Finding a new norm – in the streets, the markets and in space

The Tianjin Aircraft Carrier Hotel.

Another day of violence in England, it has spread to other cities; on the fourth day of riots Manchester, Salford, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham had their own version of the London riots.  In London 16,000 police have been mobilized to deal with the situation. The police are defining the rioters as criminals and thugs; the rioters don’t always agree and blame the government for the unrest that lead to violence.  In a day when the stock market went up and down fast enough to satisfy most adrenaline junkies and continued violence in England it is easy to wonder if we will ever see normal again in the streets or in the markets?  Or even, what normal might be?  At least in 2011, violence and protesters in the streets of the world’s capitals is one of the new new norms.

2011 has also been a year of changing norms in the markets of the world.  The economy is in one way or another part of every political crisis in the world today; and there are very few countries seemingly untouched or untainted by this long recession made worse by national debts.  Germany is an exception and so is China.  Every day there is positive economic news from China, there are of course problems, but much like news here in 2005, 06 or 07 the dominate theme is growth and prosperity. With its growing economy, China is certainly going to be part of defining the new normal.  The July sales figures for cars were released today – over 900,000 cars were sold in China in July, up 3.6% from 2010; but the China Daily complained it was 6 percent less than were sold in June and a sign the economy was slowing – wow, tough luck guys, better luck next month.

In July China took its next step into space with a manned space flight; the rocket , The Long March, named after the famous march by Mao and the early communist army, was moved into position – launch is expected in August.  The program is planned in stages, leading to a space station and further space missions. China sees itself replacing western nations in space and in space science and the Chinese program is likely to suffer from budget cuts or a lack of scientist – remember China is graduating a million scientists a year.

Zhang said that China will have its own space station in 2020. “China’s space station will be an open platform. The Chinese people will be more than happy to conduct scientific experiments with foreign scientists and astronauts,” he added. Chinese People’s Daily, 8-9-11

A new hotel is opening; a hotel with an important history and a link to the cold war.  The Kiev Aircraft Carrier, once the flagship of the Soviet fleet is now a hotel in Tianjin, China.  Now that is symbolism, the Soviet power and the cold war are now only a vague memories; communist power demoted to capitalist bedrooms for to Chinese tourists – I wonder what Joseph Stalin (or Mao for that matter) would have thought?

There was one more story, actually an editorial, that is unlikely to get much attention in the western press, but probably should be on the front page of the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Chinese People’s Daily has more to say about the United States and its debt; or rather the debt it owes to China.  The People’s Daily suggests that the United States should be punished for selling arms to Taiwan.

Now is the time for China to use its “financial weapon” to teach the United States a lesson if it moves forward with a plan to sale arms to Taiwan. In fact, China has never wanted to use its holdings of U.S. debt as a weapon. It is the United States that is forcing it to do so. Ding Gang, People’s Daily, 8-9-11

Given that this the second editorial in a week about the America debt and China’s new found financial power derived from that debt – this appears to be part of the new norm – China telling the U. S. what is right and what is wrong.


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August 2011
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