China’s Coming Debt Crisis

China’s Coming Debt CrisisThe problem of debt in China is not the bursting of a bubble. It is much worse. As the Middle Kingdom approaches the worldwide record of accumulated debt, productivity losses are becoming increasingly apparent. That is very bad news. Every economy relies of a certain amount of debt. That is an empirical fact. But China’s…

Book Review: The Dictator’s Dilemma

Book Review: The Dictator’s DilemmaIn 1993, there were about 8,700 “mass group incidents” in China over a wide variety of grievances ranging from corruption to forced evictions to human rights abuses to ethnic protests to environmental disaster to unpaid wages as well as nationalist protests against foreign countries engineered by the government. In 2015, according to the Chinese Academy…

Book Review: Saving China’s Banking System

Book Review: Saving China’s Banking SystemIn the middle of the first decade of this century, Chinese officials led by then-Prime Minister Zhu Rongji set out to clean up one of the world’s biggest financial messes, the state-run banking system. It is estimated that just the amount poured into the four biggest banks alone was RMB2.4 trillion (US$348.7 billion at current…

Historic Climate Pact Endangered

Historic Climate Pact EndangeredUS President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel the Paris Agreement” is one step closer to reality after leaders from the Group of 20 richest economies backtracked on pledges to allocate $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate change response. The trend will hit hardest in countries that are not only vulnerable to climate…

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too Late

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too LateDonald Trump is encountering a fusillade of criticism alleging that his approach to Asia is creating a vacuum that will be eagerly filled by Beijing.  But those making this argument would be much more honest if they acknowledged that part of the blame lies with Trump’s predecessor as well. That Barack Obama deserves some censure…

China Braces for ISIS impact

China Braces for ISIS impactIn Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for building a “great wall of iron” to shield his country against a possible infiltration by the Islamic State, or ISIS, lies China’s acknowledgement that it is as much vulnerable to this threat as any other country. That is forcing a clear change in Beijing’s traditional security concepts and…

Xenophobia Flourishes in Beijing

Xenophobia Flourishes in BeijingThe recent meeting of China’s National People’s Congress has thrown up a whole number of speeches preaching nationalism and anti-foreign sentiments. These are not policy – yet. But they indicate the direction in which China is continuing to move, regardless of its Trump-era claim to be a guardian of globalisation against trade barriers and economic…

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?The year 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for commercial airplane makers. Boeing and Airbus, makers of the “big jets,” will introduce new models this year, as will the two big makers of “regional” airliners Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. Into this busy mix come two Asian aircraft manufacturers, one in China…

A New Asian Great Game Gets Underway

A New Asian Great Game Gets UnderwayNot one but two new Silk Roads are being born from the ashes of the ancient trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent. In effect, a new Great Game – a term used to describe the 19th-century contest for political and diplomatic primacy between Britain and…

TPP’s Demise Doesn’t Mean China’s Outright Victory

TPP’s Demise Doesn’t Mean China’s Outright VictoryWith the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) now officially in limbo after President Donald Trump backed out, Asian markets are open for China to dominate. That is the analysis that has dominated the world media in depicting the post-TPP scenario. But for one thing, it fails to quantify the so-called domination and the myriad challenges…