When crony capitalism gets really really serious on a personal level.
Oil got hammered over 8% today. Stocks in the US 3% roughly.
This is largely driven by reality hitting China, the Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, and reality hitting investors around the world who have ridden the Fed driven asset inflation of the last few years. As we have said there are huge, massive, pockets of monetary cotton candy in markets which will collapse sooner or later.
But don’t worry, supposedly China has another dose of “stimulus” on the way. That ought to make things better.
Below are a few of the articles we have done on markets and China in the past 6 months or so for your information.
Socialism is death. It is sold as life of course. It is sold as a way to get even with those nasty capitalists with their “greed driven” profit motives. A way to bring heaven to earth. Better to let the cronies in government manage things than the people in a free economy. The cronies only have your best interests in mind.
Socialists prey on the ignorant and hopeless.
Socialism is a kind of religion. It has many offshoots and schisms, but fundamentally it is about all too fallible cronies telling other people what to do, and these same cronies thinking that they are smarter than the market. This is the faith.This is the religion. It is about power OVER people. But again, it is sold as liberation.
The way out of poverty is through capitalism, free enterprise, free markets, and free prices. But so many people who I believe honestly want to do good do not understand this. They believe that central planning and aid from “rich countries” will solve the world’s problems even though they have only worsened things in aggregate around the world for decades.
Where poor people can build wealth and enjoy property rights and honest pricing the tendency is toward prosperity. Where there is government intervention, where the government or connected cronies can just seize the limited wealth of the poor (often in the name of “justice”), where prices are obfuscated, there is poverty and misery.
We do not believe in free prices and free markets because we want to keep “what’s ours.” We believe in them because we know, and have seen, how much better capitalism is for everyday people than state intervention and its associated cronyism.
In order for a society to truly proper people need both personal liberty and economic liberty, which are actually one and the same. Capitalism allows for both and offers a path out of poverty. (Not that it is always easy.) But many people just refuse to see this. It fundamentally conflicts with everything they’ve been told, to date.
Why have we focused so much attention on China as of late? First because the Chinese economy is huge and hugely important to the overall world economy. Second because China is, as we say, The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State. It is an economy built on fiat. It is an economy built on commands from on high. It is an economy with massive potential, potential which to some degree has been actualized, but which is undermined by cronyism and central planning.
China in many respects is a cautionary tale.
China will continue to grow. It will continue its rise as a great power. But it is increasingly obvious that the Chinese model is not one to emulate.
China is going all coo coo bananas here lately. Not that arresting journalists and other people is outside the norm for The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, but still. Tianjin, the yuan devaluation, the stock crash, this new explosion, the big military parade on the 3rd. Lots of stuff going on. Lots to keep the jailers busy.
This piece is from Alejandro Chafuen and it is 2 years old. But in light of the current Fed confab in Jackson Hole and the ongoing market twitches, drops, and government induced rallies I think it deserves another view.
China is, as we say, The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State. Business and government are an amalgam. Long a crony paradise where a premium was placed on compliance and government favor and not on real pricing.
It looks like reality is finally starting to hit however.
About 6 months ago I was talking to a China energy markets analyst and he explained the complexities of implementing a carbon tax regime in the country to me. One bit I found particularly interesting. He explained that no one knew what the real price of energy coming from a particular plant actually was. A mandate from Beijing had been handed down, that energy would cost X amount, and that was the number used for “business.” Everyone knew the official price was way below the actual market rate but it sounded like no one really knew what the market rate was.
One can’t keep running a country like this. One must have real pricing for long term prosperity. The problem is that real pricing can create problems for the political establishment, anywhere, but particularly in China.
Things just keep getting wackier in The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State.
Hey, why not just have the government come in and buy up the stock market? That ought to do the trick. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. It’s not like this whole crash was precipitated by central planning and malinvestment or anything.
The Kochs are a great target. They are rich. They are white. They have business interests in the fossil fuels industry. And perhaps most importantly, they are not Democrats. They aren’t even big government Republicans. The Kochs are custom made for statist ire.
But in my years of following them I am generally impressed. I’ve read Charles Koch’s book which outlines why it is that Koch Industries continues to grow even given its already immense size. (Not easy to do.) I am also thankful for their efforts in the marketplace of ideas. They sponsor Cato and other think tanks (not this one) which do much good. (I have some beefs with them too which I won’t go into here.)
The Kochs have also taken a pretty explict stance against crony capitalism. In fact Charles Koch talks about the need to eliminate it in the economy even while he admits that such cronyism benefits Koch Industries.
The Kochs as we have said in the past can defend themselves. They don’t need us to do it. But in the grand scheme of things anyone who thinks president Obama and Harry Reid have anything like a leg to stand on when they criticize the Kochs just doesn’t understand the situation. Of course Obama and Reid have a problem with the Kochs. Obama and Reid are classic crony capitalists. They’ve made their money through schmoozing and coercion in the public sector. As such they know that if a truly limited government regime was put in place by some miracle, one favored by the Kochs, they would be on the losing end of things along with all their buddies.
The private sector, the sector in which the Kochs largely operate is legitimate. In order to succeed in the private sector one must produce a good or service of value. The government sector, largely (certainly not totally) is not legitimate. It benefits those – often – who are not productive. Obama and Reid know this. But government is the teat at which they and the crony class of both parties suckle. Best to dress up their philosophy in “green” garb and “social justice” than confront the truth which is that on an even playing field they can’t compete with those who succeed in the private sector.
This is nice. Lockheed Martin runs a nuclear lab in New Mexico which gets federal funds, taxpayer money. The company recently lobbied for an extension of its contract with the government on a no-bid basis. Seeing as Lockheed doesn’t have piles of money lying around (they do) the company figured that the best way to secure a no-bid contract was to use taxpayer dollars which were allocated for national security purposes, and to hire a former congresswoman turned lobbyist to help secure said no-bid contract with the money.
That’s right, we allegedly paid for Lockheed to crony it up on the Hill so that the giant company could infuse itself with more of our money. (Without even having to worry about competition.)
Good. Glad to hear it. We are very much for solar energy within the marketplace.
Solar HAS enjoyed crony subsidies for far too long. However, if we can get rid of the solar subsidies now that would be progress. If solar can continue to grow, then great. But don’t ask the taxpayers for anymore sweetheart deals.
The Chinese have just cut rates and reduced the reserve requirements for banks. Now US stock futures are indicating a strong open to the upside. See, everything is fine. At least if you work for a high frequency trading firm.
Wall Street broadly is hoping, praying, that the central bank mojo will work again. We’ll see.
I actually don’t believe that “socialists hate freedom” as the poster on Youtube of this video asserts. I tend to think socialists are instead confused about what “freedom” actually is. This is not a dig. I find it to be the case quite often.
One is free, or one is not. There is no “personal freedom” and “economic freedom.” No “personal liberty” and “economic liberty.” There is but freedom. There is but liberty.
One owns one’s self or one does not. Simple.
It could have been a whole lot worse. The Dow opened down over 1000 points this morning. Then markets rallied. Then they fell off again. Massive shifts in markets. Craziness.
Now the world looks to Asia.