“The Risks of Failing to See the Sea”

This is the title of a recent Wall Street Journal editorial written by Elisabeth Braw, referencing a major military exercise, in and around Norway, involving 31 countries.  She notes that the West suffers from what is sometimes called “sea blindness”, a general ignorance of maritime and naval affairs. She goes on to suggest that, since … Continued

The EV Dichotomy

Following a recent visit to India, I came away with several pertinent climate and energy observations. Traffic in major cities, such as Delhi and Mumbai, is very difficult. Air quality is bad.  In the morning, visibility from my hotel room window was generally less than one mile.  While some improvement developed during the day, the … Continued

He Said, She Said

On June 5, 2017, Bloomberg News reported that, “China plans to halt issuing permits to produce electric vehicles because of concern that additional approvals may lead to a glut in the world’s biggest auto market, according to people with knowledge of the matter.” On June 19, 2017, Bloomberg News reported that, “Tesla, Inc. is close … Continued

Can U.S. Manufacturers Compete With China?

It is beginning to look like the answer is yes. Historically, conventional wisdom held that China’s low wage rates were the trump card in manufacturing location decisions.  Things are changing.  While low wages were certainly a major factor in China’s economic competitiveness, low taxes were also a material factor. Today in China, wages are going … Continued

Coal Powered Cars

Is China moving towards using coal to power cars and trucks? Consider: China is the world’s largest importer of oil. China is the world’s largest producer of coal. China has a chronic shortage of electricity. In 2016 57% of China’s electric generating capacity was coal fired. China continues to build new coal generated electricity capacity. … Continued

Export-Import Bank

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the U.S. federal government.  Operating as a government corporation, the bank finances and insures foreign purchases of U.S. goods for customers unwilling or unable to accept credit risk. The bank’s cost and effectiveness are controversial, and, like any policy … Continued

“Those Who Fail To Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It”

This quote, attributed to George Santayana, can be applicable to a wide range of human experiences and endeavors.  While it is impossible to list all of them, recent press coverage of China’s air pollution problems represents an interesting example. China’s pollution crisis has been attributed to decades of unrestrained industrialization.  While improving the economic outlook … Continued

Freedom of the Seas and the Strait of Malacca-Update

We have previously commented on the importance of “freedom of the seas” (17May16) and the significance of the Strait of Malacca to international trade. Recent news reports and satellite photos suggest that China has introduced powerful anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons systems on all seven of the islands it has built in the South China Sea, … Continued

Trade Agreements/Trade Wars?

The election is over, but both candidates campaigned against trade agreements, such as the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  What is this all about and why is it important to consumers and investors? Wikipedia defines a trade agreement as a wide ranging tax, tariff, and trade treaty that often includes … Continued

Brexit Update

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the UK would trigger the process of disentangling itself from the European Union (EU) by the end of March 2017.  This would set the stage for Britain to leave the EU by March 2019. Once the process is started, the UK has a two-year window to negotiate its … Continued

Twisting The Lion’s Tail

During the years 1815-1914, when Britain, through the Royal Navy, was the de facto world’s policeman, some leaders of smaller countries would see how far they could provoke Britain, without precipitating serious consequences.  In other words, “twisting the lion’s tail.” Currently, we have the Philippines recently elected President, Rodrigo Duterte, threatening to distance his country … Continued

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On was a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for WWII. Considering the short lived furor over Brexit, and all of the disquieting news from around the world, this may still be good advice. Prior to the actual Brexit vote, nearly all of the pundits, pollsters, … Continued