China's Credit Bubble and the Balance of TradeSometimes I sound like a nihilist, even to myself, but I can't helprepeating that predicting even the near term future is a bear, if you'llpardon the image.All we have to do is list a few years and a few countries, Japan 1989,Russia 1987, The United States 2008 and China ??, to get the idea.I was sitting in my backyard with a family of politically mindedGermans, in 1986, telling them that I thought the Berlin Wall wasabout to come down and they all laughed at me and said it would notcome down in our lifetimes. The conversation changed to another subject, abruptly, but the Berlin Wall fell around their ears within a fewmonths of their return to Germany. I'm not bragging about mypredictive powers but I happened to be following German events veryclosely at that time, and I was looking at some things that mostGermans wouldn't allow themselves to see at the time. (I won'tmention some of my less successful predictions :)From a bird's eye view it looks as if China is in a counterrevolutionaryswing to the right. With political unrest, that pendulum could reach itslimit and begin moving back to a center that has, probably, shiftedtowards the totalitarian, egalitarian left permanently. Mix this with a2500 year old native grown Confucian authoritarianism, combinedwith a "China is the center of the universe" mentality, and we couldsee trouble in the future.For one thing, Asia itself has big political problems, even though theyseem to be in party mode at the moment. Consider: Japan isrearming. The Korean civil war has not truly ended since it started in1951. China is circling Taiwan like a shark in love.Most China scholars agree that one major reason Chinese leadersembraced Marxism was as a shield to allow the Chinese people toturn from their ancient feudal culture towards Western humanistculture, and especially towards our political, economic and socialinstitutions, while keeping the West out of its internal affairs, whichthey were unable to do in the past.