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Guest Post: Four Signs Of Asia’s Rise Over The West

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Simon Black from Sovereign Man

Four Obvious Signs Of Asia’s Rise Over The West

Six centuries ago, when London and Paris were irrelevant, plague-infested backwaters, and New York City wasn’t even on the map, the greatest city in the world was Nanjing– the capital of the Great Ming.

At the time, Nanjing was not only the most populous city on the planet, it was also the pinnacle of civilization. Art, science, technology, and commerce flourished in the Ming Dynasty’s liberalized economy, which constituted a full 31% of global GDP at the time.

(By comparison, the US economy is roughly 25% of global GDP today…)

Taxes were low, the currency was strong, and overseas trade thrived. For a time, Nanjing truly was the center of the world.

Over the next several hundred years, the tide shifted. The Ming Dynasty fell, and power was transferred further west to the Ottoman Empire, and eventually to Europe which had finally emerged from the Dark Ages as the most advanced civilization on Earth.

Pointless crusades and inquisitions gave way to a surge in medical, technological, and scientific breakthroughs. By the late 17th century, western civilization had asserted its primacy in the global pecking order.

This phenomenon has lasted for several hundred years now… but as history has shown repeatedly, power centers frequently shift. The world is now witnessing yet another transition of power, this time from west to east, as the US-led western hierarchy suffocates within its own debt-laden Keynesian fiat bubble.

Most westerners refuse to believe it. They can’t envision an era in which the west doesn’t lead the world… in everything. And yet, that time is already upon us. Perhaps nowhere is this more pronounced than in finance:

1) Hong Kong, from whence I write this missive, has been home to the most public offerings in the world ever since overtaking New York in 2009. In 2010, more than $57 billion was raised in Hong Kong IPOs, roughly twice as much as New York.

From Italian luxury house Prada to the luggage maker Samsonite to Swiss metals house Glencore to the US handbag maker Coach, big names have been attracted to Hong Kong. Rovio, the creator of the popular Angry Birds game, is expected to list in Hong Kong as well.

Whereas it was once the obvious choice to list in the US (or London), Hong Kong has now become the best option for most businesses seeking public capital.

2) According to the Financial Times’ Banker intelligence unit, Singapore leads every other major financial center in the world in financial sector foreign investment.

The top three, in fact, are Singapore, Dubai, and Hong Kong. Singapore receives more financial sector foreign investment than New York, London, Frankfurt, and Switzerland combined.

Money goes where it is treated best… and the market is telling us that Singapore is the right destination.

3) According to a new study from the Inter-American Dialogue, China is now dominating emerging market development finance, especially in Latin America.

In the past, countries like Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela went to the World Bank and IMF when they needed money. But now these vestigial organizations of the old western hierarchy are becoming a sideshow to Chinese financial muscle.

The study shows that, since 2005, Chinese banks have loaned more money and made more loan commitments to Latin America than the World Bank and International Development Bank combined… and they’re doing it at higher interest rates.

Why? Because developing nations have figured out that when you take the World Bank’s money, you have to put up with them telling you how to run your government. Chinese bank loans don’t come with political strings attached.

It’s extraordinary that this is happening in the US’s backyard.

4) The most obvious sign of Asia’s rise is the perhaps now forgone conclusion of China’s currency becoming a new global reserve option to compete with the dollar and euro.

Every month it seems, there is a new move to loosen China’s once-strict currency controls and open up– new central bank currency swaps, renminbi (RMB)-denominated futures contracts in Chinese exchanges, the introduction of RMB accounts at non-Chinese banks, non-Chinese companies issuing bonds in RMB, etc.

In fact, if you want to mark your calendar on the day the West concedes to Asia, it will be when the US government begins issuing Treasury securities denominated in renminbi.

None of this means that North America and Europe are falling off the edge of the earth. What it does mean is that the old system is being reset, and the rules being rewritten.

It’s not the first time in history that such a shift has occurred, and it won’t be the last. This change is nothing to fear… merely something to accept, embrace, and prepare for.


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Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:43 | 2313586 Oh regional Indian
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Westernization (and thus westerners sadly) have raped the east. it's as simple as that. Africa, India, China, Japan, Thailand.... Cultural invasion and industrialization....



Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:50 | 2313700 idea_hamster
idea_hamster's picture

Chinese bank loans don’t come with political strings attached.

Um...wut?  Me thinks not.

forgone conclusion of China’s currency becoming a new global reserve option

And when everyone is in the same trade in the same direction, we all know that the outcome is always exactly what everyone expects, right?  Right?!?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:55 | 2313731 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

 "Chinese bank loans don’t come with political strings attached."


As soon as the Chi-COMS get the MIC in full 'force projection' working order, we'll have a big mess on our hands...

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:02 | 2314397 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
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Chinese loans come with different strings. When the IMF/US come to town, you have to pledge you will buy their engineering and military hardware at extortionate prices. Then you have to agree to vote a certain way at the UN. Then you need to agree to put a US military base in your country. Then you get lectured about "freedom and democracy", and usually religion too.
When China comes to town you just need to pledge all your minerals and most of your profits. Purely business. Maybe the military bases will come later but I doubt it. Waste of money.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:11 | 2313805 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Westernization (and thus westerners sadly) have raped the east. it's as simple as that. Africa, India, China, Japan, Thailand.... Cultural invasion and industrialization....


Spread of US citizenism.

Westernization is a way to avoid shots.

The East will remain at the East, the West at the West.

Both will be ruled under US citizenism.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:35 | 2313954 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous said:

Spread of US citizenism.

Westernization is a way to avoid shots.

The East will remain at the East, the West at the West.

Both will be ruled under US citizenism.

Maybe, maybe not. You yourself have said that, although the nature of US citizenism is eternal, US citizenism itself is not eternal.

Perhaps you should update your wikipedia page with that distinction:


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:57 | 2314061 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

You yourself have said that, although the nature of US citizenism is eternal, US citizenism itself is not eternal.


Really? I wrote that? Fantasy.


Perhaps you should update your wikipedia page with that distinction:

My wikipedia page? It is just a blank template.

No discontinuity between US citizen elite and the base. Same ways.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:55 | 2314404 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous said:

You yourself have said that, although the nature of US citizenism is eternal, US citizenism itself is not eternal.


Really? I wrote that? Fantasy.

Fantasy? Living in tralalala land?

Or is this another classic example of the primary characteristic of Chinese citizenism? The trait of denial is primary to Chinese citizenism.

Read here for memory refreshment:

Chinese citizenism speaking here:

US citizen nature is eternal. This is what it is stated.

Never written that US citizenism is eternal. On the contrary, US citizenism has always been connected to the environment conditions that gave it birth.

Now will you have acknowledging this, or do you spread denial, more denial, again denial, even more denial?

Or will you now ignore what you do not want to see? Because self indiction in Chinese citizenism is a context to avoid with all costs.

Very can kicking, The slope taken by Chinese citizenism citizens is going to be fruitful.

But hey, keep denying, even though you know.

[edited to provide direct link to comment]

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:23 | 2314479 WTFx10
WTFx10's picture


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:23 | 2314476 WTFx10
WTFx10's picture


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:29 | 2313604 Jason T
Jason T's picture

China built 1.2 million cars in 2001, they built 13.79 million cars in 2009 making them worlds #1 car maker.  They then built 18 million cars in 2010 and another 18.7 million in 2011.  

Like lightning it will strike that the wealth has moved from the west to the East.  


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:32 | 2313617 tswenson
tswenson's picture

That's because all of the people with carts and buggies finally needed to upgrade.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:33 | 2313634 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Everything that nets out in the process of Car making, sellingm buying, using etc... is a net loss, it is not an indicator of wealth but an indicator of the fact that debt-creation specialists are now firmly entrenched in China, mind-numbing amounts of cheap credit is available, debtors-to-be have had TV for 12 years, they're ready for the un-earned entitlement feeling that is sweeping the west off the infecting the east like a plague.


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:51 | 2313716 Jason T
Jason T's picture

I could not disagree more.  A car is a tool that increases ones productivity just like the assembly line which allowed for higher wages.   My personal productivity would plummet without a car to help me get around and be productive.  When one has to go from having a car to riding a bike, their wealth is destroyed and vasa versa.  

as the US$ continues to tank Vs the Chinese RMB, in the coming years, they'll be able to afford the gas as well as we''ll find it more and more difficult to keep up to where Americans decide simply can't afford the gas to run their car any more .. and that means welcome to poverty.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:05 | 2313770 Cast Iron Skillet
Cast Iron Skillet's picture

well, I just hope the Chinese solve the energy problem for us, as we don't really seem to be doing a good job on that.

Actually, I think the country or countries that find an effective alternative for oil as fuel will "win" in the long term

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:06 | 2314097 GCT
GCT's picture

The administration really screwed up when they pressured the Belgians to cut Iran off at SWIFT.  I think we are cutting our noses off to spite our face.  More and more nations are pissed at the USA for doing this.  If SWIFT was suppose to be neutral and we caninfluence them to turn off a country, other systems will come into play to make SWIFT a joke in time.  We are making stupid mistakes as a country that will cause other countries to move to another system.

While writers and commentors think we are on a decline because of our debt, I feel stupid mistakes like this weakens us.  Stupid mistakes like this and our deficits and social programs are going to be the death of the US Dollar. Bullying countries around the world that have yet to do anything to us is getting old.  Paul Ryan is correct in his assumption that maybe Iran would stop making threats if we would leave them alone.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:01 | 2314387 ATM
ATM's picture

Oh, they aren't mistakes. They are well calculated moves. The one world authoritarians want nothing more than to destroy anything they can label as 'capitalism' or 'libertarian'. They love to paint them as the greedy destructive forces that must be curtailed to save us from ourselves.

Swift? That's a Western product used to subdue and penalize the brown peoples!

Dollar destruction? Stealing form the brown peoples who hold trillions of dollar demominated worhtless debt!

Wars everywhere? Capitalism's natural imperialistic tendency! 

just read some of the bullshit that AnAnonymous writes (or whatever the hell he tried to name himself)


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:55 | 2314568 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

There is a saying that American don’t think about tomorrow, British think 10 years ahead and Chinese think about the next 100 years.
You might remember the story of an old Chinese man who decided to remove a mountain from the front of his house with a shovel. A passerby laughed at him. The old man said I will start and when I die, my son and grandson  will continue.
People who are dreaming of a bubble in china, their next generation will keep dreaming too.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 22:05 | 2315244 silverdragon
silverdragon's picture

Please point me in the direction of any credit that doesn't require a pound of flesh.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:02 | 2314393 bahaar
bahaar's picture

But have they created more land to build roads for those cars ?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:25 | 2314487 e-recep
e-recep's picture

those who manufacture get rich. it's as simple as that. services sector is so secondary to manufacturing. i would even say it's bullshit.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:50 | 2314559 pods
pods's picture

Well that just shows how dumb the Chinese are, exponentially increasing the supply of something that depends on the supply of something that is starting to exponentially decay.


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:30 | 2313607 tswenson
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I lol'd

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:31 | 2313609 MunX
MunX's picture

Does this mean I should learn Mandarin?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:34 | 2313636 Troll Magnet
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i'm sure that was just a snarky comment but we should realize that they (and their kids) are reading our books, learning our language and culture while we're dumbing down our kids through our gubmint "education."  they understand us more and more yet we know nothing about them.  it does not bode well for us.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:40 | 2313662 MunX
MunX's picture

I think it's fine.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:02 | 2313751 lazarus
lazarus's picture

True that. Their gubmint education kicks our asses.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:08 | 2313786 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

Chinese students forming online study groups and auditing Western university courses (often for free).  Students who understand the material help others via online chat groups.  All this while American students taking the same classes on campus are getting deeper in debt (while puking their guts out at frat parties):

Education is only expensive for those who have no interest in self-education.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:08 | 2314423 bahaar
bahaar's picture

Why are they auditing Western University courses?  I thought West has fallen.  Should they not be auditing Chinese/Korean/ Singaporean/Indian iniversity courses.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 17:45 | 2314685 Smokey1
Smokey1's picture

I agree, Troll Magnet.

China's playing chess and we're playing checkers.

They'll hang us out to dry, so solly.


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 20:03 | 2315027 Incubus
Incubus's picture

Schools only teach you how to be a good worker and a good peer--how to be submissive to authority. 

I stopped giving a damn in grade school when I realized they were only training me to enter the workforce:  where the fuck did genuine education--for the sake of enlightening minds--go?  That's how we improve the world?  By conditioning people to become worker fucking bees?

It's evident that the maintainers of the system don't need to "teach" people to be independent, or to be real thinkers;  what leaders of a system need are good followers.  You think you're going to go to some generic public education system and you're going to become an independent thinker? 

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:36 | 2313642 williambanzai7
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Only if you don't want to be suckered. They are all busy learning English.

There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in a negotiation and having to rely on translators.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:52 | 2313719 AlaricBalth
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I spent a quite a bit of time in China. Had offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. In financial circles, English is their second language. All street signs and many restaurant menus are in Chinese and English. The one hard lesson I had to learn about Chinese business culture was that when they say yes to a deal, that is when the real negotiations start. Had to overcome a disclosure issue with the SEC upon announcing a "deal" that wasn't really done.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:16 | 2314454 TheGardener
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This is just as having to learn Japanese in the late 80`s.

Foreign languages are great, be fluent in 5 and drive
a cab in NYC...

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:30 | 2313611 Troll Magnet
Troll Magnet's picture

oh yeah? least we're the land of the fre...oh, nevermind. 

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:32 | 2313615 BudFox2012
BudFox2012's picture

Yes but we have more debt than they do, which according to the Fed is an asset.  When you seasonally adjust this debt, we have even more wealth.  Take that you hard working, PM saving asians...

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:41 | 2313670 MunX
MunX's picture

Don't they own the debt O.o

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:25 | 2313896 BudFox2012
BudFox2012's picture

Well yes, but west will Rehypothicate it when the time is right.  Don't mess with our Keynsian masters - they are some bad-ass can kickers...


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:35 | 2313616 JustObserving
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Millions of instances of mortgage fraud occurred in the US, trillions of dollars were lost,  and no one went to jail.  The orange man is still free.

$1.2 billion in customer segregated funds just vanished from customer accounts at MF Global and no one has been charged with a crime.

The West has fallen a lot more than the East has risen.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 22:29 | 2315286 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

it's always relative


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:35 | 2313618 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

- The west has become more corrupt than Asia.

- In Asia, they are nationalistic.

- In Asia, they are not slaves to the banksters.

In the end, economic numbers don't matter. All that matters (mostly) is the state of mind of the people and the leaders...when you got that right, you can do anything. Always true in history...that's how societies rise and fall. Societies are not made out of natural ressources and economic theories, they are made of HUMANS. Get the human part right and everything (in most cases) will go right. Become corrupt and decadent and your society will fall. Simple. It's all about the human element.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:40 | 2314535 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

During this power move phenomenon, things are moving across the borders very fast. Freedom moved out of this country and poverty is coming in to this country. You know , adjustments.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 17:56 | 2314712 Best Satan in Town
Best Satan in Town's picture

It's all about Cisco - The Human Network

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:32 | 2313619 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

For the Chinese it's all business, for Americans it's you have to listen to Hillary.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:33 | 2313625 frostfan
frostfan's picture

If you mean more funny money is printed in Hong Kong IPOs fine, whatever.   You don't see Facebook considering doing their IPO in Hong Kong do you?  Me neither.

Oh and really, China controlled 31% of the world market six centuries ago?  I guess they should have invested more in the military then, huh?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:44 | 2313654 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Facebook has no business opportunity in China, something all the other listings have.

Hong Kong also has no Sarbanes Oxley, which we have seen is a boom for accountants and does little in terms of protecting investors from Jon Corzine.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:42 | 2313673 MunX
MunX's picture

lol facebook

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:54 | 2313726 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Dude Rome had a pretty impressive military and they usd it too much, eventually it drained the treasury because the military could no longer pay for itself with the booty they brought home.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:31 | 2314251 Jason_1sandal
Jason_1sandal's picture

Sun Tzu did write the Art of War..... read it !

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:33 | 2313629 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

The US needs to go back to the cold war,  I think a science and technology race with another super power is vastly more mentally healthy for a country than a dumbing down and religious race with 3rd world goat herders.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:58 | 2314066 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

I think the US would be far better off if a "no war" policy was tried for once. You don't lose wars that you don't involve yourself in.

Oh, and yes, such a "no wars" policy would apply to embarrassing failures like the war on drugs and the war on terra.


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 22:33 | 2315290 cowpieflapjack
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Nice one.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:33 | 2313631 GeneMarchbanks
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'In fact, if you want to mark your calendar on the day the West concedes to Asia, it will be when the US government begins issuing Treasury securities denominated in renminbi.'

I'm not really sure that is one of the objectives but to each his own. Bypassing the BWIs will be a finesse game in the best case and a total fiasco in the worst as every commentator has already mentioned. There will be tension and probably some confrontation sooner or later.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:34 | 2313635 frostfan
frostfan's picture

No corruption in China?  Really?  OK. Ignore all those chinese schoolrooms collapsing....  Ignore all those empty cities being built and all those empty factories.   But go ahead and invest in Chinese tree companies, they're legit!!!! Honest!!!!!!!

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:39 | 2314998 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

are Chinese trees genetically modified? 

An application from ArborGen has taken a sinister turn in declaring most, if not all of the genetically modified (GM) constructs in a Eucalyptus hybrid clone to be tested in environmental release ‘Confidential Business information’, thereby precluding any meaningful independent safety and environmental assessment of the GM trees, or appropriate remedial action and identification in case of harm caused to the environment and innocent bystanders.

amrka - fck'g with the environment while swirling the drain. . .

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:34 | 2313638 CryingBear
CryingBear's picture

when do black people get to rule?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:47 | 2313692 CH1
CH1's picture

when do black people get to rule?

You want them to rule? Ruling corrupts the soul. ALWAYS.

Haven't the black guys had enough shit tossed at them?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:23 | 2313884 Normalcy Bias
Normalcy Bias's picture


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:44 | 2315006 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

4th largest US embassy, military "occupation" & oil fields - I'm guessing they're pre-OCCUPIED in Haiti. . .

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:13 | 2314445 bahaar
bahaar's picture

Their turn next.  Civilization started in Africa.  Travelled to Middle-East, Asia, Americas,Europe.  So it's back to Africa now. 

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:50 | 2315012 i-dog
i-dog's picture


"Civilization started in Africa"

Define civilization! Breeding of homo sapiens admittedly started in Africa (and they're still prolific at it!), but civilisation only started when some 'unpatriotic misfits' wandered across the Red Sea into the Middle East to get away from those eating each other.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:34 | 2313639 MunX
MunX's picture

So who gets the Canadian oil?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:52 | 2313715 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

the same people that are getting the american oil,...

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:36 | 2313648 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

this is yet another recognition by the rest of the world that the usa and west are as corrupt as the murderous bush crime syndicate....

far far more is going on behind the scenes to destroy the usd besides the usa's own criminally stupid policies....foreign nations are beyond repulsed by the criminality of wall street and this country's politicians....most are so fucking clueless that they will be too stupid to understand what hit them when it does...

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:45 | 2313688 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

The 8 year reign of Bush will be viewed by historians as the beginning of the end for the USA. In that time we ceased to think and act in the national interrest. Not that the Obama reign is any better, he simply is managing collapse that was already deeply underway under Bush.

The folly of the Iraq and Afghan wars will match the insane Soviet Union drive to conquesr and rule Afghanistan in the 80's. It ended their empire completely. The US now grasps at straws like putting Marines in Australia instead of competing with China in the market place. All we can do now is move handfulls of troops around and think we are containing an economic and technological super power. A few Marines in OZ? Christ you have got to be kidding me! America is brain dead and they are now acting the part of zombie imperialists, dreaming of the conquest of Iran using money borrowed from China.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:54 | 2313725 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

yes, yes, and yes

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:13 | 2313826 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The US now grasps at straws like putting Marines in Australia


to do what?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:38 | 2313963 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


The US now grasps at straws like putting Marines in Australia


to do what?

To keep them away from US soil.


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:16 | 2314162 magpie
magpie's picture

"keep them away" as in disarming them before press conferences ?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 20:27 | 2315096 Tompooz
Tompooz's picture

 " To keep them away from US soil."


Like they kept them in Iran  after VietNam. One factor helping public support for the Iranian revolution.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:56 | 2315034 i-dog
i-dog's picture


"to do what?"

To run the Aussie FEMA camps ... err, sorry, to bring democracy to Australia.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:33 | 2313918 GernB
GernB's picture

IMHO the decay of the west started after the turn of the century with the creation of the Federal reserve and the beginnings of the great society and the fruit of those blunders are now comming to bear. If we are to continue being an economic super power it will be because we realized the relationship between freedom and productivity and productivity and prosperity, and that  at the end of the day you cannot have a prosperous nation without economic freedom. That when we try to force the productive members of society ro provide everything to everyone we all end up poorer, In that sense the Bush era was just more of the same, only without the added dilusion that we can provide more for more people and lower taxes at the same time. Face it the Republican party, which has brought us the Patriot act, the War on Drugs, and two wars has no more interest in restoring individual freedom than does the Democrat party. So I think I'll go vote for Ron Paul now...

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 01:39 | 2315519 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

Couldnt agree more Gern and Fourth Stooging. I dare say you know it all already as do most people on this site, but if anyones interested I have this take on the subject on my rambling, I mean my website;

Also there is this that may be of relevance;

Oh and Fourth Stooge, your duel with ananon is really hillarious imo. Well done both of you!

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:03 | 2314090 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Jack Burton said:

America is brain dead and they are now acting the part of zombie imperialists, dreaming of the conquest of Iran using money borrowed from China.

We are witnessing the final flailings of a dying empire. It will lash out at what it can while it is falling, but there is no stopping the fall.


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:24 | 2314485 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

This country stood tall over the blood of African slaves. Time for the revenge.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:27 | 2314494 bahaar
bahaar's picture

The last I heard, America was instrumental in ushering in the computer/internet era.  And that was only 20 years ago.  This is a dying empire? Walk into premier US universities.  The research being conducted there will blow your mind away.  Unemployment is increasing in th US because we've not come up with the next wave of technology...yet.  Doubt China or India will come up with that. 


US is not interested in Iranian oil.  It's interested in protecting Saudi Arabian oil.  And there's no love lost between Arabia and Persia.  They're ancient enemies and are now jockeying for power.  Arabia backs all the Sunni dominated regimes and Iran backs all the non-Sunni dominated regimes.  US backs Arabia (in the guise of protection to Israel)

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 20:01 | 2315040 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

a healthy percentage of "US university research" gets co-opted by the massive military covert war on humanity - those war corporations have the most amazing nano-technology that the sociopath mind can imagine. . . spend an hour or five searching the patents, the "inventions" - watch the geek-boys excitedly videoing themselves creating things to kill humans - it's eye opening.

I'll help get you started:

Molecular manufacturing raises the possibility of horrifically effective weapons. As an example, the smallest insect is about 200 microns; this creates a plausible size estimate for a nanotechnology-built antipersonnel weapon capable of seeking and injecting toxin into unprotected humans. The human lethal dose of botulism toxin is about 100 nanograms, or about 1/100 the volume of the weapon. As many as 50 billion toxin-carrying devices—theoretically enough to kill every human on earth—could be packed into a single suitcase.


Admiral David E. Jeremiah, Vice-Chairman (ret.), U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an address at the 1995 Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology said: "Military applications of molecular manufacturing have even greater potential than nuclear weapons to radically change the balance of power."

and that's from eight years ago, imagine the horrors they're currently dreaming up. . .

(didn't down vote you)

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 23:10 | 2315351 silverdragon
silverdragon's picture

Bush was the village idiot and Obama is no different. Their tag team effort has destroyed America.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:49 | 2313706 CH1
CH1's picture

Blue party, Red party...

Same shit, different wrapper. Bush loved big government, Obama loves wars.

Blue/Red is sucker bait. (Though they both do suck deeply.)

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:37 | 2313652 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I personally think it will be good for America in the long run to do a little internal soul searching,and maybe learn a little humility.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:41 | 2313668 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Ignorance and hubris got us to where we are today. Ignorance and hubris is what facilitates a fiasco like Sino Forest as well.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 22:33 | 2315291 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

herodotus agrees

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 03:09 | 2315583 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Bush II agreed, I definitely remember how he said at the beginning of his presidency that he wanted to follow a foreign policy based on humility.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:47 | 2313696 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Hard to be humble when the Bible is your justification to rule the world and you have thousaands of nukes to back the bible thumpers.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:37 | 2313653 digalert
digalert's picture

Rio Tinto joins China Beijing Metals Exchange (CBMX) to help foster a "fair, reasonable and transparent" global iron ore pricing mechanism.



Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:43 | 2313674 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

It was one ruler who suddenly stopped the growth of the Chinese navy, otherwise, history would have unfolded quite differently.

One summary found online:

"After the beginning of 1433 China's beginnings as a naval power were suddenly stopped, never to resume again. One reason for this was their great cost, at a time when the Ming were paying for their campaigns against the Mongols and financing the building of Peking, the expeditions were criticized as expensive adventures. The court eunuchs that promoted the expeditions came under considerable opposition from their rivals, the scholar-officials -- so much so that Cheng Ho's accomplishments were practically suppressed from the historical record. Cheng Ho was an organizer, a commander, a diplomat, and an able courtier, but he was not a trader. No chartered companies, like the Virginia Company or the Hudson Bay Company, emerged to found colonies or establish overseas trade. Unlike its European counterparts, the Chinese state remained uninterested in the commercial and colonial possibilities overseas. This was partially due to the Ming government's major source of revenue coming from land tax and not from trade tax. Thus Ming China failed to become a maritime power. Through this default, the Eastern seas and eventually China's own coast would be dominated by a secession of non-Chinese seafaring peoples -- the Japanese, the Portuguese and Spanish, the Dutch, and finally the British and the Americans."

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:35 | 2314525 bahaar
bahaar's picture

"It was one ruler..."


And that don't you think that's the crux of China's problem?  One ruler?  If China had other powerful rulers, someone else would have financed Cheng Ho.  That's what happened in Europe. Italians didn't so Coloumbus looked to Spain.  And come to think of it, China still has the same 'one powerful ruler' problem.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:43 | 2313679 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Don't bet on it. America will go down. Like a brick. But after it does, it will rise like a phoenix once the population loses 50% of their body mass index.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:45 | 2313687 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

66% according to the latest reports.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:20 | 2313871 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

How many empires have come back in the 5000 years of human history?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:42 | 2313988 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

I present Israel as the only other case.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:02 | 2314396 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

FYI- Israel is not an Empire. Israel is a DEN for a pack of hyenas who live on other's kill and attack weak and helpless.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 17:04 | 2314588 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

The state of Israel today is not necessarily equivalent to the Kingdom of Judea from the first and second temple period.


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 20:39 | 2315116 Tompooz
Tompooz's picture

  How many empires have come back in the 5000 years of human history?



Egypt, several times. (Alexandria, Fatimids, Mamluks)

Mesopotamia, (Sumer, Assyria, Babylon,  the Abbasid Khalifate.)

Persia, under the Savawids.

China (many times)

Italy, in the Renaissance



Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:46 | 2313690 EatYourCornTake...
EatYourCornTakeyourPill's picture

All of you guys so jealous of China, call me when the obese fat fuck will get to live the wealthy life style in China.  For now, I can only see the welfare state in the west, when China steps up it's game and everyone can have a TV. then we'll talk. I saw some asshole here write that the "Chinese aren't slaves to the banksters"  See the thing is, in China about 90% of the population actually ARE slaves. Like real life slaves. Just because the banksters devalue your money little by little, you're not their SLAVE dipshit.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 18:51 | 2314880 mendigo
mendigo's picture

Pretty funny when some point to China as an example of someting better. Goldman is also having a good run. Hitler achieved some as well. Not to worry though it will be short lived because China is trying to emulate us - no look who's holding the bag. Like the japs they beat us at our own game.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:58 | 2313727 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

I really don't care who is "top dog".... reading this article is like deja vue all over again...  didn't we have these same discussion about Japan in the 1980's, only to watch them implode?


A little read from Michael Pettis site would comfirm that may be China's GDP is a tad overstated... (just like Japans in the 1980)

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:15 | 2313834 JohnKozac
JohnKozac's picture

I have no problem with China moving up the economic ladder. Competition is good. The only thing people should fear is their own ignorance and laziness.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 03:11 | 2315586 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

"didn't we have these same discussion about Japan in the 1980's..." nice that someone remembers

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:58 | 2313739 Dicite justitiam
Dicite justitiam's picture

East has a superior potential productive base.  West holds on to disintigrating fiscal network.

East has rapidly improving tech know-how.  West cedes more and more SAT-oriented college placements to competitive Asians.

East is embracing Western culture (e.g. piano kids, fashion, etc.).  Contemporary Western culture is increasingly spiritually devoid.

East has legacy of lack of due process, civil liberties, and civil trust; however, more opportunities are available for enterprising and clever individuals.  West has legacy of liberty and rule of law; however, indicia of corruption and lawlessness are becoming more pervasive.

East has vague or no patent and intellectual protections.  Western IP system is approaching oligopoly status.

East has powerful individual incentives for success vs. failure.  West has participation trophies and improved esteem.

East is hungry.  West is fat.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:18 | 2313849 lazarus
lazarus's picture

In my school, the MSc. program has an annual paintball shootout. The sides competing used to be Finance vs. Management/Marketing; but due to the changing demographics, for the past 2 years we've played "China vs. The World."

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:07 | 2314104 Whoa Black Barry
Whoa Black Barry's picture

gooks in the wire

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 21:00 | 2315149 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

for the past 2 years we've played "China vs. The World."

Don't keep us in suspense. Who wins?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:01 | 2313750 GernB
GernB's picture

I payed particular attention to items 1) and 2). Since they involve Hong Kong and Singapore. All you need to know is they are #1 and #2 in the list of freest economies in the world. While the US has fallen to #10. Low and behold nearly all of the countries on the list ahead ot eh US in terms of economic freedom are more prosperous. While China have learned the lessons of US economic power and have been moving towards greater property rights and more economic freedom the US has been passing financial reforms and sweeping health care legislation to further stifle freedom and place more of the conomy under the yoke of federal control and regulation. Until we wake up and stop worshiping European style socialism (despite it's abject failure as an economic system) and realize what made us strong was our freedom we will continue to slide as an economy and eventually relegate oirselves to irrelevence. Unless we change course we all better start learning Chinese so we can do buisiness with the new leaders of the economic world.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:39 | 2314530 bahaar
bahaar's picture

I heard there's a big protest in Hong Kong about Mainland's interference in HK election.  How's that for freedom?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:05 | 2313772 automato
automato's picture

I have spent many years throughout China. If China is destined to rule then watch out because  most of China is a polluted cesspool where the air, water, and soil are all poisoned. This will be maybe the first time where the rulers will need to leave their Native land and usurp someone else's cleaner, safer, lands. The pollution of China's air, waterways, and soil is SYSTEMIC and too far gone for cleanup efforts to bare any meaningful results for several decades if not centuries!

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:15 | 2313835 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

As they are embracing US citizenism, they will follow the same path: exporting the polluting activities abroad.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:41 | 2313977 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


As they are embracing US citizenism, they will follow the same path: exporting the polluting activities abroad.

Second step: blobbing up into Mongolia and Nepal. (First step was blobbing up into Tibet.)


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:10 | 2314435 WTFx10
WTFx10's picture


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:49 | 2314028 besnook
besnook's picture

i was in japan in the 60s. the place was booming with industrial activity. there were days in tokyo when the clouds were brown with pollution. snow turned black if it sat for a day. economically no one could believe the rate of growth and projected an imminent collapse especially after the gold window closed and currencies floated. that story didn't end until the 90s. china's growth phase has a long ways to go. there is still huge under capacity. for japan, the environmental epiphany was a sickness called itaiitai(loosely translated-ouchouch) caused by cadmium pollution in a river near tokyo. that is when japan realized pollution was an expense and clean up created efficiencies. china will have the same epiphany sooner than later.


obviously you are a youngster because you have never seen northern new jersey or any of the other industrial centers in the usa in the 60s. it was a river in ohio that spontaneously combusted providing the epiphany for the usa(that and the crying indian litter campaign), 100 years after the beginning of the industrial revolution. since then , a mere 40 years since earth day, the place is pretty well cleaned up(obviously there are still some legacy issues)and is pristine compared to the 60s.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:51 | 2314562 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

Look at the success of ethnic Chinese throughout Asia , their big family run conglomerates dominate everything.

They only do serious business with family members.

Not that they don`t rip each other off too, but at least the
money stays in the family...

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:09 | 2313801 JohnKozac
JohnKozac's picture

60 years from now, London and Paris will be irrelevant, plague-infested backwaters...again.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 17:35 | 2314663 besnook
besnook's picture

a clockwork orange.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:25 | 2313895 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

An article titled Four Signs of Asia's Rise over the West that barely makes mention of anywhere in ASIA west of Singapore has some serious issues...maybe one of which would be ignoring almost all of the largest continent on earth. Talk about China, the Asian Tigers, Japan Inc., all you want: those are places in the Far East which have benefitted from the era of cheap energy to give themselves an edge in export manufacturing through combining economies of scale, cheap labor and advanced technology. That may not continue much longer.

Singapore may have much wealth flowing through it of the moment, but that tap can be turned off at the drop of a hat...or the closing of a pipeline....transitory. Money always smells opportunity, and the scent right now is to the west of Simon's treasured coin shops!

Energy rich Asian countries - Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan etc, have the means to make capital flow towards them,(think Mark & Yen) and the local markets, (when artificial political barriers are lessened inevitably) in which to grow manufacturing exports into a dynamo rivalling and even superseding the far east. The wrecking crew currently at work to ruin these countries chances is running out of steam much faster than the puppet media will let on - and the BRIC conversation is only the tip of the iceberg.

Poor Simon's grasp of history appears to be missing large chunks of geopolitical bread n butter...from Darius-Alexander-Babar to Mackinder - Haushofer - Brezinski, the strategics of the Asian chessboard have been at the heart of things that have affected human destinies, and in all likelihood will continue to be so...whether Mr Black deigns to visit the rest of Asia or not! 

You can't chart the rise of Asia from the confines of Hong Kong's or Singapores' jewelry emporiums Simon, or by reading a history book on the flight over.  Time to start mixing with the hoi polloi, cause judging from this article, your knowledge of the future is extremely passe!

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:39 | 2313969 Dicite justitiam
Dicite justitiam's picture

when artificial political barriers are lessened inevitably

The starting point is concentrated power and control among respective oil magnates.  What evidence is there that said authority will yield power, when much evidence points the other direction (e.g. Yukos)?  What will provide the spark needed for individual enterprise, in light of the jail-time upside?

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 23:40 | 2315395 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

Your question is moot, but I am not of the opinion that the example of Yukos etc., serves to illustrate a simple narrative of free enterprise[good], statist power grab[bad]...the aftermath of the neo-con rip off of Russia's economy post 91 was to insert a few chosen sionist-controlled henchmen into the hijacked economic slots with the most potential for heisting, and only gradually has that period been rolled back to the point we are at now.

While Putin is certainly an authoritarian leader in the mold of the Tsarist tradition, the strategic counterbalance of the Iranians and Indians in a regional power bloc gives an uber-dynamic potential to what is shaping up courtesy of mad-dog Clintons russian roulette fetish...

the Russians, like their Iranian counterparts, are traders in the grand tradition of Siberian explorers and Silk Road merchants - given the right chance for a profitable outcome, they will hang together and balance each other to their mutual advantage...The huge Muslim problem Russia's central Asian ambitions have faced can be made to fade rapidly as Iran exerts it's diplomatic influence, while sheltering under the Russian military umbrella till the ZOGBIE empire collapses from energy starvation. Muscovy, Persepolis and Delhi share common boundaries and common dreams. Russia will have a deepwater port on the Indian Ocean before the decade is done.

We are on the cusp of a new (and bloody) Khyber the place where empires go to die! Alliances are shifting faster than anyone can imagine.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 00:52 | 2315486 Dicite justitiam
Dicite justitiam's picture

To be clear: I don't disagree with you. 

But, I remain unclear why the question is moot.  Is authoritarian concentration of 'upside capture' a limitation upon economic expansion?  Although a simple narrative, simple set pieces permit deeper inquiries.  I submit that individuals have no incentive when they perceive a high likelihood that their profits can be expropriated without notice and due process: at the "king's" mere whim.

What I infer from your analysis is that traditional Russia (or Iranian) horse-trading / mafia business approach allows scalable, semi-autonomous economies to form, and not just for arms and drugs.  Ok.

Some concerns, none deadly to your conclusion: 1) India-Pakistan; 2) control of regional infrastructure; 3) climate/topology; 4) overstating Iran's ability to influence Central Asian Islamic 'micro kingdoms'; 5) Sino-US military power.  Otherwise it makes fair sense.

In any event, you provide consistent and outstanding analysis.  I have noticed that it is typically orders of magnitude above the typical ZH contribution.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 07:06 | 2315513 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

A  concise laying out of the various wild cards....much appreciated at this end. For almost all of which, we are left to mere speculation, until the smoke clears and the neo-colonialist intervention has ended.

 For my own speculations, I tend to draw upon the lessons of the past phases of empire where the Caspian\Amu Darya\Pamir frontier has dictated the limits of expansion and fomented amicable statecraft instead of interminable warfare...perhaps the ancient penetrations of the Rus down the rivers of Babylon have an chapter or two left to be written!

To your excellent list I would merely add the unknown possibilities of the Zorastrian legacy re-igniting in Persia, along with the power of Orthodox powered pan-slavism in Russia  - both deeply buried in the respective populations' subconciousness - voices from the past  to be cast aside, or heeded as the path out of Tartarus?

...much later add on...only now have I had a chance to look into our mutual confusion re: moot ...and this most interesting apparent anomaly was revealed -

  1. To bring up as a subject for debate, to propose.
  2. To discuss or debate.
  3. (US) To make or declare irrelevant. [] was the former meaning I intended, as in your point bears much pondering...I actually had no idea the word could be used as in the example #3 quoted! 
Wed, 04/04/2012 - 02:17 | 2315543 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

Hear hear.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:28 | 2313908 EmileLargo
EmileLargo's picture

I am a big fan of Singapore and I think, among the cities I have been to, it is by far the most civilized. Violent crime is non-existent and the place is really cool. I've heard a lot about Hong Kong but have never been there. The only thing that would put me off from working and living in Hong Kong is the pollution. A single digit income tax rate is something I could get used to. :) 

Dubai is a no-no for me. Just a weird place that I have no real fascination for. 

London, Paris and New York will all be great cities many years from now (I love all three). They just won't be the centre of the Universe. 

What has gone wrong with the West goes beyond Keynesian fiat banking. It has to do with welfare state dependency. In most Western countries state as a percentage of GDP is now 50 percent or higher. Once the majority has learnt to suck off the state's teat, it is game over. I am not very optimistic that this will ever change.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:51 | 2314561 bahaar
bahaar's picture

State welfare is not the problem.  It's the projected medicare spending which is causing the problem.  But I'm confident that'll come down with new technologies.  West will soon have turbo-medicine  where you type in symptoms and a machine will diagnose your disease.  Already there's a technology where you smear a drop of blood on a device the size of a glass-slide and you get your whole blood-work.  So that takes care of lab.  And there are robots which can perform surgeries.  So medical establishment is going to whittle down the number of doctors it employs.   And I don't think people will want to live upto ripe old age of 120.  many may prefer euthanasia while they still are in possession of their faculty/money/mobility.  So with old people gone and medical costs coming down, US deficits will disappear.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:47 | 2314018 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

In fact, if you want to mark your calendar on the day the West concedes to Asia, it will be when the US government begins issuing Treasury securities denominated in renminbi.

You will see WWIII long before that.   Robotic dark factory technology is already here in some places.    Once it is established in enough places the depopulation efforts (war, disease, famine) will go exponential.  

If the banksters cant control Asian countries vs the White Dragon families they will DESTROY them to prevent a serious rival emerging.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:07 | 2314101 besnook
besnook's picture

there is definitely a huge capacity destruction event coming in the near future encouraged by the eugenics crazies but carried out by the power crazies. the banksters lose this one. they are not much of a threat with a flaccid dollar/euro.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:55 | 2314050 Seer
Seer's picture

Asia doesn't have oil.

- End of story

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:01 | 2314079 besnook
besnook's picture

you might want to look at a map.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:10 | 2314119 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Asia doesn't have oil.

...except for Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, etc.


Wed, 04/04/2012 - 05:16 | 2315638 silverdragon
silverdragon's picture


Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:26 | 2314227 Colonial Intent
Colonial Intent's picture

The simplified version of mandarin has only 4,000 characters, much easier than the 16,000 character version......

Ni hao!

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 02:29 | 2315548 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

Only 4000. My. The total vocab in the complete plays of Racine: 800 words. Interesting facts.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:29 | 2314240 George Orwell
George Orwell's picture

There is not enough oil for China and India to build out and raise the standard of living of its citizens the same way we did.  Face that fact.  

Do you really think that 2 billion people can drive cars, own single family houses, and get fat like we do?  Oh wait, they can get fat like we do because we export our crap like McDonalds and Pizza Hut over there.  But the car part of correct.  

When you accept that there will never be enough oil for China and India so that they can live the way we do, you will slowly accept the inevitable conclusion that we, the US, will wage war with them in order to maintain our own standard of living.   A standard of living based on an oil economy.

We can launch hundreds of nuclear weapons from our submarines and kill most of the population of those two countries.  That will enable YOU to continue driving your goddamn trucks and SUVs to work alone and pay $4 a gallon.  Without killing at least 2 billion oil consuming people from the planet, you will be doing that driving with $20 a gallon gasoline.

An alternative is to unleash a biological weapon on China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. and take our chances with the weapon spreading to our own counry.  That way we can leave their infrastructure intact.




Tue, 04/03/2012 - 21:16 | 2315171 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Would you be so good as to change your name and avatar until you've learned how to construct proper sentence in English? For you to consider yourself an "Orwell" is as ludicrous as Al considering himself a "Rev", the Orioles thinking they're "contenders", and Bambam believing he's a "constitutional scholar".

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 02:33 | 2315553 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

And the good thing about it all is: no blow-back whatsoever.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:04 | 2314392 QuietCorday
QuietCorday's picture

Oooooooh, I dunno about this. Powers centres do shift but are they political and culturally different? For example, one could argue that the US empire is a shifted Western European empire, which was, itself, a shifted Ottoman empire, which was a shifted Byzantine (with Persian and Arab influence) empire, which was, to all interns and purposes, the Eastern Roman empire, a shifted Roman empire, which was ... and on and on we go back -- the *shift* in each case being certain "ideas" and "types of people".

This is where you cannot really say crusades etc, were unimportant because they were moments of intersection where ideas and people *shift*. Weirdly, the western notion of "love" has its origins in crusader exposure to Arab thinking.

The thing is, to my mind, when you look at the pinnacle of achievement in any empire, what you find is a kind of freedom of thought: most particularly, in *unusual* or esoteric ways of perceiving the reality of the world, specifically, when a kind of "interconnectedness of all things" meme is doing the rounds and people explore it through very rational methods (geometry, astronomy, maths, physics etc). When this starts being shut down for reasons of political or religious stability, that is when your civilisation starts to crumble; when these ideas are introduced and explored in a climate of freedom, that is when your civilisation starts to rise. 

You can see this pattern in all the big civilisations: Egypt, Greece, Rome, Arabia (the death of the Golden Age was largely down to paranoid Caliphs shutting down zones of this kind of thinking), Persia, Byzantium, Ottoman, and then in the rise of "Europe" in the 14 century and then Western Europe post-1700, and then in the US in the mid to late 19th century.

And it is also why I wonder about China's rise. China doesn't have that meme yet; it has no people within the interior to teach it, whereas the US still does, though it is slowly being strangled. It could be another 100 years before China takes this *thinking* ball and runs with it; they have a lot of legacy to overcome.

However, I could be completely wrong about this.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:16 | 2314456 Parth
Parth's picture

The writer ignores a very key fact- America is Asia. While Southern Europe is full off dead beats and withering away, USA is in an inflationary spiral but by no means a permenant casualty or a candidate for second place to Asia.

2 facts are glaring:-

1) Asia is severely overpopulated and polluted. During the Ming dynasty Nanjing had breathable air and regular water in the rivers. Today one can barely breath there and the water in rivers and lakes is green like coolant fluid.

2) They did not have 747s in the Ming era where they could pack up and leave on a dime.

50% of millionaires in China want to leave! Canada is New China! California is New China! Check the number of houses owned by apparently a single Chinese man or woman who can't speak english in California. Howcome? the Chinese usually stay in joint families. These are the growing number of rich chinese buying houses and sending single relatives to watch over.

 America has the greatest resource known to man- fresh air and water!



Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:26 | 2314493 Yousif
Yousif's picture

Articles like this make me laugh.  I have no idea why peasants are always in constant competition with each other.  What, pray thee, will the title "power center of the world" achieve for you.

As long as I have shelter and I'm able to pursue my interests, I couldn't care less who the super power is.

What is it to you if your tax farm was the "most advanced"?

Go ahead, keep your owners happy.  I can picture the sovereigns sitting around a table and one of them just showing off how well behaved his "elite" livestock are.

Bravo, bravo, clap ... clap ... clap!

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 18:08 | 2314752 Incubus
Incubus's picture

People just have some pychological need to form into groups.  Look at all sports.  Even the individual competitions--those competitors have "fans" and whatnot.

People rarely take a step back and think about what the hell they do.  It's part of being human, I guess.  If society is allowed continued technological progression, it'll be cyborgs vs robots vs genetic superhumans vs anthropomorphs and some other crap.

As far as the big picture is concerned, it's all little endian vs big endian bullshit.  It's all just practicing nihilism and the fools that participate fail to realize that.  Go on, pick your team.


Maybe there's a life-ending asteroid somewhere out there that'll spare us the insanity of existing in human systems.  Oh, how I can wish.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 02:40 | 2315564 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

Its all part of the eternal world citizen nature.

Makes me cry.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:31 | 2314991 dolph9
dolph9's picture

We are witnessing the end of global industrial civilization, which is of course a product of Western civilization.  Asia merely copies...they don't offer any alternative model.  Nobody does.

The collapse is global this time.  It really is!  There's not enough genuine, real wealth in the ground to go around for everybody.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 02:10 | 2315776 e-recep
e-recep's picture

Nope. The balance is shifting to the East. Industrial civilization is not ending, it's becoming more ruthless. Asia caught up and can cope with it very well. The West will have to suck up to it and become poorer. Nobody is going back to farming or to dwelling in caves. What will collapse is the fiat-based money system of central bankers in general. Euro and Dollar sit in positions that they don't deserve. It will be a long process.

Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:41 | 2315002 RagnarDanneskjold
RagnarDanneskjold's picture

Not sure if I'm getting a good history lesson from someone who says "pointless crusades and inquisitions." The Spanish Inquisition was ordered by the King to kick the Muslims out of Spain and the cooperation during the Crusades helped lead to a European alliance that finally ended Muslim domination of Europe.

Wed, 04/04/2012 - 07:47 | 2315759 e-recep
e-recep's picture

Nice article, Simon Black. Thanks.

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