Excerpts From: Has China Won

The author, KISHORE MAHBUBANI, was born to two Hindu parents in Singapore. He has had two distinguished careers, thirty-three years in diplomacy and fifteen years in academia. He lived in New York for over ten years as Singapore’s ambassador to the UN.

My comments are in Bold.  Mahbubani’s are copied verbatim from his book.

Mahbubani begins his book with several questions, such as:

“Is America making a fundamental error of perception when it views the CCP as a Chinese Communist Party? This would imply that the soul of the CCP is embedded in its communist roots. Yet, in the eyes of many objective Asian observers, the CCP actually functions as the “Chinese Civilization Party.” Its soul is not rooted in the foreign ideology of Marxism – Leninism but in the Chinese civilization.”

Is that a possibility worth considering?

On the subject of America’s attitude toward China he provides quotes such as:

“After speaking to several establishment figures with decades of combined experience on China , Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal concluded : “ Yet if the pendulum swung too far toward accommodating China in the past , it may be rebounding too far toward confrontation now . ” Ip cites former treasury secretary Hank Paulson as saying: “We have a China attitude, not a China policy. … You have Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA, the Defense Department, treating China as the enemy and members of Congress competing to see who the most belligerent China hawk can be. No one is leaning against the wind, providing balance, asking what can we realistically do that has some chance of getting results that won’t be harmful to our economic and national – security interests in the long term?

AND:

“Bill Gates has decried the “paranoid” view fueling the current high – tech rivalry between the US and China . He said that trying to stop Beijing from developing innovative technologies is “beyond realistic.”  Huawei, like all goods and services, should be subject to an objective test.  The rule that everything that comes from China is bad … that is one crazy approach to trying to take advantage of innovation.”

Should that give us pause for thought?

Mahbubani ends his book with this conclusion:

If America and China were to focus on their core interests of improving the livelihood and well-being of their citizens, they would come to realize that there are no fundamental contradictions in their long-term national interests. The final question will therefore not be whether America or China has won. It will be whether humanity has.”

A sobering thought.

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A Must Read For Keen Insights To The China Problem

The book is:Has China Won? by Kishore Mahbubani.  Very well written and I agree with his monetary analysis. Here is a very controversial, but well reasoned, view of the conflict between America and China that will make you think.

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Mission Accomplished

Portfolio Navigation produced a profit for the year of 10% and I am now 49% in cash.

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Portfolio Navigation Says Reduce Exposure

I am starting to take profits in skyrocket tech stocks.  My portfolio Gain is  /3 +$ +8.61%)  currently (clipped from my Schwab account). As some US states go back to work I will continue to reduce equity exposure unless the US recants its trade wars.  Absent America rejoining the world, I agree with Minard at Guggenheim, the S&P 500 could drop another 25%. 

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We Need More Than Data To Fight COVID-19

We need the right people to gather it and interpret it and it ain’t reporters or politicians or doctors and nurses.  It’s statisticians like

Dr John Ioannides Professor of Health Research & Policy at Stanford University

His research interests are clinical trials. He has worked in the fields of evidenced-based medicine and clinical investigation.  In particular, randomized trials and in appraisal and control of diverse biases in biomedical research.

He says: “The one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher.

Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). Even this highest estimate is phenomenally lower than the 3.4% initial estimate from the WHO.

Fareed Zakaria quoted him on last Sunday’s program and then had three experts on a panel that totally ignored the numbers.  WHY? Because these numbers are boring and will not sell media time.  Furthermore, it is not entertaining.  It is not sensational.  So what is the right investment strategy if Professor Ioannides is correct?

Here is some data from the field:

From Bloomberg Prognosis today

China’s Data on Symptom-Free Cases Shows Most Never Get Sick

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Problems, Problems

Which is worse: Covid-19 or the massive debt problem?  neither, it is knowing I have to take my wife into Stanford hospital for surgery next week and knowing there are currently 10 cases of coronavirus there and more expected next week.  The fact that my portfolio is still up 1%since the top and I am now back to 60/40 equity to fixed is no comfort whatsoever.  Think I’ll take a short nap and dream of poppies on Windy hill.

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Portfolio Navigation Works Again

My portfolio is now 8% above where it was on February 21st when I published “The Last Straw” article, instead of waiting to break even.

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Nothing is as Bad as it Looks: 351,372 15,263

As of 7:00 am yesterday I was 83% in equities. The reasons:

  1. My DTR changed to 10%
  2.  I ran the numbers On Bloomberg Corona Update and found this:

        351,372  were confirmed Cases and 15,263 were deaths worldwide.                                     The font size was larger than I can replicate here.

  1. Where deaths have occurred Deaths Cases World
    Italy 5,476 59,138 9.26% 4.3%
    Mainland China 3,270 81,093 4.03%
    Spain 2,182 33,089 6.59%
    Iran 1,812 23,049 7.86%
    France 674 16,689 4.04%
    U.S. 460 38,951 1.18%
    U.K. 281 5,683 4.94%
    Netherlands 213 4,749 4.49%
    South Korea 111 8,961 1.24%
    Germany 94 24,782 0.38%
    Belgium 88 3,743 2.35%
    Switzerland 66 8,060 0.82%
    Indonesia 48 514 9.34%
    Japan 41 1,089 3.76%
    Turkey 30 1,236 2.43%

     

    Numbers don’t lie…but Marketers present them falsely.  The Heading font size announcing the number of confirmed cases and deaths was Huge (check it out yourself on the  Bloomberg  COVID-19 update)  What are these BIG numbers in BIG print supposed to accomplish?  Scares the ___ out of you!

    Below the Big print are the results for each country in terms of deaths, in the 1st column. That puts Italy at the top of the list. Italy deaths then becomes the opening remark on every newscast.

    What they don’t tell you is what I add in the 3rd column, the percentage of people who contract the Virus who die.  If they ranked by this statistic, Indonesia would be at the top, but then, everybody would say, what the hell, It’s only 48 people!

    What if they included with the BIG print introduction, the percentage of Worldwide deaths, which is 4%?  Well, that would detract from the story THAT WILL SELL…TO WHOM?  The Advertisers who take up half the airtime on their radio and TV programs.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am all for freedom of the press and I think all Americans should avoid crowded places and close contact with other people.  I just want news to be presented truthfully for the sole purpose of informing.  OMG! I’m starting to sound like Trump.

     

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Has Trump Ever Had A Stock Portfolio?

Trump: “I don’t want to have stock buybacks,” he said Friday at a White House news conference. “I don’t like buybacks. I didn’t like them the first time.”

Why? Because Biden said that is what he would do?  I agree, when you required corporations to return the money they were hoarding overseas, you should have required them to invest it in new plant and equipment. You put no strings on it. The buybacks are part of what made the market go to all-time highs this year.  But now is not then!  Now, we need anyone and everyone to buy, buy, BUY to prevent another 2008.  What do you want them to do with all that money, buy up other companies?  You and Biden said they are already too big and you want to break them up.

Mr. President, stop telling corporations what to do and when to do it. Fire all those jerks who are giving you this bad advice and save your ass and the country by cancelling all those stupid trade wars.  Wait a minute, on second thought, keep going the way you are.  The market will recover when you lose the re-election. Then you can go back to your real estate deals in all those countries you have befriended.

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Famous Sayings

If you can keep your wits about you when all around are losing theirs, you’re crazy…but right.

 

If everyone in your government is in agreement, they are probably wrong. If all governments are in agreement, they are definitely wrong.

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