if the USA (and USA alone, and not its trade competitors) put such a big tariff on imported oil it would give a massive competitive advantage to is more sensible competitors (in terms of a general lower price level), who then proceed to produce more efficently, thusly destroying America's industrial base even more.

Svigor said...

Progressivism is the child of Brahmin WASPs. It's my opinion that liberal feminism is a bastard child of Christianity.

Oh boy, here we go again. Steve, your site is becoming a nest of anti-Liberalites and anti-WASPites. Is this the kind of blog you want to run? One swarmed by racists and conspiracy theorists?

Normal people will run from this kind of wackiness in droves. Just watch, any day now your comments and page views will drop to zero, as punishment for your heresy.

I'm a WASP, where's my check from the WASP global domination conspiracy?

Now that the subject has been broached, the WASP and Liberal anti-Defamation leagues will be swarming. Oh wait, wrong group. Never mind, situation normal.

Svigor said...

Right on, now explain Ted Kennedy.

Oh boy, we all know what comes next. Hordes of philo-Irish, reflexively defending their own, slinging straw men, non-sequiturs, and ad hominem abuse.

Oh wait, wrong group, again. My bad!

On a more serious note, obviously Kennedy's only one exception, and the point is to look at all the surname's involved. No matter who birthed it, it's clearly been adopted and raised by the usual suspects. Jews started the NAACP, but it's clearly a black institution now. (The origins (stated or factual) are interesting, yes).

Ronduck said...

Here is another idea for eliminating the oil deficit: synthesizing fuel from ammonia. This would require several steps, each of which has a few obvious areas for improvement.

1. first we would need a lot hydrogen, but instead of making it from electrolysis, we could instead make it using the sulfur-iodine process which requires less energy than electrolysis.

2. We would need a large supply of nitrogen, which would be supplied from conventional sources. The large air liquification and separation plants needed could use better compression technologies to save energy and therefore money. one such example would be to use a standing wave compressor.

3. The ammonia can be produced using the normal high pressure method, but I think that there is room for a reduction in the amount of pressure and energy the normal process uses. If I remember correctly the normal ammonia process does not use a catalyst to bring together the reactants, but if we used a catalyst combined with a neutron source we could weaken the N=N (triple?) bond and we could combine nitrogen and hydrogen at lower pressures. The catalyst would bring the reactants together at a site that also has a neutron source. We could also investigate a new thermochemical reaction like the SI process that produces hydrogen to produce ammonia.

The whole point of fixing vast quantities of ammonia hand is to use the fixed nitrogen as a feedstock for producing a nitrogen based fuel.

3. A search of the chemical database for all nitrogen based chemicals that have the same joules per liter as either gasoline or diesel should immediately be started to see what chemicals are possible as a final product. General Motors found freon this way, by simply specifying what properties they needed in a refrigerant, searching the literature, picking a good candidate, and then mass producing it. I chose a nitrogen based fuel since ammonia seems like a good feedstock for a chemical process, and IIRC will decompose/react as needed. Also, a nitrogen based fuel uses the ammonia process I dreamed up above, perhaps the best reason of all.

If the chemical we desire to produce eats though certain rubbers or plastics used in vehicles, they can simply be replaced as part of the changeover. But if we have a choice of chemicals then we should pick one that can be used in existing gas or diesel engines. In fact, any fuel we choose to produce has a far greater chance of being successfully commercialized if it is compatible with existing pipelines, tanks, engines and pumps. The new fuel could be blended with gasoline in order to stretch out our existing supplies. But once the changeover was made, our oil supplies here in the US could all be channeled into the chemical industry.

Once we have the feedstock in hand and know what output we need going from ammonia would be an easy job.

All of these steps should be powered by an onsite nuke, which would mean that such a fuel making process would finally achieve the dream of a nuclear powered car. Also, if I remember correctly various materials can be used to conduct, reflect and block neutrons, so an onsite reactor can also be used as a neutron source for the catalysts. This type of large project could also lead to the commercialization of nuclear catalysts. link link

Not an invasion of Saudi Arabia, but still I like it.

The Reticulator said...

I agree with Lugash, so long as there is a countervailing tax cut elsewhere, e.g. in the FICA tax. It needs to be net-zero.