Is China's Bursting Property Bubble Triggering Wider Social Unrest?
". . . giving a lifeline of fresh loans and other forms of credit to over-leveraged developers without addressing the needs of other debtor classes such as suppliers and contractors to whom developers such as Evergrande owe literally billions of yuan is almost certain to be seen as rewarding the companies seen as the cause of the entire crisis."
Indeed. It is reasonable to expect that the contagion will grow.
One way of looking at this is that each population - from band, to village, city, to fraction of a continent and to entire continent - in order to function reasonably peacefully and productively, have a spot on which a thing called a "government" grows. The deal is that this thing, which is not productive in itself, returns to the host which it parasitises significant benefits which cannot be attained by any other arrangement (other than joining a larger population with its own government-thing growing on it). The benefits include a coordinated defense of the land and possibly means of forcibly acquiring further land, resources and influence over other populations. The government thing is also well placed to regularise behaviour in the population by way of laws and their enforcement. The government explicitly taxes and may to some extent (subject to numerous corrupting influences from the government itself, political parties and wealthy individuals and companies) subject itself to selection by a democratic process.
Except in the cases where the government uses a currency it does not control (all sub-national governments, and those national governments which use the Euro or some larger country's currency) the government thing also has the power to create currency without being subject to anti-counterfeiting laws and punishments.
In the past there were efforts to run countries with actual money - tokens which have intrinsic value, such as due to being made of gold or silver. Then paper money was used for convenience and divisibility - backed up 100% by gold of equivalent value for each issued note or coin, held by the government thing. (I recall this was the case for the USA in the early 20th century.) Then the 100% was diluted to 25%. Then the holding went to zero, but the government would swap an ounce of gold for USD$32, with the USD$ being a stable reserve currency and the Bretton-Woods agreement ingeniously pegging many other currencies to it by a relatively stable system of occasionally adjusted country-currency specific exchange rates with the USD$. President Nixon ended this (I recall) because the Europeans were taking advantage of this gold window by buying gold there, and because he wanted to create more currency (not money) to fund the military-industrial complex which benefited him and his campaign financially, by expanding the Vietnam War.
Since then, there has been no over-arching mechanism to reduce the temptation of each currency's government thing to create more of it. By doing so, the government thing and those it serves can cause its citizens and the citizens of other countries to do useful work for them, without providing anything in return but freshly - and cheaply - generated currency.
My eyes glaze over past a certain point with finance, debt, complex investment vehicles etc. I don't fully understand what all this "debt" really means. The concept is all tangled up in flows of currency (paper notes and coins, or its electronic equivalent) and people's belief about the real value of the currency they hold, or are promised by owning an investment instrument. This is hard to relate to actual flows of genuinely valuable goods and services.
Everyone and his dog is in debt. The complexity of industrial production, especially electronics - with components coming from many countries and companies (sometimes just a single source, no other company produces the component) - means that the world is extraordinarily dependent on webs of commerce no-one really understands, which must work reliably almost all the time. So there is great potential for whole industries grinding to a halt, or at least slowing down significantly, due to the supply chains being unable to provide every needed component in time. This happened with motor vehicles, largely due to the pandemic driving the demand for laptops etc. sucking semiconductor production from the devices needed for cars. (I wonder if current leading-edge CPUs will never be bettered. The transistors get smaller and so more subject to degradation over time by molecular diffusion. I am less inclined to discard my older machines . . . )
What else is the CCP to do but crank out more currency to prop up these banks - so diluting the value of everyone's currency holdings? This cannot end well. The same is true of most countries, where the government thing has been cranking out currency to satisfy their own needs, the short-term desires of the population, and the needs of those who corruptly bounce it back to support those currently running the government thing, while dooming the whole population to ruinous inflation, instability, crisis and loss of productivity and security.
The enormous burden of debt (whatever it is) means there must be a reckoning, since at best only a small fraction of it can be repaid by genuine productive effort. This means those holding the debt (such as pension funds and the individuals who are expecting to receive said pensions) - who currently think of it as an investment asset - will be left with little or nothing.
This looming disastrous failing, and the present day disastrous failings such as the US "healthcare" system, and almost every government's (Uttar Pradesh and a few others excepted) disastrous failure to respond properly to COVID-19, shows that in the ongoing battle between populations and the government thing parasites which grow on them, the parasitic elements of the government and those outside it who profit from its corrupt behaviour, are winning.
This millennia-old battle is accompanied by an arms race. The invention of print and broadcast media and now Internet based mass media and social media - and websites in general - have been powerful new weapons which could, in principle be used to support efforts to protect the population from corrupt, parasitic, government actions, or to convince many in the population that these actions are to their benefit.
The uncensored and potentially high signal-to-noise ratio of this and other Substacks is a win for the population, but too few have the time, inclination or discerning intellect to make good use of these and other such positive developments. Much more common is the ability of the fear and anger driven social/mass media to distract and mislead the majority. The Bad Cat (apologies for the capitalisation) has a great essay on this: "generating a sense of crisis so people will demand 'solutions' is not a basis for government": el gato malo 2022-07-17 https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/generating-a-sense-of-crisis-so-people .
This can be boiled down into the observation that the population, collectively, lacks the intellect and inclination to rein in the parasitic tendencies of their government things. Part of this is that limited quality of people who seek to run these government things. A few, such as Paul Keating and Malcolm Turnbull here in .au looked like they had what it takes. But they did not last long. Imagine a world where governments were frequently run by people as bright, communicative and highly principled as
I am inclined to believe the benign explanation for the Chinese tank video - but why indeed are they wearing out their engines, transmission, tracks and the road itself when they are normally transported on low-loader trucks or by rail? Maybe it is a show of force. The fact that many in the Twittersphere and MSM are panting breathlessly about the tanks being in Henan is strong support for el gato malo's hypothesis.
Been wondering how the recent sale (for how much?) of oil to China plays into this