The Weird China Double Standard

china apartment building

You’ve probably heard the “news” that Chinese Wen Jiabao said his country would start using its huge pile of foreign reserves to start buying up assets abroad.

How this is new is something of a mystery, since China’s been on a buying binge for a while.

Maybe what’s new is that Wen Jiabao actually acknowledged it.

Ho hum.

But beyond that, we’re struck by the China/US double standard. Pundits fall over themselves to heap embarrassing adoration on every move China makes.

— China’s stimulus is working magnificently, we’re told over and over again. Ours is a big waste of money.

— China’s smart about locking up hard assets for the long term. We’re dumb for trying to guess the future of energy.

— China is going to kick our collective asses at building electric cars. When we try do that, we’re “picking winners and losers.”

— Their centrally managed banking system is held up as an example of prudence and risk-aversion. Government involvement here, though, is doomed to “politicize” lending.

And on and on. We’re not saying China isn’t or is making smart moves right now. That’s not the point. But if you believe that central planning is doomed to make dumb decisions, then there’s no reason to think China’s any better at it, just because their actions on energy (or whatever else) happen to be the flavour of the month.

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