Brad Setser

Follow the Money

Cross border flows, with a bit of macroeconomics

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My blog is on the blink

by Brad Setser
September 26, 2007

Michael Pettis

Apropos of nothing in particular, I thought I might mention that if anyone is checking my own blog and wondering why I have stopped posting, it is not because I am guest blogging here.  People in China are no longer able to log onto my site, although people outside of China don't seem to have that problem.  I can't get on to post.

This could be just a minor and temporary glitch (although an email to the host came back saying that they could find nothing wrong) or if could be part of the clean-up process taking place before the 17th National People's Congress, to be opened on October 15.  Of course I will never know.  You might have thought that rather technical discussions on problems with managing domestic repo rates had no chance of inflaming the masses, but it seems that you would have been wrong.


  • Posted by JG

    After a check it’s not a glitch your blog is now in the ban list of the great firewall of china with google and others, yes the repo rate discussion must have too far.

  • Posted by JG

    *have (gone)

  • Posted by London Banker

    When living abroad in a country with rather restrictive views on the internet and geopolitics, I used to access my desktop computer back home and posted all blog material from there. This meant I never had a browser footprint on blogs in the host nation during my stay which might invite scrutiny.

    I’ve found the utility useful from a business perspective for a lot more, as it enables me to access any files or data I might need but not have with me on my laptop or when accessing through an internet cafe browser.

    Of course, if is also on the blocked list, you’ll have to find another way around the firewall. Also, you need someone to set up and activate the software on your home/office PC to make it work in the first place.

  • Posted by Dave Chiang

    I was in Guangzhou in early June, and I had no problem accessing the RGE monitor blog through a China Telecom DSL connection at the home of a relative of mine. Also I was able to access the websites of the CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, and even the Neo-conservative Washington Times. Some of my relatives in China tell me not to e-mail them stories on controversial subjects, but access to the mainstream US media wasn’t restricted at least while I was there. The only website blog that I discovered was restricted in Guangzhou was the Chinese Military Forum blog which is actually hosted on a server in Texas, USA. A friend in Guangzhou tells me the Chinese government isn’t really concerned about negative issue stories by the US media since only a small population can fluently understand English, the government today is generally pretty secure about overall political stability given the booming economy, and the Chinese leadership frankly doesn’t care about the opinions of the Western media. Recall the stern lecture rebuttal last week by the Chinese Foreign Ministry of Thomas Friedman at a Dalian conference after the Neo-liberal New York Times pundit accused the Chinese of being “freeloaders” off the United States. Regulations are not enforced uniformly across China by any means. Some Chinese government regulators are more overzealous than others.

  • Posted by Guest

    Economic Imbalances arising from China-US monetary policy divergence

    SHANGHAI – China, the world’s fastest-developing economy, and the United States, the world’s largest economy, are now going in opposite directions in regard to their monetary policy. Interest rates are expected to continue going down in the US but up in China, in at least the coming 12 months.

    This trend will worsen the structural problems facing the Chinese economy, making it more difficult for Beijing to rein in the country’s overheating economy and inflation with its so-called macroeconomic control policies.

    In an unprecedented move, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) – the country’s central bank – raised the benchmark interest rates twice in 25 days, with the one-year deposit rate and loan interest rate going up 0.27 percentage point respectively each time. It is almost a knee-jerk response to the looming inflation for August: the year-on-year 6.5% increase in the Consumer Price Index is the highest in a decade.

    What will complicate the Chinese government’s headache on its breathtaking growth is that the Federal Reserve of the United States cut the Federal Funds rate by half a percentage point from 5.25% to 4.75%, a move that surprised the market. It is widely expected the Fed will cut the rates again next month.

  • Posted by Greenspit

    Complete BS

    Virtually everything we are told by the US mainstream media about the world situation today, is complete bullsh!t. What we are witnessing is a power grab by the Wall Street-centered international financial oligarchy. The men of the global empire have no intention of allowing the United States to fulfill its founding mission of leading the world out of colonialism, and have no intention of allowing the nations of Ibero-America, Africa, and Asia of developing into sovereign nation-states which put the welfare of their people ahead of the demands of the imperial parasites.

    Globalization is a euphemism for imperialism, and deregulation is a euphemism for destroying the ability of a nation to protect itself from the empire. The target of the police-state measures put into place by the Bush Administration is not the oft-mentioned amorphous terrorists, but the American people. The war against Iraq was sold by the Washington Consensus establishment as a Malthusian move to secure our oil supplies, and to the American public as a move to protect us from an imminent attack from Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. The beating of the war drums by the Washington Consensus against Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Burma, Cuba, Syria, Venuezula and others, is more of the same.

  • Posted by Estragon


    Interesting that you’d rail against the “police-state measures put into place by the Bush Administration” in a blog post implicitly about possible censorship.

  • Posted by Guest

    US Economic Suicide by Trade War with China

    It seems this summer’s credit crunch and the continuing defaults of US subprime mortgages would be enough. Now, however, the US Federal Reserve has decided to play chicken with inflation. But evidently, even this is not too much.

    This fall, providence is bringing yet another dish of trouble to an already over laden table—China may actually prove good on its threat to dump $1.33 trillion of US Treasuries and start the long awaited flight from the US dollar.

    China’s threat to sell its US Treasuries—if actually carried out—will be triggered by the US Congress. This fall, the US Congress will vote on a bill that would impose a 20 % across-the-board tariff on all Chinese goods imported into the US. The supporters of the bill describe its passage as “veto-proof”—that they now possess enough votes to override a presidential veto.

    This possibility calls again into question the very efficacy of democracy, to wit the belief that the collective will of the people is preferable to the capricious stupidity of a king or queen.

  • Posted by Guest

    Dave C: Well you can rationalize all you want but it is obvious that China is not a truly free society. Nothing you say negates the fact that Pettis has been put on a list of banned sites. Face it and stop making constant excuses.

  • Posted by Guest

    I would not be surprised to see the Congress do something stupid re Chinese trade. After all the Congress voted to go to war in Iraq. In the case of the trade issue, however, if the Chinese do retaliate the pain and suffering would be intense in the USA and the Congress might for once get the message good, loud and clear. The US is not able to control things 100% anymore.

  • Posted by qingdao

    …something about a nail sticking up….? certainly hope you get back on.

  • Posted by Dave Chiang

    Guest, if Pettis doesn’t like China or the Chinese people, he is free to leave the country. What Chinese detest is foreign interference in the affairs of other sovereign nations, like the US military occupation and exploitation of Iraqi energy reserves. For better or worse, the Chinese are responsible for their own decisions on political and economic matters, United States should mind its own damn business. Period.

  • Posted by Lets be Frank

    Dave Chiang, Looks to me that China should mind its own business, here is a little mainstream reading material for you.

  • Posted by Twofish

    To Greenspit: Hi there!!!! As a self-appointed representative of the “Wall Street financial oligarchy” I was wondering if you have any specific questions that you’d like to direct toward the “men of the global empire,” since I think I’m one of them. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Also, there’s no change that Congress is going to increase tariffs. All of the talk about this was so that Graham and Schumer could get China to agree to restrictions on textile exports. One rule about analyzing Congress is not to believe what the media says since the media is always gets distracted by spin and emotion. The first thing to do in analyzing a legislature is to “follow the money” (i.e. what are the major industries that are in a Congressional district). The next thing to do is to ignore the media and get information directly from the source, start up the web browser, look at THOMAS for legislative proposals, look at CSPAN for committee meetings, look at the websites of Congressmen, teach yourself some basic administrative law.

    There is a “media conspiracy” but again, it’s not what you think it is. The purpose of the media is to make money. They want you to watch TV so that you can see the commercial, so that they can sell advertising. So the media focuses on things that look exciting. One of the tricks of the “ruling oligarchy” is to make the important stuff boring. Any real negotiation or discussion is going in involve hundreds if not thousands of pages of dry legal paperwork, and hours upon hours of committee discussions. This stuff seems far too boring to hold the attention of most people, and that suits the purposes of the “ruling oligarchy” just fine.

    In about 98% of the cases, when you hear about scandal, conspiracy, or lawbreaking in the news media, it’s part of the show, and it’s one part of the ruling oligarchy playing hardball. Think about it this way, why are so many people getting tripped up over the law when it’s the ruling oligarchy that writes the laws? Usually what happens is that someone loses political support or breaks some unspoken rule, at which point you can find some technical violation of the law to do them in.

    Politics is a lot like professional wrestling or movie making, you write a story and a storyline, and most of the things that you see are part of some script. Selling ideas is basically the same as selling beer and preztels. That’s way salesman, movie actors, and professional wrestlers do so well. Fred Thompson and Arnold Schwartzenegger, they are basically doing the same things as politicians that they did as actors……

  • Posted by Anonymous

    Hey Twofish. Although I am not as optimistic as you are, I really appreciate you explaining your position with logic and reason (as opposed to wild conjecture, baseless accusations and conspiracy theories, ahem….DC).
    Would you and other enlightened participants of this esteemed board (not blocked in Shenzhen, yet) care to give your opinion on Elaine Supkis’ views.

    Her blog (sadly banned in Shenzhen) is here:

    ps. hey DC, I used to love CMF when I was young, angry, stupid and single.

  • Posted by Anonymous

    I also think it’s worth adding that America’s using Money to buy Power is far better than using Power to seize money, common fault of tinpot dictatorships. Yes, it is still corruption, but some kinds of greed can be channeled for the greater good, other kinds of greed just cripple any progress.

  • Posted by RebelEconomist

    Elaine’s views: Too rambling, but nice pictures!

  • Posted by amocktooria

    Funny foto here