NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There's a trend that ties together the earnings at Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) and Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) possible participation in a Dell (DELL - Get Report) buyout.
You can't trust China.
I'm not talking about the government. I'm talking about business. Although many people will still insist China is a "communist" country, I'm pretty sure that "If Marx were living today, he'd be rolling around in his grave," as Randy Newman sang.
China today is a brutally capitalist economy with a kleptocratic upper crust. Before you get into high dudgeon over that, consider America under Ulysses S. Grant.Just as Civil War veterans were raking it in with both hands during the 1870s, so descendents of China's generals are doing the same today. Just as America had yet to see the wisdom of following copyrights in the 1870s, so it is with China today. Just as America's boom of the 1870s masked the brutalities of industrialization, and genocide against native people in the West, so it is with China today. What changed things here wasn't just the government -- the reforms of the 1880s were very superficial. What changed things was the cold hand of organized capitalism, with John D. Rockefeller rationalizing the oil industry and J.P. Morgan rationalizing everything else. It was the "trusts" that were the gateway to market reform, because the trusts did indeed reform the market, in the name of efficient allocation of capital.
|Jay Gould, robber baron|