Filed under: China, Communism, Global Warming, Junk Science, Regulation, Science/Technology | Tags: China's Collapsing Green Sector, From Largest Producer to Broke, Solar and Wind Failure
China has gone in for “renewable energy” in a big way. Their solar panel industry has gone from nothing to becoming the world’s largest producer in only five years. But the industry has now crashed with with negative profit margins, idle factories and soaring levels of debt.
Suntech, a solar panel manufacturer, has been a national champion which became the world’s largest, filed for bankruptcy in March after it defaulted on payment of $541 million of bonds. The Chinese government is scrambling to clean up the mess by offering tax breaks to all solar companies who acquire or merge with their competitors.
LDK Solar, another leading Chinese producer, was forced to turn to provincial and local government for protection from its creditors. LDK was the brainchild of the local Communist Party Secretary, and received millions of dollars in state subsidies, cheap financing, land and electricity in 2005. The local government is pumping in money to keep it from sinking, but the company has already shed 20,000 of its 30,000 employees and its shares are 98% below their peak.
China’s solar panel sector remains massively overbuilt. Demand for solar panels has been shrinking as governments in the West learn that it was the subsidies that made solar energy attractive.
Wind power is little different. Sinovel — one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufactures — was earning hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in 2010, to millions of dollars of losses that grow by the day. Revenues are a fifth of what they were in 2010. In 2012, 17% of all windmills lay idle, the power they produce too expensive to connect to the grid. In some regions, 50% of all windmills remain unconnected to the grid.
China’s green sector crash is a textbook example of a command and control economy, where “experts” substitute their ideas for the complex supply and demand decisions of a free market. The Chinese state gave Chinese manufacturers near-monopoly powers and almost free money. The Bank of China, one of the largest state-owned commercial banks, says that 21% of its solar loans are in or near default. The average debt ratio is 75.8%.
To save face, China’s central planners have switched from subsidizing suppliers to subsidizing demand by demanding that power producers meet green targets in the domestic market. China can, of course force consumers to buy solar energy, but that doesn’t really solve anything. Chinese power customers would just pay the price in more expensive and less reliable power.
Filed under: Communism, Freedom, History, Politics, Pop Culture | Tags: Labor and Illegal Immigrants, May Day Celebrations, Maypoles & Communists
It came to my attention that President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation today, to proclaim that this is Loyalty Day, 2013. Huh? I had never heard of Loyalty Day, but it appears that it began in the Eisenhower administration. How could I have missed it? Presidents issue a proclamation every year. It’s a presidential thing. But let’s go back a little:
May Day in many cultures has marked the beginning of spring, a half-year from All Hallows, celebrating the bringing back of the light, moving the cattle out to the fields, having a big bonfire and parading the cattle around the bonfire decorated with bright yellow may flowers. The Celtic countries called it Beltane, in Germany it was pretty much the same thing except called Walpurgisnacht after an English missionary named Walpurgis, also bonfires and celebration.
Just where and when it became a May Day celebration with maypoles and baskets of flowers, I’m not sure. (I checked with Wikipedia, but didn’t pay too close attention).
In small towns, young people made little may baskets filled with flowers and hung them from a friend’s front door, then rang the bell and ran away, leaving the basket a mystery. That’s all pretty tame, and when the Soviet Union began to take over May Day to show off their military might and their solidarity, maypoles began to seem a little wimpy. Besides those Soviet parades were annoying.
Filed under: Capitalism, Communism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Liberalism, Politics, Statism | Tags: Misunderstanding Everything?, The Layabout Policy, The Problem of Our Schools
It is always helpful when members of the opposition tell you what they really think.
Filed under: Communism, Economy, History, Politics, Statism | Tags: 100 Million Dead, Absolute Power Corrupts, Ignorance of History
Professor C.Bradley Thompson speaks on “Why Marxism?” Why, indeed? Every time it has been tried, it ends with the government slaughtering its own people. They start off with Utopian dreams and end up with 100 million dead, ruined economies, desperate people and an assortment of concentration camps, reeducation camps and gulags. What possible appeal can there be? Ignorance of history, no understanding of consequences and a yearning for absolute power.
Filed under: China, Communism, Economy, News of the Weird | Tags: China's Empty Cities, Why Are They There?, Why Were They Built?
Britain’s Daily Mail has satellite pictures of 14 major new cities in China that are essentially— empty. No cars, no people, empty buildings, empty housing. They are ghost towns. Some have been abandoned years after their construction. “Some estimates put the number of empty homes at as many as 64 million, with up to 20 new cities being built every year in the country’s vast swathes of free land.”They have pictures of 35 empty cities.
A Chinese government think tank speaks of a real estate bubble with property prices overvalued by as much as 70 percent. The article warns of real estate bubbles and increasing prices, but why do prices increase if there are no buyers? I have seen elsewhere a tour of a new Chinese city with no population, fine stores — empty, a whole city, just empty. The suggestion is of housing too expensive for people. In a normal capitalist market, you would just lower the prices to start inhabiting the city, but this is not a normal capitalist country.
Obama has celebrated China’s new high-speed train, yet ordinary people cannot afford to ride it, and it has become a financial catastrophe for the nation. Are these empty cities just a vast infrastructure project providing construction jobs for the unemployed?
The Daily Mail article doesn’t really explain anything. I saw pictures a while back of what was called the world’s largest traffic jam that went on for miles and lasted for days, so there are cars in China in significant numbers.
If anyone can explain this mystery, please comment. It is a puzzlement.
Filed under: Communism, Energy, Environment, Junk Science, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Statism | Tags: Solar and Wind are Unsustainable, The Future is Unknowable, The Future is Unknown
Of all the words devised to deceive us, the most recent buzzword, is “sustainable.” Usually used in reference to the environment as “sustainable development,” sustainable fisheries, sustainable forest management, sustainable land management, sustainable living, sustainable yield — and as you should gather from that list, it is complete nonsense.
We have some ideas about that which is unsustainable, for we know the estimated life cycle of some things. We know, for example, about how long each different kind of roofing material will last. People base their purchasing decisions on manufacturers warranties. But after a certain number of years, the unsustainable will probably break down. We can make sensible estimates based on past experience.
But we don’t know the future. Prognosticators don’t even do well with their predictions for the coming year. Great plans are laid out, and events make mincemeat of them. Businessmen lay out strategies for the future, and the bankruptcy courts are littered with their corporate bones. The future is unpredictable. Consider the Japanese Tsunami, Arab Spring, the Deepwater-Horizon disaster, and the surprises you have had in your own life. Surprise is the nature of things, not predictability.
The “sustainable” people are usually the greenest of earnest environmentalists. They believe that nasty, dirty petroleum is unsustainable — “peak oil” is just around the corner, the same corner it’s been just around for years. They believe in “the limits to growth,”and the population bomb. They see an Earth in deep decline because it is not behaving as they would have it behave. They believe that because wind and solar energy are free, and “natural” that they are “sustainable”, and that “sustainable development” will depend on these free sources. Wikipedia says:
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It contains within it two key concepts:
- the concept of ‘needs’, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
- the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.
They believe that the United Nations in conjunction with the world’s NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) is more suited to run things and make everything fair and equal. Ordinary worker people will live in high-rise cities, the intelligentsia will live in the more rural areas outside the cities, and the area between the cities will be returned, as it should be, to wilderness, where other species can be sustainable. What they have in mind for the developed word is “De-growth,” which may be what we are currently experiencing.
The proponents of de-growth reckon that the term of sustainable development is an oxymoron. According to them, on a planet where 20% of the population consumes 80% of the natural resources, a sustainable development cannot be possible for this 20%: “According to the origin of the concept of sustainable development, a development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, the right term for the developed countries should be a sustainable de-growth”.
The Wikipedia article is long and meandering and full of far-left looniness. It has often been explained that ardent communists migrated to the environmental movement when the Soviet Union collapsed. That’s why they call them “watermelons” — green on the outside, red on the inside. They particularly enjoy large meetings in the world’s resort places, fancy hotels, delightful food and service all paid for by their governments. That’s not sustainable either.
Filed under: Communism, Freedom, Politics, Russia, Statism | Tags: electoral fraud, More Democracy, Protests in Moscow
Anti-Kremlin demonstrations— discontent over oligarchical rule spilling into the open. These are largely young people in their 20s and 30s. Russian youth want more democracy, more people power and more justice. These are the largest protests seen in the Putin era.
(h/t: The Exiled)
Filed under: Communism, History, Russia, The United States | Tags: Joseph Stalin, Svetlana Stalina, The U.S.S.R
Lana Peters was born Svetlana Alliluyeva Stalina. She was the only daughter of Joseph Stalin. She grew up in the Kremlin, where she was Stalin’s “Little Sparrow.”Her life was spent in the shadow of the man who helped to establish Soviet communism., and killed far more people than Hitler, who gets far more public opprobrium.
Her mother shot herself when Svetlana was 6, after her parents argued at a banquet, although Svetlana didn’t learn that until she was a teenager.
In 1929 Stalin demanded “the eradication of all kulak tendencies and the elimination of the kulaks as a class.” It was in effect a war declared on a nation of smallholding farmers. More than 2 million peasants were deported, 6 million died of hunger, and hundreds of thousands died of deportation. That was followed by the Great Famine, when more than 6 million people in the Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus died of forced starvation in one of the darkest periods of Soviet Russia.
That was followed by the Great Terror, which in turn was followed by the Great Purge of the Red Army, which left Soviet Russia very short of experienced military officers for their battle against Nazi Germany. Svetlana described seeing her father die of a stroke in 1953. As the USSR began reforms under Khrushchev, her life became increasingly difficult and she dropped her father’s name in favor of her mother’s, Alliluyeva.
In 1967 Ms. Alliluyeva defected to the U.S.,with a manuscript of her memoir in hand.Her memoir “Twenty Letters to a Friend” was an international best seller, as was a sequel “Only One Year” which described her defection to the U.S. via India. She had traveled there to deposit the ashes of her third husband, a prominent Indian communist, in the Ganges.
She became a U.S. citizen, and settled in Princeton N.J. She visited Taliesin West on an invitation from Frank Lloyd Wright’s widow, where she met and married architect William Peters, a Wright protégé. They had a daughter, though they soon split. In 1984, Ms. Peters returned to the USSR, reuniting with her son, a physician. She denounced the West as starkly as she had once denounced her homeland. She stuck that out for two years, and then returned to the US.
She eventually settled in Richland Center, Wisconsin, where she lived in obscurity in a one-room apartment. She lived always in the shadow of her father’s life. It was not an easy history to bear.