29 thoughts on “Open Thread, 04/25/2020 Brown Pundits”

  1. i feel if king jon un dies (is dead!?) US will move in quickly and neuralise the regime.
    they may not wait for his sister to be the next queen of pongyang.

  2. Like its numbers on COVID-19 infections and deaths, China’s official economic statistics are carefully massaged to further the regime’s political goals. But there is plenty of evidence that China’s economy is much smaller and has grown more slowly than the claims of its official data. Its long-term growth performance is inferior to those of present-day Asian liberal-democracies like Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. It may not even be “the largest economy in the world.” And it will be harder hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 than its official statistics will ever admit. For more see my post on “The Chinese Emperor’s New Economic Clothes,” available here: https://naimisha_forest.silvrback.com/the-chinese-emperor-s-new-economic-clothes

    1. A few points:

      1) Opponents of Chinese story should stop moving the goalpost, it looks silly. First people talked about just GDP, then Nominal GDP, now GDP per capita, then it’s navy is weak, it’s R&D is not enough, it’s culture is repressive, it’s air is bad. What we are doing is nitpicking and splitting hairs on statistics that suit our desires (that somehow China should be weak). This does not help us and every few years China shocks everyone with hard real stuff, just look at things like the amount of steel they produce. Their steel sheets are 10% cheaper in Rural India than the most competitive Indian company’s products. They are horribly and decisively beating us at almost everything, we should learn from them rather than bitch about them.
      I have been reading ‘China will have a hard fall’ kind of articles since atleast 2005 and nothing of that sort happens. They are winning, we should adapt.

      Another example of a jealous loser people nitpicking are Pakistanis who do this with India. ‘Oh India is going down’, ‘Oh India is no longer Secular’, ‘Look at the lynching’, blah blah blah. Whatever suits them is adopted however statistically inconsistent it may be even by ‘ educated ‘ people. In my head they are losers and with respect to China if we resort to this rhetoric we are losers too. No good ever comes out of this. We should focus on how we can win and I am yet to receive any answers of questions like how can we beat(atleast compete) them in manufacturing, how can we bring our abysmal average IQ scores up and so on.

      2) Even if the economy is 20%smaller there is nothing to celebrate. Last time I checked they are 5 times! our size, 20% less they are still 4 times. And for Indian Americans rooting for America being equal to China currently just wait 5 more years and they will beat them anyways. This Markov chain is converging on Chinese victory, unless underlying weights are changed we will loose, it’s just a matter of time.

      3) Who gives a shit about Taiwan, Japan and Korea. They are not wasting a second on us and we shouldn’t be wasting a second on them. If they get rich do we get to reap any benefits? Do the hundreds of millions of Indians(+Bangladeshi+Lankans+Nepalis+… everyone in SAARC except Pakistan) get any substantial benifit? We have no reason to cheer for any of them. We are in a singles match not a team game against China, and they are hammering us and laughing at us.

      4) They won at Olympics, they are building jet liners, soon enough they will start winning more Nobel prizes and we will be left bitching and cribbing and complaining. Eventually this will lead to lower self confidence like we currently have vis-a -vis Gora people. Act! brothers and sisters act! there is only finite amount of time available. Somewhere in 2060 India alone would be 1.5 times as populous as China, we have a demographic wave in our favor we should use it.

      1. Just look at Shanghai and then look at Mumbai. There is no comparison, look at their trains and then look at the hunk of shit Indian railways where we travel by sitting next to smelly toilets on the floor.

        I have been reading about the starting research package they give to US return professors and it blew my mind. They are doing the right things and we should learn/copy/steal/adapt to pull up our own people.

  3. “ Its long-term growth performance is inferior to those of present-day Asian liberal-democracies like Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.”

    Not sure these countries had fully transitioned to liberal democracies during their period of rapid growth…. I recognize that you mention ‘present-day’…. China became more illiberal just when the whole world expected it to do the opposite…. China takes a great leap backward ever so often, and 2020s may be that backward decade coming up.

    Nice blog…. wait for the Chinese leadership to ‘game’ the night light now!

  4. Yes, the “China will decline” crowd has been saying that since the Gordon Chang books and op-eds in the early-2000s. It just looks dumb now.

    I don’t think China will rule the world. But they’re not going to decline, or have a new Warlord’s Era. China will be a force to be reckoned with until the sun becomes a Red Giant.

    1. How things stand today at the very least they will survive much longer than India would. No Nepali, Bangladeshi, Lankan identifies as an Indian even though they most certainly are. During my time in Bhutan I experienced open shaming/ discrimination against poor Biharis who do all the work there while Bhutanis sit back and relax on handouts. Even Bhutan/Maldives gives no fucks about common Indians or even see themselves as the same-people. Our territorial integrity, resources, economic power, HR potential (IQ, irreligious-ness, meritocracy, classlessness etc) is substantially lower than China. There are endless op-eds in Sri Lankan, Nepali and Bangladeshi newspapers most of the times taking unjustified shots at India. We have no regional integration or sense of pride in being the same people with everyone (except Bangladesh) willing to become China’s sugar baby.

      We must act differently to win, make allies amongst our kin in the region Bangladesh, Myanmmar and Sri-Lanka are the obvious ones next in line. At the very least experiment with open borders+free transit+same currency+same/similar laws+joint policy/parliamentarian panels and bring together everyone who can contribute to our collective development. Things like South Asia University, Bangladesh Bhavan are so good, we should do 100s more projects like this. These are some ways to ensure long term survivability, peace and prosperity.

      I know these are naive ideas but not being creative is not exactly helping us either.

      1. China basically bought Sri Lanka, and it also has the whip hand against us in Bangladesh and Burma, though has been much less successful in outright buying them. I will say that events in the Maldives went in our favor.

        Fortunately, Japan/Taiwan are China’s irreconcilable enemies. Vietnam is tilting in that direction as well.

        We’ll never beat them. But we don’t have to beat them, we just have to not lose. The Chinese believe (with reason) that we are a sideshow, and they would prefer to focus their ire across the sea. They are unlikely to all-in against us.

        1. @HM Brough

          Even I think that we should wait out Chinese ire. All new super powers do stupid things and rough up neighboring midgets. I would rather have Vietnam/Japan/Taiwan get the first beating from China than us. But the only way to ensure long term peace is to carry a big stick economically and militarily.

      2. Your observation and recommendation are odds with each others.

        The whole issue with the surrounding countries is that they do not want to associate with India. Period. No amount of money/resource spent will change that. We produce too big a shadow and are too close to them.

        Its time for India to look elsewhere for its allies and leave the others to chart their own future.

        P.S The only thing which makes me cringe harder than “Pakistan are Indus people” is the whole “We are all same people in subcontinent” . No bro we ain’t. They have moved on. We should too.

        1. I might be wrong but I think Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh (in the same order) are not lost causes. India has behaved unjustifiably against Nepal in the past and Bangladesh is making sincere overtures for some time. I have moved on on Pakistan long ago, it might as well be a big mountain range for all I care.

          1. Bhutan is not a democracy, its like believing that since the ruler of UAE loves Modi, Arabs love Modi. Bangladesh is one *fair* election away from going semi Pakistan vis-v India.

            We essentially put Marxists in power in Nepal. And they turned towards China. And we act all surprised . And the people who did that are turfed around in India’s lit fest circuit as modern day Kissingers.

            That is the long and short of our foreign policy.

          2. Bhutanis don’t hate us they just look down on us as inferior. I have had some opportunity to talk with bottom rung (failed ex-monks) to the top rung people there (Ministerial Secretary level) and my (largely reliable) perception was that all of them consider Indians as dirty/poor/uncouth but definitely don’t hate us. Women and Men are generally open to mingle/date us but we have a poor reputation of being sleazy and lecherous. Almost anyone with any talent works/studies in India (same is the case with Nepal) so no evidence of ‘hatred’ just casual racism/disrespect.

            India fucked up big in Nepal on too many occasions so a reaction is expected. I have never understood Bangladesh, they are sane, calculative (being smart, lazy Bengalis) and indigenous enough to behave yet emotional(“Cholbe naa”) and communal (being Indian Muslims) enough to fuck everything up. Bengalis laced with Islam are a difficult people to predict because of the intensity/frenzy rallying cry of Islam is capable of generating.

        2. One point that has bothered me is that of building train tracks. China builds tracks in Africa. Why does India(jointly) not build a east to west rail in Nepal’s Terai? Already Delhi-Kolkata routes are over saturated and land acquisition is a pain in India. Same argument for joining (extending) the rail network of Bangladesh, these guys are not harming us and we will all benefit. Bangladesh is leasing land for extending Agartala’s airport. People are willing to cooperate, they are not begging us nor are they becoming China’s lap dogs. India should treat them with respect and equality they deserve. Even if they want to take their own course where exactly are they going when they are surrounded by India on three sides? As long as neighbors are not rabid (or over smart in case of SriLanka) we should go the extra mile. Nepal, Bangladesh will never be prosperous without India and they know that too.

  5. Agree with HM,Bhim. All the comparisons which make China looks somewhat bad are bit part islands having population less than Shanghai. The same comparisons are also made vis-v India as well.

    All these comparison are result of innate desire of seeing liberal democracy triumph. That ain’t gonna happen. All superpowers (barring one) became superpowers before becoming liberal democracies. Most of the Asian tigers achievements are under their most brutal regimes. Why E-Asia, Pakistan used to decisively beat India during the Ayub years.

    China is a clear 2nd. But i would pause to say it can beat/equal America in the near or mid term though. America has been in cruise control from the 90s , we have seen what China is capable of, but we haven’t seen the full extent of American power yet.

  6. i feel we should grow at our pace. chinese got a huge leg up from US. now they will try to cut to size. we should take chinese investment and as such chinese will also not be very welcome in the west.

  7. chinese got a huge leg up from US. now they will try to cut to size.

    what the fuck is that supposed to mean?

    all these shit poor countries always attribute the success of successful countries to the US. guess what, the us doesn’t do charity!

    1. i agree that there was no charity, but access to US its markets and schools certainly helped.

  8. well, what was touted as socialism was more of stateism. yes, india was more leaning to russia than america.
    investment by the state either in independent india or by the erst while rulers ( mysore, baroda, travancore, hyderabad), had a lot of bearing of getting advantage when the markets opened up.
    the private sector at independence was not in a position to put that kind of money ..

  9. China like every emerging country has/had a short window to take advantage of the demographic transition to zero population…. these include good human policies and strong feedback mechanisms. We know that the US, Western Europe and East Asia minus China did fairly well in that short window. Did China also do as well? They are already at the end of this once in a 1000 year opportunity….
    India and most of South Asia are two decades behind China in this demographic transition, give it time…. Sri Lanka is ahead of India, and Bangladesh is just behind South India but ahead of North India. Pakistan will not be lumped with Iran but Afghanistan in this demographic transition.
    My observations are that China and its 5-year communist style planning cycles relies on more feed forward relative to feedback mechanisms that results in efficient production but inefficient consumption. It also needs to strengthen patent laws and open up to integrate with the world’s business process innovations. These are really key to its future. It is focusing on infrastructure BRI and with Huawei focusing on the digital highway, but will it also succeed in transforming the world with its ideas? WeChat although somewhat different is considered better than Twitter and Facebook combined, but has not broken through the world market…. same with Alibaba….this will be a test for the next 10 years- there are going to be many more business process innovations in all sectors…. will China want to join or will it be left out….? India is not only joining, it is creating many of these innovations. These innovations use behavioral mechanisms to elicit and optimize feedback loops.

  10. I did not get (again) the answer on my recent question – how Asia got its name or what is the meaning of the name. There was one fair attempt to answer the previous name of the river Ind.

    Well, the pundits can continue in isolation to study the previous questions. There is another one. Recently, we wrote that the cross became a symbol of Christianity when the wife of the Roman-Serbian Emperor Constantine the Great, Jelena, visited the holy land and touched the remains of the cross where Jesus was crucified. Since then, this day is celebrated in the whole Christian world (The Exaltation of the Holly Cross).

    The question – what was the symbol of Christianity before that?

  11. The central slogan of the world press is “The world will never be the same after the virus corona”. In general, we know of two pandemics that have completely reshaped the world.

    These are, first and foremost, the “Justinian plague” which, in the 6th c.AD, paved the way for the worldwide expansion of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the so-called Black Death, which undermined the power of Christian Europe, creating the necessary conditions for the beginning of the Renaissance and Reformation. The symbolic picture, however, will not be complete unless we have some important facts in mind.

    The first – the “Roman Apocalypse”, or a series of terrible events and events that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar and almost ended with the death of Rome – was followed by a pandemic. “Throughout the year after the death of Caesar, the sun was pale and without air – the heat coming from him was insignificant and powerless. There was a kind of darkness and heaviness in the air … The bread (wheat) faded prematurely, was leafless, and was dying from a cold environment, “Plutarch wrote.

    At the same time, catastrophes were pouring into Rome one after another. After the passing of the comet – the messenger of disasters – came a devastating flood. Water rose to the very temple of Venus and made homeless thousands of Roman citizens. Behind the flood, famine prevailed. Behind the famine – an exterminating plague …The last and fourth rider of the apocalypse was the Civil War, which lasted for two decades.

    There has been another, symbolic but rarely mentioned pandemic in history, and yet closely recorded in the Bible. It was so-called Philistine plague, which struck the enemies of Israel after returning the Ark of the Covenant as a trophy. The first Book of Kings (Chapter 5) tells how the Philistines (circa 1200 BCE) brought the Ark as a trophy captured from the Jews to the city of Azot, which was soon struck by the plague.

    (MT – Philistines were Serbs who in 12th c. BC came to today’s Israel. Last year, the whole world media reported that was discovered a Philistinian ancient city of Ashkelon where king David found a refuge. World newspapers reported that Philistines (with European genes!!?) came from today’s Greece before Greeks lived there. Only Serbs lived there but media stopped stating this explicitly. Goliath and Dalila were Philistines, Samson was a Jew).

    But the first precisely recorded history of the pandemic was the “Justinian plague”, which spread throughout the territory of the Roman Empire from 531 to 589 and, with its destructive consequences, recalled the events in Rome at the touch of the ancient and new era.

    Like the first “Roman Apocalypse”, this was accompanied by celestial signs, natural disasters, droughts, famines and floods. Like the first apocalypse, this “divine execution” was preceded by an unusual eclipse of the sun, which lasted for 526 years. In Constantinople in 532, Nick’s uprising was erected, caused by the struggle of the capital’s political parties, which almost turned the city into ruins.

    In the 542 AC Constantinople was hit by a plague and a devastating earthquake. Strong tectonic activity from Constantinople to Alexandria did not cease until 557, when the capital of Byzantium was shocked by the most powerful earthquakes, which its inhabitants experienced as the ‘end of the world’.

    The following year, the great plague returned to the city, and three years later (562-563), the capital was hit by a major drought, followed by bloody massacres. At the height of the epidemic, the plague, which affected both the eastern part of the empire (Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Antioch) and the western (Italy, Gaul, Germany, England) Christian countries, claimed hundreds and even thousands of lives every day (according to according to some information, 544 in Constantinople were dying up to 5000 people daily).

    It devastated entire areas. It is said that the plague, which appeared in the fifteenth year of Justinian’s reign, was especially strong in the year of his death (565).

    Later authors estimate that half a century’s pandemic has killed 50-100 million people. And the moral consequences for the empire were even more dire. People’s behavior during the plague is characterized by despair, panic and rejection of all moral norms. In other words, nothing better undermines the spiritual foundations of a state than an exterminating pandemic.

    The plague broke the spirit of the Byzantine Empire and undermined its power …

    The plague almost did not even touch the Arabian Peninsula, which contributed to the emergence and strengthening of Islam, which – if it were not for the plague – would be difficult to expand from the peninsula and grow into a world religion.

    It can therefore be said that this pandemic has reversed history.
    The “Black Death” lasted from 1346 to 1353 and affected – by various estimates – one third to two-thirds of the then-Christian world. The causes of the disaster are not known for sure.

    Even the medieval Europeans were fully convinced that the plague was a man’s work, so they blamed the Moor kings, Turkish sultans and local Jews for the Black Death, who faced a series of pogroms. The plague was followed by an exuberance of heretical cults, pagan teachings, and panicked eschatological expectations, followed – a century later – by the Reformation.

    The Black Death facilitated the expansion of the Ottomans to decimated Europe and led to a radical shift in the financial aristocracy. The dominance of Florentine banking families has remained forever in the past. Instead of Catholic banking houses, new-type of bankers emerged, who – over the next 100 years – moved decisively toward capitalism.

  12. The United States Embassy in Ukraine has removed from its website information about work in that country by US laboratories studying dangerous pathogens, said Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party. His party had previously asked the leadership of Ukraine to declare the operation of 13 to 15 US military biological laboratories in Ukraine. She stated that since the establishment of these laboratories, outbreaks of dangerous diseases have occurred in Ukraine. In particular, she warned that the largest among them – the International Science and Technology Center – is working on projects to create weapons of mass destruction.

    Afterwards, the US Embassy in Kiev announced that US biological laboratories in Ukraine were operating “legally and in accordance with the 1993 international agreement.” Medvedchuk said the US Embassy’s response was “a pathetic attempt to justify” the existence of so many US bio-laboratories and to cover up their actual activities.”

    The map of places with US bio-labs in Ukraine (btw US also has 10 biolabs in Asian Georgia):


  13. “India should be placed on religious freedom blacklist, US Panel says”

    The international community is taking notice of the increasingly communal environment in India. Let’s see how the Hindutvadis on this forum will spin this. I know that people are going to mutter about how the West is inherently biased against Hindus (and sold out to Muslims or something). But it should still be worrying that a country which was known for being pluralistic is now being seen as majoritarian.

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