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A Blue Dot Barely Visible from New Silk Roads
US-Australia-Japan alternative to Belt and Road helps explain why the US sent a junior delegation to Thailand and why India opted out of RCEP
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Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century.

Under the Trump administration, Belt and Road has been utterly demonized 24/7: a toxic cocktail of fear and doubt, with Beijing blamed for everything from plunging poor nations into a “debt trap” to evil designs of world domination.

Now finally comes what might be described as the institutional American response to Belt and Road: the Blue Dot Network.

Blue Dot is described, officially, as promoting global, multi-stakeholder “sustainable infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.”

It is a joint project of the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, in partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Now compare it with what just happened this same week at the inauguration of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

As Xi stressed: “To date, China has signed 197 documents on Belt and Road cooperation with 137 countries and 30 international organizations.”

This is what Blue Dot is up against – especially across the Global South. Well, not really. Global South diplomats, informally contacted, are not exactly impressed. They might see Blue Dot as an aspiring competitor to BRI, but one that’s moved by private finance – mostly, in theory, American.

They scoff at the prospect that Blue Dot will include some sort of ratings mechanism that will be positioned to vet and downgrade Belt and Road projects. Washington will spin it as a “certification” process setting “international standards” – implying Belt and Road is sub-standard. Whether Global South nations will pay attention to these new ratings is an open question.

The Japanese example

Blue Dot should also be understood in direct comparison with what just happened at the summit-fest in Thailand centered on the meetings of East Asia, the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The advent of Blue Dot explains why the US sent only a junior delegation to Thailand, and also, to a great extent, why India missed the RCEP train as it left the pan-Asian station.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still between a rock – Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy – and a hard place – Eurasia integration. They are mutually incompatible.

Blue Dot is a de facto business extension of Indo-Pacific, which congregates the US, Japan, Australia – and India: the Quad members. It’s a mirror image of the – defunct – Obama administration Trans-Pacific Partnership in relation to the – also defunct – “pivot to Asia.”

It’s unclear whether New Delhi will join Blue Dot. It has rejected Belt and Road, but not, finally and irrevocably, RCEP. ASEAN has tried to put on a brave face and insist differences will be smoothed out and all 16 RCEP members will sign a deal in Vietnam in 2020.

Yet the bottom line remains: Washington will continue to manipulate India by all means deemed necessary to torpedo – at least in the South Asian theater – the potential of Belt and Road as well as larger Eurasia integration.

And still, after all these years of non-stop demonization, the best thing Washington could come up with was to steal Belt and Road’s idea and dress it up in private bank financing.


Now compare it, for instance, with the work of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia. They privilege the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, an original Indonesian idea, instead of the American version. The institute’s president, Hidetoshi Nishimura, describes it as “a guideline for dialogue partners” and stresses that “Japan’s own vision of the Indo-Pacific fits very well with that of ASEAN.”

As much as Nishimura notes how “it is well known that Japan has been the key donor and a real partner in the economic development of Southeast Asia throughout the past five decades,” he also extols RCEP as “the symbol of free trade.” Both China and Japan are firmly behind RCEP. And Beijing is also firmly stressing the direct connection between RCEP and Belt and Road projects.

In the end, Blue Dot may be no more than a PR exercise, too little, too late. It won’t stop Belt and Road expansion. It won’t prevent China-Japan investment partnerships. It won’t stop awareness all across the Global South about the weaponization of the US dollar for geopolitical purposes.

And it won’t bury prevailing skepticism about the development project skills of a hyperpower engaged on a mission to steal other nation’s oil reserves as part of an illegal Syrian occupation.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: China, India, Japan, New Silk Road 
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  1. anon[190] • Disclaimer says:

    Very unimpressive little poke at the U.S. near the end. ‘Stealing oil’.
    We are the largest producer of oil in the world.
    We don’t need what Syria has – we’re just not about to allow various bad guys to get their mitts on it just yet.
    A great big nothing side issue.

    As for competing with China Belt and Road – so we’re the little guy so far. What about it? Are you gloating, Pepe?

    • Troll: byrresheim
  2. A123 says:

    Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century.

    Actually the Belt and Road initiative has three parts:

    (1) Belt — Sea traffic primarily to Africa and South America
    (2) Iron Road — Direct connections between China and Russia (primarily focused on rail and pipeline)
    (3) Silk Road — Freight connections that do not cross Russia

    If you look at China’s expenditures they rank in that order.

    Billions have been spent in Africa for the “Belt”. The are few competitors seeking African projects, so China can obtain favorable terms for their investments. American firms are not interested in Africa and the “Blue Dot” concept cannot change that. Also, cargo ships can be easily redeployed if an African project does not play out as profitably as expected.

    Virtually nothing has been spent on the “Silk Road”. And, it is easy to understand why. Trying to develop Silk Road trade through Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, and finally Turkey has a huge number of unfavorable political entanglements and financial risks. For example, Turkey has made an issue out of China’s treatment of its Muslim Uighur population (1). Plus, the number of mountains in the way (especially in Eastern Iran) means the cost per kilometer is going to be high both for the initial build and ongoing maintenance.

    PEACE 😇


    • Replies: @Showmethereal
  3. HEREDOT says:

    pepe, zerohedge, globalresearch, asia times, saker I’ve always read your writings. Welcome back here.

    • Agree: bluedog, Showmethereal
  4. bluedog says:

    Seems like the (bad guys) already have their mitts on someone else’s oil,after all the orange clown said we love that oil, why we will give it and the rights to an American corporation what else is new,much like the gold from color revolutions, here let us take it and keep it safe for you as they fly it out to NYC or London,and yes stealing is the right term for it but with our mentality everything on the planet belongs to us,well until it doesen’t that is>!!!!

  5. I wonder why Russia was not included in RCEP. Any thoughts Mr Escobar? Seems Russia is more ready than India to join such a pact.

  6. @A123

    Actually plenty is being spent in Kazhakstan and Uzbekistan in this intiative. Matter of fact they did a favorable profile on Channel News Asia. They must have done so to juxtapose the all negative one done by DW of Germany not too long ago. Germany along wkth France are upset that the Silk Road through the stans is being eagerly anticipated by Central and Eastern Europe. Germany and France have been callling for a “united EU stance” in dealing with the intiative but those nations aren’t waiting. Italy – Greece – Spain – Portugal all decided to officially sign on as well. They probably look at the Brexit debacle and decided they didnt have time to waste either.

    As to Iran and Iraq… Well its obvious there why everything is muted — but the silk roads are going through Pakistan to a new port in Gwadar… Obviously it will affect them both.

    Which makes me wonder why you would source Time magazine if you read people like Pepe…? In any event Edrogan made nice with China recently and has stopped his Xinjiang criticism. Go look up his comments the last time he met Chinese leaders. Of course it wasnt publicized in western mainstream media.

    • Replies: @A123
  7. @anon

    Whether he is gloating or not, you come across as smug, self-satisfied and evil.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  8. nymom says:

    Nothing wrong with healthy competition…

    If China wants to do the belt and road and the US wants to do the Blue Dot plan so what???? I mean I don’t get the name of the plan ‘Blue Dot’ or what it means but that’s a minor detail.

    Japan and Australia are traditional allies of the US. Both are very suspicious of China’s intentions.

    If India joins in with the Blue Dot plan I think it could be very helpful for them and I personally like India and would love to see them doing better economically than they are now.

    Three of the best and most prosperous nations in the world US, Japan and Australia inviting India to join up with them. I think it would be a great combination and benefit to all concerned especially India.

    This is a good thing that you seem to be trying to spin negatively. I am not sure why.

    • Replies: @Tusk
    , @bluedog
    , @animalogic
  9. Tusk says:

    Isn’t the basis of economics competition? Surely having two competing trade systems is going to provide a more beneficial outcome for consumers/users than allowing China to dominate global trade routes?

  10. A123 says:

    Actually plenty is being spent in Kazhakstan and Uzbekistan in this intiative. Matter of fact they did a favorable profile on Channel News Asia.

    One frequently hears about Silk Road plans that never actually happen. Did they say how much was actually spent?

    What I have been able to glean makes it look like the Belt verifiable funds spent is at least 10x and possibly 100x higher than verifiable funds spent on Silk Road projects.

    Which makes me wonder why you would source Time magazine

    While Time is not a particularly good souce, it is easy to search. The alternate spellings of Uighur, Uhigar, Wieger, Weiger, etc…. can be quite vexing.

    In any event Edrogan made nice with China recently and has stopped his Xinjiang criticism.

    Two problems with this.

    — Now that Erdogan has offended both Russia and the U.S. he can try to walk back what he said about China, but are you sure the retraction is sincere? If I was in the Chinese government, I would be quite skeptical of a conveniently timed position change.

    — Spinning the public to be upset about something is much easier than calming them. Even if Erdogan sincerely wants to make this go away, he may not be able to.

    PEACE 😇

  11. bluedog says:

    Strange that you list those three countries,two belonging to the five eye group and Japan with its own problem with debt and GDP,but then again that lol prosperous country called the U.S. is not so prosperous after all, with its trillions upon trillions in debt,its homeless camps all over the nation a financial system being fed by the Fed. and with endless propaganda being fed to the people by the government,I see very little here that would make anyone think it a prosperous nation by any means,unless of course you are referring to the 1%.!!!

    • Replies: @SteveK9
  12. SteveK9 says:

    There is a difference between debt in your own fiat currency and debt in another currency. The US can ALWAYS repay any debt in dollars, it simply creates them. If the dollars started to come back to the US that could cause inflation. Massive asset purchases would not be allowed, so it would be goods and services, which would be a big boon to employment. Why doesn’t this happen? Because the US dollar is still the Worlds reserve currency and medium of exchange. That is why there is a huge trade deficit, financed by issuing debt … because other countries want dollars!!

    The US has plenty of problems, and the status of the dollar may change, but harping on the debt! the debt!, shows that you don’t understand the nature of that ‘debt’.

    • Agree: Tusk, animalogic
    • Replies: @d dan
    , @bluedog
  13. Yee says:

    It’s a good thing for China if the US is sincere about its claim of “infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world”, because better infrastructure means better development of the region. That’s what China wants – development in the region. Who actually pay for such infrastructure doesn’t matter.

    China wants development in poorer countries of the world so they have money to buy Chinese products…

    Let’s see if the US really pour money in the Blue Dot plan… However, I suspect it’s just a project to sabotage China’s BRI.

  14. FB says: • Website

    The ‘blue dot’…it even sounds ridiculous…obviously nothing but a PR meme spun out of some flunky fest on Madison Ave…

    Here are the facts…China has already built up so much infrastructure in its homeland that it has used more concrete in three years than the US has in the entire 20’th century…

    Now that they’ve built up China, it’s natural to build up ports, roads and such in countries that are likewise desirous of real infrastructure upgrades…

    Look at the infrastructure in the US…what little there is is falling apart…the US should first start by fixing its own house like the Chinese have done, before announcing smoke and mirrors plans to renovate other peoples’ homes…

    Also the Belt and Road and Eurasian integration is tied into a bigger project…that of excluding the dollar from global trade…one commenter here made the point that as long as countries want to buy US paper because they need it to trade, there will always be demand for the printing press…

    This is true, but the rest of the world knows that they are paying for the US FREE RIDE…China and Russia are not that stupid…the Eurasian countries in their orbit, and increasingly those in the global south [Africa, Latin America etc] have all figured out the scam by now, by which the rich countries profit while they get stuck holding the bag…and a lot of debt and interest to pay…

    People who are paying attention have noted that Bank of England governor Mark Carney is calling the dollar ‘destabilizing’ and for a new global financial system…

    The dollar won’t hold…

    Carney famously said last month…and he’s proposing a new global currency basket based on blockchain…

    Of course this is wishful thinking because China, Russia and their Eurasian partners are already cooking up a scheme of their own…

    The dollar reserve currency is not long for this world…if you look at the reasons why trade is conducted in dollars, you see mostly that there is a physical mechanism for trading commodities like energy and other things…this involves an actual trading infrastructure that consists of people in building, using computers etc…it’s easy to access and there isn’t an alternative apparatus…at least not just yet…

    That’s all changing in the Eurasian market already…China, Russia and others are doing less of their trade among themselves in the dollar as they slowly get the hang of putting up alternative trading mechanisms that are likewise easily accessible and dependable…

    What happens to the US when the dollar free ride ends…?

    Debt does matter in that case, because you won’t have foreigners wanting to buy that paper…so who will…?

    The US debt servicing is already baked into the annual deficits for some time to come and will only get bigger…even assuming the dollar goes out slowly rather than quickly, the debt servicing is growing exponentially…that’s the very foundation of interest rates EXPONENTIAL GROWTH…

    The real economy can’t keep up with that…even while the reserve currency is still around…

    A few commenters here simply don’t know enough about how these things work [like exponential math] …plus they refuse to see the writing on the wall…

    It has been a party of financialization in the US for four decades now…basically a Ponzi Scheme [another example of exponential growth]…while the real economy has been hollowed out…jobs moved offshore…plus cheap labor brought in…

    It’s nothing but smoke and mirrors at this point…the numbers on inflation, unemployment etc have been so thoroughly cooked that the real US GDP is probably half of what is stated…counting also the fact the the FIRE sector makes up a about a third of GDP, whereas in fact this sector is pure rent extraction from the real, productive economy and should be deducted, not added…

    So in the end we have these completely meaningless brain farts about some ‘blue dot’…what a joke…

    • Agree: bluedog, Denis
    • Replies: @PetrOldSack
  15. @anon

    The US is not stealing oil, it’s merely taking it without permission. I have 7 cars so expect me around soon to “take” your car. I’m sure you won’t complain – I mean, I suspect YOU are a “bad guy”. A bad guy like the legitimate, & recognized government of Syria.

  16. @nymom

    “This is a good thing that you seem to be trying to spin negatively. I am not sure why.”
    The reason is the Mr Escobar doesn’t believe “blue dot” is a sincere economic project. Rather, a political project with the objective of stunting China’s & by extension Eurasia’s, economically integration & growth.

    • Replies: @nymom
  17. “The dollar reserve currency is not long for this world…”
    If that were correct then US debt issues would indeed become critical…. However, I doubt there is a Berlin Wall moment for the US dollar… more a frog in a saucepan…..
    Still you can never know. A slow but firm & steady shift away from the dollar would help the entire world, ultimately, even the US itself.

  18. mijj says:

    re USA stealing Syria’s oil :
    > “.. we’re just not about to allow various bad guys to get their mitts on it just yet.”

    lol – USA *is* the bad guys.

    • Agree: European-American
  19. I am grateful to you, Mr. Escobar, for providing reliable information on a topic with which few Americans are familiar.

    Many commenters seem to think your report is an attack on the USA. I don’t see it that way. Essentially you are reporting on a situation which proves that the USA establishment’s attempts to establish and maintain world hegemony are bad for the nation, catastrophic for its citizens, and ultimately doomed to failure.

    As a concerned US citizen, I think it is well past time that this country repudiate our current establishment and its hopelessly destructive economic and foreign policies. I see many parallels between the USA’s current situation and that of the Hapsburg empire on the eve of the Thirty Years War. The Hapsburgs had enormous reserves of financial and social power, based largely on new world gold and silver. They wound up frittering these resources away in a doomed effort to maintain European hegemony. They wound up turning Spain and Austria into bankrupt third-rate powers with a demoralized and impoverished citizenry.

    Similarly, at the end of the Cold War, the USA was in an unusually strong position. Wise use of the economic position the country found itself after WW II coupled with sensible US diplomatic initiatives during the Cold War gave the country a temporarily preeminent position among world powers supported by a strong domestic economy. Starting with Bush I the US establishment began frittering these resources away on foreign adventures. Disastrous formal and informal alliances (e.g., the expansion of NATO and de facto Israeli control of US foreign and military policy), the incessant wars caused by these, ill-conceived domestic programs, and the strain all these have put on the US economy have brought the US to the brink of economic and social collapse.

  20. orionyx says:

    I don’t think “I stole your stuff to stop the bad guys from stealing it” is a defense that will hold up in any court. But please do try it when next you have the opportunity.

  21. d dan says:

    ” … because other countries want dollars!!”

    Continue to bury your head in the sand. It sounds comforting.

    There is a BIG difference between people wanting something and people being stuck with something, e.g. I don’t want my wife’s dog, but I am stuck with it.

    Many nations are trying to diversify away from dollars, but there is just no viable alternative currently. It doesn’t mean they won’t keep trying or they won’t be successful next time. Furthermore, the more arrogant and abusive US financial policy becomes, the harder they will try. And the more debt we keep piling up now, the greater the fall it will when they become successful.

  22. bluedog says:

    Of course I understand the nature of debt and what it does to a countries currency,I’m not so sure that you do, for along with that debt comes in built in inflation that’s why when Nixon took us off the gold standard inflation headed for the moon like a rocket, and it took a jump a 20% rise in interest rates to tame it,and its still there the inflation and its why other countries(and the list is growing) are shying away from the dollar, to trade with in their own currencies,no country wish’s to infect their own currency with the dollars inflation,so yes there is a downside to debt.!!!

  23. nymom says:

    Ok I get it…if that’s the case…

  24. @FB

    The whole of the comment

    With all due respect, You are on top of what is going on. Rarely heard, well contexted comment.

    Now there is a reverse side, also regarding Russia and China, and trading partners that agree to trade outside the dollar. A negative side to the outer world, we mean. Could you elaborate on that, it must be within your expertise.

    To make things digestible, lest dropping some of the essentials: when trade volumes of hard items drop off from being counter-valued, equivalenced in dollars, and accounted in anything else, barter, other currencies that are independent enough to drop their dollar reserves as mostly losses, there will be less accounting to be done by the US controlled mechanisms. Hence less cooking the books and scheming. Currently the mechanisms that account for world trade are willingly falsified, parasited, in all senses, and confidently so, since there was no alternative to the financial infrastructure in the larger sense.

    Again, the same trap awaits the world regardless of China or Russia in control. As soon as some Western partners shift allegiance, already this phenomenon has started, that could mean an implosion of the usefulness of growth.

    Russia and China bring nothing new to the table, capitalism, and the cleavage between rich and poor are irrelevant. What matters is that the rich and powerful are getting poorer themselves by accumulating wealth. This is not a riddle. What does concrete and accelerated and more voluminous trade stand for but less environment, less living space, less resources, some even counting to the rich outside of accumulation drift, as clean air and drinking water.

    Seems the wealthy are building their own proper ghettos. Chinese or other.

    Equivalence, of what we are and own, us humans, includes in the first place inventorying, putting ourselves(human numbers) on the balance sheet. We do not, Russia or anyone else.

    Seems the powers that be, regardless, wherever on the globe, do not see the boom-bust of the “all you can eat´´ strategy.

    • Replies: @FB
  25. FB says: • Website


    Economics is not my area of ‘expertise’ by any means…but I have learned very valuable insights from true experts like Michael Hudson who has delved into the problem of exponential growth in financialized, interest-based money economies, which have been with us for thousands of years…and always have the exact same failure mode…the debt grows exponentially [due to the interest], but the real economy cannot do that…so a reckoning and crash is always inevitable…

    I’m going to point you to an article you may find interesting, from a writer who has been producing some excellent work…Matthew Ehret…

    How to Crush a Bankers’ Dictatorship: A Lesson From 1933

    The article is quite related to the topic here…ie the collapsing dollar system and a new world money architecture to take its place…

    Ehret has argued convincingly in past articles [you may find them indexed on the website I pointed to] that FDR’s vision for the Bretton Woods order was in fact very much along the lines of what we are seeing with Belt and Road…

    FDR had already done something similar in the 1930s to what China has done lately…building up huge infrastructure projects [including schools, libraries, hospitals…literacy in the rural south went from 20 percent to 80 percent]…plus rural electrification and many other large projects…

    Most of this was done by CIRCUMVENTING the money system known as the FED…instead FDR used the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to fund these projects that pulled the United States out of a massive sinkhole created by the greedy elite and the moneychangers…

    In his inauguration speech FDR thundered…

    The money-changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

    Of course the Wall Street parasites sabotaged everything FDR tried to do and managed to undo many of his accomplishments…the ‘New Deal’ for the rest of the world that he envisaged through Bretton Woods never turned into that…

    Today, a lot of dumb Americans have their brains stuffed full of propaganda about FDR…he has occupied the central pillar of the indoctrination of dumb Americans…we see a lot of that on this website and the comments section…

    Rather than see the IMF, World Bank or UN used as instruments for the internationalization of the New Deal principles to promote long term, low interest loans for the industrial development of former colonies, FDR’s allies were ousted from power over his dead body, and they were recaptured by the same forces who attempted to steer the world towards a Central Banking Dictatorship in 1933.

    Ehret sees The New Silk Road as the 21st Century New Deal…ie the same vision that FDR had for the world…

    This time it has a real chance of success, because the relative power of the US and its banking parasites is declining…if for no other reason than that other power centers are emerging and thus making the old ones small by comparison…

    So we see not only a political effort to oppose the BRI, by, for instance, setting up this so-called ‘quad’ among India, Japan, Australia and US…but also the calls from the central bankers themselves for some kind of new ‘green’ reserve currency…

    Of course all of this is total bullshit that is simply the same old moneylender parasites hiding behind a new ‘green’ facade…but with exactly the same goals…ie ever deepening enslavement of ordinary folks by control of the money tap…

    Ehret sums it up nicely…

    These are merely central bankers’ wet dreams for depopulation and fascism “with a democratic face” which their 1933 conference failed to achieve and can only be imposed if people remain blind to their own recent history.

    • Replies: @Biff
    , @PetrOldSack
    , @Reg Cæsar
  26. Biff says:

    All good stuff.. Thanks..

  27. So, are we going back to the moon or not?

  28. The Blue Dot Network appears an attempt to maintain Western economic and political dominance against Chinese expansion, a course any nation is entitled to embark upon. Hegemony leads to challenge, and challenge leads to war – world war in this case.

  29. @FB

    Your argument made is clear and loud. Hudson, and looking into Matthew Ehret(not familiar to me), are additional pointers to individuals who see through the scheming of the, lets call it financial systemics, understand the mechanics and the actors. Yanis Varoufakis, is another public communicator that expressed the scheme and systemics of the intentionally flawed and corrupt accounting in the Western world, over the centuries.

    Again, my focus was rather on the China and Russia alternative. That on the contrary, it might cause an acceleration and implosion of long term positive results (see original comment). That is where Hudson lacks, he sees the sanitizing of the accounting, then business as usual as a solution to the West. Varoufakis is not outspoken on China and Russia, their writing off the dollar. His scope was rather domestic as far as being in the public domain.

    We were hoping that you could crack the broken core on the China – Russia side, or point to individuals that do, with expertise. We know none that address the matter. As far as we see, the public part of the systemics in Russia and China are better glued into the knowledgeable part of the strategy, the public actors seem to hold real power, while in the West, the public actors are mostly second rate profiteers, and the real culprits and policy makers are out of the public view, as is the systemics comprehension that you exposed. To us the core of the problem stays present.

    Let me rephrase my original comment, so as to express my doubts again. Growing economies and growing trade, causing exponential financial wealth or not, thus cracking the bridge between util and bust, might be a secondary problem. Flawed bookkeeping, might not be the central problem to the West. In that sense again, me pointing to growing trade and industrialization, as the dead end to even faster growth of negative derivatives. Regardless of the mere Ponzi scheme that financializes wealth. Hence my “China and Russia bring nothing new to the table. ´´

    Again flawed accounting or not, as the financial hocus pocus is, might even have little effect as to the core problem of capitalism, the needed growth to schelter the parasite from the host. Growth economics, expanding trade, whoever own what… …even the wealthy loose in the long run. To put it differently: Wallstreet pollutes less then hard economies.

    My argument, as long as we do not include demographics, human demographics in the theoretics of economy, any bookkeeping is flawed. On a second level of importance, inventorying assets and liabilities globally and put them into the balance sheet, always becomes juggling. China and Russia are not helpful. Just an example, Russian Siberia is raped and sodomized, China converted into billions of tons of concrete. Not solutions to the matters that count. Liabilities as pollution, toxicity, belong into the estimate and price, the cost and sale of any product down the line.

    • Replies: @FB
  30. anonymous[222] • Disclaimer says:


    It’s not just for Hitler anymore.

  31. FB says: • Website

    Petr…thanks for clarifying your message…

    Okay…so a couple of things that I think you may not have intuited exactly right…

    First, the world is a very big place…and it is mostly sparse…we don’t see that from our street level view…you need to spend some time in a passenger jet cockpit and looking out the big windows at the world below to get a better perspective…

    For instance Siberia…I would disagree strongly that it’s been ‘raped’…mostly from the air you will see that it is a vast and untouched wilderness…this is true for Alaska also…

    China is actually also mostly sparse from the air, other than the heavily populated city areas that ring the major population centers…

    The roads and railways are mostly elevated, as seen here…

    This is a very good idea because it doesn’t disturb the natural landscapes and waterways below…long tunnels are used to bore roads through mountains rather than spoil them by building on top…

    The second part of it is urbanization…because China has now built up many large cities, the population is pouring in from the rural areas…again this is a good thing, since that leaves a lot less people in the countryside…

    One of the biggest problems we have run into is in fact our millennia old practice of subsistence farming…eventually this leads to taking up all available land, as has been the case in many areas of Europe for quite a long time…

    Even in the US, which is a huge country…if you look at the recent topographical history of the US, you see that a hugely destructive change occurred in the 19’th century as the entire great plains were parceled out and fenced off…this fencing did more to destroy the natural habitat of both flora and fauna than anything else that came after, including urbanization…

    The bison of the great plains were wiped out intentionally…

    That is how people treated our world not too long ago…

    In the Amazon rain forest, this kind of wholesale destruction is still going on…for the sake of a handful of rich land barons that want to raise cattle…

    So we have already done a lot of damage that can’t be easily undone…the only way forward is by ensuring that we work smarter from here on in…

    There are huge problems with habitat loss in Africa for our most majestic species, especially the big cats…the lion may not survive if present trends of habitat loss continue…

    At the same time, the birth rates in these African countries is just exploding…

    Look at those numbers…those countries are growing FIVE TIMES as fast as Europe…where we are at about 1.5…

    To make things worse, these are mostly subsistence farmers…their technology and medicine has improved just enough that they can survive and thrive…but they will soon take up all the available land and then what…?

    Incidentally, the same was true of our own civilization not that long ago…as late as the 1930s the majority of the US population was rural and lived on subsistence farming…having large families was the norm, because it helped with the amount of work that could be done on the land…

    It is the same in Africa today…we need to get these people into cities, as per the Chinese model…give them jobs and an apartment…get them educated…the decline in fertility rate follows inevitably…

    This is in fact why the Belt and Road initiative…and in fact going far beyond that [what FDR envisaged…a true development on all levels of human progress for all the former colonial states]…

    But we will never get there as long as we have an OLIGARCHY that is in charge of our politics and our money…they simply don’t give a shit about any of this…like you said…they are closing themselves off in their own luxuriant ‘ghettos’…

    Their preferred solution would be to wipe out 90 percent of the population…[this would work for a time, but inevitably we would be back where we are now]…

    China is not capitalist in the way that most dumb Americans think…70 percent of the economy is in the hands of the state…including the banks, the large energy companies, and the important industrial sectors…capitalism is visible mostly at the street level with mom and pop shops…and millions of these small enterprises account for the bulk of private enterprise in China…the few very large private enterprises account for very little…and they are kept from exercising any type of oligarchic power…

    Russia is not quite as good on this score, but still a lot better than our own finance capitalism gone mad…here again, the energy sector, health care, the defense industries and other important industries are in government hands, including some part of the banking sector…it’s not enough of course, but the people are well disposed to more socialism and less oligarchy [which it must be admitted, has been cut down to size and made to play ball by Putin…]

    In both Russia and the China, the issue of protecting habitats and the environment [including cleaning up past mistakes] is getting more important…

    But we have to remember that it’s a dog eat dog world…if it comes down to feeding your own hungry family, you will do whatever is necessary…cutting down trees…shooting and eating a gorilla…whatever…

    So clearly we have to pull people out of desperation and poverty if we are going to save what’s left of our planet…

    The Chinese are really showing the way…their whole system is run by very competent technocrats who are constantly fine tuning the system and experimenting…already China is transformed and will soon be a country wealthy enough to spend much more effort and money on preserving its natural gifts and environment…

    • Agree: Showmethereal
    • Replies: @PetrOldSack
  32. @FB

    We see the confusion of language seeping in. We are now at the level of vocabulary.

    To pick just one single item, the suggestion of big cities as a solution implicitly. Guess this is matter for a thread, a branching in the discussion, something does not provide.

    We can agree on some of your arguments, none as to some others. Wealthy seems to have some prepositions we do not agree on. For now. As for pointing to the depravedness of Western financial systemics the less, the notes of yours on the issue stand. As for the “future´´ being China as to quality of life in the long term, regardless as to whom, we disagree as a whole.

    Both models of economics Western, Chinese, so far as to their differences, idiosyncrasies, wealth gaps, their views on the long term, to us, look as seriously flawed.

    Indeed it cannot be a matter of going further in depth on the matter in this comment thread.

  33. @FB

    The money-changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.

    Our civilization wasn’t built on temples, it was built on cathedrals. FDR flattened quite a few of those, literally. That, not rejigging the financial structure or building roads to nowhere, is what finally got people working.

    Yes, the other side did much the same thing, but that is also true of the policies you praise.

  34. The middle of the old Silk Road features quite a speed bump today– the largest time-zone jump in the world. Three-and-a-half hours between Afghanistan and China. At the moment, it’s no big deal, as the Chinese side is closed to all except local goatherds who don’t care about time, at least in smaller increments like hours. They cross daily.

    The Afghan side is the Wakhan Corridor, kind of like the Florida Keys of Afghanistan. It’s probably not worth its own time zone. Why the Chinese side is on Peking time, an eighth of a day away, is something only they can explain. It certainly appears inscrutable to us.

    The Chinese are said to be pragmatic. But when they’re not, boy, are they very, very not!

  35. Icy Blast says:

    Blaupunkt should sue.

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