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Everything posted by ex_banana-eater

  1. What bubble? If the currency appreciates then investors will invest money in Chinese companies (that cater to their domestic market) based on solid macroeconomics. The real bubble in China is the government backed real estate bubble. Check out the book How an Economy Grows and How it Crashes by Peter and Andrew Schiff for a great discussion of the US-China trade deficit and inflation.
  2. The US is "exporting inflation" because of their massive increases in the money supply. Stupidly, many countries like China want to keep their currency at a certain ratio with the USD, thus making all of their citizens poorer and causing riots in the West of the country over rising food prices. There certainly will be at some point, when the Chinese government wakes up. Inflation is an increase in the money supply. Reducing the rate at which one increases the money supply is reducing inflation. The stuff about unemployment your professor said is Keynesian BS. There wouldn't be any long term unemployment, just some structural changes in the economy as the Chinese get to begin consuming the items they work all day creating rather than just giving them to Americans in exchange for IOU's. Your guess is as good as mine. He sounds like an academic divorced from reality.
  3. 2011 Index Released: http://www.heritage.org/index/ Capitalistswine, why did you think countries were misplaced? What type of weighting and measures do you use when evaluating that is different from their index?
  4. If you care about your career, Hong Kong and Singapore are great places to be. Even if you don't work there, incorporating there might be something to think about. No special reason to bank in Switzerland anymore after some recent events. Famed investor Jim Rogers packed his bags and moved to Singapore once he decided to start a family. Singapore is usually at the top of international tests evaluating student skills like math, science, and literacy. Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan are usually not far behind. Plus, he wanted his kids to grow up speaking fluent mandarin. That whole region has a lot of great places that have bright futures, including Shanghai, Australia, New Zealand, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other cities that are set to grow in emerging countries. On the other hand, outlook for the US is not so bright.
  5. I think it is highly dependent on whether China offers equality of rights to its people. There is pressure to do so in their culture and it is not necessarily against the philosophy of their government so I think it is possible. There are millions of Chinese in Yunnan province, for example, still getting by on $3 per day. If Hukou is abolished, migration continues and is eased, I would safely bet on China meeting US GDP within a generation (total, not per capita). It wouldn't be that hard with the population and everything, since they'd only need to be about 20-25% as productive as an average American. If China's rise is anything like Korea's, I wouldn't rule out per capita GDP getting close, either. In 1985 Korea's GDP (PPP) per capita was about 5,000. It's 30,000 now. South Korea also went from a military dictatorship to a country that respects free speech and freedom of assembly in that time. I also think US GDP is set to drop a lot once creditors stop buying US treasuries. GDP is a measure of "economic activity" and not production. There is no subtraction of foreign loaned debt to the GDP numbers. If Obama borrows 1.5 trillion dollars this year from Japan, China, South Korea, and other countries, and then spends it on ditch digging and food stamps for 44 million Americans, that is "economic activity" to the tune of 1.5 trillion dollars which is added to the US GDP. The other problem is that the US is in, what I see, a massive bubble based on consumption and service industries. This is a malinvestment caused by the Fed's easy money. Americans are consuming like crazy and going into debt to do it, yet they are not producing proportionately. When inflation rises because of money printing to pay down the deficits, or when China allows its currency to appreciate, the cost of consumer goods will go up dramatically in the US. If the consumption bubble pops that will mean a fairly large economic contraction. I'm betting on it being fairly significant. I think it may even be a sustained depression because who would build factories in the US? There will just be unemployed service sector workers. So I don't want to compare, for example, the current US GDP to China's current GDP. Sure, there's probably a bubble in China right now too but I don't think the fundamentals of the economy there are as bad. I don't know much about Taiwan, but I looked into moving there for a bit and didn't because their taxes were too high. I pay a 3% income tax here in Korea, whereas I heard I would have to pay around 25-30% over there. Why even leave Canada for that? Hah. But it's true I have to pay high prices for goods because of the Japanese style protectionism and tariffs in Korea. Still, sitting down at a restaurant for dinner is $4.50 with no tip needed and no tax, not $20 plus 15% tax and 15% tip like in Canada. I think education will be stressed in China for a while, because of the Confucian element. It still is in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore--to the extreme. Look at Asian-Americans as a group and on average they are still hard working despite their wealth and their children are on average high performers at school. It's only the third generation that ends up a little lazy like the rest of their country, like myself (my grandparents came from India). Yeah but their stimulus was stuff like building a 200 billion dollar railroad. Whereas the US spends money on giving food stamps to 44 million people, or pensions of public sector employees so they can consume, China's government spending involves industrialization, transportation and the creation of equipment. Of course it is preferable to let the market do that, but at least the money isn't completely thrown out like it is with welfare in Europe. I think there will be a lot of bumps in the road for China though and agree that people were trying to protect their money from inflation by buying up real estate. At least they can buy gold now. But the US also had a rocky rise to the top with a lot of depressions and wars.
  6. I agree with Agrippa1, it is not a collapse of the US dollar that would cause a flight from all major currencies, but a country choosing to back its currency with a non-inflatable commodity or allowing its citizens to use competing currencies such as precious metals. It is possible that the US dollar could tank at the same time that all other currencies tank, but I would say that's highly unlikely because every single central bank in the world will not choose to inflate at the same time. If you're talking about the major currencies--the Yen, the Euro, and the dollar, then that's different because they're all actively devaluing their currencies right now. But the currencies of smaller countries are doing fine right now like the Australian dollar, the Swiss Franc, and the New Zealand dollar. I think they may even be hitting all time highs against the US dollar. I think that if the US continues on its present course of deficit spending then foreign countries will stop buying US T-bills. At that point the US will be forced to introduce austerity measures or inflate. I think the more likely option based on the attitudes of today will be to inflate. If the US starts to inflate to pay the debt at a rate of a trillion or two per year, then the dollar will lose its status as the reserve currency pretty fast unless Europe has major problems. For the American consumer it will mean rapidly rising prices regardless of what happens in Europe.
  7. True, but why does that matter to us? If China goes from producing 5 trillion to producing 15 trillion dollars worth of goods, and the US slowly sinks a trillion over a decade, we ought to be investing in companies in China and getting out of US investments. I hope, for the sake of the US and the world, that they do something about their deficits. Are you optimistic about the US producing balanced budgets and reducing the debt before Asia stops buying their T-bills? I am skeptical that even balanced federal budgets will be accomplished within the next two years. Maybe after the election of a new president. But the US still has to worry about bailing out socialist states and cities like those in California in the near-term. I live in Korea but I'm in contact with a lot of Chinese people too. If we view Korea as a more developed model of China's future then I'd have to disagree with your statement about environmental laws and labour laws. Korea is developed and they certainly don't believe in making environmental regulations so tight that oil refineries would not be opened in 30 years, like the US has done. In fact, Korea has some of the biggest oil refineries in the world. There is no environmentalist ideology here like there is in the US. There are leftists but there is an absence of the New Left. Being in Seoul is like a breath of fresh air, you know there are no beggars and drug addicts all over the streets like there are in the US in Canada? And that's in a city of 20 million. This is a developed country and there is almost no welfare and pension system. My Korean girlfriend's father works 6 days a week and comes in to the office Sunday mornings--and that's normal here, even for elementary school students. My experience with Chinese people and knowledge of China leads me to opinions about that country similar to Korea. When people apply for a job in China they ask how many days they can work not how many holidays they will get. There are 500,000 engineers graduating every year in China and these people don't go on ski trips on the weekends, they want to work. Even if they up the regulations a bit, who are they going to lose out to? Maybe Bangladesh and India in select cases, but you can't build a steel mill in those places as fast as you can in China and those countries have pitiful infrastructure. You can open a major factory in 6 months in China--think about the time it would take in the US. Why should the Chinese emulate Europe and the US when they have Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan to look to full of Chinese people? Arguably, those are the examples that originally sparked a change in the minds of some Chinese political leaders. China's regulation is location based. That is, you can move from one place to another and they will have different laws about production. China's economic success comes from the fact that they established free trade zones, financial zones and special economic zones throughout the country and then millions of people moved to these places. People moved to freedom in their own country, yet large amounts of people are still poor farmers in areas that are virtually the same as 30 years ago politically speaking. This structure, in my opinion, does not lead to overarching environmental or labour laws which will apply to everyone. They have had those labour and property laws in place for a long time--they are still in existence outside the cities that were allowed to develop. This political structure means that hundreds of millions of people are still economically unfree, while those who have migrated to places such as Shenzhen (20 million in a couple decades) are able to enjoy economic freedom. Hundreds of millions of people are currently restricted by a system of registration called the Hukou system which does not allow them to leave the countryside. There is major political pressure in China to abandon this system. Newspapers recently broke with the government and published articles en masse promoting the disbanding of this system. If it is abolished it means adding hundreds of millions of people to the economic machine of China. It would be like the collapse of communism to another 300-600 million people. Whatever regulations are likely in some industries in China as they become more affluent will never touch the economic growth potential of freeing 300-600 million new people. I think this system will be reformed and therefore I have high hopes for continued economic growth in China.
  8. As for the cigarette smoking issue, I think the word "cause" needs to be clarified. It's probably better to move to the use of "a causal factor" in this case. Cigarette smoking may be a causal factor in the development of lung cancer in Americans. There are a lot of things to keep in mind, for example, that the Japanese in the 1960s smoked much more than American men and had more male smokers in general yet had half of the lung cancer rate of American men. Iceland is another country that has low rates of lung cancer yet more smokers than America. Then there's the Kitavans of Papua New Guinea. 80% of their men smoke and they have been under the supervision of medical researchers for decades yet no cases of lung cancer have been reported. My speculation is that because they eat a Paleolithic diet (a pre-agricultural diet that humans evolved eating and was not invented and introduced within the past 2000 years) their tissues may be more resistant to damage from environmental triggers. For example, they eat way less omega-6 polyunsaturated seed oils (almost zero) than Americans do. Americans eat a lot of these foods that are evolutionary exceptional: they were introduced to our food chain in the 1960s despite the fact that we did not eat them for our entire evolution. These polyunsaturated seed oils are highly prone to oxidation and they can compose our cell membranes. Tobacco use also has correlations with specific positive health effects such as a dramatically lower rate of Parkinson's disease, and also lower rates of dementia and Alzheimer's. And then there are alternative ways to ingest tobacco which do not seem to cause cancer either.
  9. From what I understand, Rand used dextroamphetamine, tobacco, and coffee nearly all of her life. I have personally tried dextroamphetamine and it immensely improved my ability to be productive and get stuff done. My mind felt like a laser.
  10. No, that would depend on context. Do you judge American civil war soldiers as immoral for drinking whiskey to blunt the pain in a battlefield operation?
  11. In my opinion, relaxing ones body after a day of work is a legitimate reason to use low to moderate amounts of marijuana. That is, if one is legitimately relaxing and not obliterating their mind completely. I have close family members whom I have grown up with, and witnessed them smoke a small amount of pot for 25 years after work, and occasionally before bed if they suffer from insomnia. These same people outperform all others they work with at their jobs and are genuinely rational and productive people, just like the man who has a glass of wine and cigar in the evening. I'd like to note that I've witnessed one close person in particular absolutely improve in mood, energy, symptoms, and even the ability to think, going from prescription insomnia medication to marijuana. It is a moral crime that the more dangerous, side-effect ridden, expensive prescription drug is legally available but not the more effective cure. I judge these type of people as morally good, because they are in fact doing what is in their self-interest. Part of life is about obtaining pleasure, and if it is harmless pleasure then it is a value. Most people obtain chemical pleasure by sweets and calorie dense processed foods, some from alcohol, others from alcohol, etc. The context and severity will determine whether it is in their interest or not.
  12. How can city councils across the US restrict Wal-Marts from opening but allow a Mosque next to Ground Zero? Given that there is no right of existence of these approval councils, but knowing they exist already and probably won't change, shouldn't we work within their framework and have the mosque denied? I mean, we advocate changing the public school system to teach the right ideas and have the right kind of curriculum even though it is a government controlled entity, because we shouldn't just sit back and swallow bad ideas. Who knows what kind of actions would have actually taken in a free market where there would be property covenants and whatnot. It seems to make sense that if these approval councils are going to exist then we ought to make the best of them, no? And what's with this money hungry fool Kukiko Mitani who would take cash from these Muslims so that they could build a mosque there? Why isn't she receiving angry letters for selling out the entire country. Data on the owners here, including information which seems to show they will not have enough money for the project they are proposing. They certainly got a good deal on the property though--have your intellectual brothers blow up the downtown area and then buy it for cheap at one tenth the price!
  13. I don't understand what this has to do with anything. My post was comparing a child and an adult. A child may learn up to 1-2 words every waking hour. The child is also not spared from the demands of memory (having perfect recall for the remainder of his life?) or even having perfect pronounciation. I'm saying that as an adult, I can probably study and retain 30 French words (especially cognates, I have that experience above a child) in an hour while he only learns 1. I am more efficient than that pathetic child because I have a better brain.
  14. I imagine this situation is common for younger Objectivists with younger friends. So all of you just remain silent unless asked about it? For example, your friend pulls up a $500 stolen program on his computer to show you how much he likes it, then mixes pirated music with it.
  15. I like Lyle. You do what he says and there's no reason (body recomp wise) to complicate it with things like IF. If you IF because it's easier on you psychologically or your appetite patterns fit it, then go with it though. Notably, none of the links you gave have experts in safely taking exogenous hormones, which is one of the most efficient ways to improve body composition. That along with taking uncouplers like 2,4 dinitrophenol.
  16. What is the evidence of this? I don't see how they can prove an impossibility. And doesn't the existence of people such as actors who can perform in different accents flawlessly offer a direct contradiction? Children are studying too. They don't have a mystical automatic consciousness like some kind of window. Are you saying they're not exerting effort and learning from context? It seems like both groups have to actively study and there is no difference between them. If anything, we get better and more efficient at learning languages as we gain greater abstractive powers.
  17. Nope, if anything we learn many times faster than children do. All evidence points to this. I've heard a statistic based on some research that said children at their fastest vocabulary expanding period (somewhere like 2-4 years old) are learning 1-2 words per hour, every waking hour. To that I say, "Woopdi doodle doo." You and I both know as adults that we can study and learn more than 1-2 words per hour. It's just that children are heroic in their study--their attention is constantly focussed on making sense of what's around them, and that includes the language they are being inundated with. They are being exposed to their native language for 16 hours per day and are actively trying to decode it. You put an adult in that situation and provided he exerts the same honest effort as the child, and he will be able to talk circles around the child. I'd estimate that us adults are at least 5x more efficient than children at learning languages, many more times so if we know some basic memory techniques. If an adult exposes himself and spends all day trying to understand a language, every day for a year, he will be able to read, write, speak, and listen at a level that surpasses an 10 year old native speaker in almost all respects. 1 year vs 10 years.
  18. My cousin was a male dancer and if I was a girl I would have dated him. He approached it as a career and eventually learned about the night club business and opened several night clubs, gentlemen's clubs and limo services with the money he saved from the job. The job gave him a lot of capital to get on the right path and become a multimillionaire before 30.
  19. From what I know, all of their language learning software is really slow going. For those prices, you could buy tonnes of Herbrew books and other media that would keep you occupied for years. I recommend you go to the How To Learn Any Language forums and digest some of the techniques from the successful polyglots there. You might also want to check out the blog All Japanese All The Time, which is more about language learning in general than the Japanese language specifically.
  20. You could do something like this and your assets will be completely safe from government confiscation. Foreign property might be the best out of those to invest in.
  21. I think you really missed the point of the novel. If Roark sold himself for money, he would attract the clients, commissions, and buildings that he never wanted all along. His "big break" would never give him success or happiness, just money making God-awful buildings. Howard Roark had foresight and wanted to attract only people who were aligned with his vision.
  22. Hermes, I don't think it is an issue of grey area with the law if my friend downloads the 2010 version of a $500 piece of software as soon as it is available. It is a moral issue. There really is no big gap between intellectual property and physical property for me because I understand the basis of both: they are both products of man's effort and mind. I would really appreciate it if this thread does not go down that avenue of discussion though, so if you wish to reply to me, please do it in the intellectual property threads elsewhere on the forum. For all others, I kindly request that we do not turn this into a debate about whether intellectual property is "real property" and ignore Hermes post.
  23. I myself have not been 100% perfect with intellectual property rights in the past, but it has been a very long time since I willfully went and downloaded something that I knew was clearly somebody else's property. I've actually made some mistakes with technicalities in more complicated areas of the law (wasn't sure about jailbreaking an iPod), or viewed something that was put on a public site expecting it to be legally put there (but it turns out it wasn't). However, a lot of my friends, who are otherwise decent people, are really involved with piracy. For example, it's no big deal for them to download a several hundred dollar audio mixing program or photo editor. They have hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars of albums that were stolen from the internet. Should I say anything to friends like this? I figure this is probably a common situation since I don't know many people my age who are against piracy that aren't Objectivists. Just my girlfriend actually, out of the hundreds of people my age that I've met. If that's the case for you too, maybe you've also thought of this issue. Also, if they burn a CD or something and then play it in the car, I don't tell them to turn it off just because I know it's stolen. Should I actually do that? I think I'd be an outcast fairly quickly if I ever did that. They already did the deed I figure, and they know my personal position if they're close friends.
  24. If you are great with making friends with women and are a good guy but you still aren't attracting them romantically, you are probably projecting yourself as a friend and companion rather than a masculine, sexual being. I don't mean a sexually promiscuous being, I just mean someone attractive to them in regard to chemistry, rather than being another one of their girlfriends. There are a lot of articles on the internet on how to stay away from the "friend zone," some good and some bad. I suggest you do as much reading as you can on them. Be sure to read articles about "nice guys" not being able to get women by the better pick up artist writers. A lot of guys complain of doing everything "right"--being logically satisfying to what they believe a woman's needs are, yet they always end up becoming like one of her girlfriends or her best friend. Often the girl will even tell him, "You are like the ideal guy" and then one day, two years later, he will finally make a move on her and she will be creeped out, because she only ever saw you as a friend. Most often these guys have a good list of qualities going for them but they aren't decision makers, pursuers, or have a sense of fun with women. And like others said, don't put the cart before the horse. Work on getting some chemistry with good women, the sex will follow.
  25. You should start with reading The Fountainhead and looking at the character of Gail Wynand.
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