2012年12月18日 星期二

A New War Game

Tsang Shu-ki (www.sktsang.com)


Because of the pronounced downturn in the world economy and the expected fight for resources (which I have predicted for quite some time), we are entering a dangerous phase in history.

The dire situation is evidenced by sophisticated weapons being rapidly developed as a substitute/complement for nuclear bombs, i.e. actual firepower under the ultimate deterrent, which when used in the modern era would end in global disaster. A new war game, armament race and military maneuvering are in the making.

A news report entitled “US seeks ‘world supremacy’ through advanced weapons - Security Chief” quoted that Nikolay Patrushev, the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, has commented that “a new generation of weapon systems – including anti-ballistic missiles – is changing the nuclear calculus.

The report continued:

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin spoke on the threat of mobile, naval-based elements of the US missile defense system “suddenly appearing” on Russia’s coastline. Such an event would trigger “the harshest reaction from Russia," he warned.

Rogozin said that Russia is now taking definite steps to counter US warships “equipped with the Aegis integrated naval weapons system.”

Moscow has frequently warned of “another arms race” unless a bilateral agreement is reached on NATO’s plans for missile defense near the Russian border.

However, in a clear reference to US plans for a naval-based missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, Patrushev mentioned that a new generation of weapons is being developed, and that “the United States has proven successful in this field of research.”


As to‘breakthrough’ military weapons, another post has it like this.

From lasers to attack drones, military warfare has entered a whole other realm of technological sophistication. Weapons are getting stealthier, have the potential to destroy targets located hundreds of miles away with incredible precision and with less risk to soldiers.

It’s a different kind of arms race that is as much about integrated ’smart technologies’ like GPS and real time streaming video as missiles and fighter jets. Here are some game-changing weapons that are being heralded as the future of defense.


A reference on anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system is as follows. Naval-based one, which Patrushev and Rogozin referred to, appears to be among the most dangerous because of its mobility, and may provoke another round of armament race.


2012年12月11日 星期二

The future
On China up to 2030 from U.S. perspective: a comment about the report “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds”.
Collapse, thereby unrest and shock? Or democracy, leading to enhanced nationalism? Now, this is a noteworthy “insight” (or admittance) from the top intelligence unit in the world, going far beyond popular binary and boring thinking. BTW, it is not easy to find a democratic and powerful country which is following the hegemonic power like what Japan has been doing to the U.S. after WWII. Why has Europe formed EU and euro zone?
/China is slated to pass the threshold of US$15,000 per capita purchasing power parity (PPP) in the next five years or so—a level that is often a trigger for democratization. Chinese “soft” power could be dramatically boosted, setting off a wave of democratic movements. Alternatively, many experts believe a democratic China could also become more nationalistic. An economically collapsed China would trigger political unrest and shock the global economy. / “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds”, National Intelligence Council, U.S. page xi of full report.

/5 Will the US, as the leading actor on the world stage, be able to reinvent the international system, carving out potential new roles in an expanded world order? The US most likely will remain primus inter pares among the other great powers in 2030 because of the multifaceted nature of its power and legacies of its leadership, but the “unipolar moment” is over. LIMITED POTENTIAL (emphasis added by me) for China to replace US as international leader by 2030. /  See "le menu" of the report and my post on Facebook.




2012年12月10日 星期一


曾澍基 (www.sktsang.com)

(1)   角色模範 (10/12/2002)

誰沒「英雄/偶像」?樓下帖美斯 (Messi) 破紀錄入球,是今早自然呼喚結果,後再大睡。
每人成長過程不同,少年體智還待發展,關視可觸及的角色模範(role model) 十分自然。問題須避免戀他或反向自戀。超脫者祝願。
我有點懷念以往透明度尚高的 Prost, Senna, Cruyff 等。

(2)   中國的貧富不均惡化 (10/12/2002)

/The Gini coefficient, an index measuring income inequality, was 0.61 in 2010, based on a survey of 8,438 households by the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance, a body set up by the Finance Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. The survey also estimated the urban jobless rate in July 2012 was 8.05 percent, almost double the official figure./

China Survey Shows Wealth Gap Soaring as Xi Pledges Help

The presentation on Gini coefficient: http://chfs.swufe.edu.cn/upload/shourubupingdeng.pdf

The file with unemployment findings:

(3)   中國地方債務與金融糾結可能引致危機的文章 (7/12/2012)

想寫篇中國地方債務與金融糾結可能引致危機的文章 - 近兩年熱門課題。有些論者甚至認為中國已經「破產」,若干年內「崩潰」。



1)至(5 在浸大講授「中國之財政與金融」已提供分析。(6) - (8)須再硏究。

昨天天文台曾預告寒冷,索性蝸留家裡起歩撰文。無奈中午後網絡大塞車,龜行狀態,最後晚間連電腦都 hang 埋。


(4)   Just what is a recession (5/12/2012)

Even Nobel laureate (in economics) Lucas, of rational expectations and monetarism mark II fame, reportedly realizes that there are different kinds of recessions: real shocks versus bursting of financial bubbles.

Economist, with tongue in cheek, makes it a multiple "classification". BTW, we are still in a financial "recession". http://econ.st/VhHi1n



2012年12月2日 星期日

中國的 copycat cities
曾澍基 (www.sktsang.com)

近年的 copycat cities,日本到處都是(九州及北海道尤其多)。壞處乃新建設未顧及文化保留(甚或損傷),好處(除投資效應)不外把消費內化:錢留於國內滚動。


2012年12月1日 星期六

Empire and justice

Running an imperial empire is the opposite of doing charity, with the primary aim to capture resources including slaves who would be used to extend the empire. Most colonial powers were brutal. The British shared brutality and but added cunning manipulation. The worst examples were the Spaniards in Latin America and the Portuguese and Dutch in Africa. A “more human face” (if that term is appropriate at all) was put on only after the huge global waves of independence and de-colonisation after WWII.

Now, the various courts of international justice seem to be more open. Former colonized and tortured people may sue imperialists for infringement or war crime, and Palestine can do the same against Israel for illegal occupation. It is a welcome opportunity.


The test however would be severe. A test of conscience versus power! Don't expect concrete results. But as RT's comment (second link above) so aptly summarized, it at least has changed the international discourse. People's increased awareness outside their narrow, daily and myopic confines could accumulate to become a torrent, then a river, and later a big lake or sea. Who knows?



2012年11月27日 星期二

Perfectly powerful and perfectly good God

I posted on my Facebook page the article on "An Imperfect God" by Yoram Hazony

I do not intend at all to offend believers in any religion, not Christianity, Buddhism and others. Please accept my apology if the effect turns out to be the opposite. Human understanding should reach the conclusion that a perfectly powerful as well as perfectly good God would ensure that there are no outright tragedies, disasters, injustice, and similar events on earth. Those things, in blatant forms, occur randomly and regularly.

So either God does not love us (including believers and/or non-believers) perfectly, and therefore requires a test of faith; or He is not perfectly powerful, i.e. He truly protects us all, yet there are things that even go beyond His power.

I know, God may well be outside the reach of human understanding and logic. He may still be perfectly powerful and perfectly good. Human beings are a subset of His Almighty’s attention, perhaps a very minute one in this wonderful cosmos. In any case, should believers on this small planet only rest on their faith? And pronounce as if they represented, however imperfectly, Him?


2012年11月26日 星期一


曾澍基 (www.sktsang.com)

香港經濟的主要發展障礙:是特區財政儲備過多,公共投資(住宅及商業房地產、醫療、教育等基礎供應,以至對有潛質行業如中西醫藥結合、物料科技、環保工業、高素質軟件開發的財税支援) 卻偏低或不全/。簡言之,沒有善用納稅者資源,又眼界不廣趨勢令人擔憂。過多儲備但就長遠公共投資欠缺積極,算是何種經濟政策?






在香港的小型開放經濟裡,宏觀的拉入(crowding in) 效應高於排擠(crowding out),地鐵沿線物業屬明顯例子。公共投資的相對下降,亦使整體(包括私營)固定資本形成對GDP的比率在回歸後滑落。

結果之一是土地與房屋供應滯後,引致供求嚴重失衡,樓價及租金在經濟增長率不高之下依然攀升,令民眾生活、中小企業經營困難。外來遊客因自由行大增,旅遊設施卻跟不上;雙非孕婦到港產嬰,擠壓擴展有限的醫療服務(過往十年醫院牀位只增1%) ;竟引發中港矛盾。香港作為國際金融中心,商業樓宇面積相對而言遜於紐約、倫敦、甚或新加坡而核心區零售租金最近又超越紐約登世界之首。這種種,反映特區政府的短視,掌權者缺乏才幹氣魄。


歐洲中央銀行2007年一份研究報告,把儲備所賺的報和投諸實體經濟的邊際資本生產效率(marginal productivity of capital)比較,2005年底香港所付出的淨機會成本(net opportunity cost) GDP竟屬最高之列(3.2%-10.2%)



無論如何,資源若放於創造性生產性活動和提高人力素質,經濟勁力會加強。投資(公共及私營)產生乘數效應(multiplier effect) ,將帶動增長及發展。

特區政府自知儲備過多,所以2008年開始一次性「派糖」,如今累積千多億元。紓緩人口老化、貧富差距擴大,部份措施(包括注錢入設計欠善的強積金) 本身或無嚴重差錯,問題是治標不治本。


跨代而言,需建立退保制度,不要只「派糖」,使負擔較平均地動態分配。這些討論在筆者的網址 (www.sktsang.com/ArchiveIII. html),已上載頗多。

至於財政儲備應如何通過不同方式(包括主權財富基金sovereign wealth fund 和政府投資公司-government investment corporation) 以增加回報,像挪威、阿聯酋、新加坡等,那屬另一故事。