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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

World War 3 Watch 05: China's navy upgradation

How is China modernizing its navy? This article provides some perspective about China's navy modernization.

New ships are being put to sea at an impressive rate. Between 2014 and 2018, China launched more submarines, warships, amphibious vessels, and auxiliaries than the number of ships currently serving in the individual navies of Germany, India, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Eighteen ships were commissioned by China in 2016 alone and at least another 14 were added in 2017.2 By comparison, the US Navy commissioned 5 ships in 2016 and 8 ships in 2017. Should China continue to commission ships at a similar rate, it could have 430 surface ships and 100 submarines within the next 15 years.
According to the Department of Defense (DoD), a significant focus of the PLAN’s modernization is upgrading and “augmenting its littoral warfare capabilities, especially in the South China Sea and East China Sea.” In response to this need, China has ramped up production of Jiangdao-class (Type 056) corvettes. Since being first commissioned in 2013, more than 41 Type 056 corvettes had entered service by mid-2018.
 Source: China Power

Further, as pointed out by GPF, the US Naval War College released a research paper worth looking at titled Surging Second Sea Force: China’s Maritime Law-Enforcement Forces, Capabilities, and Future in the Gray Zone and Beyond.

As per the report, China has merged few of its departments that had its own patrolling capabilities into a Chinese Coast Guard. China has also used commercial fishing vessels to further its scouting and minor naval defense capacity. GPF shows this graphic about changes to Chinese Coast Guard. 
 From GPF.

I remember there is a law that China flagged vessels are required to maintain capacity and design to aid and assist Chinese forces if required. It means these commercial vessels too may be deployed in naval conflict. The scale of Chinese Navy - PLAN and China Coast Guard CCG both needs to be reassessed.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

People are rethinking cities

National Geographic magazine has an issue on urban development. Seems to be a collectible. Here are some important articles I liked:

To build the cities of the future, we must get out of our cars. It has fantastic pictures by Andrew Moore and Robert Kunzig has done great by summarising the developments walk-friendly cities.

It refers to the emerald city planning guide by Calthorpe Associates. You can download it here.

The related articles also features one of my favourites: Want to visualize inequality? View cities from above. It features pictures by Johnny Miller. The Johnny Miller website is treasure trove of many such pictures.

The development of Tokyo is documented quite well. 

The photos feature titled This man spends 8 hours every day commuting. He's not alone. is quite good. In my paper How cities Develop I have explored the commute as distance travelled in acceptable commute time. Those insights seem to be bearing out. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Socialism or capitalism - Big government is a consequence, Small government an objective

Look at what they do NOT what they say!
Socialism or Capitalism - it is one of the central discussion points these days. Socialist too form a broad spectrum - from Bernie Sanders to AOC to Elizabeth Warren. The capitalist are not yet vocal but many are simply dismissive of the left-leaning neo-politics. But are there really left-right differences? Not too much. And I say that as I look at what they do NOT what they say.

Governments get bigger
The basic aim of government at the formation of Amercian revolution was twofold - Army formed protection force protecting citizens from outsiders AND legislation, police, courts system formed Law and Order for resolving disputes among citizens.

Gradually government came to provide diverse services - education, healthcare, insurance, subsidies, legislation and regulation of various industries. Each of these activities has grown in scale over the past 100 years. 

When you want government to take up more responsibility then you will end up with a big government. 

Big government = MORE TAXES
First objective of taxes is to pay for the government. In some countries the salary expenditures of government account for more than 50% of the total expenditure of the government. This is not counting the maintenance cost and other regular expenses government has to incur just to exist. = MORE TAXES.

Then all these people employed by the government have to do something. Even if they do nothing and just make presentations they consume a lot of money. That requires even more budgets = MORE TAXES.

To make it worse usually they add to procedure and impose cost on society. They prevent innovation. They make it their responsibility to say NO. That stops entrepreneurs before they can create value. It means MORE HIDDEN TAXES.

It all eventually leads to more taxes.
Big Government attracts big responsibility
People have started viewing government as a provider. Governments have encouraged that view. In effect whatever we want to get done, we want government to do it. We would like universal health care, you ask government. You want insurance for all - you ask government.

When governments become bigger, governance becomes difficult. Hence laws turn into fine prints, every step of industry is managed by dozens of legal clauses. Compliance becomes a cost.

Big government is a consequence - Small government is an objective
We need to prune governments regularly. On one level that means improving productivity of government servants. But on other level we need to reinvent our systems to be designed for less government.  But remember, no matter what they say, they will increase the size of government AND they will increase taxes AND they will default towards socialism.

To prevent it we must actively reinvent the system to stay on the money. We shall discuss how in subsequent posts.