A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

A modest man who has much to be modest about

That was Churchill on Attlee.

A paraprosdokian (from Greek “παρα-“, meaning “beyond” and “προσδοκία”, meaning “expectation”) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe the first part. It is frequently used for humorous […]

China’s role in natural resource markets

Theodore Moran argues at East Asia Forum that whether China’s actions in natural resource markets are ‘distorting’ or not depends on whether China acts to tie up supplies from existing large producers by making them loans or taking substantial equity stakes or whether China acts to support by investment and loans stakes in smaller producers. […]

Rare earths

Rare earths are a collection of seventeen elements in the periodic table – scandium, yttrium and the fifteen lanthanides. These elements have various applications – superconductors, high-flux magnets, , refining catalysts, hybrid car components, wind energy components, communications, TV sets, in welding, in smart phones and smart bombs …. See here.


BHP-Billiton, Sinochem & Potash Corporation

Monopolist sellers and monopsonistic buyers contain their struggles to control crucial world resource markets.

China’s Sinochem has hired two large banks to advise it on the case for buying a large stake in the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. BHP-Billiton has extended its $39b bid for the company ( I discussed this in an August post […]

Eliminating carnivores?

This provocative piece “The Meat Eaters” by Jeff McMahan in NYT has aroused much negative comment. The idea is an extension of ‘animal liberation’ and ‘vegen’ philosophy. The question: Should we arrange for the gradual extinction of all carnivores so that only herbivores remain in order to avoid animal suffering?


Shenzhen & China’s future

Shenzhen is the miraculous Special Economic Zone established on the mainland of China in Guangdong Province opposite Hong Kong. Its growth is closely linked to that of Hong Kong which, in turn, depends critically on the low labour cost manufacturing opportunities in Shenzhen. Both centres are now increasingly economically and administratively integrated. The basic idea […]

How to solve Beijing’s traffic congestion woes*

The difficulty with Beijing’s traffic is self-evident to anyone who drives or indeed who tries to walk around its streets as a pedestrian. Some stirring photographs are here.

There seem to be about 4 million cars owned in the city and this stock is experiencing explosive growth. According to recent articles in China Daily the […]

Qantas & China

Can anyone explain to me why Qantas operates only a single daily flight to China, namely to Shanghai? Why don’t they operate direct flights to cities such as Beijing? China is Australia’s fourth largest source of tourists – in 2009 366,000 tourists came from China – and many Australians are now visiting Chinas for business […]

Inner Mongolia & back

This week I visited Inner Mongolia with a friend from Peking University. We travelled by train from Beijing – it is about a 10 hour trip. This is an ‘autonomous region’ of China in the far north of the country. It is land-locked with borders with the Republic of Mongolia and the Russian Federation. Its […]

Beijing thoughts 1

I am settling quite happily into life in Beijing. It’s hot – around 31oC one day – and muggy with occasional showers. The heat gets to you the same way it does in Bangkok – the Joules interact with the smog and the excessive concrete making the heat feel as if it has just gushed […]

Chinese energy targets

China is serious about cutting energy use intensities & carbon emissions. It has targets of cutting energy use intensities by 20% in the 5 years to December this year and by 40-45% by 2020. The US criticises these targets because they do not involve absolute emissions cuts. But in a practical sense China is doing […]

Election outcome

I saw the outcome of the election on the English language TV news service in Beijing. It got lengthy coverage here followed by an interview with an academic who discussed the consequences for Australia-China relations – generally they were seen as very positive. (Incidentally I am interested to see the Australian ‘All Ordinaries’ among the […]

Religious belief & prosperity

This US gallop poll makes the interesting point that the high levels of religious belief in the US are inconsistent with global trends that show the most intense religious beliefs in poor countries. The US is a religious outlier. The graph at this link illustrates this proposition clearly. Quote:

“65% of Americans say that religion […]

Environmental transparency policies in China

I enjoyed reading Barbara Finamore’s piece on transparency in environmental regulation in China which I posted earlier. This is a partial and somewhat shorter re-post.

The use of transparency as an environmental policy tool in China has particular interest for the US given the stumbling block of verifiability on Chinese carbon emissions reductions at […]