Made in China - A State of the Market Report
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Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Sorry on 09/21/2009 17:52:29 MDT Print View

Hi Robert,

I think you are being much, much too hard on yourself. Probably caused by having read one particular post. Don't feel bad.

Jason

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Sorry on 09/21/2009 18:32:19 MDT Print View

" I think you are being much, much too hard on yourself."

+1 Personally, I think Robert's original post was entirely appropriate. IMO, there's nothing wrong with introducing a sub topic related to the original topic of a thread. As to style, condescension, arrogance, it seems that only one poster took offense and that the post was well received by forum members in general.

My advice, Robert, is: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and sally forth to do battle again. It's only when the Forum Moderator rises from his seat above the din and dust of battle and imperiously turns his thumb down that you need worry about what or how you have posted. Caveat: Occasionally the general sentiment on a thread will turn against a poster on matters of presentation style, or a poster will experience post "post" remorse at his/her remarks. In such cases, it is not remiss to consider a public apology or alteration/deletion of the offending post. Dean F. has been a big enough person to do this on a couple of occasions that I can recall, and is to be commended for same, IMO, as have several others.
Welcome to the Forums. Let the games continue!

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Sorry on 09/21/2009 21:38:48 MDT Print View

Robert, please don't take the criticism so hard. If you read the other comments you will see that most of us agreed with you and found your words very appropriate. I certainly did. Even the moderator (Roger Caffin) supported you, so you really have no reason to feel bad about what you said.

It's a shame that you took your post down. I think it added depth to the series of comments. You should see just HOW off topic people can get here, especially when guns start entering the discussion! Over the years I've written some pretty volatile comments myself and had a few occasions when I inadvertently offended someone and had to apologize, too. No harm. The people on these forums are great; one of the best forum communities I've been a member of. It's the only forums I visit daily and have been for a good many years.

Dean's a good guy, too. Really smart and knowledgeable, perhaps more than the average ULer. I think the only two people in the forums who can stand their ground against him in pure analytical intensity and grand verbal tonnage are Rog Tallbloke and Lynn Tramper. If you have a gander at the "Carbon Flame War" thread, which I've LOOOOONG given up on, you can see Dean in pure form. He's master of the art of "Yes, I see what you're saying, but look at the evidence I have here..." and has the stamina of an ultramarathoning debating ox. I think he was simply miffed that you didn't give him the opportunity to volley with you. (Dean...and Rog and Lynn..., you know I'm just ribbing, right?) ;-P

So please don't feel bad. You were doing all right.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: sorry on 09/21/2009 22:45:31 MDT Print View

Hi Robert

I thought your posting was quite OK. Sure, you were on a soapbox, but so what? Many of us often stand on them! And what you wrote was well-reasoned and polite. No worries.

Cheers
(with BPL hat on too)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Whoa! on 09/23/2009 09:58:46 MDT Print View

Whoa! What?!?

Heck, Robert, I didn't mean to imply that you should take your post down! Obviously I went off the handle or something... (Not the first time.)

Wow. Now I feel bad. You don't fight fair, Robert. :o)

As I said, I AGREE with what you said. All energy ultimately comes from the sun with the possible exceptions (if you don't take the logic too far) of geothermal and nuclear. And, we are rapidly progressing toward a total energy economy, which will get awkward when cheap oil runs out. I hope you saved that post somewhere and can put it back up. I'd feel downright awful if I ever assumed the role of "BPL Censor" or something like that. (I'm a big Bill of Rights guy.) And as Miguel said, this is the best forum in existence.

Not to mention, we are used to digressions, here. :o)

Honestly, my comments were meant more along the line of "advice on debating style" than anything else. When I meet people with whom I share a similar contentious view but who I think are being just abrasive enough in their style that it is counterproductive, I give them the whole "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" line. That is, in effect, what I was trying to do with you. Honestly... I did find your tone smug and condescending, but I admit that in this media misinterpretation is easy. But if it was easily misinterpreted then you still have a problem with your style. (Lord knows I do, at times.) While reading that post the first time I was WAITING for you to address us as "sheeple" or something like that- it seemed to be in keeping with your tone. (I generally ignore anyone who uses that particular neologism, as I find it to be a reliable indicator of someone on a rant, rather than a thought-out argument.)

And as I said, if you simply dumped that into your keyboard late at night after a long day, and thus didn't think much about it, then heck, sorry. I've been there- and it is what often leads to my vicious editing.

Anyway- obviously I was too harsh, there. The "think about it" line set me off, then I started getting persnickety. I'll gracefully back away from the issue, now, if that is possible...

Am I sounding contrite enough?

Edited by acrosome on 09/23/2009 10:37:56 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
population on 09/23/2009 11:09:07 MDT Print View

Next issue...

Lynn, didn't we have a long discussion about population control a while ago, in which I played an unnecessarily large part?

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=14664

Edited by acrosome on 09/23/2009 12:34:22 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: population on 09/23/2009 14:00:24 MDT Print View

"Lynn, didn't we have a long discussion about population control a while ago


Yup. I'm glad you dug that one up instead of the one where I suggested summarily castrating the majority of males soon after birth ;)

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: population on 09/23/2009 14:30:10 MDT Print View

>> the one where I suggested summarily castrating the majority of males

Wouldn't work. One male can keep many females permanently pregnant. (Reference herd animals.) You'd have to sterilize the females, instead. :o)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: population on 09/23/2009 15:02:08 MDT Print View

"Reference herd animals"

Harems...!

Anyway, my original sexist post had three-pronged benefits: Reduce fertility, prolong the life and health of males, and reduce warring tendencies. That's why I said castration rather than mere vasectomy. Of course, I have nothing against sterilising the women too, and I would happily submit to such a procedure (I have never enjoyed having ovaries). After all, it would prolong the health, life expectancy and non-parenting productivity of both sexes, eliminate STDs, eliminate the dangers of pregnancy and child birth, and prevent fat thighs, PMT, acne and beer guts ;) Basically I think reproductive hormones have a lot to answer for in terms of human misery!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: population on 09/23/2009 18:09:17 MDT Print View

Scientific American just released this timely commentary on population growth, energy supply, environmental ills and excess consumerism:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=is-birth-control-the-answer-to-envi-2009-09-23

Robert Brookshire
(brookshire) - M
um... no worries, mates. on 10/25/2009 18:41:07 MDT Print View

Okay, sorry I took my post down, but I didn't do so because I felt harshly criticized by anyone. I'm quite experienced with internet forums and heated discussions. It was probably rude of me to delete my post as that only made it seem like I was a "victim". It was one of those posts I felt rather ashamed of after a couple days had passed. I still believe wholeheartedly that traditional economic theory is killing us with expanding GDP to keep that conveyor belt of soon-to-be-trash moving ever-faster from source to sink, but I decided that my post was not really on-topic here and was not made with due respect for my audience. In other words, my main critic was right, imo.

Dean, it was not my intent to make you feel bad for criticizing me. I appreciate knowing objective truth above all else (and this is partly why I fail because there is no authoritative "truth" to be found ;)). Thank you for helping me improve my communication. There are times when I seem to get it right, but usually I do it wrong and often fail to recognize why or how. After all, competence at anything is *not* the ability to do that thing well, but rather the ability to recognize what "well" means in that context (yes, there are studies ;)).

Anyway, thanks for the comments and also for the reading suggestions, as Money/Economics is one of my primary reading topics these days.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Chinese Gear on 02/03/2010 13:16:19 MST Print View

I think I can add some experience to this discussion. 3-4 years ago My wife , daughter and I lived in Beijing in the Haidian District for most recently one year , and in the previous year , four months. My wife is fluent in Mandarin and is a Cultural Anthropologist. My daughter is adopted Chinese and attended Chinese school there. Both times we were well acquainted, and on the first trip in charge of American students from Washington State and Oregon, many of whom had interests in Backpacking and rock climbing. We have many Chinese friends and know many American, English, and Australian Expats in China.
Let me focus on gear.I watched the students develop relationships with people who camped, hiked, and did rock climbing and saw what kind of gear they purchased and asked them what things cost. No one was able to buy a real Goretex jacket whether it said North Face, Sierra Design , or Jack Wolfskin on it. It was all just nylon with inferior mesh linings and zip in fleece . The fleece itself was ok, but the zippers were crummy. Service life ? About a year, max. Everything had impressive labels and screamed "GoreTex" but it wasn't true. In all that time shopping in about 25 different markets in various cities, I only saw first quality items about 3-4 times-Lands End sweaters, Timberland Fleece. I went into several "Camping shops" in Haidian and Chaoyang. Everything is very expensive by Chinese standards and for the most part I'd characterize the gear as lifestyle items. Camping in China usually means going to a Rock Festival with your tent etc. Or camping on the Great Wall, or going to Leaping Tiger Gorge. There's plenty of beautiful country, but I wouldn't do anything too dangerous and count on Chinese gear. I know camera equipment fairly well. You could find high quality Japanese items in the best markets, but it cost more than it does in the U.S. For non critical items like lighting stands, or bags, the markets are ok. But your Nikon battery is a fake. Your ball head is not machined right or is made from cheaper materials. The carbon fiber on your tripod is weaker.
This is not to say that a U.S. or other company couldn't get better gear made in China. I have a Chinese Moonstone jacket which I bought in the U.S. and it's fine. But I would want a U.S. warranty. I wouldn't buy too much on Ebay unless the seller has great consistent feedback. I myself by things from Hong Kong and PRC sellers like watch batteries, or lens caps but Caveat Emptor.
If you go to China bring your own gear if you want it to work. And be prepared to bargain for everything from fruit in the street to rugs or Qing Dynasty silver. But don't expect help on prices from most Expats. I've seen newer ones pay $100 U.S. for that North Fake on a week long tour. The "right" price at the "right" market is $15 U.S. and that is only after the seller has secretly followed you through all 3 floors of the market for an hour , then follows you out of the market and grabs you and says. O.K. And you are still paying too much.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Biggest holder of U.S. debt on 02/03/2010 16:30:58 MST Print View

"The Federal Reserve system of banks and other US intragovernmental holdings account for a stunning $4.785 trillion in US Treasury debt."

Does that include the Social Security Trust fund?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report on 02/03/2010 17:11:10 MST Print View

"That is your choice, but given the current state of the world, it makes no sense to me."

+1 to your post in general. One point of disagreement: India does, in fact, have a vibrant, if small, middle class of ~50 million according to most estimates, with ~250 million "aspiring middle class people, i.e. on the cusp of having discretionary spending power". The trend is even more interesting. India's middle class is projected to grow to over 500 million by 2025. Google up "middle class in India" and you will find many hits. My wife is Indian and we have returned to India many times down through the years. Over the past decade or so, the evidence of middle class behavior has been striking, every place we go. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it correlates with published studies and commentary and the anecdotal experiences of many Indian-Americans we know who comment on the trend when they return from visits to India.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: population on 02/03/2010 17:47:16 MST Print View

There is strong correlation between low birth rates and
countries with good human rights for females.

Those countries where women have more opportunity and control
over their lives have much more sustainable population
growth rate.

The answer in not forcing people to do the right thing,
but enabling them to.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Economic Growth Takes Care of Population Growth on 02/07/2010 12:06:41 MST Print View

@ David, who wrote, "There is strong correlation between low birth rates and countries with good human rights for females".

Yes, but there is an even more basic -- and stronger relationship -- the one between economic development and low birth rates!

Look around the world:

1. Poor countries have high birth rates.
2. All industrializing countries experience their economic growth while still having high birth rates (not after).
3. All industrialized countries have low birth rates -- after they've achieved 'middle income' status.

High birth rates are actually a symptom of poverty! Grow the economy -- people become better educated and develop a higher expectation from life -- and they get married later and have far fewer kids.

Why is that?

1. Raising a kid or six is cheap in poor countries. And yet, after a few years, they contribute to family livelihood. Schooling? What schooling?

2. As a country develops, and expectations are increaed, then raising a kid becomes ever more expensive! College!

Folks used to fret about high population growth in Ireland and Italy (not to mention Asia and Africa)! Now that they are rich (or at least middle income) -- all European countries and most Asian countries (except the really poor ones like Indonesia and Philippines) have far lower birth rates! Africa still has high birth rates.

And thus, economic development actually takes care of the population 'bomb'!

Edited by ben2world on 02/07/2010 12:16:48 MST.

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
re: pop. bomb on 02/08/2010 09:43:49 MST Print View

Benjamin, your assertions make sense. However, developed/industrialized countries consume more natural resources. I don't have any specific data, but I'd speculate that natural resource depletion soon outpaces the educated population wane you describe. Anyone w/ some data want to chime in here?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: re: pop. bomb on 02/08/2010 12:22:45 MST Print View

"developed/industrialized countries consume more natural resources."

That is correct. We need to down-size our population AND our consumption. All of us.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Pop Bomb and Spending Hogs on 02/08/2010 13:14:20 MST Print View

The two countries that are placing the most pressure on resources and the environment are: China and the US.

China's current problem is its 1.3 billion people. Free or not free / like it or not -- its government has dictated one child per couple. That's about as drastic as any government can do and still remain in power.

US -- What with our self-inflicted financial fiasco (greed and recklessness) and recession, the Obama admin. has been frantically borrowing from abroad to spend its way out! I think it will work this time -- but I also think we are digging an ever deeper hole for ourselves -- and the next time(s) will be that much worse!

Between the two, I see China doing a lot more -- and our own country -- NOTHING AT ALL. As a group -- we are still consumer hogs.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Economic Growth Takes Care of Population Growth on 02/08/2010 17:39:26 MST Print View

"And thus, economic development actually takes care of the population 'bomb'!"

And creates an even more pernicious consumption bomb as everybody sets about living "The American Dream". Even if population stabilized at, say, 9 billion or so, were everyone to consume at a level anywhere nears ours, the world would be in serious trouble.