Economic

The Real Force Changing China: Capitalism

Joint Russian and Chinese military exercises get all the media attention, but it is hard to think of a real world situation where the two countries would conduct actual military activities together. However, a new Chinese reality television show promoting entrepreneurship will almost certainly influence the real future of the country.

Sacrificing People for Causes

Strategy teaches you to look constantly for deception. What is visible is never as dangerous as what is hidden. For example, tyranny has killing millions of more people through starvation than through war. Starvation is the preferred method of tyrants maintaining their power because it is inexpensive and, just as importantly, because it can be hidden or disguised as something else rather than the abuse of power.

Only Transparent Democracies Can Govern

Strategy teaches that all power is based on the use of information. Sun Tzu's revelation was that information, not physical force, was the source of all power. What happens to the world where the average person gets increasing access to the free flow of information? We are seeing the answer in China. This article begins:
China’s rulers face an ongoing crisis of legitimacy. There is abundant evidence that very substantial discontent exists among its population.
It ends:

Positions of Slow-Motion Suicide

Lately I have been corresponding with a reader who thinks that the Muslim birthrate is the real issue in the War on Terror because of Europe's declining birthrate. I don't agree because Muslims will be welcome immigrants only as long as they don't support terror. Europe will find willing workers from Asia, especially India, and Latin America and stop Muslim immigration if they perceive Muslims as a threat.

Unity, not Size Is the Source of Strength

The recent breakup of America's largest union demostrates a fundemental idea in strategy: that unity is the source of strength and that unity falls apart after repeated failure. Of course, the decline of labor unions has been going on for a long time, since the beginning of the eighties when, interestingly enough, unionization started forcusing on the public sector (see chart).

A Major Shift in China

While there has been lots of bad news from China lately, including nuclear saber rattling, China made a major concession today to internationals markets, revaluing the yuan. This will probably raise the prices of our books in the future (printed in China), but it demonstrates the power of markets over nationalistic leaders as a nation become more integrated in the worldwide economy.

The New Europe and Old Ideas

Last night, the Charlie Rose show had on Jean-Maris Colombani, Editor of the French paper, Le Monde. The topic was the European Union and, given the show and the guest, the point of view was from that of the world's elites. Colombani said that one of the reasons for a United Europe was to act as counterbalance to the rising economic challenge of China and India. The money line, from Rose, was “while the French want a 35-hour work week, the Indians want a 35-hour work day.”

China: the Future "Europe" of Asia

One of the many ways Sun Tzu's work was far ahead of its time was in its disgust for bureaucrates and his observation about how bureaucrate destroy the competitive ability of an organization. (Note to self: change term "politician" to "bureaucrat" in future editions of translation to get closer to Sun Tzu's meaning.) A big part of Europe's current economic problems result from their general drift away from free market principles toward socialist programs that decreased its competitiveness.

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