Here’s a head-scratcher from the New York Times:
A sudden and mysterious drop in China’s oil consumption helped to push down the International Energy Agency’s estimate on Wednesday of global demand for this year.
After growing 11 percent in 2003 and 15.4 percent last year, China’s overall oil use declined 1 percent in the second quarter from the comparable quarter a year earlier, the agency said.
If China’s economy really has stalled, then it’s time to move an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group or four just east of Taiwan. Let me explain.
In a mature, liberal-market economy like ours, the economy grows because people do things they want to do, and enough of us do those things profitably to keep things movin’ on up. Our government profits only to the extent that if feels safe spending our tax money.
In an immature, post-Communist economy like China’s, the economy grows because the government has decided to let people be just free enough to do a few approved of things to keep things humming. That government profits to the extent that if forestalls the inevitable collapse, be it economic or political.
Of course, in unfree countries, political and economic collapse generally go together like Mao and little red books. And that’s pretty much my whole point here.
China’s communist leadership wants to have it both ways. They want the power (and money) that results from freedom. They also want the power (and more power) that comes from having, well, power.
In a mature, multiparty nation like ours, when things turn sour we can turn the bastards out. In an immature, single party nation like China