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Archive for November, 2008

Ultra Man

If I Were Ultraman

That last bit about Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Jiang Dengtao’s Four Modernizing Represents of Scientific Outlook on Harmonious Grain Growing as High as One Wills It seemed a little forced, but the rest of it was pretty good. Saving the world is a good thing. Even if it were to come from a bad Japanese kids show.

I mean I don’t want to be Ultraman. Ultraman sucks. He can only fight for a few minutes until that lame LED light on his chest starts flashing and then falls onto his hands and knees while getting pummeled by weird monsters that wouldn’t be out of place in a cheaply made hentai series. Of course he always rose up and won in the end.

Then again, I remember I used to like Ultraman as a kid. I even drew pictures of him and talking about how the Earths polluted atmosphere hurt him. My dad was impressed with me knowing the word ‘atmosphere’ at the age of 6, so I guess I should be thankful to Ultraman.

Alright Ultraman, I owe you one. Happy Thanksgiving and may your first child be a masculine child.

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I’ve been off-topic since the Olympics ended, so I guess it’s time to bring China back into this blog. But what should I write about? There’s just so much!

The Financial Crisis and China’s Bailout Plan

I’m not a big fan of the government jumping in and ‘spending’ a country out of a recession. I mean the government is inefficient and though the CCP gets things done faster than the American Congress, they’re also a little corrupt so who knows how many pockets will be lined when this bailout plan is implemented. However, with that said, China’s economic growth has long neglected the western half, so maybe it’s necessary for the government to step in, build infrastructure, and ‘spread the wealth around’. I mean 16% of China’s GDP is a lot of money… it can’t all be wasted on government official banquets and tacky landmarks, right?

Gong Li is a Traitor!

So Gong Li changed her nationality to Singaporean. I remember during the Olympics, the ethnic Chinese Singapore ping pong team got some praise because they were ‘second tier’ players exporting Chinese culture to the outside world. So why are they hating on Gong Li? I mean she’s been making pretty shitty movies since ‘To Live’ came out so it’s not like they’re ‘losing’ somebody awesome like Yao Ming. Jeez, they’re not even losing her. It’s not like she’s changing her ethnicity to Japanese or something…

Longnan Protests

A bunch of people are being moved out of their houses because the government is building something shinier on top the land so people decided that they don’t like that and they got a bunch of people to join them to protest and a lot of people came to watch and the police came and then there was yelling and shouting and possibly some singing and then after it was over the local government said that the incident was caused by a few trouble makers because 99% of the residents love them. Yay.

Chinese Girls Get Beat up and Videotaped While Walking Around Naked

There has been a few posts on the internet with schoolgirls getting beat up and humiliated by other schoolgirls. This is pretty rare in the US, not because it doesn’t happen, but because it’s usually not put up on the internet since they’re afraid of getting identified and charged for sexual assault. These schoolkids are too naive and for some reason put it out there and now they’re all getting arrested and stuff. If only they listened to their parents and retained the Cultural Revolution mentality… though I guess it’s better that they didn’t since now they’ll get caught and will get punished for not playing nicely.

Eh… writing about the news is kind of boring. I’ll think of something more interesting to write next time.

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First I lost faith in Marx. Now I’m losing faith in Keynes. Marshall, Humes, Mill, Smith and all them classical folk that I used to dislike are turning me towards the dark side. I had no idea those guys were so subversive.

I’m politically liberal so I was always big into the government intervening. When I first studying political economy, I fell for Marx and his awesome beard. I wanted there to be global revolution, an egalitarian society, and witness the inevitable collapse of capitalism that Marx predicted. I mean the working people having nothing to lose but their chains? That’s one helluva pick up line.

My love for Marx slowly dissipated when I met other Marxists who turned out to be pompous elitist assholes who were more interested in showing off their intellectual superiority and how ‘down with the people’ they were with their communist-chic style of dress instead of actually contributing anything to society. So instead, I turned to Polanyi who said there was a big role for the government in protecting the people from the market. I liked that idea because I saw in my mind this image of the corporate machines and the invisible hand crushing the life out of poor starving children before Uncle Sam and Captain America swoop in to save them with social safety nets and injections of liquidity.

And from that, I naturally became a Keynesian. I mean all the economics that we learn as an undergrad,  unless you got to one of them special schools that teach neo-classical stuff, is based on Keynes. You know, all those IS-LM curse, AS-AD stuff. The reason why I liked Keynes was because he was so cool. Like he didn’t give a shit about what the social norms were. I mean he pissed on the grave of all those dead white classical economists AND he was an equal opportunity employer of sexual partners. Oh, and instead of telling an unemployed hardworking Mexican in the Central Valley that he was gonna be unemployed because there’s a economic downturn and that’s just the way the market worked, he would have said that the market is fucked up and the government should do something that helped that Mexicano y su familia. That was pretty cool in my eyes.

However, the more I learn about Keynes, the more I begin to see him as someone who just had a personal grudge against the classics instead of someone who truly found error in the old market theories. Just a couple examples that have been pointed out by my professor is that Keynes believed that ‘capital’ in the classical sense meant industrial goods and machinery. He also believed that savings = hoarding. And then there was his argument that changes in credit supply or demand would lead to changes in  income instead of the proportion of income saved/consumed. He didn’t have a basis for what he was arguing. He just said that the oldies were wrong and he was right. When other people tried to tell him he was interpreting the literature wrong, he just brushed them off and gave these half-assed excuses.

Now I still think Keynes’ idea hold strong in times of major economic crisis. Like during the Great Depression, massive money creation by the central bank might have been able to dampen the crisis in the short run. But his overly-quoted statement that we’re all dead in the long run is kind of short sighted. It’s like instead of building a good house and ensuring that it’ll last for a thousand years without much maintenance, you build a shoddy house and constantly patch it up.

I haven’t finished all my re-reading of Keynes yet, but after reading Humes and Mill, I’m starting to turned more and more towards the dark side of economic liberalism – which is usually associated with rich white folk like that duck that swam in piles of gold coins and gun-toting libertarians like Moses. Scary shit.

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Election

Yay, it’s all over. Obama won and there’s a bunch of liberals in the house and senate. In California, gays get to have wonderful lives before getting eaten and farm animals cannot get married.

And I get to play Fallout 3 without interruptions from the outside world.

Human rights are non-existent. They are all human privileges that can be taken away by someone with more power. However, all humans should be given the same privileges, otherwise it’s not fair. But then again, life isn’t fair so people should just deal with it. Or maybe people should fight the good fight and try to make the world fairer.

Fight the good fight. Right on Three Dog, right on.

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So a lot of people have been saying that the economic crisis has helped Obama while foreign policy is McCain’s strength. For me personally, it’s kind of the opposite.

First let me say that I have already voted absentee for Obama for reasons I mentioned in a post a few days/weeks ago.

I dislike McCain mostly for his foreign policy views, mainly the Iraq war. I don’t like war for many reasons. First of all, it leads to people dying, obviously. But on top of that, there’s the increase in government spending that would cause increased inflation (if they are printing money to pay for it) or shoot up interest rates (if they are borrowing from the public). Then there’s the strained international relations that comes from war, which can negatively impact trade. Productivity is decreased as skilled mechanics, tenchnicians, or engineers are taken out of the work force and sent to a foreign country to repair tanks and launch missiles. Some people would argue that war leads to a ramp up in industrial productivity, but that usually takes place only during a total war (where the entire country is geared towards war, not the computer game series) so during wars like Iraq, it’s just a shift in productive power from the domestic to the government sector. And on top of that, I don’t think going into Iraq is protecting America.

As can be inferred from above, I’m not a huge fan of government spending, though I’m far far FAR from libertarian. For example, public goods like education, parks, and infrastructure should definitely be maintained by the state (as well as defense I guess since it’s necessary to prevent Bermuda from invading). In the area of ‘steering’ the economy, I’m a bit iffy, though in areas such as encouraging the use of more fuel efficient cars through government rebates and improving technology through government investment, I think the positive externalities that result from such actions can outweigh the costs of bureaucratic inefficiency.

Which is why I don’t like Obama’s economic policy too much, though McCain has also played the populist card as well. I mean why should homeowners be bailed out by the government? Why does ‘main street’ (damn, I hate that term) deserve to be helped any more than ‘Wall Street’? As for more regulation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were both government institutions. It was the government that encouraged private banks to give risky loans to consumers, so how can it be believed that a new government institution in charge of overlooking credit markets will do any good?

However, I came upon the belief that while I’m more Republican in terms of my economic thoughts in that I like freer markets, I’m voting for a politician and politicians just don’t know much about economics. So I am forced to vote based on my political ideology and as a result, I’m voting for Obama.

Though if Glenn Hubbard ran for president, I would vote for him.

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