Most Russian experts and military strategists I follow doubted Putin would invade Ukraine. I agreed with their rational arguments, but here we are. I’m reminded of the Haruki Murakami novel 1Q84. The heroine alights from her taxi and gradually discovers that she is living in a world where everything is almost the same, except there are two moons. Since Covid began, I doubt I’m alone in feeling that I have somehow gotten off at the wrong stop, and am living in a hellishly perverse alternative universe.
In just a few weeks, the Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing. Both Japan and China were unlucky in their timing; these Games without an audience must be bittersweet for participants as well. For me personally, they bring back memories.
Last month, a bit past the peak of fall foliage, I went to Vermont to visit family. Along the way I decided to stop by one of the many small cemeteries that dot the state to see the only monument to the 1918 Pandemic in the US. Hope Cemetery was beautiful, graced with stone gates, on a shining autumn day and a place where the eternal and the impermanent exist side by side.
In 2003 David Hale and I wrote an oft-cited article in Foreign Affairs, China Takes Off. Nearly two decades later, has China’s inevitable deceleration begun?
We hope you enjoyed our 3-part series on the future of technology and the new New Economy. In case you missed our podcasts this past month, please find links below to listen to Sheila Warren, Dan Breznitz and Winston Ma. As is our goal at EconVue, I believe these discussions will challenge some of your assumptions and provide you with information and analysis you haven't seen elsewhere.
In 2006 economist David Hale wrote a special report for his clients "Will China Need a Blue Water Navy?" He reasoned that due to China's growing dependence on imported commodities, Beijing would begin to project military power in order to protect its trading sea lanes, just as other world powers have done over the centuries. I will quote two paragraphs:
Images of the Ever Given container ship stuck in the Suez Canal have been ubiquitous over the past week. Less discussed is the physics behind the accident. Most probably the culprit is something called the bank effect, the tendency of the stern of a moving ship to swing towards the near bank when operating in a constricted waterway, influenced by a host of factors but preceded by a "yawing moment" as the bow moves laterally.
The outlines of a 21st century paradigm are becoming clear: a dialectic between centralization and decentralization. Although technology enables both, it makes large scale post-modern decentralization possible. Trust in institutions built over centuries allows centralization, but lack of trust, especially in media and information flows fosters an environment politically favorable to decentralization.