February 25, 2006

Bud: Economic Giant, Coren on Mothers, Ice Dancing

China: An economic giant stumbles

In the National Post financial section (Wednesday, February 15 FP3) Jacqueline Thorpe exposed the inherent weaknesses that have beset the Chinese. She enumerates them:

1) Unemployment is rising, mainly due to technology replacing millions of workers. From 1996 to 2000, economic growth rose 8.3%, while employment rose only 0.9%. The ratio of GDP to urban employment has dropped 80%.

2) While China's GDP is 5% of the world's total, it consumes 50% of the of the world's coal production, 45% of cement, and 25% of its iron. But China is not an effective user of these resources, taking 15% more resources to equal one unit of GDP compared to the world average. Their steel and chemical factories take 50% more energy than the global market.

3) Poor pollution control has led to drastic deforestation from acid rain, toxic water supplies, and killer smog. Beijing would be happy to have Toronto's smog days. In the summer, almost every day is a smog day.

4) Eventually, the trade deficit that the world is racking up in trade with China will lead to high tariffs on China's exports. The pressure on WalMart to buy more American goods will spread to other outlets selling Chinese imports. Already, the West is becoming alarmed at their vanishing manufacturing base. Outsourcing jobs is another bone of contention.

5) The rising inequality between rural and urban workers is bound to foster social unrest. The number of riots and demonstrations has increased in recent years. China wishes to show only the face of its skyscrapered cities, not the primitive conditions facing the rural peasantry.

Much like a company which grows at an unsustainable rate, China's economic miracle bubble could burst. With the rise of India as a rapacious buyer of resources, supplies to China could be severely reduced. Also with their more open society, English-speaking workers, and high tech institutions, India is poised to grab much of China's share of world trade.

Another factor is the tougher line that America is taking about the vast counterfeiting of Western goods that occurs in China. Everything from fake Splenda, to Gucci bags, to wall plugs is openly produced in China. There is a rising chorus of complaints over last year's record $202 billion trade deficit with China, President Bush could use the disregard for intellectual property rights as a reason to reduce trade with China. Such a move might also boost his ratings in the polls. China has much to worry about.

Bud Talkinghorn

I received this comment from a friend -- on buying from our own

Well, I for one, have not been putting my foot into a WalMart store in a long time -- especially since I learnt how they squeeze the suppliers so that they simply have to go overseas just to survive. It is a despicable company whose greed overrides patriotism.

Thanks to JK who knows the retail sector very well.

India & Population Control

Today, I read in the NatPost that teachers in one state in India are being asked to choose two students, children, actually (at a very young age) to be sterilized. It sounds horrendous. Yet, what is a severely overpopulated and poor state to do? Perhaps, as in the past, young adults could be offered the option of being sterilized for an attractive monetary consideration? For an education? I don't actually know where various religious groups stand on this but I know that the last time that kind of incentive was suggested (Was it through some branch of the UN?) it was greeted with cries of racism or eugenics, I seem to recall. Alternatives might be later marriages or abstinence.

Our own problem with the young and sex:

In the case of the West, abstinence might improve the quality of the couplings when they finally take place -- anticipation and all that. Michael Coren wrote a thoughtful essay that mentioned the sexual mores among the young in the West -- perhaps how little it means to our young in that sex is simply a physical act with none of emotional connection, even the transcendence, that occurs between two people committed to loving each other for a lifetime. What a pity.

In the West, young adults have so little to look forward to in that area since they learn all from the media and various other sources and they are encouraged to have sex lives at an age when they used to daydream of what it would be like and spend endless hours speculating about it with a friend. Now, they may not know about the diseases or the heartbreak, but they know the mechanics. I sat at a computer in a library a couple of years ago beside a sixteen year old accessing some (pornographic? questionable, at least) photos over the internet. He did not offer to share his find though he looked very sheepish at his little sister when she wanted to see what he had found. Technology has not been an unmitigated blessing in raising children. Both of them should have been out playing some game--involved in sport--or even doing chores for the family.

As I have mentioned before, until children's character and learning are firmly going in the right direction, as a parent, I would oversee the internet webpages they could access for school work and they would work near me so I could prevent the child stalkers from finding them (but I would have been an overprotective mother and fortunately, some child was not forced to endure me). Children are so curious; talk to them about anything they want to know so as to protect them. It would be better, wouldn't it?

Michael Coren: Moms should stay home -- or here, and there are others commenting, as well Feb. 25, 06

This is one excerpt from the comments, but read Coren's full article first.

What do you think?

Is Coren right in saying that motherhood has been rendered a 'hobby' by our society? Do you think that couples believe that opting out of parenthood between 9 and 5 is acceptable and natural?

What of the mothers or fathers who stay home while the other half works? How does society view them? As martyrs, heroes, or a throw-back to a previous generation? Are the stay at homes doing the right thing? If they are, then how can the rest of us rationalize our part-time parenthood?

I vote for mothers remaining at home with young children. Of course, the radical feminists who will criticize Michael Coren do not speak for me. These feminists are simply an offshoot of the party that so generously funded them with other people's tax money. It would help if we educated the young as to what is involved with parenting but the young seldom learn the responsibilities, just the fun part.

Are your jars full? I like this.

Ice Dancing at the Olympics

Ice Dancing Finals with photos by Izzy, Feb 21, 06

Photo: Italians Fusar Poli, Margaglio make mess of their exit after crashing from first to 10 th -- In my humble opinion, it was a display of extremely poor sportsmanship; contrast that with Dubreuil and Lauzon. "U.S. duo moves up as others fall" by Alan Abrahamson, February 20, 2006, LA Times

Fusar Poli had the worst costume, in addition to the worst temper. She and Margaglio, even when they went into their final long program a day or two later, they were neither looking at nor speaking to each other. How delightful to see the response to each other of Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon after her disastrous fall -- supportive and decent, good sports.

She let go of him too early on a complicated twirl and crashed hard to the ice. They fell from fourth to seventh.

Sportsmanship, along with excellence, is what the Olympics should be about, not just winning. Anyway, in Canada before they went to the Olympics, Dubreuil and Lauzon gave the best skate I have ever seen them perform. That, I want to see again on television. Simply superb.

As for the Russians, Navka and Kostomarov, I love their work. Their having to live in Russia is enough for me to want them to win gold; those who live in the West already have gold. Aside from that, they skate divinely. The Russian women's one-piece with legs covered costumes were the the most attractive, in my opinion. Navka looked divine in hers for the skate next to the last one. (short program, I think. It was a print -- mainly aqua in effect.) She is the skater who still suffers headaches from a fall on her head; she deserved gold too for not quitting.

Irena Slutskaya wore the best costume of all, a full body cover in black with a few glitzy explosive shapes--stars maybe--on it. She is wonderful to watch; she has the most delightful smiling face ... and grit as well. A great skater who had a bad night at the end.

Sasha Cohen's skating is superb, despite the final skate--not her best--but she has so much going for her that I suspect she'll survive -- a gorgeous and talented young woman with more years of skating ahead.


Anonymous Sathish said...

"3) Poor pollution control has led to drastic deforestation from acid rain, toxic water supplies, and killer smog. Beijing would be happy to have Toronto's smog days. In the summer, almost every day is a smog day."

We're dealing with precisely the same thing in India-- we have almost 1 billion people crammed into 1/3 the land of China, the majority in poverty, w/o the environmental wherewithal to support them. Why do you think this is somehow unique to China? While I certainly do not like the idea of picking two kids in a class to sterilize, as referenced in your other article, it is clear that we need better family planning in India-- we are overpopulated and cannot educate and employ the vast majority of the people in the countryside or in the cities. Women need better education and literacy, and there needs to be better access to contraceptives, for AIDS prevention as well as population stabilization.

"Eventually, the trade deficit that the world is racking up in trade with China will lead to high tariffs on China's exports. "

Which would damage the USA far more than China. Who do you think is buying up the trillions of dollars in US debt?

"Outsourcing jobs is another bone of contention."

Same in India! Have you not been aware of the anti-India sentiment from outsourcing?

"With the rise of India as a rapacious buyer of resources, supplies to China could be severely reduced."

Have you taken even freshman-level economics? If the demand for resources goes that high, *all* of us-- China, India, the US, Russia, EU-- feel the pinch. The problem for us in India is that we're still at least a full decade away from the sort of infrastructure development push that China began in the early 1990's, so by the time we arrive on the scene, so to speak, China will probably have soaked up all the best resources for themselves. We're still too riddled with corruption throughout India's government agencies and too divided as a nation to embark on a national plan. The Christian provinces in the NE of India are on the brink of secession, and most of us are still far too poor to partake in whatever economic boom has been occurring. We need a new Gandhi, Srigupta or Akbar, but we're stuck with the corrupt fools currently in power.

"Also with their more open society, English-speaking workers, and high tech institutions, India is poised to grab much of China's share of world trade."

Will you Canadians and Americans ever get it into your thick heads that India is *not* an English-speaking country? At most 3% of us (in India itself), otherwise it's Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil that rule the country as prestige languages. English is one of the subjects most of us study in school but it's not in any way a native language spoken by the masses, these days Indians are studying Spanish, French and German as much as English in the schools.

Moreover, we're not grabbing China's share of world trade, if anything we're becoming a trading partner with the Chinese to expand the pie for both of us. I've noticed that there's an increasing attempt to pit India and China against each other, so that a certain arrogant overextended North American superpower gets to benefit. Forget about it-- you seem to have forgotten that we had 200 years of divide-and-conquer at the hands of the British, and we're not planning on repeating the experience.

Sat Mar 04, 02:58:00 PM 2006  

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