Friday, January 21, 2011

Pots, pans and kettles...

This piece of news is the biggest and best hoot to have come out of the good ol’ USofA in a very long time!

Last year, Jeffrey R. Immelt of G.E. complained to a meeting of business leaders in Rome that it was getting harder for foreign companies to do business in China, and he expressed a growing irritation that China was protecting its own national companies at the detriment of American companies.

This from the nation that will not allow the import of meat and dairy products?

American multinational corporations, experts said, are hurt by Chinese regulations that openly favor Chinese companies over foreign ones for government contracts. These rules, which are intended to stimulate technological innovation in China, have the effect of cutting American and other non-Chinese companies out of many of the big contracts there.

"U.S. companies have issues with China in many different business sectors,” said John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council in Washington. “But if I were to point to one single issue over the last year, it has been China’s innovation policies and how they link to government procurement.”

This from the nation who provides aid only in the form of payment to US companies for product supplied to the recipient of the aid? The nation that promotes its generosity on the basis of protected industries? “Provide the fish, not the fishing line…”

While nationalistic rules that favor Chinese companies affect technology and entertainment giants, China’s cheap currency undercuts tens of thousands of small-scale American manufacturers — companies that still make their products at home.

“The small mom-and-pop companies, which are getting crushed by the renminbi, you never hear from them,” said Nicholas R. Lardy, an expert on the Chinese economy at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “They don’t really have a voice. They just shrink and go out of business.”
This is the argument for China to float the Renmimbi. NZ went through that process 20 years back. Frankly, I don’t think that we have suffered as a nation, or as an economy. Quite the reverse in fact. Would we have the likes of Rakon and Fonterra if we had not had open border trading? Quite unlikely I think. Remember that Rakon started as a “Ma and Pa” company, Fonterra still is (at its roots) a co-operative of NZ farmers.

Thanks, NYT, I enjoyed that.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


In view of my opines regarding "minimalist photography" I should perhaps follow up on that with an example of my own.

I grabbed this when I was leaving the Manukau Photographic Soc meeting, after I had made up my mind that it was not really what I was looking for. I went to the car for the camera (the Lumix) and was returning to get the image set up when one of the members walked past and asked what I was doing. I gestured to the trees in front of me and she said, "You know, I have never seen that!".

Just goes to show...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dr Denis Dutton - another of my heroes has gone...

Dutton was best known to me through the 'Net. It was he who started Arts and Letters Daily, and while he may have "disposed" of the page some years back his format, and I think influence on the content, has remained. It is a page which holds new challenges every day. I only wish that I had the time to check out all of the links.

But this is only one small facet of the man.

His obit from the Herald -
Author, contrarian academic and web entrepreneur Denis Dutton died yesterday, aged 66.

The professor of philosophy at Canterbury University had been diagnosed with prostate cancer but continued working until his health deteriorated quickly a week ago, his son, Ben,said.

Professor Dutton was due to retire early next year.

"I think that he has been an incredibly passionate advocate for ideas and truth and a wonderful father and husband," his son said.

Born in California on February 9, 1944, Professor Dutton was educated at the University of California Santa Barbara and joined the University of Canterbury staff in 1984.

He gained a significant public profile for the Arts and Letters Daily website he established in 1998, which was sold to the United States-based Chronicle of Higher Education in 1999.

Professor Dutton continued as editor of what some dubbed "the best website in the world".

His recent work focused on Darwinian applications in aesthetics, which he explored in his bestselling book "The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution".