The big news of the week was an announcement of a deal to offset, suspend or at least lower the temperature of the US-China trade war, but what it really amounted to was not very much. It emerged, once the tweets had faded, that in fact nothing had been signed, the Chinese had agreed to make purchases or American farm products and the US had agreed not to add any more tariffs to those already imposed on Chinese goods landing in the US. None of which goes to the heart of the problem, which is the fundamental disconnect that exists between a highly centralized China Inc. and a highly diversified non-state-operated America. The conclusion has to be that Trump felt he needed something to calm the US markets and to distract people from the impeachment process. He succeeded to some extent for a day or so, and then everything sort of returned to where it has been for a long time. One of the ironies is that a product that the Chinese need to buy lots of from America is pork, and that is not in order to do America a favor, but to try offset the rising consumer inflation that has resulted from the decimation of China’s pig population by African swine flu.
Beyond that, one of the highest visibility issues was been the NBA and its efforts to square the circle of China business with American principles. Similar but unrelated issues also came to fore this week with regard to maps used in advertising and entertainment. These kinds of issues are going to become more and more common in the future. Where it will end, who can say. But integrity today has more value than ever. Watch Jim Mattis’ speech in New York last night.
And enjoy the weekend.