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  • America Outmatches China Economically (For Now)

    China announced its economic results for the first quarter this morning. GDP was said to grow a strong 9.7 percent, while consumer inflation reached a worrisome 5 percent. Frankly, most Americans shouldn’t care that much. China’s economic importance is being overstated now, and even its considerable economic potential is sometimes … More

    Why Do Protectionists Like High Oil Prices?

    America’s trade deficit rose in January. Many times an expanding trade deficit indicates an expanding economy and more American jobs. In January, this may not have been true. The single biggest factor in pushing the trade deficit higher in January was higher oil prices. Unfortunately, these may also push the … More

    China's New Five-Year Plan

    This year’s meetings of China’s National People’s Congress, which started March 5, roll out the 12th five-year plan covering 2011–2015. A flock of freshly minted experts assure us that five-year plans are sacrosanct: If the PRC makes a commitment in the plan, it will be met. Hardly. The PRC’s five-year … More

    China’s Treasury Bond Holdings Rose, Not Fell

    The Department of the Treasury today updated its figures on foreign holders of Treasury bonds. The update appears to show that Chinese holdings of Treasuries fell slightly last year. This is nonsense. The PRC accumulated $471 billion in surplus foreign exchange in 2010. Under Beijing’s own balance-of-payment rules, that money … More

    US-China Trade Numbers Reveal Political Risk

    Our trade deficit with China rose 20 percent to a record $273 billion last year, according to figures just released by the Commerce Department. For political reasons, this is a depressing, dangerous result. American exports to the PRC soared 32 percent in 2010, which is a welcome development. It is … More

    Corruption In India: People Or The State?

    Corruption is again dominating the news in India. Long-standing issues, such as broad attempts to avoid taxes, have simmered back to the surface and been joined by new accusations against the wealthy, major companies, and the government. Scandals have crossed finance, property, and telecom. Crimes have been committed and the … More

    Climate Change Is Still About Chinese Coal

    The climate change conference starting in Cancun Monday is doomed to failure. Many factors contribute to this, such as a healthy skepticism about how much should be spent to remediate climate change, but one alone guarantees failure: Chinese coal production and policy. When climate change soared up the American agenda … More

    America Declines To Lead

    20 people with very different backgrounds are unlikely to reach consensus on anything substantial. To forge such a consensus requires leadership. This week’s G-20 meetings produced nothing of substance, which is no surprise because the United States did not lead. First, let’s dispense with the idea that America can’t lead. … More

    Chinese Economic Data: More Tall Tales

    The Conference Board, a global research association, made a splash with their 2011 global outlook. The group’s most interesting claims are that emerging markets will drive “global growth” and that China could pass the U.S. on one measure of economic size as early as 2012. The Conference Board is making … More

    Upgrading Trade Transparency

    AFP reported late last week that Sprint Nextel will not consider bids from two Chinese companies for large telecom contracts due to national security concerns expressed to Sprint Nextel by the American government. This is probably the right outcome, but it is the wrong way to achieve that outcome. One … More