The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Use the comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


How Gunpowder Ended the Middle Ages


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – May 29, 2022


  1. KT Chong

    According to geopolitical analyst and thinker Peter Zeihan, China is finished:

    China’s Last Year:

    How China is going to Vanish:

    Also, here’s how Russians actually feel about China — China: Friend or Foe?

    … can’t say I disagree with him.

  2. different clue

    My computer face-time is limited. Those sound like youtubes worth watching but it is doubtful I will be able to watch them.

    So I am left wondering . . . . if China can’t hold together, who can? If China can’t hold together, then probably the only “countries” which can will be tiny obscure islands or places too isolated for others to bother. Perhaps some Pacific Islands and Mongolia and so forth.

  3. brian wilder

    I do not understand Peter Zeihan’s argument.

    I have been in China. In many ways, China strains under the weight of their huge population. Population decline would be a relief in many respects.

    He doesn’t acknowledge this.

  4. KT Chong

    I do not agree with Peter Zeihan on everything, (i.e., I disagree with his optimism on US economy.) However, on China specifically, he has made many good points and backed up his arguments with charts, data, facts, figures, etc.

    I agree with Zeihan that China’s economy is imploding, and that this is the end for China’s “rise” (which will never come to pass.) There are too many signs that can’t be ignored. If you connect all the signs, they are pointing to an implosion is underway in China. The CCP is (unsuccessfully) suppressing the troubling data and signs until Xi Jinping can be re-appointed again to be the General Secretary, (and if he gets a third term, he will stay there for life until he dies.)

    IMO, China’s Zero COVID policy and lockdowns are actually a “front” to cover up for the economic collapse. The economy (real estate, banking, capital market, etc.) is falling apart due to years if not decades of bad policies and bad leadership. So the CCP just locks down everything and blame the problems on COVID, and gives people the false impressions that the problems are only temporarily, that when the COVID is over, China’s economic miracle growth will pick up again, (it won’t, because China’s economic collapse is structural; also, the zero-covid policy will NEVER completely stop covid infections in China, which means China will be stuck into a loop of lockdown after lockdown, which will ultimately drive away capitals and investments. I suppose that will be convenient for the CCP, which will blame the capital and manufacturing flights on COVID.)

  5. KT Chong

    Some of the signs…

    China’s Economy is Crashing (It’s getting Worse):

    China’s Banking Crisis:

    China’s Banks are Insolvent as They Run Out of Cash:

    China Has A Debt Problem Three Times Larger Than Evergrande:
    (China is the most indebted country in history.)

    Why You Should Be Worried About China’s Debt Crisis:

    China’s rich and talents are trying to flee the country:

    LOTS of data and information pointing to serious troubles in China.

    … will post more later. Maybe.

  6. different clue

    If the ChinaGov ( whomever that may turn out to be) can guide China through the Long Implosion to a survivable semi-soft guided crash landing at the far future end of it, then a post-Implosion China with a right-sized population will be set for long-term survival into the future.

    Economic growth and power were always depraved and evil goals, whether pursued by America or China or anyone else. If China can survive the collapse of evil economic-growth depravity , then China will be ready for centuries or millenia of steady-state no-growth survival at a sustainable lower level.

    Unless America can have a mass revolt which facilitates the rounding up and systematic and thorough extermination of every single Free Trade Growthism supporter and facilitator, America may not be so lucky.

  7. darren price

    Peter Zeihan’s stock in trade is predicting the collapse of America’s “adversaries” and the continued flourishing of America in a Hobbesian dog eat dog world. In addition to China collapsing his predictions include massive global instability as America withdraws from its role as world policeman and a Russia vs. Ukraine war that permanently weakens and destroys the Russian Federation. In other words he tells Americans what they want to hear.

    He views other countries and cultures through a very Americentric lens and that alone is a major weakness for someone who purports to be a global analyst. Climate change, a faltering global economy, changing demographics and tension between nations will surely have an impact on many countries but the total collapse of the countries the US doesn’t like, while America of course conveniently prevails, does not sound too convincing. One of his main predictions is that the US will give up its global empire and stop “protecting” shipping routes and so forth, thereby unleashing chaos and violence around the globe. Yeah sure, pal.

    Another warning sign with this is guy is the clickbaitty sensationalist hype he uses to advertise and publicize his views (look at the YouTube videos posted above). Not very becoming for a serious analyst. But, hey, maybe he’s right and much of the world really is on the road to collapse while brilliant America survives intact. Flip that around for a second and imagine someone predicting the total collapse of the US and Europe, complete with “irrefutable” stats, while China and Russia flourish. How seriously would that person be taken?

    It’s one thing to analyze different countries and regions of the world and discuss serious problems they might face in the near future but when someone comes along and says your side will prevail while your rivals disintegrate, that’s just a bit too pat and convenient.

    This guy is like one of those “China will collapse by 2013!” guys on steroids. Instead of just China he includes Russia and other parts of the world. He doesn’t speak Russian or Mandarin of course. Here is a snippet of what he said about Russia during a reddit AMA a few years ago:

    Russia doesn’t get along with anyone. At all. Like ever. Their paranoia is a product of their hyperexposed geography and their size by its very nature provokes fear. Any cooperation with the Russians only exists so long as macro and micro geopolitical alignments hold…or the leadership of another country is sufficiently bribed or dumb. (Erdogan of Turkey certainly falls into one, and perhaps both, categories. It won’t last)

    Zeihan is 100% an American pop analyst and can’t be taken seriously. But if you have an irrational hate on for Putin or the “CCP” you’ll probably find him convincing.

  8. different clue

    Well . . . I watched the first two Zeihan videos. I am not smart enough or heavily educated enough on all the details to know for sure that he is wrong. He just seems slightly ” off” to me somehow. If you are Hanphilic , he will make you mad. If you are Hanphobic, he will make you happy. If you want some actual predictive analysis, his huge leaps from a few numbers seem awfully weakly thought out.

    So what if China has an elder-weighted demographic pyramid? China still has and will have several hundred million pre-old work-doers. And if they are really not enough to do all the work China needs done, the healthy part of China’s old people can do some work too. The concept of “retirement” may well weaken or end for a few decades in China.

    If China’s population falls to 700 million people, China will still be the second most populous country on earth, after India. And China will still be a lot more coherent than India. I expect China will live longer than I do.

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