North Korea may not be able to Light up the Night or Feed her People but they now have their own Smartphone

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 17th, 2013

Week in Review

You know the machines are taking over the world when everyone must have a smartphone these days.  Even the North Koreans (see Skepticism as NKorea shows home-grown smartphone by Youkyung Lee, AP Technology Writer, posted 8/16/2013 on Yahoo! Finance).

North Korea’s announcement that it is mass producing a home-grown smartphone has been met with skepticism in the tech industry in South Korea and abroad.

The North’s state media last week showed leader Kim Jong Un inspecting “Arirang” phones at a Pyongyang factory. The Korean Central News Agency’s Aug. 10 report said the factory began manufacturing smartphones “a few days ago” and they were already in high demand.

No.  They’re not.

…access to the global Internet is severely restricted and mobile phones used on the state-authorized network cannot make overseas calls. The North’s Intranet gives access to government sanctioned sites and works with its own browsers, search engine and email programs, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry.

So, in other words, people can use these smartphones to only access the state propaganda that they are already being bombarded with.  Not the rich entertainment environment available just south of the border in South Korea.  Where people actually want smartphones.  Well, not smartphones per se.  But the cyberworld the smartphones bring to them.  A cyberworld strictly FORBIDDEN for the average North Korean.  So, yeah, there is a high demand for smartphones in North Korea.  Just as there is a high demand for famine and state-oppression.  Which, sadly, are the only things North Korea has an abundance of.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce and the Korean Peninsula remains technically at war. Since then, the South has prospered and produced giant corporations such as Samsung Electronics Co., which is the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, computer memory chips and displays. The North’s economy has languished under socialist central planning though the capital Pyongyang is an oasis of relative affluence.

And there’s the problem.  Socialist central planning.  If that would ever go away the people could use smartphone like their neighbors to the south.  As well as losing their constant fear of famine.  And state-oppression.  Of course for that to happen will require the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.  With the North becoming like the South, of course.

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China may Collapse in 2012 and Suffer Japanese Deflation, Perhaps Even the Collapse of the Communist Party

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 1st, 2012

Week in Review

The Chinese aren’t invincible.  Just like the Japanese weren’t invincible.  Even though many in our government like to point to the heady days of their economic dominance and say that’s what we need to do.  Partner government with business.  Because Big Government people love central planning.  Because they love being in charge.  But central planning doesn’t work.  And government interference into the economy rarely ends well.  It put the Japanese into a deflationary spiral for a decade and change.  And there are some who think the Chinese are heading down that same road.  They believe that China will collapse.  Even give three reasons why (see The Coming Collapse of China: 2012 Edition by GORDON G. CHANG posted 12/29/2011 on Foreign Policy).

First, the Communist Party has turned its back on Deng’s progressive policies. Hu Jintao, the current leader, is presiding over an era marked by, on balance, the reversal of reform. There has been, especially since 2008, a partial renationalization of the economy and a marked narrowing of opportunities for foreign business…

Second, the global boom of the last two decades ended in 2008 when markets around the world crashed. The tumultuous events of that year brought to a close an unusually benign period during which countries attempted to integrate China into the international system and therefore tolerated its mercantilist policies. Now, however, every nation wants to export more and, in an era of protectionism or of managed trade, China will not be able to export its way to prosperity like it did during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s…

Third, China, which during its reform era had one of the best demographic profiles of any nation, will soon have one of the worst. The Chinese workforce will level off in about 2013, perhaps 2014, according to both Chinese and foreign demographers, but the effect is already being felt as wages rise, a trend that will eventually make the country’s factories uncompetitive. China, strangely enough, is running out of people to move to cities, work in factories, and power its economy.

China’s economic ascendance happened when the ruling communists backed off and let in some capitalism.  In their eastern cities.  Which erupted in economic activity.  People poured in from the country.  Where there was still the occasional famine.  And abject poverty.  These workers became wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.  They got a taste of the good life.  And they liked it.  Especially all of those Western toys.   And the Internet.  Next thing you know they started talking to each other.  Enjoying this new life.  And these new freedoms.  A little too much for the ruling communists.

As a result, we will witness either a crash or, more probably, a Japanese-style multi-decade decline. Either way, economic troubles are occurring just as Chinese society is becoming extremely restless. It is not only that protests have spiked upwards — there were 280,000 “mass incidents” last year according to one count — but that they are also increasingly violent as the recent wave of uprisings, insurrections, rampages and bombings suggest. The Communist Party, unable to mediate social discontent, has chosen to step-up repression to levels not seen in two decades. The authorities have, for instance, blanketed the country’s cities and villages with police and armed troops and stepped up monitoring of virtually all forms of communication and the media. It’s no wonder that, in online surveys, “control” and “restrict” were voted the country’s most popular words for 2011.

So the Chinese are reversing their policies that led to the great economic ascendancy.  Which can only reverse that economic progress.  And after years of explosive economic growth what can follow but deflation?  Just like the Japanese experienced during their lost decade.  It is inevitable.  Because Big Government central planning just doesn’t work.  It never has.  And it never will.  Even in China.

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After a Series of Central Planning Failures Senator Durbin says what the Economy Needs is more Central Planning

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 30th, 2011

Week in Review

The great Margaret Thatcher was a limited-government conservative.  She brought the UK back from the abyss of socialist malaise.  Fixed the economy.  Gave the people a life of plenty.  And good times.  The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, visited Margaret Thatcher.  He was impressed.  The people in the UK weren’t hungry.  He asked her how she did it.  How was she able to feed her people?  For in the Soviet Union this was a never ending crisis.  Growing enough food on their collective farms to feed their people.

An odd question for Thatcher.  Or any other capitalist.  Because elected leaders of capitalistic countries don’t feed their people.  The free market economy does.  And it does it very well.  For the Soviets had the breadbasket of Europe within her borders.  The Ukraine.  And the UK was but a tiny island nation.  With barely a fraction of the farmland as the breadbasket of Europe.  Yet the British could feed her people.  And the Soviets could not.  Which just goes to show you that planned economies are all well and good if you want to control and oppress your people.  But they’re abject failures if you want to feed your people.  Still, there are those who still believe in the folly of central planning (see Durbin knocks GOP for not ‘designing the economy’ by Joel Gehrke posted 10/29/2011 on The Washington Examiner).

Despite the demonstrable failure of the bank bailouts, the 2009 stimulus, and the federal loan program that produced the Solyndra scandal, Democrats still believe that Congress should play a major role in shaping the economy — with the help of expert planners, of course.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., acknowledged as much while offering a misguided rebuke to congressional Republicans. “Simply standing back while trying to design the bumper sticker for the 2012 election instead of designing the economy to put Americans back to work,” Durbin said during an interview with the Chicago Tribune, “is not what the American people are looking for.”

The Democrats took both the House and the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections.  They held that power until the Republicans took back the House in the 2010 midterm elections.  They had 4 years of full legislative control.  And what designing of the economy did they do?  Just the destructive kind.

The housing bubble blew up on their watch.  And the fallout, the subprime mortgage crisis, happened on their watch.  The Great Recession happened on their watch.  The bank bailouts, the stimulus and the federal loan program that produced the Solyndra scandal happened on their watch.  And if that wasn’t enough destruction, they unleashed the job-killing, economy killing, private health care insurance killing Obamacare.  And they wonder why the economy isn’t doing any better.

No, Senator Durbin.  We don’t need any more of your expert planning.  Anymore and I’m afraid you guys will do some damage that not even a Margaret Thatcher can fix.

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