This is an open thread for the weekend.
Political noise in America has obscured any glimpse of reality we are lucky enough to see. The world economy continues to unravel, with China leading the way. The Chinese leadership is now feeling so threatened by the economic implosion that they have been suppressing data and arresting people for reporting unhappy facts.
Here's my favorite quote from the New York Times report—
Ms. Stevenson-Yang, of J Capital Research, said she and her colleagues had seen growing discrepancies in official data in the last two years in a variety of sectors, including retail, shipping and steel production. She said a colleague had once called a Chinese cement factory to ask for production data, and a factory employee had thought the researcher was calling from a government-affiliated research association. The employee told the researcher that the factory had already changed its numbers twice and would rather not do it again, so the researcher could choose any number that fit.
“When you go around and meet state-owned industry people, everybody laughs at the national statistics, so I don’t know why foreigners believe them,” Ms. Stevenson-Yang said.
Great! Now, when Americans start laughing at their national statistics, we'll be making progress. By the way, Ms. Stevenson-Yang, foreigners believe Chinese bullshit because it's always positive bullshit.
Of course the problem is deeper than that here in the United States because it's impossible to get Americans to pay any attention whatsoever to the deteriorating global economy, or astonishing warmth in the Arctic, or anything else. The global economy includes of course the faltering U.S. economy (and here or here). They're too busy hanging on The Donald's every word.
Mohamed El Erian, who is out flogging his latest book, thinks we have reached a critical point (a "T" junction, where the road ends and you have to go left or right). Either the governments of the major economies will get their shit together, or we'll have a global train wreck (video below).
As I've said lately, humans can't seem to manage a global economy. Regarding the possibility of the world's major economies getting their shit together to stimulate growth, see China just above. Or politics in the United States
Have a nice weekend.