In February, local Chinese Labor Ministry officials came to "help" with massive layoffs at an electronics factory in Guangdong province, China. The owner of the factory felt nervous having government officials there, but kept his mouth shut. Who was he to complain that the officials were breaking the law by interfering with the firings, he added. They were the law! And they ordered him to offer his workers what seemed like a pretty good deal: Accept the layoff and receive the legal severance package, or "resign" and get an even larger upfront payment.(ikke et ord om, at incentiver for kortsigtet bedre regnskaber havde noget at gøre med vestlige bankers bidrag til møgbunken...)
"I would estimate around 70 percent of workers took the resignation deal. This is happening all over Guangdong," the factory owner said. "I help the Department of Labor, and they'll help me later on down the line."
Such open-secret programs, writ large, help China manipulate its unemployment rate, because workers who "resign" don't count toward that number. The government estimates that roughly 20 million migrant factory workers have lost their jobs since the downturn started. But, with "resignations" included, the number is likely closer to 40 million or 50 million, according to estimates made by Yiping Huang, chief Asia economist for Citigroup. That is the same size as Germany's entire work force. China similarly distorts everything from its GDP to retail sales figures to production activity.
Jeg mener, at temperaturen på verdensøkonomien kan måles ret simpelt ved at se på eksportafhængige lande som Japan og Kina. Deres handelsbalance måler hvordan deres kunder har det. Det kan ikke simpelthen ikke stemme, at Kina klarer sig så meget bedre end Japan, når de begge er storafhængige af vestlige markeder - med mindre Kinas voldsomme statslångivning siden krisen slog til skulle have løftet den kinesiske økonomi med 10 procentpoint over den japanske! Not bloody likely. Så det har jeg haft gevaldigt svært ved at tro på.
Ikke desto mindre tog investorer Kina på ordet og pøsede billige penge i landet, som det efterfølgende satte i amerikanske statsobligationer, fordi der ikke rigtigt var andet at bruge pengene til. Karrusellen går rundt.