China Turns A Desert Into An Arable Land

According to CIA.gov, China’s arable land is around 11.3%.  Most inner China and western peripheral of China, if I’m not mistaken, these areas are not suitable for planting crops.  China got many huge deserts too.  Some lands in China probably were arable before, but they became desert due to desertification.  Nonetheless, Chinese local people who live near such places are trying hard to combat desertification with local ingenuity inventions.  Once such place is in Inner Mongolia.  A city named Erdos, in Inner Mongolia, has successfully combat desertification by turning sand into soil to retain water better and create a beautiful forest of trees.  Their new technology allows them to plant and grow crops in the desert, turning the desert into arable land.  I think this is amazing because, with this technical know-how, China can help educate other countries that are facing similar problems.  With more arable lands than before, I bet China would be able to grow more crops to feed more people within China.  Check out the video right after the break to get more details on this.

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China In Congo Experience: Empire of Dust – 2011 Africa.

Although the video probably made in 2011, the context of the video is quite relevant, still.  I think I’ve mixed feelings about watching this video.  On one hand, I feel sad for the tough conditions and environments in which the Congolese got to experience every day because their country wasn’t developing at all at the time period in which the video is showing.  At the same time, I also feel sorry for the Chinese — who tried to help the Congolese to rebuild the 300km road which connects Kolwezi with the capital of the province Lubumbashi — because the video shows the Chinese tried hard to negotiate and do their best in building the road but met with setbacks that could be fixed easily if communication and efforts were aplenty.  Unfortunately, the video shows that some Congolese weren’t too excited to make the road but the road could help improve the infrastructure for the locals.  Anyhow, the video shows the Chinese were also rough in manners in dealing with the Congolese, because of the language barrier and culture differences.  Vice versa, the Congolese were also ignoring the Chinese workers’ instructions but the instructions were meant to have things going.  Anyway, after watching this video, I wonder how it is now (i.e., 2017) for the Congolese in Congo, and how it is for the Chinese in Africa.  Check out the awesome video right after the break.  Enjoy!

Weaker Dollar, Stronger Yuan May Hurt The United States And Help China In The Long Run!

I’m no expert in economic matters, but I just want to use my own personal logic to make sense of a few things that are currently happening.  People are seeing that the Dollar is weakening as we speak, and the Yuan is growing stronger as we speak.  Some people say weaker Dollar is a good thing because export will become more profitable.  Furthermore, when export becomes profitable, it also drives up the manufacturing sector at home.  That’s the theory for some people, but I feel that it’s way more complicated than this.

Since the United States isn’t a world manufacture hub — China is holding this title — the United States’ exports won’t matter as much unless the United States becomes the world manufacture hub.  Sure, with weaker Dollar, the United States’ exports will become more competitive than before.  The question is, will a little gain in competitiveness in exports spur the manufacturing sector at home?  Meanwhile, weaker Dollar will make the United States’ imports a lot more expensive.

I think the United States currently imports a lot more than exports.  The United States’ import is at $2.25 trillion and the export is at $1.45 trillion for the year of 2016, according to Wikipedia.  If the United States’ exports continue to slack even with the weak Dollar and the imports continue to grow, the United States could face an even stronger trade deficit.  For an example, manufacturer companies in the United States may have to import more expensive materials from the outside to manufacture products at home for selling across the world and at home.  This may not make the products at home cheaper for homegrown consumers.  Furthermore, this will increase the trade deficit in manufacturing sector if not enough products within the United States get to export to balance out the import costs.

Weak Dollar will increase less buying power for the Americans who go abroad for vacation, business, and so forth.  Weak Dollar can make purchases of products from foreign companies through online websites or offline imports more expensive for the American consumers.  For an example, I could be buying a music plugin from an online website which belongs to a French company, and with a weak Dollar, I could be paying more for this software.

I guess good things and bad things do exist even when the Dollar is weak or strong.  Nonetheless, the most interesting question is can the United States fare better when the Dollar is weaker or stronger.  In my opinion, weaker Dollar can help spur export a bit, but if the United States’ exports don’t carry the whole United States’ overall, long-term economy, then the weaker Dollar will be a very bad thing!

What about China?  If the United States enters a trade war against China, China can increase import tariff costs for the products from the United States.  This could hurt the United States’ export market because weaker Dollar would be neutralized by this move from China.  Furthermore, China can also buy up weak Dollar on the cheap to make Yuan stronger if this would serve China’s agenda.  Of course, stronger Yuan for China could make China’s exports look expensive.  Still, from what I’ve heard, China is trying to spur demands at home to create a bigger home consumer market so China won’t be relying on too much from the export market.  If this is the case, then cheap Dollar would be beneficial for China in a big way!

Stronger Yuan would allow Chinese who are going abroad to get more bang for the buck.  Meanwhile, Chinese imports would become cheaper, and so China won’t have to spend so much money to import stuff.  As China’s export market isn’t doing so bad and the imports get cheaper, stronger Yuan allows China to continue to reform her consumption market.  Foreign companies would love to enter China’s bigger homegrown consumption market because China has 1.4 billion headcounts and growing.  As China becomes an ever more important factor for foreign companies due to the size of Chinese population and market, China can begin to dictate tastes, styles, fashions, and so forth worldwide.  Chinese culture will become ever more influential if Chinese market becomes the most important market in the world.

With a weaker Dollar and stronger Yuan, entering a trade war against China might be very bad for the United States!  China can sanction the United States’ companies, entities, and so much more to crash the United States economy.  Of course, a trade war would be bad for China too, because the United States’ imports from China do matter to China a lot.  Nonetheless, as China doesn’t rely on the export market so much, a trade war between the United States and China won’t deter Chinese economic reform plan.  After all, China wants to grow the homegrown consumption market!  While growing a homegrown consumption market to rely less on the export market, China relies on the cheaper import market to balance out the reduction of Chinese exports.  Weaker Dollar and stronger Yuan will allow China to transit from the export market to a service market, also to move to a higher value-added export market — all in all – making this transition in a smoother fashion.

In conclusion, I think China can make the best out of either weaker or stronger Dollar, and the United States — as long as the country stays less competitive — won’t be able to have the upper hand if a trade war occurs between China and the United States.  Meanwhile, China can use stronger Yuan to buy cheap debts from United States’ weak Dollar to prop up China Yuan’s strength.  This, in turn, will actually help China transits from a manufacturing to a service economy.  As the low value-added market goes away in China, China has to accelerate the reform of the manufacturing sector at home so Chinese future export market will be more about high value-added products.  Anyhow, if the United States isn’t going to be able to use the opportunity of a weaker Dollar to reform her economy somehow to make the United States’ economy more competitive against rivals such as China, in the long run other rivals will use the weaker Dollar as the opportunity to make their own economies a lot stronger.

I Believe Bitcoin May Not Survive Outside China In The Long Run!

I just checked the Bitcoin price and saw Bitcoin dropped down to $3,806.93.  It is a steep drop from when I saw Bitcoin was up near to $5,000.  This has happened because Chinese government is stepping up in regulation for Bitcoin.  Rumor or not, Chinese government is banning several major Chinese Bitcoin exchanges and stopping groups in China to create new virtual currencies.  Since such news have come out of China, Bitcoin has continued to slide downward.  It got rebound a bit, but it’s not yet over $4,000.

People are believing in Bitcoin for several reasons.  One important reason they believe in is that other governments won’t ban Bitcoin and so Bitcoin could survive outside China and around the world.  Other reasons are that Bitcoin won’t be controlled by governments, and so people can actually surpass the governments’ scrutiny when making financial decisions.  Unfortunately, Bitcoin has too many reasons for the governments around the world to step up to regulate.

I believe that China is a very powerful market factor, because China has the power to persuade other governments to step up their own Bitcoin regulations.  This is why I think Bitcoin won’t survive in the long run!  Of course, that’s my belief, and so I could be 100% wrong!  Don’t take my belief as fact, because you need to do your own research and soul searching whenever it comes to financial decision.  If you’re investing in Bitcoin and believing in Bitcoin, then you should just do what you think it’s best for you!

Anyhow, I like the idea of Bitcoin, but Bitcoin has several weak points that make me feel so uncomfortable about it.  Two most important weak points about Bitcoin are governmental factor which I had mentioned, and the other one is how easily Bitcoin could disappear.  What do I mean by this?  Well, let’s say I believe that Bitcoin coins are not actually safe on your devices.  Computers’ storages could get corrupted and poof your Bitcoin coins would disappear.  Hackers could just hack into your network or your smartphones and poof your Bitcoin coins would disappear.  No electricity or battery power, well you can’t really use your Bitcoin coins until the power is back.

In short, Bitcoin is much harder to get refund or recover once the coins leave you for good.  There is no institution to make sure the transaction is just, and the transaction always depends on pure trust without any insurance.  Once the governments start to ban Bitcoin together at large (i.e., worldwide), it makes Bitcoin users to lose the ability to appeal to the authorities for transactions gone wrong.  This weakens the Bitcoin’s appeal by a lot I think.  The things that make gold, hard physical asset, more appealing are values that can be verified and redeemed in the eyes of the world.  Bitcoin lacks the redeem attribute!  In my eyes, Bitcoin does not have the shine of gold, because you can’t redeem Bitcoin on justification but on pure trust!

 

 

We Can Marry Democratic And Authoritarian Values Into One!

The above video tries to explore the idea of marrying Democracy and Meritocracy values into one system.  In real life, currently, we do not have a system in which both values could be incorporated in a balance manner.  For an example, in the West, Democracy is being valued more, thus the systems lean toward mediocre leaders with greatest popularity.  In the East, the opposite case mostly occurs.  Still, there probably are situations that smooth sailing does occur for the West, and bad sailing does occur for the East.  This is a luck and bad luck happenstances.  For an example, the people in the West might just pick the best leaders by chance, thus the system could be run by the most popular leaders who are not mediocre.  In the East, bad luck could occur, thus the system could have corrupted, mediocre leaders who hold the positions of power and don’t want to relinquish such powerful positions — thus they become unpopular for sure.

The luck and bad luck happenstances are the unexpected elements, thus these things are beyond the control of the system.  What people want are the system that can be configured in a way that ensures the highest chance of electing the best leaders that could run the country in the best manner if possible.  Unfortunately, electing is more of a popularity contest than electing the best leaders.  Why?  Election is about who got more votes, and thus in theory anyone could be running for a position to get votes.  Strangers vote for each other — it’s more about who appears to be the most competence gets the popularity — thus getting the position.  In the Meritocracy system, a pretender who could keep the act together might also appear to be competence, thus fooling the previous leaders who vouch for his or her promotion.  Still, the Meritocracy system is built to ensure the highest chance of picking leaders according to meritocracy values.

When marrying Democracy with Meritocracy, we’re running into a direct conflict.  Democracy encourages the priority of voting while Meritocracy encourages the priority of strictly observing/testing before a promotion.  Thus, in reality we don’t see any system which distributes equal powers to Democracy and Meritocracy.  In China, I think some local regions do have elections, but it’s obviously one party state — so there is no true election at the very top.  So the true dilemma is how are we marrying the Democracy and Meritocracy together?

I have an idea!  Why don’t we have a constitution that ensures a house of Democracy which governs by election, but the house of Democracy is there to examine the performances of the most popular leaders who had gotten the positions through the voting process.  After the leaders’ terms are up, they need to be either promoted to longer term positions according to their performance-report-cards, but if their performances are poor they could be demoted or even be impeached.  Once they got promoted to longer term positions they could move into the house of Meritocracy.  Still, even once they reach the house of Meritocracy, more examinations must be done to ensure that the leaders within the house of Meritocracy are truly excellent.  If they’re just pretending to be excellent at their jobs, they could still be impeached within the house of Meritocracy.

Well, I think the idea I suggest above could be tested out for the case of marrying Democracy and Meritocracy together.  It’s like the people got to participate in a popularity contest before the real leaders could eventually be recognized.  Such a system does provide layers of examinations of our leaders so they could not take it easy and get so corrupted such as becoming lazy in serving people, involving in corruptions and scandals, and so forth.  What do you think?

China rolls out Unmanned Retail Stores

It took thousands of years for humankind to develop metal wings so we could fly like a bird which is so free in the sky, but it took humankind only few more years to fire all grocery helpers, bus drivers, taxicab drivers, truck drivers, pilots, restaurant helpers, some firemen, some nurses and doctors, some cooks, and whatnot.  Why and how?  Automation baby!  Here is a clue, check out the video right after the break to see new unmanned grocery stores that are going to be popping out all over the place in China.

These stores are still in testing phrase, but they’re ready as real grocery stores since real people are actually buying stuffs there.  These stores don’t need any helper, because everything is automated.  The key is your smartphone!  Customers can sign up with the store by scanning the QR code through their smartphone, and then they can proceed to shop within the store.  Once they see something they like, they can scan quickly scan the items at the scanner and pay through smartphone’s QR code scanning.  This bypasses the cashier process altogether.  This also bypasses the need to hire a grocery helper, security guard, and whatnot.

In the video I see some people are holding doors for others to come into the store.  I can imagine a scenario when a person who has not yet signed up with the store but got inside it and try to walk out the store with whatever items they want to steal.  One problem though, the store won’t open the door for a shoplifter, and thus security is sound.  If the person has already signed up with the store, it doesn’t matter if he or she has to be scanned from the door to get inside, because the cameras would scan all customers once they’re inside and when they’re trying to get out of the store.  Anyhow, I wonder will someone be able to hack the system and get away with stuffs like an uncaught shoplifter.