Matt Ridley is obviously not a nutter. Fifth Viscount Ridley, (family fortune made in the early coal revolution – coals to Newcastle), author of many books on biology, economics, innovation and how the world is improving. Accomplished, personable, rational and manifestly sane.
His comments on the origins of the Wuhan COVID flu are as provocative as they are based in fact. All of the interview is enlightening but the parts relating to COVID and the WHO start at 35:00. As one of the interviewers said, the first part of the interview will offend followers of David Ickes, the second will send them into firm agreement.
To be clear, Ridley maintains that the evidence leads to the conclusion that likely cause of COVID was the escape of laboratory experiments in recombining various corona viruses, and he explains why this is a reasonable inference. Quite deadly.
Our California correspondent writes from his bunker in ultra-liberal Berkeley:
“Whether it’s gene editing human babies, irresponsible AI research, creating space junk on purpose, or their ruinous virus research; China has way too little ethical/moral awareness for how much access they have to global catastrophe- causing technology.
“They either need a cultural realignment (ie elevation from their “insectoid” attitude), or the world (ie the western world) has to take their toys away (which they won’t allow – meaning global conflict).”
Trump is a) remaking the judiciary, b) dealing with China, c) reducing taxes, d) liberating the economy from regulations, and e) getting a grip on immigration.
The will and ability to address China’s behaviour is crucial to understanding what Trump is trying to do.
In other parts of James Rickards’ talk, we learn that inflation lies ahead. Student loans amount to 1.6 trillion USD. Default rates are 20%. The loans are guaranteed by the government. The amount owed is twice the size of the 2008 mortgage crisis.
I would like you to direct your attention to the speech of Steve Bannon, given a few weeks ago. He is one of the very few who see the relationship among several events and forces: the colossal failure of the financial system in 2008, shipping jobs to China, low interest rates, the party of Davos, and what Trump is doing or expected to be doing.
Bannon constantly tells us to sift the noise from the signal. The Russian collusion nonsense is the noise. Dealing with a mercantilist dictatorship like China is the signal. Controlling immigration is the signal, because without it the wages of the US working classes are continually driven downwards. And because of the economic crash and the flood of money used to bail out the rich, no one can save money.
He says China is exporting deflation and de-industrialization of the United States. A multi-decade project is required to turn back the growing power of the administrative state, and that will take a Supreme Court able and willing to comprehend the issue.
This edition below of one of Bannon’s recent speeches is even better, though its production values are worse.
He predicts that information war, cyber war and economic war with the Chinese mercantilist dictatorship is beginning, indeed it is underway. He finds it absurd to assume that free trade can possibly work with such an entity. For the Chinese, foreign relations are in essence the management of barbarians. The US can export swine, canola, wheat and ore to China, but aircraft and smart-phones, never. China wants tributaries, and the idea of equality between nations, or a rules based order, is absurd, un-Chinese, and contrary to nature.
At an earlier stage of life, I had an ethnic Chinese Canadian brother in law. His first words to me of any seriousness were that “The Chinese idea of democracy is ‘you do as I say’”. I have never forgotten what he said, because Chinese state behaviour has exemplified the insight throughout the years.
“The whole object is to shift the world’s supply chain back to the industrial democracies of the West” (including Japan and Korea). Getting a trade deal with Mexico and Canada is key to this, as well as special deals with Japan and Korea. “You must be a manufacturing juggernaut if you want to be a serious power”.
You can question the premises of his position, and I am certain many think he is drumming up war. What you cannot assert is that Bannon lacks strategic vision.
“The deplorables are mad because they are rational human beings.” Amen.