Month: January 2022

The Bear’s Lair: Becoming more Confucian

Eamonn Fingleton, in The American Conservative, recently wrote a piece “The Confucian Model” about East Asian economies, the analysis in which I thought made sense. However, I disagreed with his conclusion, that, now that this “Confucian” model has been invented, authoritarian societies have a built-in economic advantage over democracies. To me, the benefits of “Confucianism” […]

The Bear’s Lair: Coal – wonder-fuel of the future!

In November and December 2021, China’s coal consumption rose to record levels, well over half the world’s total. That enabled China to record a 8.1% growth rate in 2021, by far the highest of any major economy. It also coincided with the COP-26 climate change conference, in which Western governments unanimously promised to sacrifice the […]

The Bear’s Lair: De-financializing the global economy

Since 1980, the global economy has become increasingly financialized – by all measures, the ratio of debt to GDP has steadily increased. If something cannot go on forever, it will reverse, and there are two ways in which this might do so. One way is the global kumbaya of a debt jubilee, which would collapse […]

The Bear’s Lair: Canals, not steam catalyzed the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution is traditionally held to have begun in the middle 1780s with James Watt’s invention of the rotary steam engine with condenser attached. (The condenser alone did not allow Watt’s engine to power machinery, since it still used the jerky Newcomen “beam” motion.) Yet there was another innovation, almost 20 years earlier, which […]

The Bear’s Lair: Public opinion’s leftward ratchet

In 1970, Venezuela was a little richer than Chile — $1,014 nominal dollars per capita versus $933! on World Bank figures. Both were corrupt social democrat countries with poor management and bloated government. Fifty years later in 2020, Venezuela, which continued and worsened its socialism, had a GDP per capita of only $1,691 nominal dollars […]