Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Coffee Table

Open forum. Let's talk. Something other than personal snipes at each other would be appreciated by many of us I am sure.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Bob said...

Ron, ever since we talked weeks ago about how America needs to do something about trade with China that is slowly destroying us, it has been on my mind. While fully agreeing with you on the problem, nothing we came up with would be legal under world trade regulations. Then yesterday, I found this, which might be at least a partial answer to the problem. Sorry about the length of this post, but it is not subject that can be summed up easily.

At usatoday.com, an article by Ted C. Fishman, in the opinion section, is entitled "How to Stop a Thief". Pertinant parts are as follows:

President Bush declared at his May 31 news conference that "the best way to deal with China is to say, 'Look, there are some rules, and we expect you to abide by the trade rules.' " Yet in the area of intellectual property piracy and counterfeiting, where Chinese practices threaten America's economic future most, tough talk has utterly failed.

It has long been in China's interest to take, but not pay for, much of the world's most valuable technology. Usually when the damage is counted, foreign officials add up the prices of pirated software, DVDs, knockoff machines and designer goods. These numbers are huge, perhaps $80 billion in lost sales to non-Chinese companies. The United States and Japan suffer most.

The counterfeit trade in China is worth from $19 billion to $80 billion a year. (Source: U.S. Commerce Department

But still the numbers do not begin to describe how piracy is essential to the competitive edge that makes China such a tough competitor. Nearly every product turned out of a Chinese factory for export benefits from the country's loose intellectual property regime. That includes the goods that made up the United State's $160 billion-plus trade deficit with China last year. Trade deficit numbers are scary, but they also are a good, albeit indirect, measure of how well American companies - the ones that bring in Chinese goods - profit by taking advantage of China's low-cost manufacturing.

"In a U.S. factory like mine where engineers spend their days on a sophisticated work station with advanced industrial design software, the yearly cost to run software at a single station can cost $60,000," Hollis(a CEO of an American businees) says. "It can add up to millions a year and be a shop's highest cost. Chinese factories pay nothing for that.
Current hopes for remedies rest on negotiation and the threat of adjudication through the World Trade Organization. These allow the Chinese to buy time - possibly years - that the United States cannot afford to give.

The article goes on to say that there are probably only two ways to remedy this Chinese advantage. Impose a technology tax on the assumption that everything they make is benefitting from the pirating, or, better yet, set up a system of certification that is being used now in 3rd world nations about child labor usage, and apply it to legitmate software or legitimate technology.

Ya know, this just might work, or at least help level the playing field. It could be done quickly and without any trade repercussions from what would appear to be trade restricting tariffs. Not even the WTO could object to holding a country to a standard enforicing legal software and legal patents for machines.

Perhaps this would be a very good beginning? It sure is something we didn't even think about.

5:18 AM, June 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HJ 24 IH

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. J. RES. 24
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 17, 2005
Mr. HOYER (for himself, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. SABO, and Mr. PALLONE) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

`Article --

`The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed.'.

11:03 PM, June 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AP
Bank of America Buys Stake in China Bank
Thursday June 16, 11:14 pm ET
By Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer
Bank of America Announces Purchase of 9 Percent Stake in China Construction Bank

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Bank of America Corp. will take a stake of about 9 percent in the state-owned China Construction Bank, becoming the latest international lender to grab a strategic shareholding in China's banking market.

11:30 PM, June 16, 2005  
Anonymous Bob said...

bloomberg.com says, concerning BOA and the Chinese bank:

Bank of America will get a 9 percent stake in Construction Bank for its $2.5 billion investment, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the transaction earlier. The agreement also allows the U.S. bank to increase its holdings to 19.9 percent during the next 5 1/2 years by buying shares at the IPO price, the newspaper said, citing a person familiar with the transaction.

Chinese banks are allowed to sell a maximum 25 percent stake to foreign investors, with no single investor holding more than 20 percent. Construction Bank said in April that it was in talks to sell a stake to as many as 10 foreign banks, including Bank of America, Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG.

Well, I have no clue as to if this is a good thing or a bad one. Will foreign investment help modify Chinese practices? Or will investment like the BOA help the Chinese to gain entry and influence into the monetary circles in the US and Europe? Or the other way around? Or nothing changes at all? Kinda need an economist to figure this one out.

3:59 AM, June 17, 2005  
Anonymous Bob said...

This is so oddly interesting that I thought I would let you know:

It's from the BBC:



"Poland might become the first country in history to be led by identical twins.

Even better, Lech (yes, there's that name again) and Jaroslaw Kaczynski are both conservatives, anti-corruption anti-government waste crusaders, and staunch supporters of the US alliance (as well as Poland's involvement in Iraq).

The Kaczynski brothers, who already rarely appear together in public to avoid creating confusion, have the potential to sow utter chaos among the ranks of foreign correspondents and commentators - not to mention photojournalists."


One is the leading contender for President, the other for Prime Minister. Wild.

8:46 AM, June 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Democat" is glad that Bob cares about the rainforest, but does Bob care about polar bears, too? The polar icecap is melting fast. Polar bears live on the ice, as do seals and walruses. The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned the Bush Administration to declare polar bears an endangered species due to the loss of their habitat.
Caribou may enjoy being near the warmth of the pipelines, but they won't enjoy them if they break open and flood the tundra with oil. We don't need to change the climate of the Arctic area, so selfish people can drive Humvees a couple of blocks for a loaf of bread and a quart of milk. They should walk and get some exercise.
For more on Bush's horrible environmental record-
http://fixcol.com/bushenvironment.html

5:52 PM, June 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DemoCat cares about the environment (i.e. God's creation) and thinks BU$H's environmental record is the worst of any U.S. president in 100+ years. The DemoCat wishes John Kerry would have really challenged BU$H when the latter said he was a good steward of the environment during the debates instead of just pretty much shaking his head in disbelief.
For more on Bush's horrible environmental record go to:
(again) http://fixcol.com/bushenvironment.
html
("Bush policies are poisoning the environment.")
and "Governor Bush's Texas Record"
(from the WeWantDean.com website)
at www.topplebush.com. Topple Bush is a very good site to go to for articles, humor, links, etc. The DemoCat even got a story published on Topple Bush's site (smile).

4:25 PM, June 23, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News flashes (according to friend of mine)-
Either from "Washington Journal" or "Democracy Now"
( www.democracynow.org )
Bush wants to nominate
Alberto "The Torturer" Gonzales to be on The Supreme Court. Why? You'd think he'd want to keep him as Atty. Gen. after the Congressional fight to get him approved. Isn't it bad enough that Scalia will be Chief Justice soon?
Gah!!
Also, Prince "Bander Bush", the Ambassador from Saudi Arabia and Dubya's good buddy is resigning. Wonder what's up with that.

5:20 PM, June 29, 2005  

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