In China: The 100-Year Storm on the Horizon and How the Five Big Forces Are Playing Out

In China: The 100-Year Storm on the Horizon and How the Five Big Forces Are Playing Out

A few years ago, President Xi Jinping started warning that a 100-year big storm is coming. As is typical of the early days of a hurricane, one can now feel it. The circumstances and the mood in China have indisputably changed to become more threatening. These changes are mostly due to big cycle forces.

The most joyous and productive environments are ones that have freedom, civility, and creativity, and ones in which people can make their dreams into great realities with prosperity that is shared by most people. This happened in China from around 1980 until around five years ago. It is quite typical for such booms to produce debt bubbles and big wealth gaps that lead the booms to turn into bubbles that turn into busts. That happened in China at the same time as the global great power conflict intensified, so China is now in the post-bubble and great power conflict part of the Big Cycle that is driven by the five big forces that have changed the mood and the environment. In this piece, I will first describe in brief how the Big Cycle has transpired over roughly the past century, and then I will explain the current picture of what is happening today, with a focus on the challenges that China is facing. This history and these dynamics are complex and important to world history and the global order—everything I write here is how I see it based on my own experience, relationships, and research.
最快乐、最富有成效的环境是自由、文明、创造力的环境,是人们能够将梦想变成伟大现实、大多数人共享繁荣的环境。从1980年左右到五年前,这种情况在中国发生过。 这种繁荣会产生债务泡沫和巨大的贫富差距,从而导致繁荣转变为泡沫,进而导致萧条,这是很典型的情况。这种情况发生在中国,同时全球大国冲突加剧,因此中国现在正处于由五大力量驱动的大周期的后泡沫和大国冲突部分,改变了情绪和环境。在这篇文章中,我将首先简要描述近一个世纪以来大周期是如何发生的,然后我将解释当前正在发生的情况,重点是中国面临的挑战。这段历史和这些动态对于世界历史和全球秩序来说是复杂而重要的——我在这里写的所有内容都是我根据自己的经验、关系和研究得出的看法。

How the Big Cycle in China Transpired to Create the Conditions from the Beginning of the PRC Through the Current Conditions 

  • In the 1930-45 period, there was the last 100-year big storm, which was driven classically by the confluence of 1) a debt bust that triggered a global depression, 2) a civil war in China between the rich rightist-capitalists and the poor leftist-communists (which ended in 1949 when the Communists won), 3) an international great power conflict-war that ended in 1945 when the United States (and, to a much lesser extent, Great Britain and Russia) won, creating the American-led world order, 4) many disruptive acts of nature, and 5) big technological changes. That period ended in the classic ways they end, with a debt and economic collapse, one side winning over the other in the great international war and the new world order beginning (in 1945), and one side winning over the other in the civil war and the new domestic order beginning (in 1949).
    1930-45 年间,出现了最后 100 年的大风暴,其典型原因是:1)债务危机引发了全球萧条,2)中国富有的右翼资本家和右派资本家之间的内战。可怜的左翼共产主义者(这场战争于 1949 年共产党获胜时结束),3) 一场国际大国冲突战争于 1945 年结束,当时美国(以及较小程度上的英国和俄罗斯)获胜,创造了美国领导的世界秩序,4)许多破坏性的自然行为,以及5)重大的技术变革。那段时期以经典的方式结束:债务和经济崩溃,一方在伟大的国际战争中战胜了另一方,新的世界秩序开始了(1945年),一方在内战中战胜了另一方以及新的国内秩序的开始(1949年)。
  • From 1949 (the year the new domestic order was created via the PRC being formed) until 1978 (the year Deng Xiaoping came to power), there was a typical post-war consolidation period led by Mao in the way he wanted via a domestic economic policy that was communist, a domestic political policy that was oppressive (dictatorial and designed to purge the opposition), and a foreign policy that was isolationist. That and big disruptive acts of nature led to many big challenges and big bad periods and few economic and technological advances. Mao and that era died in 1976. 
  • When Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978, he reduced the one-man control and repressions, increased collective leadership, replaced hardcore autocratic communism with more free markets and increasingly larger doses of capitalism, and opened China up to foreigners to learn and earn from them. It was like sprinkling water on fertile ground that led to a great blossoming. From 1978 until Xi came to power, there was a classic capitalist rejuvenation that led to a boom in which the economy, living standards, and debt all grew greatly. At the same time, China was not perceived by other countries to be a threat to the leading great power (the United States) and its world order. As a result, China had a joyous and productive environment in which there was a relatively large increase in freedom, civility, and creativity, and in which people could make their dreams into great realities and most people benefited, though the rich benefited more than the poor. As is typically the case, these policies also produced greater wealth gaps and greater amounts of corruption. That began to end when Xi came to power, not because he came to power but because of where China was in its Big Cycle and how the new leadership approached it. 
    1978年邓小平上台后,他减少了个人控制和镇压,加强了集体领导,用更多的自由市场和越来越大的资本主义取代了铁杆专制共产主义,并向外国人开放了中国,让他们向外国人学习和赚钱。 。就像把水浇在肥沃的土地上,就会开出灿烂的花朵。 从1978年到习近平上台,出现了一场典型的资本主义复兴,带来了经济、生活水平和债务大幅增长的繁荣。与此同时,其他国家并不认为中国对领先大国(美国)及其世界秩序构成威胁。结果,中国有了一个欢乐而富有成效的环境,自由度、文明性、创造力都有较大提高,人们可以把自己的梦想变成伟大的现实,大多数人受益,但富人受益更多。贫穷的。与通常的情况一样,这些政策也造成了更大的贫富差距和更多的腐败。当习近平上台后,这种情况开始结束,不是因为他上台,而是因为中国处于大周期的哪个位置以及新领导层如何处理它。
  • When President Xi came to power in 2012, a roughly 11-year transition began that brought China from what it was like in 2012 to what it is like today. I was lucky to see it up close. At the start of his presidency, Xi and the leadership’s main goals were to reform the economy and eliminate corruption. For most of Xi’s first five-year term there was a) still an openness to outside thinking, b) a strong desire to further reform the economy by making it more market-driven and building and reforming the capital markets, and c) strong actions taken to eliminate corruption. The senior leaders chosen were the ones who were inclined to do those things. Of course, how to do these things was debated and some people benefited from the changes while others were hurt by them, so in Xi’s first term there was a movement to consolidate power via a move to “core leadership.” This became most clear in the leadership changes that accompanied the shift from the first to the second five-year term under Xi. In 2015, Xi put out his bold 2025 plan, which was viewed as aspirational by the Chinese and threatening by Americans. China could no longer “hide power.” Americans viewed the Chinese as a threat. By the time Donald Trump came to power in 2017 and Xi began his second term in 2017, the great power conflict had begun. In 2019-20, COVID-19 emerged. At the same time, the debt bubble and the wealth gaps had grown—so the classic convergence of forces led to the formation of the “100-year big storm.” In 2021, about halfway through Xi’s second term, China’s domestic debt bubble burst and the international great power conflict intensified. At the beginning of Xi’s third term in October 2022, China’s leadership changed from reform-minded globalists to loyal communist nationalists, and purges and crackdowns ensued, which brings us up until now. I will soon describe what things now look like, but before I do, I want to drive home the point about how the Big Cycle is playing a big role in driving what has happened. 
    当习主席于 2012 年上台时,中国开始了大约 11 年的过渡,将中国从 2012 年的样子变成了今天的样子。我很幸运能够近距离看到它。在就任国家主席之初,习近平和领导层的主要目标是改革经济和消除腐败。在习近平第一个五年任期的大部分时间里,a) 仍然对外界思想持开放态度,b) 强烈渴望进一步改革经济,使其更加市场化,建设和改革资本市场,c) 采取强有力的行动采取措施消除腐败。被选中的高级领导人是那些愿意做这些事情的人。当然,如何做这些事情是有争议的,一些人受益,另一些人受到伤害,所以在习近平的第一个任期内,出现了通过“核心领导”来巩固权力的运动。这一点在习近平的第一个五年任期转向第二个五年任期期间的领导层变动中表现得最为明显。 2015年,习近平提出了大胆的2025计划,该计划被中国人视为抱负,但被美国人视为威胁。中国不能再“隐藏实力”。美国人将中国人视为威胁。当唐纳德·特朗普 (Donald Trump) 于 2017 年上台、习近平于 2017 年开始其第二个任期时,大国冲突已经开始。 2019-20 年,新冠肺炎 (COVID-19) 出现。与此同时,债务泡沫和贫富差距扩大——因此经典的力量汇聚导致了“100年大风暴”的形成。 2021年,习近平第二任期过半,中国国内债务泡沫破灭,国际大国冲突加剧。 2022 年 10 月,习近平第三个任期开始时,中国的领导层从具有改革思想的全球主义者转变为忠诚的共产主义民族主义者,清洗和镇压随之而来,这让我们走到了现在。我很快就会描述现在的情况,但在此之前,我想强调一下大周期如何在推动所发生的事情中发挥重要作用。

The Hand Xi Was Dealt and How He Is Choosing to Play That Hand
Xi 的牌局以及他如何选择打这手牌

A Chinese leader, historian, and friend of mine told me several years ago that the conditions of the times create the type of leader that emerges because the evolutionary process pulls out the leader who suits the environment. In other words, how the times are transpiring determines the leader even more than the leader determines how the times are going. He gave me the book The Role of the Individual in History by the Russian political philosopher Georgi Plekhanov, which you might find interesting. When Henry Kissinger was writing his book on leadership and we talked about what makes a great leader, he made the same point—that what made a great leader at the time depended on what was needed at the time. For example, Konrad Adenauer (Germany’s chancellor immediately after World War II) was a great leader for a country that was defeated after a war because he knew how to be both deferential and pushy enough to deal with both 1) the dominant powers that Germany had just came out of a horrendous war with and 2) a domestic population that was defeated and destroyed in most ways. My point is that what is happening now and Xi’s leadership must be looked at within the context of the Big Cycle. In other words, it is important to distinguish between the hand that Xi was dealt and how he has been choosing to play it. It is also important to understand what is happening now and how Xi is playing his hand without judging these things, because judging them can stand in the way of understanding them. My goal is only to understand what’s happening and what’s likely to happen, and I don’t want to let judgments stand in the way of doing that.
一位中国领导人、历史学家和我的朋友几年前告诉我,时代条件创造了出现的领导者类型,因为进化过程会淘汰出适合环境的领导者。换句话说,时代如何发展决定领导者,胜过领导者决定时代如何发展。 他给了我俄罗斯政治哲学家格奥尔基·普列汉诺夫写的《个人在历史中的作用》一书,你可能会觉得有趣。当亨利·基辛格(Henry Kissinger)写他关于领导力的书时,我们讨论了什么造就了伟大的领导者,他提出了同样的观点——什么造就了伟大的领导者取决于当时的需要。例如,康拉德·阿登纳(康拉德·阿登纳,二战后不久的德国总理)对于一个战败国来说是一位伟大的领导人,因为他知道如何既恭敬又咄咄逼人,以应对以下两个问题:1)德国拥有的主导力量刚刚结束一场可怕的战争,2)国内人口在大多数方面都被击败和摧毁。我的观点是,必须在大周期的背景下看待现在正在发生的事情和习近平的领导。 换句话说,区分习近平所拿到的牌和他选择如何打牌是很重要的。同样重要的是要了解现在正在发生的事情以及习近平在不评判这些事情的情况下如何行事,因为评判它们可能会妨碍理解它们。我的目标只是了解正在发生的事情以及可能发生的事情,我不想让判断成为这样做的障碍。

As I see it, the template to keep in mind is that capitalism (with or without “Chinese characteristics”) produces credit that creates spending power, which when used well unleashes creativity and prosperity, which produces the upward wave in the cycle. But it also inevitably creates a lot of debt and wealth gaps, and when the debt becomes too large to pay off and there are big wealth gaps, that causes the cycle to reverse. When there is a lot of debt and big wealth gaps at the same time as there are great domestic and international power conflicts and/or great disruptive changes in nature (like droughts, floods, and pandemics, which China is especially prone to) and great changes in technology, there is an increased likelihood of a “100-year big storm.” That is the current environment in China. Destiny put Xi in the position he is in, and how he plays his hand will reflect where he is coming from, motivating him to do what he does, which will have a big influence on what happens.
在我看来,要记住的模板是,资本主义(有或没有“中国特色”)产生的信贷创造了消费能力,如果使用得当,可以释放创造力和繁荣,从而在周期中产生向上的波浪。但它也不可避免地造成大量债务和贫富差距,当债务太大而无法偿还且贫富差距巨大时,就会导致循环逆转。 当存在大量债务和巨大贫富差距,同时存在巨大的国内和国际权力冲突和/或巨大的破坏性自然变化(如干旱、洪水和流行病,中国特别容易发生)和巨大的经济损失时,随着技术的变化,发生“100年大风暴”的可能性增加。 这就是中国目前的环境。命运把习近平放在了他现在的位置上,他的出手方式将反映出他从哪里来,激励他去做他所做的事情,这将对发生的事情产生很大的影响。

History shows that in all countries through all times during these very difficult 100-year-storm-like periods, leaders go to much more autocratic policies because the alternative becomes great internal conflict and disorder, and typically there are forced changes of leadership that those in power fight against. This is especially true in the Chinese culture. Losing the “mandate of heaven” is something everyone is aware of. A Chinese scholar told me that 38% of China’s emperors died of unnatural causes while in power. There are many dynasties that went through such big storm periods and different philosophies that emperors used to guide them. “Legalism” is the belief that people are motivated by self-interest, especially during difficult times, so they must be required to strictly follow the emperor and his rules, especially big storm periods. The legalist approach with Marxist/Maoist characteristics appears to be the approach Xi has chosen. To be clear, I don’t think that what it is exactly is clear to either non-policy makers or policy makers. They appear to be figuring out the “dialectic.” For example, I know that entrepreneurship and open markets remain much more open than my characterization of a legalist approach with Marxist/Maoist characteristics would seem to imply.
历史表明,在所有国家的任何时候,在这些非常困难的100年风暴般的时期,领导人都会采取更加专制的政策,因为否则就会导致巨大的内部冲突和混乱,而且通常会强制更换领导层权力斗争。在中国文化中尤其如此。失去“天命”,是所有人都知道的事情。一位中国学者告诉我,中国38%的皇帝在位期间死于非自然原因。许多朝代都经历过如此大的风暴时期,皇帝们也用不同的哲学来指导他们。 “法家”相信人们都是出于自身利益的动机,特别是在困难时期,因此必须要求他们严格遵守皇帝和他的规则,特别是在大风暴时期。具有马克思主义/毛主义特征的法家方法似乎是习近平所选择的方法。需要明确的是,我认为非政策制定者或政策制定者都不清楚它到底是什么。他们似乎正在找出“辩证法”。例如,我知道企业家精神和开放市场仍然比我对具有马克思主义/毛主义特征的法家方法的描述所暗示的开放得多。

While people can debate the merits of Xi and the Chinese government creating a fearful and strict-control environment to get people to behave the way the government wants them to behave, just as people can debate the merits of the American government’s more democratic and disorderly approach, it is more important to see what’s happening as objectively as possible than to be quick to pass judgments on it. Here is the current picture of what is happening as I see it.

The Current Picture of What Is Happening in China

I will describe this in terms of what I see as the five big forces that drive the changing world order and tend to evolve in big cycles. They are: how well the economic system works, how well the internal order works within countries, and how well the world order works between countries, along with acts of nature and technology.

  1. There are big debt and economic problems that are depressing economic activity, prices, and psychology. Domestically, it is a very difficult time for China financially because many people are suffering the negative wealth effects of falling a) real estate prices, b) equity and other asset prices, c) employment, and d) employee compensation. Also, there are debt and financial problems that exist in many companies and many local governments that are drags, which, if not properly dealt with, will have bad consequences for a long time. These things have contributed to the mood having become more dour.
    巨大的债务和经济问题正在抑制经济活动、价格和心理。在国内,中国的经济正处于非常困难的时期,因为许多人正在遭受a)房地产价格、b)股票和其他资产价格、c)就业和d)员工薪酬下跌带来的负面财富效应。 此外,很多企业和很多地方政府都存在债务和财务问题,这些问题如果处理不好,将在很长一段时间内产生不良后果。 这些事情导致情绪变得更加阴郁。

How should these problems be dealt with? To me, as a macroeconomic thinker who approaches such debt and economic problems more like a doctor than an ideologue, the leadership needs to have a debt restructuring, which it should do via engineering a beautiful deleveraging (see my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises, which I’m giving you here for free if you’re interested in delving into what that looks like) or it will have a “lost decade” like Japan’s. While many people think policy makers should ease monetary policy to create more credit, I think they correctly view creating more credit and debt like giving an alcoholic a drink to help ease withdrawal problems. I believe that they should engineer both 1) a deleveraging (which is deflationary, depressing, and will reduce the debt burden) and 2) an easing of monetary policy (which is inflationary, stimulative, and will ease the debt burden) so that the deflationary ways of reducing debt and the inflationary ways of doing it balance. This is what I mean by a “beautiful deleveraging.” In my opinion, this should have been done two years ago and if not done will probably lead to a lost decade. I think some of the economic leaders, especially those who did this under Zhu Rongji, understand how to do this, but it is very difficult and politically dangerous to do because it engineers big changes in wealth, which is politically challenging, especially during a difficult time because people squawk. In my opinion, if the leadership doesn’t execute a beautiful deleveraging, China will have a Japanese-style lost decade with Marxist characteristics.
这些问题应该如何处理呢?对我来说,作为一个宏观经济思想家,他更像是一位医生而不是一位理论家来处理此类债务和经济问题,领导层需要进行债务重组,而这应该通过设计一个漂亮的去杠杆化来实现(参见我的书《应对大债务危机的原则》) ,如果你有兴趣深入研究它是什么样的,我在这里免费给你)否则它将有一个像日本一样的“失去的十年”。虽然许多人认为政策制定者应该放松货币政策以创造更多信贷,但我认为他们正确地认为创造更多信贷和债务就像喝一杯酒来帮助缓解提款问题一样。我认为他们应该同时设计 1) 去杠杆化(通缩、抑制并减轻债务负担)和 2) 放松货币政策(通胀、刺激并减轻债务负担),以便减少债务的通货紧缩方式和平衡债务的通货膨胀方式。这就是我所说的“漂亮的去杠杆化”。我认为,这件事在两年前就应该做,如果不做,很可能会导致失去的十年。我认为一些经济领导人,特别是朱镕基领导下的那些人,知道如何做到这一点,但这样做非常困难,而且在政治上很危险,因为它会导致财富的巨大变化,这在政治上具有挑战性,尤其是在困难时期。时间,因为人们尖叫。在我看来,如果领导层不执行漂亮的去杠杆,中国将会经历一个具有马克思主义特征的日本式的失去的十年。

The aging population issue is a heavy weight for those who are old, for their children, and for the government’s finances and social issues. The average age of retirement is 53 and the average age of death is 84, so people without incomes have to be taken care of for 31 years on average. This is made more difficult because the previous one-child policy means that one person has to take care of two parents. This has been a depressant in the mood and the financial situation. While the retirement age should be raised and a social support system including old-age care should be improved, neither is happening at an adequate pace. That is mostly because people don’t want their retirement ages to rise so doing that is politically untenable and because the government bureaucracy is moving very slowly, especially now that most government officials are reluctant to take bold actions because those can be politically disruptive (as they were in other countries, most notably France) and people squawk, so it takes courage. Also, with the workforce declining and old people getting ill and passing away, this is burdensome and depressing. Once again, this is likely to remain a burden unless the government deals with it in a more forceful way.

2. The internal wealth gap and the resulting conflict over wealth and values are intensifying, which is fear-inducing. The internal wealth gap has led to the government’s push for common prosperity and government-directed, seemingly arbitrary rather than rule-based actions. These moves appear to some people to be anti-capitalist, while to others they are simply the government’s messages to people to stay out of politics and do what the leadership wants them to do to help society. In any case, it’s fear-inducing and oppressive, especially for the capitalist elites. On a recent trip to China, my Chinese friends reminded me that throughout Chinese history, it’s typically been the case that you can’t be rich and be a government official. The merchant-capitalist who sought financial gain was traditionally assumed to be dangerously greedy and easily corruptible, and not allowed to be in government. It wasn’t until 2002 that these merchant-capitalists were allowed to become Communist Party members. That was during the reformist period. Now it is no longer as “glorious to be rich.” As is increasingly the case around the world but more so in China, there is a greater inclination to think that the rich are selfish and corrupt. Purging and rooting out corruption is also going on in most areas, perhaps most notably in the military. In other words, it’s a time of big policing and strict enforcing of what should be done and how people should behave that has become threatening to some.

With the pendulum now swinging in the more legalistic, autocratic, communist direction, naturally people are asking how far it will go, which leads people to probably exaggerate the possibilities. My study of Chinese history (and my studies of similar histories in analogous periods) has put in my mind, which are also in some others’ minds, the memories of anti-rightist-capitalist campaigns that led to the persecutions of such people, the confiscations of wealth, the shutting down of stock markets, the enforcing of strict foreign exchange controls, the restrictions against leaving China, and the questions about whether that is where China is headed. People remember the civil war and the changes after 1949. The elites who are experiencing these pains to a greater degree are more concerned. It appears that the “elites” are most concerned and least supportive of Xi, while many who feel Xi is trying to take care of them from being exploited by the elites are strongly supportive of him. It appears that Xi and the leadership think that most of those people who are discontented are spoiled and unappreciative of how much better off they are than they were not long ago and that they need to toughen up, get disciplined, and get in line with the program to help others. This has contributed to the mood becoming more dour and pessimistic.
随着钟摆现在朝着更加法制、专制、共产主义的方向摆动,人们自然会问它会走多远,这导致人们可能夸大了可能性。我对中国历史的研究(以及我对类似时期的类似历史的研究)让我和其他一些人的脑海中浮现出反右资本主义运动的记忆,这些运动导致了这些人的迫害,没收财富、关闭股票市场、实施严格的外汇管制、限制离开中国,以及这是否是中国的发展方向的问题。人们还记得内战和1949年之后的变化。在更大程度上经历这些痛苦的精英们更关心。看来“精英”最关心、最不支持习近平,而许多认为习近平试图保护他们免遭精英剥削的人却强烈支持他。 习近平和领导层似乎认为,那些不满的人大多数都被宠坏了,不知道自己的生活比不久前好多少,他们需要坚强起来,遵守纪律,与国家保持一致。帮助他人的计划。这导致情绪变得更加阴沉和悲观。

No one knows how far the pendulum will swing back toward the more Maoist/Marxist ways of doing things. The absence of clear communication from the leadership about the motivations behind their actions and where they are headed is leading to greater amounts of imaginary speculation than there would be if there were clearer communication. The impediment is that communicating more directly is not the Chinese leadership’s traditional way of doing things, which, as China goes back toward the more traditional ways of doing things, is understandable. China’s new premier Li Qiang’s decision to discontinue press conferences for the first time in 30 years is consistent with the move to lesser clarity rather than greater clarity at this time of greater risk.

3. The great-power conflict between China and the US is having a big negative effect. It is causing foreign investors and businesses and domestic investors and businesses to want to diversify or leave China and to fear being discriminated against globally for being friendly to China. In trade and capital flows, a cat-and-mouse game has developed that has led companies and people to move to neutral countries and to try to appear to be non-Chinese or not Chinese sympathizers, so much so that the Chinese are having problems getting other countries and companies to accept them being there and/or investing in them. For example, Chinese businesses setting up Mexican companies and exporting to the US to get around tariffs on Chinese goods is leading the US to explore moving to look through the entities to identify the beneficial owners to catch and punish these entities. The TikTok identity pursuit game is the most attention-getting example. Even in the industries and world markets that China has become very competitive in—most obviously electric vehicles, batteries, green energy (solar and wind) products, chips, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, space, etc.—there are geopolitical conflicts that blend with economic conflicts, so they are increasingly run by governments. The not-too-long-ago old days of free and open markets and the idea that government interference in them is bad are gone for the foreseeable future. This will affect China because it has excess capacity and will be accused of dumping, leading to big tariff increases as protectionism and nationalism come back into fashion as they did in the 1930s. The Chinese economic model is based on gaining an increasing share of world manufacturing output, which has a good chance of not happening because countries that in the past have imported Chinese goods are more likely to prevent them with rising tariffs.
三、中美大国冲突负面影响较大。这导致外国投资者和企业以及国内投资者和企业想要多元化或离开中国,并担心因对中国友好而受到全球歧视。在贸易和资本流动中,一场猫捉老鼠的游戏已经发展起来,导致公司和人民转移到中立国家,并试图表现出自己不是中国人或不是中国同情者,以至于中国人遇到了问题让其他国家和公司接受他们在那里和/或投资。例如,中国企业在墨西哥设立公司并向美国出口以规避对中国商品征收的关税,这导致美国正在探索对这些实体进行审查,以确定受益所有人,以抓捕和惩罚这些实体。 TikTok 身份追求游戏是最受关注的例子。即使在中国已经变得非常有竞争力的行业和世界市场——最明显的是电动汽车、电池、绿色能源(太阳能和风能)产品、芯片、人工智能、量子计算、太空等——也存在着地缘政治冲突。由于经济冲突,它们越来越多地由政府管理。不久前的自由开放市场的时代以及政府干预市场不好的想法在可预见的未来已经一去不复返了。这将影响中国,因为中国产能过剩,将被指控倾销,导致关税大幅上涨,因为保护主义和民族主义像 20 世纪 30 年代那样重新流行。 中国经济模式的基础是在世界制造业产出中获得越来越大的份额,但这很可能不会发生,因为过去进口中国商品的国家更有可能通过提高关税来阻止它们。

In addition to economic clashes with the West, there are cultural clashes. They were described to me by a Chinese leader as mutual cultural ignorance with evolutionary change. He explained that 1) the Anglo-European culture extended by Great Britain passing dominance to the US is having problems accepting the rise of China and its Chinese-Asian culture, 2) there are failures of the two sides to understand and accept the different approaches, and 3) Western culture is more zero-sum than win-win and more inclined to slip into lose-lose wars. I agree with his assessment and find it tragic. It is certainly the case that the Chinese fight wars differently. Think about the “art of war”—fighting to win by focusing on the “pressure points” that can weaken or hurt the other side without even being seen. For example, if one were conjecturing how the Chinese might play the existing geopolitical situation if the conflict rises, because the US is overextended in two wars, the Chinese might think about where there could be a third front—like a war in Asia, something like a conflict with the Philippines or North Korea, that would put the two sides in the US election in the awkward position of having to step into a third conflict (which would be unpopular in the US) or not appear strong enough. Almost all leaders on both sides believe that the other side is working to destroy the other and are working to be able to destroy the other. They are in an intensifying prisoner’s dilemma. To be clear, I don’t believe that either side wants to provoke the other side, and I do believe that greater understanding of and respect for the other’s culture are required. But more than that, each should ask the other, “What are your greatest existential fears?” and work with the other side to figure out what can be done to alleviate them. Without that, the odds of some sort of a devastating war within the next 10 years are high and people are positioning themselves with that possibility in mind, which itself is very damaging.

4. Climate and climate-related issues are big, threatening, and top-of-mind. They extend from having droughts, floods, and pandemics to not having enough clean water. They will probably cost a lot and hurt a lot.
4. 气候和气候相关问题是重大、具有威胁性和首要考虑的问题。这些问题包括干旱、洪水和流行病以及没有足够的清洁水。他们可能会付出很大的代价并受到很大的伤害。

5. While technology development has always been a critical defining force and while it is well known that whoever wins the technology war wins the economic, geopolitical, and military wars, this has never been truer than now, and China and the US are the leaders and big adversaries. Throughout the history of war, the desired path has been to secretively build the technology that is strong enough so that showing it to the opposition will make the opposition become submissive. Watch the movie Oppenheimer for a refresher. That is certainly going on. There are many technologies that both China and the US are putting huge amounts of talent and resources into using their different approaches, one more top-down, government-directed and one more bottom-up, corporate/capitalist—some of which we know about (e.g., chips, AI, quantum computing, outer space, cyber, batteries, clean energy, electric vehicles, robotics, etc.), some of which China is in the lead on, and some of which the US is in the lead on, and none of which we can anticipate exactly how it will transpire in the future. I won’t digress into looking into these because it would take too long, and now is the time to step back up to look at the big picture.

For the previously described reasons it is understandable why President Xi believes that there is a 100-year storm on the horizon. That assessment seems right to me. At the same time, I am not certain of anything other than that I am trying to be as objective and helpful as possible in bringing about understanding. China is an enigma that I am trying to make less enigmatic. I have been very lucky to see up close for nearly 40 years what has happened in China, the United States, and China-US relations, all of which I care about deeply. And I have found it all intensely interesting and important to watch. It seems that we all have been affected by the supposed Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times.”

Since I published this, a number of people have asked what I think about investing in China. I find high quality Chinese assets very attractively priced and I have done very well investing there.  I also have great affection and respect for the Chinese people and culture. For these reasons, I remain committed to my meaningful work, meaningful relationships, and investing there--and to trying to improve mutual understanding through my radical truthfulness.


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Oleg Vashkulat

Finance and Controlling Director at IDS Group

5 天前

So the Mao period was... oppressive. As simple as that. Not atrocious, not beastly, not at lest inhumane...

Chong Boon G.

Director at QST

1 个月

The one critical fundamental issue that China needs to tackle is to catch up in innovation, be it technological, cultural or social aspects.

Yaroslav Gryaznov

Senior Executive Director @ Horizon Corporate Finance Ltd | ESG Consulting, Sustainability Investments

1 个月

And now we know who sponsored yours latest book :) Are they in jail in China or already executed?

Michael Haines

Founder & CEO VANZI Social and Economic Innovator

1 个月

China has the opportunity to transform itself within 5 years. It has huge manufacturing capacity that is now world class. And a huge and aging population. By reducing reliance on debt to keep money flowing internally, it can pay a Universal Basic Income that would underpin demand while helping to bridge the gap between rich and poor. It is possible China could do this without raising taxes or debt, as resources are switched from supplying world demand to supplying Chinese demand. Over 200 pilots over the last 50 years, show that a Basic Income removes the fear of poverty, reducing the incidence of domestic violence and crime, improving health and even improving IQ.. With a more positive population, they could be a shining light to the world. The main concern remains Taiwan. Perhaps if China shows that it is not to be feared, Taiwan and China can move closer together... in time. China is usually a very patient country. While Xi wants to absorb Taiwan during his life. A legacy as the leader who transformed the world AND brought Taiwan and China closer together would not be a bad one!