Why did the next Chinese leader spend three days in Ireland?

The news of a thousand new jobs in Dundalk from Paypal might just have enough people thinking that Ireland is on its way back. The general excitement is not dissimilar to the time when the Bank of Scotland blew into town taking advantage of light touch regulation, and throwing easy credit all over the place.

But what I can’t quite figure about the putative leader of the Chinese People’s Republic is, why Ireland? And why now?

It is line with a policy of engagement first pushed by the Ahern government some five or six years ago. But there is disquiet in some areas not simply with China’s abysmal human rights record (nicely illustrated here by Martyn Turner), but with China’s approach to overseas partners.

As Peter Williamson and Ming Zeng
have noted (available at the Slugger bookshop) the way China does business is often about taking what the west does imperfectly, using the deep pockets of its sovereign funds and investing deeply in research and development and then selling it back into the west.

That does not necessarily mean that spending quality time with the Chinese leader to be is a bad sign. Their markets are massive and growing. But their capacity (and propensity) to invest in the long term far outruns Ireland’s anglo model economy which tends to privilege the quarterly return of the market than the five ten or fifteen year R&D cycle in the UK and the US.

And according to Economywatch, the country’s export markets are mostly in those countries rather than other parts of the European Union:

Which brings me back to the question in the title. It cannot do the country much harm in the short term to have such attention lavished on it (along with the reciprocal invitation to come back to Beijing) by the putative leader of the Chinese people. But its corollary is unlikely to unwind in the way that many have become accustomed too.

  • galloglaigh

    Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson are going to China soon. Any investment is good. But China’s human rights record is not a good one. Tibet alone paints a dark cloud over the Chinese administration. But that won’t stop Ireland – North or South. They have been dealing and trading with the British government for almost a century. The human rights record of the British government is on the same scale as the Chinese government’s atrocious record. It’s about prosperity for Ireland, and not about how its partners treats those under their control – even if they are citizens of Ireland!

  • Whatever the Chinese interests, it is good for Ireland.

    The Trade alone makes it worthwhile. There are 5 million people in the Republic of Ireland. There is over a billion in China.
    By any standards, China will be buying more from Ireland than Ireland will be buying from China.
    While I take the point that the Chinese are adept at taking and improving (or making more cheaply) western products it will be decades before they can have a trade surplus with Ireland.

    It is good news.
    As for human rights. Chinas record is much much worse than Britain (in modern times)…..but frankly agonising over it is a luxury…..rather like agonising over Islamist regimes is a luxury while they control the oil supply.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    It’s fair to say the deputy first minister’s party doesn’t have a great record on human rights either.

    Any Chinese investment has to be welcome.

  • Mark

    Any chinese investment has to be welcome …….

    Absolutely as much as possible . The North and South cannot afford to develop scruples at this stage and the Chinese obviously see something here they like and can business with .

  • tacapall

    Well it would be nice to buy an ally next door to your enemy I suppose.

  • Pete Baker
  • sherdy

    With the Chinese interest and potential investment in Ireland, will we now see much more interest and investment from heretofore reluctant ‘friends’?

  • Greenflag

    I Phone texting

    Somewhere in the USA on an IPhone

    Hello I’m the Chinese worker who assembled your I Phone

    American reply : ‘ So what “?

    Chinese reply :” I just wanted to make you aware that working conditions here are so bad that they put up nets to keep us from jumping from the top floor windows and committing suicide”

    American reply:”Thats too bad what do you want anyway “?

    Chinese reply: “Same as you Americans decent wages , dignity , hope, freedom .

    American reply : LOL LOL

  • lamhdearg2

    Because he wanted to get to the other side (or was that a chicken and a road). invest in Eire maybe, buy Eire maybe, they own bigger parts of land in Africa. Will Ulster be the new Tibet?.

  • lamhdearg2

    Yes i am in. HEY FREE TV’S.

  • Alias

    The government have a dream that Chinese investment will follow US investment and avail of Ireland’s (temporary) lower coporation tax rate and, ahem, huge pool of native Mandarin speakers.

    They also have a dream that they will pay top dollar for the state assets (as Pete alludes to) that are to be liquidated in order to continue bailing-out eurosystem banks, and a dream that the Chinese will snap up those government bonds that nobody with any sense will buy.

    On the other side, Mr Xi has a dream about extracting raw materials from the economy with zero value to be added on by the Irish:

    “He also visited a small dairy farm of the Lynch family in the nearby rural village of Sixmilebridge, where he had a newly-born calf called for him, and offered an Irish coffee.”

    100% of Ireland’s domestic exports to China are food, with all of its other exports benefiting the foreign-owned corporations that comprise 95% of all ‘Irish’ exports.

    The Irish were overly keen to point out that they made no protest about China’s human rights record during the visit, so that is probably why China made an exclusive visit to Ireland. It sees it as a desperate whore that will sell what is left of its dignity in order to promote Chinese interests via its diplomatic contacts.

  • lamhdearg2

    What? gov

  • Ruarai

    Let’s ask them…

    “The Hong Kong of Eurpoe”…

    http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/europe/2012-02/21/content_14654771.htm

    Particularly exciting…

    “Trade center may act as European hub”

    http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/europe/2012-02/21/content_14654767.htm

    Three seperate articles on the front page of ChinaDaily on Ireland – For a continent in crisis, that’s not nothing:

    “Ireland’s low corporate tax rate and its language advantage as the only English-speaking country in the eurozone are seen as major attractions for more potential Chinese enterprises.”

    “While Ireland managed to transform a longtime agrarian society into a high-tech one in only 15 to 20 years, China is going through a similar transformation.”

    PS – Prior to embarking on a study trip to China 2 years ago, I alerted some NI officials that my group would be meeting quite a few “players” and it would be an opportunity to make some connections for home – so what’s the NI China trade engagement startegy? Answer: “It’s very difficult…far too big a market for NI producers to serve to scale…etc”. Risible.

    Note to all unemployed local grads in Belfast: Fly to China, learn Mandarin, spend a few years and position yourself as a go-to for the country and continent over the next 25 years. Someone has to, why not you?

  • Alias

    “Ireland’s low corporate tax rate and its language advantage as the only English-speaking country in the eurozone are seen as major attractions for more potential Chinese enterprises.”

    The eurozone angle is a drawback, not an advantage. The UK, a non-eurozone member, is the largest recipient of Chinese FDI in Europe, with a total stock of Chinese FDI that is 42 times greater than that of Ireland (which, at a paltry 148 million, is more than 4 times lower than the total stock of Irish FDI in China). The UK is also the top location for foreign companies setting up a European headquarters.

    Being English-speaking is an advantage (strike for the Irish language) with English being the most popular language in China after Japanese. If the Irish can’t speak Mandarin, it helps that the Chinese can speak English.

    As for the low corporation tax rate, that is on its way out with the government committed to “engage constructively” with an EU process that is designed to dismantle competitive corporation tax policy and replace it with harmonised taxation system (CCCTB). It is foolish to make promises in sales pitches that you won’t be able to deliver on…

    For now, China has some use for the diplomatic services of its new eager messenger boys in the EU.

  • Comrade Stalin

    By any standards, China will be buying more from Ireland than Ireland will be buying from China.

    China have been doing this kind of thing for decades, as I mentioned in the other thread. There’s a state visit of some kind, a lot of flattery and back-slapping goes on .. and then nothing. It’s nothing to do with Ireland’s current predicament.

    I’d bet money that in five year’s time there will have been no more than a negligible change in Ireland’s trade with China.

  • Reader

    Greenflag: Chinese reply: “Same as you Americans decent wages , dignity , hope, freedom .
    Strong stuff Greenflag, but what are you after – do you want to organise a boycott of Chinese made goods or a war of liberation?

  • Greenflag

    @ reader

    ‘Strong stuff Greenflag,’

    I would’nt think so . It’s from an American cartoon and as we all know truth is sometimes found in humour more so than in the ‘official dispatches ‘

    Heres the original with some other cartoons to amuse .

    http://www.npr.org/2012/02/20/147044057/double-take-toons-the-apple-of-his-eye

    ‘do you want to organise a boycott of Chinese made goods or a war of liberation?’

    Neither . Alias’s histrionics and those of others who seem to tearing themselves apart to downgrade Kenny’s achievement in getting the Chinese leader in waiting to visit for three days
    are moronic .

    Like it or not China is an emerging global economic power and within a few years will have overtaken the USA as the world’s biggest economy . The Chinese are at least not repeating the trade following the flag method so much favoured by Spanish, French , British and Japanese . German etc empires of the past .

    It was just over a century ago when the then British Government attempted to pressure the then Chinese Empire that the British be permitted to control the supply of opium to the Chinese . For the British at the time it was the only product they could export in sufficient quantity to reduce the then balance of trade deficit which they had with China . The later Boxer Rebellion was one outcome of that ‘marketing effort’.

    The Chinese are merely following the footsteps of the other larger economies in their attempt to industrialise and modernise their economy . The fact that they are not a proper ‘Democracy ‘ is neither here nor there . Neither was Britain in the Industrial Revolution -neither was Japan during it’s rapid climb to modernity -neither was Russia during Stalin’s vast campaigns to modernise Russia from it’s agricultural past.

    The big question for us ‘westerners ‘ is can the world survive a China with ‘living standards ‘ close or equal to those of the present west with all that that entails for energy consumption, pollution etc . And not just China but also India ,Brazil and Russia and Indonesia etc. The inevitable struggles which will ensue over control of scarce resources already evident in the Middle East will spread further afield .Taiwan is and will become more of an issue .

    In the competition between ‘financial services led capitalism ‘ the western model , and the one party state ‘authoritarian ‘ model (Chinese) it seems that in the latter the numbers in the ‘middle class ‘ are growing exponentially while in the former the numbers are declining and as the cartoon above suggests economies are mainly stagnant and apart from Germany -overborrowed..

    The west in particular the USA has become a plutocracy to a greater degree than ever and thus what we used to call ‘democracy ‘ has become a barefaced and vulgar sham -a game of smoking mirrors as political parties reshuffle their cards at each election to more or less come up with the same failing policies .Cameron or Milliband doesn’t matter -Obama or Romney or Kenny v Cowan -They all follow the banksters diktats and the Federal Reserve /IMF /ECB .

    The Chinese have 5 year plans and have the political clout to implement them . The USA has no plan other than to keep racking up debt and importing more migrants to add to the unemployment lines and reduce American wages still further .

    Forty years ago China emerged from a famine in which 30 million are estimated to have died in South China . They have come a long way in terms of development and much faster than the western powers did at similar stages of their economic development .

    You would have to be a fool to not want to trade with China or to ‘insult ‘ their future leader on a State visit . I guess thats what poor old Blair (George Orwell’s father ) was doing all those years ago when he was trying to open up China for the narcotics trade i.e ‘insulting’ the Chinese .

    It’s probably a small factor in the overall but Ireland as a ‘hub’ for China is not as incredible as it may seem to some . But then these ‘some ‘ are probably still wondering why Pay Pal have opted for Dundalk instead of Belfast or Ballymena or Newry .

    In the bigger picture -having lived and worked in and experienced the far east I’m always amazed at the arrogance of westerners even yet as they try to impose their values and religions on peoples who don’t need them . A good read for those interested in how an ‘intelligent ‘ western politician sees the rise of China is former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s ‘Men and Powers ‘ a political retrospective .

    .

  • FuturePhysicist

    On the Research and Development note… they still lag behind the USA in this regard. R&D still lags behind production in terms of cost for most enterprises, and one has to realise that China probably still gets more money into its domestic economy for technology development from Foreign Direct investment rather than simply the Party.

    The second note on R&D is that we will never run out of innovation, the whole purpose of R&D is to overcome barriers (including Chinese competition with the low wages and lax environmental protections) to provide useful products to the market place. The problem in the West is that investors don’t have the confidence that advanced scientific research produces anything … frankly I see a lot of new tributories stemming out of the semiconductor industry with regard to Memristors, and in the development of nanotechnology through carbon nanomolecules, there is an infinite scope for development.

  • Alias

    “Alias’s histrionics and those of others who seem to tearing themselves apart to downgrade Kenny’s achievement in getting the Chinese leader in waiting to visit for three days are moronic .”

    I would think the histrionics are from those (government and their media stooges) who are wildly extrapolating gold galore from Mr Xi’s visit. The reality is that Ireland imports more from China than it exports to China, leaving it with a considerable trade deficit. When the calculation is made on the basis of indigenous exports (excluding exports by foreign-owned corporations based in Ireland), the gap is almost 8 to 1 in China’s favour.

    There might be a basis for semi-histrionics from yourself and others if Mr Xi had brought a party of Chinese investors with him who were waving golden cheque books at the natives but I failed to observe this happy even if it actually occured during his visit.

    True, Ireland’s exports to China are forecast to increase by a whopping great 70% by 2025 according to the Chinese bank HSBC. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? However, the same bank says that global trade will expand by 70% during the same period so, in reality, it doesn’t even expect Ireland to keep pace with it – never mind dramatically exceed it as the giddy are proffering.

    Meanwhile, here is a nice pic of what the Chinese are actually interested in – and note there is no wapper on the unprocessed raw material.

  • Alias

    Typo: “However, the same bank says that global trade will expand by 73% during the same period…”

  • Greenflag

    @ future physicist & Alias

    ‘The problem in the West is that investors don’t have the confidence that advanced scientific research produces anything’

    When more than half the engineering and science graduates made a bee line for the financial services sector during the 90’s and even up to the present then what is being said is that the actual economic exploitation of new findings will most benefit the emerging economies where these products will in the main be manufactured and or assembled.

    As late as 2008 I know of one US Ivy League College where over 40% of the ‘engineers’ were heading for careers in the masters of economic disaster financial services areas .

    Following the example of the British in the 1990’s and earlier and look where that led .
    Anyway former London Mayor Ken Livingstone .has come up with a positive solution in his

    ‘ Hang a banker a week until they improve ‘ plan

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/article4135190.ece

    As for the Chinese interest in beef ? Perfectly natural . Beef was all the rage for the moneyed classes during the British Industrial Revolution . They got so fond of the beef that even the plight of a million starving Irish could’nt stop the ‘laissez faire ‘ free market from ensuring that those who had the cash got the beef . Now that the Chinese have got cash -a surfeit indeed why should they not have beef . Pork can get monotonous for the bon vivants of the new China .

    I followed the story re China’s future leader’s visit but I did’nt buy into the hype as you seem to have or convinced yourself that others have ?

    It’ll be good news for Glanbia and other Irish agricultural industries who are already in China

    http://www.glanbia.com/division

  • Alias

    I wonder how many Irish people are employed in Glanbia’s processing plant in China? As is your usual practice, you are missing the point.

    The Glanbia plant in China affirms my point that the Chinese are not interested in having Irish people add value to raw materials that the Chinese source in Ireland. Exporting raw materials simply means that the value is added in the country that imports them, and not by the country that exports them.

    That is why the British insisted on importing cattle from Ireland on the hoof when Dev looked to export markets. It meant that British workers would be employed to do the work that would not then be available to Irish workers. All Dev did was export raw materials, leading to an improverished country.

  • Greenflag

    @ alias,

    Glanbia is merely one of many .

    http://www.irelandexpo2010.com/irish_companies_in_china

    I’m not missing your point btw . Dev’s ‘economic ‘ strategy was designed for an Ireland which existed only inside his heart and head. The world has moved on since the 1930’s . Other than Germany I don’t know of any major western economy that runs a trade surplus with China . I know the Australians have been exporting iron ore to Japan and China for decades and have been losing ‘added value’ . Small countries or countries with small populations are limited in their options due to economies of scale .

    The whole ‘agricultural ‘ sector worldwide is now being vertically integrated through the consolidation of huge agricultural multinationals based in the USA -which is why young farmers from Iowa now have to move to Brazil if they want to pursue ‘farming ‘ in the traditional sense . Not too long ago in Ireland a 30 acre farm provided a good living for a family-not any more .

    Frankly I find it daft that we import potatoes from Holland and that the only way we get to eat Wexford strawberries is if enough Latvian and Lithuanian seasonal workers can be hired to pick the harvest -as the Irish won’t . I guess you’d call it the ‘free market’.

  • FuturePhysicist

    @Greenflag

    When more than half the engineering and science graduates made a bee line for the financial services sector during the 90′s and even up to the present then what is being said is that the actual economic exploitation of new findings will most benefit the emerging economies where these products will in the main be manufactured and or assembled.

    As late as 2008 I know of one US Ivy League College where over 40% of the ‘engineers’ were heading for careers in the masters of economic disaster financial services areas .

    Following the example of the British in the 1990′s and earlier and look where that led . Anyway former London Mayor Ken Livingstone .has come up with a positive solution in his.

    Well I agree with the fact that many engineering and science graduates went into the financial sector, but lets remember how this financial sector makes its assets … commodities extracted with the help of science and engineers (by oil wells or by weaponized force), products designed and manufactured with the help of science and engineers … using energy and transport facilities from science and engineers.

    I personally don’t think they are appreciated well enough by a rich more interested in owning things than making things. The west is obsessed more in trying to make software rather than advanced hardware.

    But let’s take an aside here…

    1. Why are science and engineering graduates going into finance… well there’s jobs there of course, but also because finance has now become a highly complex process of fast trading measures called derivatives, and they measure market behaviour to try to simulate the market trends. A lot of measures like Black-Scholes take reference to early work carried out in thermodynamics.

    2. The economic value of knowledge, including scientific knowledge, patents and other such intangible commodies is were many industries secure their monies … to simply let the East develop this knowledge by themselves of course is not in their interest … but by keeping R&D close to home (in the West) and manufacturing away from home (in the East/South) then you have the relatively low cost source of product identity secured in a controlled environment and the ability to exploit low cost production further afield.

    In many ways this information may be more valuable than a simple monetary value, or a physical product.

    It’s in no Western nation’s or corporation’s interest to export their research assets to China…they can “Made in China” in everything else. If China is benefiting from R&D they haven’t done it on Western Devices, they’ve done it themselves. They could reverse engineer all they want but without unique devices they won’t make significant money from it.

    Case and point, despite being the second biggest economy in the world, name off hand one Chinese brand?

    What was the last Ienova PC you bought or BYO car. Perhaps the only thing that did make an impact here were Kejian, sponsoring Everton shirts.

    I’d like to be corrected here.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Lenovo (rather than Ienovo) own parts of IBM … turns out … to be fair the Chinese paid for it through Oil Company money.

    IBM sold some of their intellectual property to Lenovo … perhaps a desperate financial measure.

  • FuturePhysicist

    the country’s export markets are mostly in those countries rather than other parts of the European Union:

    Bad graph work Mick … Ireland’s exports to the 25 remaining countries of the EU outside of itself and the UK would be bigger than to the UK and US block combined.

    In fact in 2009, Belguim bought more Irish stuff than the UK did.

    US 20.52%, Belgium 17.78%, UK 16.31%, Germany 5.66%, France 5.56%, Spain 4.19% (2009)

    What we are clearly seeing is the Republic of Ireland finding more markets for its goods

    Is it unfeasible to think that Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Sweden didn’t buy 8% i.e. (22% of the remaining 35.4%) Irish goods available for export?

    I’m sorry but the facts will show that the Republic of Ireland is still a bigger trading partner to the EU than the Northern Anglosphere, at the very least your graph ignores 35.4 of trade.

    The one thing the Republic of Ireland doesn’t “trade” to the US is its own citizens the way UK must when one of them gets involved in an internet crime or rather cyber-terrorism as the US love to dramatise it. It’s not a great advertisement for speaking English is it?

  • Alias

    “In fact in 2009, Belguim bought more Irish stuff than the UK did.”

    And what did they buy? High value pharmaceuticals that are re-exported from Belgium to other countries.

    Warning bells ringing?

    High value items are the staple of Missing Trader Fraud.

    In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a VAT fraud created by EU regulation. It costs member states billions every year, and is just another hidden cost of EU membership.

    It was estimated that 10% of Ireland’s exports to the UK in 2007 were bogus, with Irish taxpayers being defrauded on the cost of refunding the VAT on transactions that didn’t actually exist.

    In the 2005/2006 period, the cost of the missing trader fraud to UK taxpayers was estimated to be 12 billion Sterling.

    Before you start gushing about profits from exports to Belgium (which, if real, benefit foreign-owned pharmaceutical companies), take a wild guess at what the actual cost (in billions) of them to Irish taxpayers will be in refunding VAT that was never paid.

    You’ll have to guess because the government don’t release any figures for this cost of EU regulation.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Firstly it wouldn’t surprise me if 10% of UK exports to ROI underwent the same Missing Trader Fraud “VAT evasion” process. In terms of banking transactions the UK owes ROI as much as ROI owes UK, it wouldn’t surprise me if the same crooks were involved ripping off both taxpayers.
    Party donors who take massive sums out of their economies and invest them in some hold in Central America claiming to be “Citizens” of that country. Belguim doesn’t do any good out of this because the same traders don’t pay Belgium’s high rate of VAT either.

    This is simply a result of carrying out tax on transitions in a common market, EFTA suffers the same problems, so being a Switzerland or a Norway or an Iceland really doesn’t save anyone here. The EU still is a massive global trading block that can negotiate down the price of Russian and Gulf Stream oil, than can buy Japanese rare earth materials and American steel.

    The fact that these companies are investing in a workforce and in healthcare benefits here does mitigate some of the lost revenue through tax.

    The UK belief that it can make money simply being a middle man and the design of said economy to be the middle man in such transactions has seen it become the biggest victim per GDP of said VAT fraud, however if it were to lose its EU status it would lose its middleman status and it would take a generation to become a supply side economy just like Ireland, which as you pointed out … isn’t utopian perfection either.

  • Greenflag

    @future physicist,

    ‘but also because finance has now become a highly complex process of fast trading measures called derivatives, and they measure market behaviour to try to simulate the market trends.’

    If that’s all there was to it fair enough but it’s not . What we have seen from the actual experience of the financial sector is the creation and manipulation of markets using leveraged funds . Thus you end up with these ‘high powered ‘science and math ‘ graduates ‘ethically ? selling their clients worthless paper as so called triple A assets and being paid immense bonuses to do so . Spare a thought for the poor sods at RBS who can’t get a bonus this year because they lost only another billion sterling and horror of horrors just look at whats happening to Lloyds of London

    From the BBC today

    Lloyds Banking Group makes annual loss of £3.5bn

    Lloyds said its bonus pool for 2011 was £375m, down 30% against 2010.

    The average bonus for each of its 100,000 staff will be £3,900.

    Earlier this week the bank, which also owns TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland, announced it would not be paying £2m of the pre-announced bonuses to 13 executives, including the former chief executive Eric Daniels.

    The current chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, took over at the start of last year. Towards the end of the year he took two months off after suffering severe sleep deprivation.

    He returned to work last month, but said he would not take the bonus he was entitled to, which was worth up to £2.4m.

    Note Mr Osorio feels entitled to a bonus of £2.4m. for being CEO of a bank that loses 3.5 billion ?

    In plain english WTF?

    Ken Livingstone got it right .

    ‘Hang a bankster a week until they improve ‘

    Given that the elected politicians of all the major parties in the UK seem powerless to enact legislation to curb the excesses of the financial services sector perhaps Ken Livingstone’s advice should be seriously considered .

    ‘Case and point, despite being the second biggest economy in the world, name off hand one Chinese brand?’

    Toyota , Sanyo , Nikon , Fuji , oops sorry they are Japanese the point being they were largely unknown in the west as late as 1970 . China will follow Japan and India will follow China and Indonesia will follow India and Brazil and Russia. In the year 2000 only 6 of the world’s biggest 500 companies was Chinese . Today it’s 60 . Don’t fall for the old Anglosphere business maxim of the 1960’s that the little yellow men can’t invent and only produce shoddy cheap goods line . I’ve seen enough British executives visibly pale when confronted with Japanese production lines in my time.
    Why did it take 10,000 men two years to build a 500,000 ton oil tanker in Sunderland in the 1970’s when it took only 1,760 Japanese to build the same oil tanker in 6 months at 70% of the cost.

    Anyway I’m all for investment in R & D and we know that knowledge has an economic value but if it’s not applied in the source country ( check recent British economic history) then what use is it to the taxpayers ?

    In the USA the hot air debate has now started on reforming the taxation system so as to benefit whatever manufacturing is left. Another case of closing the door after the horse has bolted .

  • FuturePhysicist

    The problem with the traditional British merchant class is they seem to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. These are the same merchant class that sold off government owned radio space for pennies telling the rest of the world that their egocentric price evaluations are being manipulated by scientists out of water. The reason being the British merchant class has no vision.

    That merchant class has already been pounded (pardon the pun) by the Chinese on international markets as they’ve tried to manipulate markets only to have their hubris come back to devalue what little assets they have. Chinese were amongst the earliest mathematicians.

    What I’m saying is that it would be foolish for Western companies to surrender their intellectual property to the Chinese so easily. In terms of engineering and science, my argument is that China and Western Economies have a protectionist attitude not to give up what is rightfully there’s for too low a price.

    The British merchant class quite often talk about how worthless their pieces of paper are, but there low value of scientific intellectual property suggests that even their intelligence is cheap.

  • FuturePhysicist

    *their low value.

  • Greenflag

    @ future physicist ,

    ‘What I’m saying is that it would be foolish for Western companies to surrender their intellectual property to the Chinese so easily’

    Full marks for the obvious but industrial espionage does exist and is practiced not just by the Chinese but by the Russians , Israelis , Indians , Koreans , and probably every nation on Earth to a greater or lesser extent . Not that such espionage is ‘state ‘ implemented . It’s often private sector companies seeking advantage or catchup with competitors.

    Modern technology transfer makes it possible for look alike products with different brand names to be replicated at much lower cost on the other side of the world within days . Sometimes vast infrastructural development a necessary prerequisite for economic development e.g telecommunications in the past, has been rendered obsolete by new technologies which provide the service without the need for local/national infrastructure.

    The USA for instance buys it’s research and scientific capabilities . Some 67% of students in Advanced Math are non US nationals and the figures are similar in schools of engineering , science etc etc . One would think that a country with a population of 300 million plus could fill it’s own requirements from it’s own population ? Not so or perhaps it’s too expensive and not enough make it through the basic and secondary levels of education to reach a high enough standard .

    Northern Ireland prides itself on it’s overall educational standard and rightly so but how does this standard impact on local economic development in real terms ? The former Soviet union had 12,000,000 scientists and engineers at the same time as Botswana had less than 100 and yet Botswana’s GDP per person was 5 times that of the Soviet Union at the time .

    ‘Protectionism ‘ in the form of import tariff’s or bilateral trade agreements was for many years the preferred economic policy or strategy if you will of growing ’empires ‘ a later development from the ‘mercantilism ‘ of the emerging nation states of Europe from the middle ages on . We have seen historically that it’s the nation/empire at the top of the food chain that pushes ‘free trade ‘ but this usually at the time of it’s greatest power and because it has competitive advantage in technology , capital and financial resources , military or naval power etc .

    Our ‘new world ‘ with fast developing technologies has put huge pressures on the ‘old ‘ paradigm such that ‘free trade ‘ in a truly global context has come to mean not increased wealth and power for the largest world economy but it’s relative decline and some would say it’s demise ?

    We have yet to see sight of the international monetary and currency reforms which will be needed if the world is to dig itself out of the current ‘chaos ‘ As of now the ‘politicians ‘ all of them are winning Oscars for impersonating headless chickens 🙁

  • FuturePhysicist

    The former Soviet union had 12,000,000 scientists and engineers at the same time as Botswana had less than 100 and yet Botswana’s GDP per person was 5 times that of the Soviet Union at the time .

    It’s a bit of an unfair comparison to compare a largely populated country with 300 times more people on that basis. Anyway the GDP per capita ratio between the countries was closer to 1:1.

  • lamhdearg2

    ohh dear, are they going to buy Ulster as well as Eire.

    bbc news,
    “Top Chinese politician Liu Yandong visits Northern Ireland Ms Liu is a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s politburo Continue reading the main story
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    The highest ranking female politician in China’s Communist Party is to begin an official visit to Northern Ireland later.”.