Business/Economy

Is the Opposition in Myanmar Getting Old?

Two things I know about sanctions: states find ways to avoid them; and, unintended consequences abound, usually inflicted upon the innocent people in whose name sanctions are devised. So, now Aung San Suu Kyi has called for continued sanctions against Myanmar’s new government.


Freedom in Korea Begins with Diseased Pigs

The Future of Korean DemocracyWhy just sell pork when there’s a more insidious opportunity beckoning? Good news is, South Korea’s live pig-culling orgy has helped US beef imports jump amid foot-and-mouth disease.

Market watchers attributed the rising popularity of U.S. meat in South Korea to the spread of animal diseases that forced the nation to cull over 3 million livestock in the last three months, due to the most severe FMD outbreak in the country’s history.

In December, imports of U.S. beef to South Korea spiked to nearly 2,500 tons a week, according to the federation.


Placating Fools in Japan

http://hoppo-m-flip.go.jp/hoppo/kikaku/02.htmlIs this the price Japan’s PM Naoto Kan has to pay to overhaul Japan’s entitlements programs and combat the conservative farming lobbies?


Deficit Hawks Miss the Point

Those who want to target the housing market or take a scalpel to military spending and subsidies can take heart from a real argument about how the budget deficit affects jobs.


Alarming China Factoid of the Day

Beijing’s R&D budget: 5 trillion yuan (US$758.4 billion)

Sean Darby, Asia strategist for Nomura international (HK) Ltd., estimated the amount of spending over the next five years in a report this week at 5 trillion yuan (US$758.4 billion), an even bigger amount than the mammoth – and successful – 4 trillion yuan stimulus package announced by the central government in 2008 as an attempt to minimize the impact of the global financial crisis.

Hugh Peyman, the managing director of Research-Works, the leading independent equities research firm based in China, told Asia Sentinel that “It will be larger than people think. We are 60 percent of the way through a 25-year program to get R&D up to 2 percent of GDP, yet 75 percent of the spending lies ahead in the last decade to 2020.”

(…)


Korean Unification Only Looks Tidy In Print

The Economist applies the example of German unification to the Koreas‘ Sisyphean task. Drawing on the two courses open to it, massive handouts or immigration, the weekly recommends Seoul split the pain and the difference.

If the Koreas reunified, the government would face a stark choice. It could try to fill the gap in living standards between North and South, through handouts, public investment and subsidies. Or it could brace itself for heavy migration, as poor Northerners moved to the South in search of higher wages.


Worrying Trends Point to Destabilization in NK

[Caption]As discreet developments, the easing of travel restrictions and troop desertions are remarkable, even a moment to cheer; together they start to worry.

Firstly, Andrei Lankpv narrates the slow erosion of North Korea’s restrictive travel visa system.


Negotiating With a Libertarian About Foreign Policy

Arnold Kling, whom I generally liked before this rant, takes a swipe at libertarians and “leftists”, and Will Wilkinson takes it seriously.

It seems to me that some libertarians link arms with the far left as blame-America-firsters, with scathing attacks on America’s military and its foreign policy.

The first part of Wilkinson’s response I like.


Korea and Taiwan Vie for the Lower End of Chinese Markets

Via Jose Areta – and I still don’t know what “the “penalty factor” is – South Korea and Taiwan traded statistical accolades in the Chinese market. But, it’s interesting how South Korea did it.

Citing statistics released by China’s customs authorities, the ministry said Taiwan secured a 8.4 percent share of China’s total imports for the first 11 months of last year, lagging behind South Korea’s 10 percent share.

But Taiwan overtook South Korea in terms of growth in exports to China for the 11-month period, posting a 37.9 percent year-on-year increase to South Korea’s 37.4 percent rise, the ministry said.


Seeing No Evil

Do you have a preference in the Apple vs. Google war? Still hating Microsoft? Thomas Hazlett and Russ Roberts reveal how remarkably similar is the strategy both Apple and Google follow, to make the illusion of Apple vs. Google so compelling.

All great market innovations challenge entrepreneurs to do two things: (a) get other firms
to help create specialized products, and (b) maintain sufficient control to guide the
process while extracting a generous portion of its returns. These tasks carry obvious
tensions. Builders of complex ecosystems handle them differently.


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