@AlanTonelson & @GordonGChang: The only long-term solution to IP theft and trade violations is that we disengage our economies. If manufacturers think there’ll be a deal, they'll stay; if not, they’ll move their supply chains and leave China

Nov 29, 2018, 04:38 AM

Photo: A Han-dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) -era Chinese pottery model of two men operating a winnowing machine with a crank handle and a tilt hammer used to pound grain. Brilliant and exemplary Chinese inventions of yore: metallurgy, boreholes, natural gas, tilling, irrigation, et al. See below.*

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*During the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) in China, there were great innovations in metallurgy. In addition to Zhou-dynasty China's (c. 1050 – 256 BCE) previous inventions of the blast furnace and cupola furnace to make pig iron and cast iron, respectively, the Han period saw the development of steel and wrought iron by use of the finery forge and puddling process. With the drilling of deep boreholes into the earth, the Chinese used not only derricks to lift brine up to the surface to be boiled into salt, but also set up bamboo-crafted pipeline transport systems which brought natural gas as fuel to the furnaces. Smelting techniques were enhanced with inventions such as the waterwheel-powered bellows; the resulting widespread distribution of iron tools facilitated the growth of agriculture. For tilling the soil and planting straight rows of crops, the improved heavy-moldboard plough with three iron plowshares and sturdy multiple-tube iron seed drill were invented in the Han, which greatly enhanced production yields and thus sustained population growth. The method of supplying irrigation ditches with water was improved with the invention of the mechanical chain pump powered by the rotation of a waterwheel or draft animals, which could transport irrigation water up elevated terrains. The waterwheel was also used for operating trip hammers in pounding grain and in rotating the metal rings of the mechanical-driven astronomical armillary sphere representing the celestial sphere around the Earth.

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Alan Tonelson, independent economic policy analyst who blogs at RealityChek and tweets at @AlanTonelson, answers questions on Buenos Aires. Trump’s position is that China must change, or the tariffs will continue. Gordon: The only long-term solution to IP theft and trade violations is that we disengage our economies. If mfrs think there’ll be a deal, they'll stay; if not, they’ll move their supply chains and leave China. Alan: Even if Xi had an epiphany and repented completely, there’d be no way for the US reliably to verify any of it US corporations in China have a long history of being very afraid of criticizing China’s IP theft and forced relinquishment of manufacturing secrets. GC: The only practical solution to China’s continuous theft is disengagement. Anent Saturday’s meeting between Pres Trump and Pres Xi: is there a way forward? AT: Yes, politically, because American elite public opinion has such a poor understanding to what these negotiations are about, so any deal. GC: I think about a year from now a large number of Americans and of policy elites will come to the Tonelson position – that we must disengage. By trading with the Chinese we’re giving them the money to build up their military and commit all sorts of crimes against humanity in the Northwest with the Uyghurs. . . . It's Trump’s job to make sure that the incentives to general Motors are not to export jobs to China. AT: Today the Fed suggested going to a neutral status, and the market rallied. JB: Does that affect the BA meeting? AT: Yes – he has so determinedly used the stock mkt in his record; so now I think he’ll feel freer to hang tough because the financial penalty won't be as great. Nothing will be resolved at the dinner table, except perhaps some very general statements.