Saturday, October 9, 2021

Is China Imploding?

Meanwhile, back in the USA, the news media has been regaling us with talk about how China is imploding. Wishful thinking, one dares to say. When you are afraid you cannot compete you imagine that your competitor is going to implode.

In truth, one Gordon Chang has been predicting the demise of the Chinese regime for some two decades now. For having been consistently wrong, he is now considered to be an expert. Isn’t America a great country, where being wrong makes you an expert. 

Anyway, our go-to authority on China is named David Goldman. In the midst of China’s problems with its property sector-- and they are apparently serious problems-- the China implosion crew is out in force, predicting gloom and doom for the Middle Kingdom.

On which Goldman sheds the light of reason:

These are self-consoling illusions of a lazy elite that has allowed America’s manufacturing, technological and education advantages to erode over the past 20 years – an elite that has nothing to say about reversing the decline.

China has a nasty financial problem in an over-leveraged real estate sector, but countries with large current surpluses and huge saving rates don’t have crises. They have reorganizations. And China does have a demographic problem, not nearly as serious as in Japan, South Korea or Taiwan, and only slightly more serious than America’s.

What the punditeska thinks is light at the end of the tunnel is, rather, the headlamp of the oncoming express, namely the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The people who have been in charge of America, and that have allowed it to lose its competitive advantage, are now wishing, hoping and praying that its leading competitor will self-deconstruct.

Goldman takes the long view:

A generation from now, the Chinese won’t remember the misery of Ant Financial, or the failure of property giant Evergrande, or this year’s power shortage, or any number of minor interruptions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They will remember automated warehouses, smart ports running on 5G networks, mines operated by remote control, factories run by self-programming robots and driverless taxis.

All of this is happening now in China, and at scale. The linked videos on Youtube provide more information than anything you will read in the Western media. China’s artificial intelligence (AI) applications look like science fiction, but they are real as rain, and happening before our eyes.

The application of big data and AI to flexible manufacturing, smart logistics, health care and other fields promises to transform economic life as profoundly as the Second Industrial Revolution changed the United States and Germany.

While America’s ports are clogged by inefficiency, China’s ports are being run by robots:

All of China’s major ports are at or close to full automation. Industrial automation, although impressive, is still in pilot phase: Huawei says that it has 16,000 private 5G networks under development for factory automation, a small fraction of the country’s 2.8 million factories (as of 2015), but more than enough for proof of concept. And the Chinese telecom giant has installed 5G networks in 1,800 of the country’s 34,000 hospitals.

China turned a population of subsistence farmers into industrial workers, moving 600 million people from countryside to city in less than 40 years, increasing per capita income tenfold in the process.

I refer you to the text if you would like the details about the fourth industrial revolution. Nothing is more dismaying for America than the simple fact that while China moves ahead America is mired in a useless and fruitless debate about diversity, equity and inclusion. By the by, it is doing everything in its power to dumb down education, the better to make underachieving children have higher self-esteem:

China is serious, focused and disciplined in its campaign to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The US at best gives lip service to the concept, and at worst ignores the problem, the better to focus on “diversity” and “equity.”

Which country is really imploding?


David Foster said...

I certainly don't want to underrate China's achievements, or to be overly-optimistic about America's situation, but I'm not sure Goldman fully understands the technological advancements going on in *this* country. Warehouse automation? Lots of companies doing things in this field, from Amazon and its subsidiary Kiva on down. For example, Fetch Robotics:

Artificial Intelligence in healthcare? See GE's AI system embedded in a portable x-ray machine:

or this portable AI-based system for categorizing strokes so that appropriate treatment venues can be chosen:

Plenty of technological innovation is being created, implemented, and deployed--our problem lie with the terrible education and social dysfunction that keep so many people from fully participating in the economy, the strangulation of the energy industry, and the failure of political leadership and the culture in general to understand the value and importance of manufacturing.

Ares Olympus said...

Where our collective future is leading us feel terrifying, most of all where $100k salary jobs in the US are competing with people in China who may be able to do the same work for $10k or less. And aren't there more billionaires in China than the US? Yes indeed. Globalism is good for billionaires, soon to be trillionaires. That much we know.

And what is the "Fourth Industrial Revolution"? It seems to be complete state control, a complete surveillance state, where anything you say in public or private can be used against you in a secret court.

Every fear any American has about a dictatorial federal government exists in China. Whatever the origin of covid-19, whatever the reality of covid deaths in China (apparently 3 deaths since April 2020), China shut down a whole city for weeks on a top-down directive, and surely have vaccine mandates as well.

It does seem like the US is sliding in the same direction, but at least we have the resistance - people willing to fight mandates, even lose their jobs to show they are not guinea pig for "scientists" using a deathly vaccine that will kill millions for depopulation in the near future, at least if I listen to my friend who knows what's really happening through "free speech" Rumble channels.

Will we implode? Will China implode? Fortunately for our bliss, it looks like the big fall the slowest, or like bankruptcy, it happens slowly, and then all at once.

Sam L. said...

News to me! But then, I don't take a daily paper, and I don't watch TV "news". Also, I live in a rural area.

"A generation from now, the Chinese won’t remember the misery of Ant Financial, or the failure of property giant Evergrande, or this year’s power shortage, or any number of minor interruptions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution." China will burn the books about this, if (IF) it ever allows them to be written. The memory hole gets bigger, but mostly DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPER.

Democrats HATE America.

John Fisher said...

The Chinese obsession with 5G reminds me of the Japanese obsession with supercomputers in the 1980s. The Japanese took apart a Cray supercomputer, figured out all the ways to make it better, and invested in everything from thermal management to packaging to chip design to make a better one. By the time they got it to market, supercomputers had become racks of PC motherboards connected with Ethernet at 1/50th (or so) of the cost of a traditional supercomputer. Some of the technology found other uses; for example Kyocera's expertise in packaging materials came from this. I suspect we will find the same with China; at some point they won't handle a major paradigm shift well. On the other hand, we were a mite more serious in the 80s than we are now.

David Foster said...

John Fisher...."The Chinese obsession with 5G reminds me of the Japanese obsession with supercomputers in the 1980s." Good comparison.

5G certainly has a lot of uses, but it's a stretch to say that highly automated manufacturing and other Internet-of-things applications are dependent on it. For most industrial automation applications, it makes sense to locate the intensive computer processing physically close to the thing being controlled--say, in the case of a machine vision system controlling a robot. There needs to be communication with other parts of the factory, for update, programming, and reporting, etc, but it's not usually a millisecond-by-millisecond thing, or doesn't need to be.

Two very major IOT applications have been implemented on a US national basis in the last couple of years. The first is the ADS-B program, under which aircraft report their GPS-derived positions every second. The reports go both the air traffic control and directly to any nearby aircraft. The communications protocol used has nothing to do with 5G.

The other major application is Positive Traffic Control in the railroad industry, intended to improve safety and eventually to improve traffic handling capability. I'm less-familiar with this than I am with the aircraft system, but have a general understanding of it. The PTC standards are pretty general, and communications can be accomplished in many ways. Some railroads, I believe, are using cellular networks, but probably not 5G at this point, and certainly not using the public cell networks from the telco carriers.