Tag Archives: China

China’s New World Order: Development Capital or New Imperialism?

The news agency Reuters reported yesterday on China’s creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is supposed to rival the World Bank and the IMF. ¬† With China’s rising economic power, does the AIIB represent a viable alternative to underdeveloped countries in desperate need of capital or would it be a failure like its Western counterparts? It is being touted as China’s attempt at making obsolete the IMF and World Bank, but what would be the extent of its reach?

The AIIB is a brand new global development bank that promises to impose¬† less stringent metrics on its borrowing countries. Unlike the IMF and the Wold bank who insist on political reforms and privatization efforts from borrowers, China’s new world development bank is only asking for transparency.dollaryuan

The burning question that any reasonable banker would ask is what would the bank do in case of default? The IMF and the World Bank were an extension of colonial Orange dominance through finance. They collectively sentenced less developed countries to a life of perpetual debt and poverty. In my estimation, the AIIB won’t fare much better. Based on the¬† value systems that currently motivate China,¬† the bank will be an extension of RED Chinese dominance, i.e, in the case of default China will occupy the debtor country, loot its resources until the debt is paid off. China employs these tactics today in the form of exchange; resources for development. Unfortunately,¬† the values of Confucianism are not the motivating factors in China’s new expansionist policies. This is Red lenders and Red borrowers who understand each others’ language, and understand the brutal consequences of default.

In the past, similar, well-meaning,¬† world-changing efforts like this were announced to great fanfare, but¬† never materialize in the long term.¬† One might¬† ask the question of what happened to the BRICs bank that was supposed to save less fortunate countries when it was announced less than 2 years ago? 3 of its 4 founding countries are having significant economic challenges at home. Russia and Brazil’s economies are experiencing tremendous setbacks while India is dealing with its own issues of slow growth leaving China as the only brick left in the original BRICs bank.

It remains to be seem whether China’s slowdown will make the AIIB a reality. If it continues its reforms towards a free market economy, it will spell disaster for their short term goals (as I pointed out in this interview with Newsweek Magazine). Part of China’s movement towards a free market economy will involve Orange metrics and transparency that will¬† uncover Trillions in toxic and non-performing assets that have to be written off.¬† After China’s balance sheets reflect those new realities, I highly doubt they will still have the appetite for highly speculative lending to foreign countries without the traditional collateral. We’ll have to wait and see. The waiting, this time won’t be long.


All the Shoots Are Brown

The newest buzz phrase on Wall Street is “Green Shoots”.¬† Green shoots here and green shoots there and all one has to do is wait a day and watch them turn brown never to see the light of day again. So, why has there been so many false signs of economic recovery? The short answer is because we’ve exhausted the heck out of our business models. And what models they’ve been. It seems ¬†that in a systemic act of defiance the global economy looked at what a business sustainability models looked like, and went out and did exactly the opposite. This past decade will be remembered as the debt decade during which the Bigger is Better pathology combined with the lack of rules on debt repayment to cause the unprecedented collapse of capitalism in its current form. A bigger and better chrome-plated Hummer to replace your regular Hummer? No Problem. A bigger and better McMansion to replace your regular 5,000 square foot home? No Problem. A bigger credit card with a lower interest rate? No Problem. A bigger mortgage to refinance and buy the gold plated Hummer to replace the chrome one? No problem. You can’t pay for any of it now? NO PROBLEM! Honestly, how did we ever expect to sustain such vicious cycle of debt without any accountability what so ever.

In years past, such conspicuous consumption would have never been possible as the institutions that lend the money held the borrower responsible at one point. ¬†¬†But, this time around there was a completely new lending philosophy created by Wall Street that took from grandma, China and Dubai equally, and because no one was watching, it made outrageous promises on returns and took hefty fees for itself. This new model wasn’t concerned about paying grandma back because in a style 10 times more sophisticated than that of Madoff it used money from China to pay her off and with a straight face called the whole scheme “securitization”.

This went on for years. Meanwhile both consumers and producers got used to receiving “securitized” money without ever having to prove the need for it, which made them all lazy, fat, and complacent. Yes, subservient hosts to a killer parasite that infected almost all who used it. ¬†¬†So why are all the shoots brown? Two reasons:

1.       The green seen by analysts is fuzz growing on dying hosts, and like any parasite once the host is dead, the parasite turns brown the next day.

2.       The brain of this comatose patient who was created out of greed registers occasional electric activity and analysts exploit the heck out of it trying to convince us that he/she will walk again.

What Wall Street and the economists of today don’t understand is that in order for¬† “Green Shoots” to grow into sustainable plants, you have to take the time to plant and nurture the seeds first and not be the plant thief on the observation deck waiting to cut down the harvest that never came.