Category Archives: Observations

Free choice means mixed results

If in a certain sector of society free choices are severely curtailed, then many people will tend to forget the fact that free choice comes at a price. In such a case, they may well react with shock when witnessing the consequences of bad choices. Why? For the simple and understandable reason that they have little experience with the upside offered by good ones. Continue reading

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Why Street Vendors Matter

Street vendors are part of the fabric of Chinese life, and there is no indication that this is going to change. For consumers, they substantially enhance quality of life. For the street vendors themselves, it represents both their livelihood and independence. Easy access to self-employment (in the sense of a 个体户), i.e. the ability to freely sell, trade and provide one’s services, is a basic prerequisite for a functioning free market. Continue reading

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What Makes A Government Legitimate?

Eric X. Li asks: What makes a government legitimate? “93% of China’s generation-Y are optimistic about their country’s future! If this is not legitimacy, I’m not sure what is.” In fact, according to the Pew poll, Chinese have more confidence in their leaders and future than any other country surveyed. Continue reading

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Challenge: How to differentiate between fake and real motor oil

Regardless of the extent to which any market is regulated or self-regulating, smart consumers don’t suffer from the illusion that some amorphous government official is “protecting them”. They judge and decide for themselves. Do they prefer to pay less and accept that they might get “fake” goods? Or would they rather pay more to get a higher grade product, and if so, how do they make this judgment? Continue reading

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Inflation Jiujitsu in Shanghai

Rare it is to admit – but I am coming to realize that inflationary pressures can have their bright sides. Continue reading

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Temple of State

Memories of Alexanderplatz If official statistics are to be believed, on Friday the 10th of September the 2010 Shanghai “World Expo” surpassed the 50m visitor mark. Admittedly it’s a bit hard to figure out how this could be the case … Continue reading

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Innovation in the free market

Walking down the alleyways of China there seem to always be advertisements with cell phone numbers pasted on telephone booths, pedestrian overpasses and utility poles. First they showed pictures of scantily clad females over the cell phone numbers, then promotions for … Continue reading

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