The Effects of the Financial Mess In China – for the rest of the world…..

What’s happening in China – Who Knows?

map showing the size of China and its 'position' in the world (http://www.worldatlas.com)

map showing the size of China and its ‘position’ in the world (http://www.worldatlas.com)

Just a thought –

many years ago – well it was about 25 years ago I think – when I was selling gift items at Trade Shows, I first heard from manufacturers that they were starting to buy parts or stock from China.

It was a very adventurous and difficult process at the time, but boy was it cheaper to buy the items from China, even taking into account the cost of shipping!

As I was listening to them boasting about the margins and how they were going to make more profit ……. a little thought crept into my head – I even expressed it to some of them and they ridiculed me for the fantasy!

The fantasy was that China was going to take over the world…..

They were progressively stealing patents at the time, and copying processes without bothering to put in all the effort that companies in the USA and elsewhere had spent doing the research and testing.

Of course they were going to be cheaper!  They were also being subsidised by their Government, who were still a thoroughly communist regime, but were experimenting with a bit of capitalism!

So follow this trend – and if it continued – (it has) – there would be very little incentive to “Buy British”, and basic manufacturing, say iron & steel mills, would struggle and die, and soon the world would be dependent on China supplying them cheaply with all the things that cost so much more in this country, and others.

The South Wales Iron & Steel Industry was bought & “saved” by an Indian Company some years ago – but they have just moth-balled the production again!

These were all the problematic industries that had active unions to protect their members in an industry where “HEALTH & SAFETY” actually matter and are not the joke that they have become – and of course demanded high wages.  How much easier politically for Maggie to let these industries die, as she decimated the Unions. (See previous post)

Health and Safety in China?  Well we only need to look at the recent disastrous fire at a factory there, which spread to the surrounding newly built high rise flats, and killed hundreds of innocent people!  Apparently their Fire Service didn’t even know how to treat combustible material! (I know, I’m being very simplistic here, but I’m just making a point about the differences in the costs of manufacturing that we incur and they don’t!)

poundland shopfrontFast Forward to August 2015 – most of the day to day items we buy are actually produced in China – how do you think the £1 shops are able to give us such cheap prices?

And we have become almost totally reliant on them for many of the items we use everyday.  Who else is going to bother to make these items when they can’t compete on prices – and even many of the high end manufactured items are now made in China.

I sell craft supplies on both ebay & etsy (see my other blog julzcrafts.com), and have noticed that many of the jewellery findings (like connecting rings etc), as well as a lot of other items, are sold direct from China, for amazingly silly prices.  I’ve even bought some of them.  I couldn’t understand how they could charge 99p including postage!

It turns out that even small businesses are subsidised by the Chinese Government – they allow them to post overseas items free!

I have to check out the competition to make sure that the items I sell aren’t undercut by the many Chinese families who are giving the idea of selling abroad a try!  I sell a lot of silk yarns & fibres – some of these must have been sourced in bulk from China – but oddly – I haven’t yet found a direct supplier of Chinese Silk!

Back to my main theme – so China HAS taken over the world.

We are now reliant on their cheap products.

The second part of my fantasy, all those years ago, was that – once China has decimated our manufacturing ability – they will raise their prices.

So I’m asking this question – especially of all those “talking heads” appearing on the media just now – saying that the Chinese Government has lost their grasp of their Finances, and have let the Chinese Stock Market fall catastrophically – affecting not only their own stockholders – many of whom are the newly entrepreneurial middle class – but causing slides of nearly the whole world’s Stock Markets ……..

What if this was part of the original master plan?  Implemented a bit messily, yes, but …. We now know who the masters are ….. a hiccup in China can affect the whole world.

 

P is for Peacocks

PToday I have contributions from both China and Romania!

I have a friend in China, who blogs as Spaceship China  and recently visited Xishuangbanna, a region far south in the southern province of Yunnan, home to the Dai people, and took some stupendous photos.

One of my customers, Florance, lives in Romania, and happens to breed peacocks.  She sent me some pictures of her peacock chicks, after seeing ‘my Easter chicks’.  They have both given me permission to use their photographs.

peacock+feather+image+graphicsfairy3bThese stunning iridescent peacock feathers, which almost everyone, at some time, has admired, come from the male of the species and are used in as glorious mating displays to attract the far duller brown female of the species!

They have inspired countless artists and writers, and have at various times, been fashionable additions to hats and fans, and home decorations.

male in full display

Just to blind you with science – this bit comes from Wikipedia – smile – it explains how the colours in this display are produced by ‘reflection and refraction’.

As with many birds, vibrant iridescent plumage colours are not primarily pigments, but structural coloration. Optical interference Bragg reflections based on regular, periodic nanostructures of the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers produce the peacock’s colours. Slight changes to the spacing of these barbules result in different colours. Brown feathers are a mixture of red and blue: one colour is created by the periodic structure and the other is created by a Fabry–Pérot interference peak from reflections from the outer and inner boundaries. Such structural coloration causes the iridescence of the peacock’s hues since interference effects depend on light angle rather than actual pigments.[2]

But going back to the whimsical – this is a myth about ‘The Peacock Princess’ as recounted in spaceshipchina.com!

peacocks in Xishuangbanna, China

The Dai people have a legend about their ancestors. One day, the Prince of the Dai was visiting a lake, and he saw seven peacocks fly down. At the lakeside, the peacocks turned into young women. Fascinated, the prince waited for them to return. As they took of their mantle – feathers on their head – they turned into the women and went bathing.

The prince stole the youngest swan’s mantle, and when the others turned back into birds, she stayed human. The prince married her, and she became known as Princess Peacock.

img_0114Nearby kingdoms were jealous of the Dai’s riches and wars broke out. The prince was far away fighting. Some people blamed the Princess Peacock and called for her death.

The peacock woman asked the king to perform a dance to ensure the safe return of the prince. Taking her feather mantle, she started dancing and transformed back into a peacock and flew away.

The Dai people worship peacocks as being messengers of peace, kindness, love and beauty.

The story of the seven heavenly peacocks is reminiscent of other myths regarding the constellation Cygnus.

White Peacock, Xishuangbanna

Peacocks have other Royal Connections – During the Medieval period, various types of fowl were consumed as food, the more wealthy gentry were privileged to less usual foods, such as swan, and even peafowl were consumed. On a king’s table, a peacock would be for ostentatious display as much as for culinary consumption.[30] 

And there are many other myths associated with these beautiful birds see Wikipedia again!

Before Florance sent me the pictures below, I had never seen peacock chicks, they look like any other chicks until they are about 2 months old, when you can start to see the differentiations.  This is a selection of the pictures she sent me from Romania.

She doesn’t currently have a website or blog, but if you want to ask her any questions about rearing peacocks, I will be happy to pass them on to her, or if you leave a comment below, perhaps she will answer them herself!  Her English is very good.

To see the titles, hover over the pictures, or click on them and you will get them enlarged in a slide show format.