Category Archives: Economy

Home Is Where You Ship Your Masks To: Chinese Multinationals Ship Supplies To The Mother Ship

Business, China, Economy, Globalism, Nationalism, Nationhood, Trade

Liberals think you can easily compel a production line into existence (by using the Defense Production Act, for example). However, to get a production line going is difficult: it’s expensive and time consuming. You might have the design on paper, but you lack the hardware, the tools, the components, and material.

The Economist (4/11/2020):

… the manufacture of masks .. might look simple, but producers need sterile factories and sophisticated machinery to churn out melt-blown fabric. Upfront costs would be hard to justify if the virus were quickly snuffed out. So in January, the early phase of the outbreak, Chinese firms began by scouring the world for masks rather than by making more of their own. It took government action to change that. Officials offered subsidies to firms producing safety gear: promising not outsized gains but an avoidance of losses. China went from making 20m masks per day before the crisis—half the world’s output—to nearly 120m by the end of February.

The Chinese, unlike the American government, took care of business. True: WuFlu originated in China, in the city of Wuhan, in particular. So the Chinese knew in advance they had a bad one on their hands, well before our buffoons awoke to the reality of corona virus.

But it’s not like the US government ever puts its own first, urgently. The Chinese, however, look after their own. Ostensibly international, Chinese companies operating in Australia—Risland and the Greenland Group, in particular—began vacuuming up tons of medical materials, in the host country and beyond, between January 24 and February 29, in order to send back to the Mother Ship, China.

Via the Daily Mail:

China imported more than two billion masks and 25 million pieces of protective clothing from overseas before the coronavirus outbreak reached pandemic levels, it has been revealed.

On Thursday a Chinese government report emerged detailing its foreign trade for the first two months of the year, when the country was at the peak of its virus crisis.

As COVID-19 infections began to spread across the globe in January and February, China saw a ‘rapid growth in imports of commodities and key consumer goods’.

More than 2.46billion pieces of medical materials, including masks and protective equipment, were inspected by National Customs in China between January 24 and February 29, according to the report. …

It comes days after Chinese organisations operating in Australia were reported to have sent bulk medical supplies to China at the height of the crisis.

Chinese-owned property developer Risland Australia was reported to have flown 80 tonnes of medical supplies on a corporate jet to Wuhan in late February.

Video footage emerged showing boxes of surgical masks stacked up at Perth airport before being sent to Wuhan on February 8 – when there were 15 cases of coronavirus in Australia.

Another Chinese property company, Greenland Group, retasked its employees to purchase face masks, hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes, thermometers, Panadol and other medical items in bulk for shipment to China.

Greenland bought up three million surgical masks, 500,000 pairs of gloves and bulk supplies of sanitiser and antibacterial wipes in Australia and other countries where the company operates.

The goods were hoarded at Greenland’s Sydney headquarters and were sent to China in January and February.

The upshot? The host country, Australia, suffered severe shortages:

… Video footage emerged showing boxes of surgical masks stacked up at Perth airport before being sent to Wuhan on February 8 – when there were 15 cases of coronavirus in Australia.

Another Chinese property company, Greenland Group, retasked its employees to purchase face masks, hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes, thermometers, Panadol and other medical items in bulk for shipment to China.

Greenland bought up three million surgical masks, 500,000 pairs of gloves and bulk supplies of sanitiser and antibacterial wipes in Australia and other countries where the company operates.

The goods were hoarded at Greenland’s Sydney headquarters and were sent to China in January and February.

MORE.

*Image courtesy Daily Mail.

NEW COLUMN: Pandemic, Plague & Protests: Will Chile Join The Shithole Country Club?

Capitalism, Democracy, Economy, Left-Liberalism, Socialism, Welfare

NEW COLUMN IS “Pandemic, Plague & Protests: Will Chile Join The Shithole Country Club?” Previously on Quarterly Review, WND.COM  and The Unz Review, read it now on American Greatness  

An excerpt:

Before the coronavirus pandemic and the plague of locusts came the protesters.

From the affluent locales—Chile, France, Britain, Hong King, Catalonia—to the impoverished ones—Algeria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and more; the world was on fire (to borrow from Amy Chua’s brilliant book).

The reasons cited for a world-wide conflagration ranged from the evils of free-market capitalism (says the Left) to the “socialist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela” (says the Right), to “economics, demography, a sense of powerlessness…and social media.”

Some experts spoke of a “youth bulge” of over-educated young people chasing too few jobs. In truth, this was more like ill-educated youngsters with useless degrees, who thought it chic to don a balaclava and lob hard objects at the police and the property it was protecting.

Chile is the jewel of Latin America. In 2014, it even surpassed the United States on the Index of Economic Freedom, ranking seventh to America’s 12th. Since 1990, economic growth in Chile has been as steady as the stability of its institutions. Poverty rates had plummeted and social services had been extended to the needy.

On the right, Pat Buchanan has described Chile as “the country with the highest per capita income and least inequality in all of Latin America.”

On the Left—yet still on the side of a competitive market economy—the Economist agrees. Chile “is the second-richest country in Latin America, thanks in part to its healthy public finances and robust private sector.”

In no-man’s land are the protestors on the streets of Santiago and other cities. What the demonstrators want is unclear. To the extent their inchoate signs and signals can be divined, it would appear that the path the well-to-do Chile will be forced to take is that of less capitalism and more socialism; less of the private sector and more of the state.

Indeed, Chile is beset with protesters determined to bring the elected government to its knees. Many parts of Santiago, the capital, have been boarded up or burned down. The country’s “malcontents” want more state-provided stuff; more health care and more free education and pensions.

It increasingly looks like Sebastián Piñera, Chile’s president, may just be forced “to scrap a system” that appears to have served Chile well.

READ THE REST … NEW COLUMN IS “Pandemic, Plague & Protests: Will Chile Join The Shithole Country Club?” Previously on Quarterly Review, WND.COM and The Unz Review, it’s now on American Greatness.  

* Image is via The Economist

Pandemic Preparedness And America’s Mañana Mentality

COVID-19, Debt, Economy, Free Markets, Healthcare, Political Economy, The State

The dynamics of state regulation and ownership aside, there is no ignoring our American mañana mentality. Consume in the present; worry not at all about tomorrow’s supplies.

Doesn’t that epitomize the state of America’s coronavirus pandemic reserves?

Via the LA Times: “A disaster foretold: Shortages of ventilators and other medical supplies have long been warned about.”

The nation needed larger caches of standby medical supplies and hospitals that were better prepared to handle a surge of infected patients.

A decade later, the coronavirus crisis is exposing many of the same gaps. Inadequate supplies of protective masks, ventilators, intensive care beds and other medical resources are forcing mass closures of schools and businesses and restrictions on everyday activities as public officials rush to slow the virus so America’s medical system isn’t overwhelmed.

the Government Accountability Office … the federal government’s leading internal watchdog, has issued a steady stream of reports about poor pandemic planning. …

The GAO, public health experts and others issued a steady drumbeat of warnings that America would sooner or later face a widespread infectious disease outbreak or a major bioterrorism attack and was woefully unprepared. …

… In both 2018 and 2019, U.S. intelligence agencies issued insistent warnings in their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” the 2019 report noted.

AND, Making the case for investments in material and hospital planning has long been challenging as most people have difficulty envisioning a major disaster, acknowledged Dr. Eric Toner of Johns Hopkins University, an authority on pandemic preparedness.”

Hospitals also are under pressure to keep margins thin and eliminate spending on staff and supplies that aren’t used all the time.

And, in government-regulated hospitals, which are the majority in the US,

The budget crunch represents a particular challenge for so-called safety-net hospitals, institutions that serve many uninsured patients and those covered by Medicaid, and consequently collect less revenue. These same hospitals are now expecting a large surge in coronavirus patients but have limited resources to ramp up staffing and add intensive care beds if needed.

“Cash is very limited,” said Charlie Shields, chief executive of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City. Shields said the finances are under even more stress since the hospital canceled elective procedures and shut down its dental services to prepare for the pandemic, moves that reduce hospital revenue.

In case you imagine the US has a free-market in medicine, here are a few statistics that’ll shock you, via The Economist:

The country has over 6,000 hospitals. Only 1,300 or so are private for-profit institutions; the rest are non-profit or government-run. The lack of an overt profit motive has done little to rein in prices …

In any event, the defining characteristic of the Unites States is debt—public and private, macro and micro. America is a debtor nation. A natural shift must take place in the economy from a credit-fueled, consumption-based economy, to one founded on savings, investment and production.

There Is More Cronyism Than Capitalism In Corporate America (Boeing? Oink, Oink)

America, Business, Capitalism, Economy, Free Markets, Globalism, Labor, Trade

In “Why Tax Breaks Won’t Stop High-Tech, H-1B Human Trafficking,” I explained how, “The H-1B visa racket,” like so much of the rent-seeking global, corporate America does, “is … a taxpayer-subsidized, grant of government privilege. Duly, profits remain private property. The costs of accommodating an annual human influx are socialized, borne by the bewildered [American] community.”

the corporations that hog H-1Bs act like incorrigibly corrupt rent seekers. Not only do they get to replace the American worker, but they get to do so at his expense.

Here’s how:

Globally, a series of sordid liaisons ensures that American workers are left high and dry. Through the programs of the International Trade Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the International Monetary Fund, and other oink-operations, the taxpaying American worker is forced to subsidize and underwrite the investment risks of the very corporations that have given him the boot.

Domestically, the fascistic partnership with the State amounts to a subsidy to business at the expense of the taxpayer. See, corporations in our democratic welfare state externalize their employment costs onto the taxpayers.

MORE in “Why Tax Breaks Won’t Stop High-Tech, H-1B Human Trafficking.

Now, via Washington Examiner’sWhen foreign airlines go under, US taxpayers could be stuck with the bill” comes quite a positive description of the sordid liaisons and transactions on the backs of American taxpayers:

Subsidizing Boeing jets has generally been the Ex-Im Bank’s main activity. Typically, about 40% of all its financing supports Boeing exports. That’s why the agency has earned the nickname “Boeing’s Bank.”
As a result, airlines in China, Turkey, Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, and all over the world have benefited from U.S. taxpayer-backed financing to buy Boeing jets in recent years. Many of them still owe their lenders, meaning the U.S. taxpayer is still exposed via the Ex-Im Bank. There’s a decent chance some of those foreign airlines will default on some debt payments. That could result in the Ex-Im Bank having to make the creditors whole.

There is more cronyism than Capitalism in the operation of the giants of corporate America.

UPDATE:  Just desserts.