The Octant
Insights and reporting from Caleb Maupin

 

After Chinese stocks fell on Monday, July 17, the media based in the United States offered an almost unanimous explanation. According to the U.S. press, the Chinese Stock Market fell in response to the two-day National Financial Works Conference. A headline in the Wall Street Journal from Tuesday, July 18 reads “Beijing Talks Tough, and Stocks Fall.” Editorials and other statements go on to say China is facing potential ruin because of too much government oversight and regulation. This is an ideologically loaded assumption and analysis of events, which misses the overall lessons of China’s recent history.

First of all, it is important to note that U.S. analysts seem desperate to make negative predictions about China’s economy, and look for any possible indicator to point towards. Many will recall how in June of 2015, after turmoil in China’s stock markets, the U.S. media announced a pending collapse and spoke endlessly about a “Chinese slowdown.” The doom and gloom they predicted never materialized, and China has continued to expand. China’s rate of GDP growth remains between 6.7 percent and 6.9 percent, a rate that would be envious to most nations on earth. The USA’s rate of growth for 2016 was merely 2 percent.

 

Under the new US administration, the ruling order of the country has not drastically changed. Domestically, the rising power of policing agencies alongside cuts in social spending has not ceased. Internationally, the USA still stands with western Europe against the bloc of independently developing countries centered around Russia, China and Iran.

While trends in actual policy remain roughly the same, one thing has certainly been altered. While the international order of western liberalism and globalist capitalism remains intact, statements hostile to it and contrary to its values continue to flow from the White House.

On an almost daily basis, statements that are completely contrary to the narrative of the “international liberal order” flow from the mouth of the commander-in-chief. The examples are numerous.

While the narrative of neoliberalism presents Russian President Vladimir Putin as a bloodthirsty tyrant, unlike figures in the “civilized” and “democratic” western nations, Trump thundered back “Do you think this country is so innocent?” when questioned about Putin being a “killer.”

 

Wall Street, London, and the Bretton Woods institutions like the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund claim to support development and the eradication of poverty around the world. They also claim to support scientific progress and raising the global standard of living. However, often they seem to make friends and allies with very different goals. As Nicaragua proceeds with a huge construction project that has dynamic global implications, one can see a certain international pattern repeating itself, with quite dangerous implications.

“Native Activists” Fighting To Preserve US Maritime Dominance

Control of the Panama Canal by the United States has been vital in asserting control over the world economy. The US military has intervened militarily in Panama on many occasions to secure its control of this vital global shipping and transportation hub.

While the USA currently allows vessels to pass through, this could easily change in the case of a military confrontation. With so much of the world’s industrial shipping passing through this vital point, control of the canal gives the USA a level of unchecked power in the global economy. At any point they could “veto” a country’s economy by stopping ships.

 

After a two year slump, coal, iron, and everything related to mining is seeing a boom. Entities on the New York Stock Exchange linked to the extraction of minerals from the earth are seeing their profits go up. Like most things in the global economy, this dramatic shift cannot be separated from geopolitical events. The boom on the energy markets is directly linked to confrontation between the USA and China, related to the crisis in the Korean peninsula.

Too Much Coal

In 1930, a coal miner in Poland famously explained the economic crisis to his son with an unforgettable dialogue:

“Father, Why don‘t we light the stove? I am cold”
“We don’t have coal, son”
“And why haven’t we got coal?”
“Because there is too much coal.”

The father had been laid off from his job as a coal miner, due to the abundance of coal created by advances in mining technology. Because he was unemployed, he could not afford coal to heat his home. The coal miner and his son were without heat, not due to a lack of coal, but because there is “too much coal.”