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Graz - Austria
Interests: NMR spectroscopy, military history, renewable energy,
Recent Activity
I am indeed very critical in respect to Amazon et al. However, they flourished because of US legislation and decisions. It was in your hand. The issue with China is that the Chinese government has a huge domestic market and can nurture with low risk strategically important industries without real chance that competitors become a real problem, not having heritage industry (car makers) helps a lot. Russia was never in the same situation, when Russia had a lot industry, western countries much had more.
"The "added value" costs you mention can be astronomical." You got the situation wrong: PV is cheap in Germany despite being a high wage country, i.e. installation is very efficient. The red tape costs are very low, German legislation worked in case of PV in comparison to the US situiation. The added value is real: Silicium produced in Germany, PV-production lines made in Germany, BOS made in Germany, .....
"If Chinese operate more like Soviet Union subsidizing its own still industry for very long time, they will get broke as USSR did, or they will have to increase prices and be less competitive." You miss the alternative: Support the Chinese economy in strategically important fields until the competitors are out of business, then increase prices. It is working in case of PV, and IMHO will work in case of EVs.
ISL, one goal of course was to provide "green" electricity. However, the too generous FITs led to an explosion of demand and structural changes that were too fast for the German companies. Now we have the situation that still very good research is done in Germany but the stuff is not longer produced there. For somebody with a German mindset this is not good. :-) The development of windpower was slower and more "sustainable", German companies could defend both, R&D and production.
"We are the customers in the equation. We can crush them in any trade conflict. Apply a 20% tariff to imported Audi’s, or simply apply a reciprocal trade tariff toward their auto’s identical to those they apply on ours…. wait and see just how long Germany chooses to play stupid." Why did the USA agree to different tariffs? What was the other side of the bargain? Don't tell me the USA did not get something in return. And BTW even good bullying requires intelligence when your opponent is as large as you. :-)
"reading about the German failure is interesting. Management made a bad decision - they thought they could challenge directly Chinese dumping by their own production efficiency." Look, there were some mistakes, but most people agree that the support of PV in Germany in 2010/11 was too generous and let to uncompetitive structures, here most blame goes to german decisions, even by PV installers. BTW: Even with imported Chinese modules the added value is 60% in Germany. Or as contrast: Why is German wind power in very good shape? Why can Chinese producers not compete on the international market?
"The really scary part is that that might result in a German reaction." No real chance that there will any problems. The last people who claimed these former German parts of modern Poland are dead now, the last time I saw interviews of their lobby group was many years ago. Most younger Germans understand that peace is more important than these lost territories. There is no political pressure as almost no Germans live there.
"Endpoint of OBOR in Leipzig (if somebody can clarify the importance of Leipzig I would be much obliged. I've seen several maps which specifically have Leipzig as an endpoint for the rail connection. Leipzig does have Porsche assembly and is an aerial cargo hub from Russia to Europe)" That sounds a little bit fishy. Most freight trains which arrive from China via Transsib end in western German cities in the Rhein-Ruhr region, Duisburg is the by far most important, or in Hamburg: A more natural endpoint of a wide gauge railway track is Vienna which is an important logistic hub. (The project is actually discussed in Austria).
Fanto, you are spinning the truth, do not get too confused. :-) Siemens reduces the production of turbines, this is not a result of the sanctions. GE does the same, as the global demand shrinks. Think more about REs and try to understand their impact. At the same time Siemens is hiring, think about offshore wind turbines. Overall no net loss for Siemens. However, it is an issue in the affected eastern German states. The overall effect of the sanctions is very low for the German economy, we will see in 2017 an increase of exports. 45 billion EUR are peanuts when we talk about 1200 billion EUR export volume. Your post is not so clever propaganda. You (and P. Armstrong) would do a better job by defining the issues of the Russian economy and discuss the long term impact of the sanctions. :-)
"This is representative of a much deeper expertise in nuclear power in France." The point is, that NEW French NPPs are too expensive and not competitive. If you have to pay >7000 $/kW then you are economically dead. 2017: Flamanville 3 (1.7 GW) is 7.2 billion EUR(!) over budget, and 6 years late, actually, still under construction. In Finland the situation is the same.
Der Oberst schrieb: "So, how did these events at Fukushima get so out of hand and why have they not worked out solutions over the last six years?" Wrong question. Would have French NPPs the same issues as Japanese ones in a Fukushima scenario? However, my real beef with this article is the economy of NPPs: Frenches electricity prices are low, they are supported by government. The costs of electrcity generation is NOT low. This is important as new French reactor designs are eye-watering expensive and are not competitive and no solution in sight. Areva is more or less bankrupt and was merged with EdF. The current situation is a legacy from good times that are gone, nothing a serious projection could be based on. It will cost >100 billion EUR to prolong the production life of 2/3 of the NPPs by 20 years, most will be around 40 years before 2030. OTOH Offshore wind power (the expensive one) is now cheaper than electrcity generated by new NPPs, unfortunately, France has no large domestic producers of wind turbines, neither onshore nor offshore. Overall: French nuclear energy is not good but in deep trouble. And the alternatives (windpower) require a huge commitment if a domestic industrial base is on the wish-list. Minor quibble: France indeed exports a lot of electrcity, unfortunalely, in summertime. During winter France imports a lot as electric space heating dramatically increases demand (58 GW NPPs, 103 GW demand), France is a netimporter of German electrcity and in winter 2012 the Frech butt was saved by German windpower, only to get the facts straight. :-)
"US does not need to sanction EU, EU will comply. The true interests of EU, and US, are determined by the electorate." That is you personal opinion - which is BTW not supported by the reality on the ground. No serious politician supports the US position.
"Angela Merkel will remain Chancellor for a fourth term even though her party and the Socialists lost ground by double digits." Half of the losses go to the FDP, the other half to the AfD. "It will be interesting to see how she grapples with President Macron and his vision of a fiscal union. Meaning the Germans and Dutch directly underwrite the more profligate south." The FDP is strictly against a fiscal union. But this of course does not change the fact that we need some kind of financial transfer in the long run. Personally I like a Jamaica coalition (CDU/FDP/Grüne) much more than alternatives. SPD as opposition is a good thing.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2017 on Day off at Sic Semper Tyrannis
"Plus many of the people entering Europe are economic migrants and not refugees from destablized countries." If you actually check the relevant data you find that your argument is wrong. Muslim immigrants are mainly refugees in central Europe.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2017 on Day off at Sic Semper Tyrannis
" I have heard numbers of around 300,000 in Germany" For 2011-2016, there are 600.000 registered refugees from Syria in Germany, 2/3 of them came 2015/16.
BraveNewWorld: "As for oil there is so much in North America that the US is exporting it. It is no longer about needing Gulf oil and hasn't been for quite a while. It was never about importing natural gas. It is about being able to prevent others from having access to that oil in a time of war and about massive short sighted arms sales to the gulf." OMG. So much nonsense in a few sentences: 1) 2016, US consumption of oil 863 million tons 2016, US production of oil 500 million tons The USA is a NET importer of oil and will be in future. There is no realistic chnace that fracking will change this. Is this so hard to understand? 2) The USA is net exporter of refinery products, this does of course not change the fact that the USA net importer of oil. 3) North America is USA and Canada. With Canada's production the situation and your argument slightly improves. :-) "The US will shortly be the worlds largest exporter on LNG." For how many years? Try to understand that unconventional oil/NG has a bloody high decline rate of production. Do you assume US NG will scare Russia or Qatar? Hint: US production is huge but also consumption, the net export is in the long term not impressive. If you want to be energy independent you have to cut consumption and use REs, in this field the USA is indeed energy independent in a sustainable way. :-)
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2017 on Open Thread - 16 July 2017 at Sic Semper Tyrannis
"The only (still inaccurate but still better)official index which could be used here is a PPP (Purchase Power Parity). Just to illustrate how it works, here is the quote from one of my articles" That is nonsesne. For some issues the absolurte values are important, think about the ability to import stuff. Russia is somewher in between. "Actual size of Russian economy is that of Germany and with industries which Germany (as an example) simply doesn't have." Denatable. Russia is overall not able to survive without exports of oil + NG, this issue has not changed for decades, hint: even many parts they need for this are maufactured in the west. German has no problems, i.e. Germany has a lot of industries Russia does not have. :-) I am not aware that a Russian company is competitor of Boeing, Airbus is however. You confuse the ability to cover some parts of domestic demand with the ability to make money on the international market with industrial products. :-) And then we have the interesting aspect of soft power. My many Russian colleagues tlell me that Russia maye a severe issue in this department.
"Why should that only be a requirement of the Imams? What percentage of Austrian Muslims meet that requirement?" One problem in Germany and Austria is that many imams are often not trained properly in respect to European culture, do not speak German and influence their communities in a way I do not like. This issue was self inflicted, we should have offered religious education in high schools much earlier, this with teachers who were trained in Germany. Around 2012, in Germany and Austria 50% of the Muslims are Turks, 25% are eastern European, around 10% each are Asians and North Africans. Pakistanies and Afghans are a small minority. Now we have had a much higher influy from ME, especually Syria, during 2015/16. Most of the Turks are secular, most of the Muslims from the Balkan too. The Syrains now complain that the "Turkish" mosques are too old fashioned. I do not know how many are really integrated in the sense that they defend western values against their own people.
Fred wrote: "You mean the government must monitor all assemblies of Muslim worshipers to ensure they adhere to the correct interpretation of the religion?" That is shallow. You obviously did not understand the argument Dubhaltach made in his last post: "There's a proposal floating around in what for lack of a better term I'll call Nordic-Europe that imams should be licensed by the state in the same way that priests and preachers are. The idea is that an imam needs to be aware of and respect the social, political, and legal realities of the country(ies) in which he lives and preaches." This is the most serious mistake northern European countries made: They too long iginored the fact that Islam IS a part of our society and its followers should get the same ability to persue their religion in the same extend as other religions. Islamic teachers and imans, trained in Europe, would have prevented some of the issues we face now caused by guys imported from and payed by Saudi Arabia.
Patrick Armstrong wrote: "But I do not believe a Buk shot it down" The funny thing is that even the Russians not longer claim it was a SU25 launched missile. Since September 2016 it is the Russian versin too that a BUK hit the MH17, hower, a Ukrainian. :-) The piss poor Russian PR performance pointed IMHO to the more likely scenario that their guys screwed up and Russia played for time with stupid stunts like the press conference where a poor Russian general had to sell the redar echo of debis as SU25 and the sudden change of SU specifications on the home page of the producer. :-) If it had been a Ukranian BUK, the Russians could have fried the Ukrainians very easily and would not have missed this opportunity. And last but not least: On the German mil blog "Augen gerade aus", there were extremyl good discussions and people there - air force officers with deep konwledge of Russian AA systems and planes - came very earlty to the conclusion that it was a BUK most likely.
Die besten Wünsche zu Ihrem Geburtstag, Herr Oberst!
"Le Pen quipped during the campaign that France would have a woman president no matter" Lost Putin his manhood? :-))
"I do not think that is her most important or decisive trump factor in the upcoming GB - European leave talks. The more decisive factor will be that GB has a lot more leverage in specific European countries then in others, compared to Russia as far as commerce or the jobs it creates is concerned then e.g. concerning decisions like sanctions against Russia or Iran. ... Let's see how united the EU can stand in this context." IMHO you work with debatable assumptions: While the divorce deal only requires a majority, i.e. allows in principle some divide et impera, the for UK much more important trade deal requires 27 yes votes, therefore, each diplomatic stunt in the divorce deal will very likely back-fire, here UK walks on relatively thin ice. Re defense: The contradiction is that UK oppoased a more EU centric denfense in the past as EU member, now to assume that UK can use her military as useful bargain chip as non-EU member sounds fishy for me.
"I think this is an area that science-fiction writers have not exploited much; war in three dimensions against an enemy who is more adopted to the physical conditions of the battle space than Man is." Some of the Kzin war stories do, the fantasy/sci-fi movie Outlander(2008), too. IMHO the inherent weakness of such set-ups often is that you have to make a lot of compromises in order to maintain some logic. Personally, I like the clash of groups with completely differen moral framework.
"Germany has a trade surplus that is 50% larger than China's. Since China's population is 26 times that of Germany's, that means that Germany's per capita trade surplus is 13 times that of China!" James, you have only a chance to be taken seriously if you do NOT start your contribution with nonsense like this. :-) The German population is around 15 times smaller than the population of China. OK? If you were smart, you would not use per capita trade surplus - other countries may even have a larger one. The interesting aspect is that these countries are not criticized. BTW The US answer in the past was that one has to improve competitiveness. You remember when Germany was considered the sick man around 1999? "It is astounding - and nobody criticizes Germany for this ... except for Trump." You obviously live in the valley of the clueless - until 1989 this was a part of the GDR which did not receive western TV programes. The point you miss is that Merkel can not reduce the competitiveness of German industry and some of Trumps policies will increase the problem. "No wonder Merkel doesn't like Trump." I - and most Europeans - would be more concerned if she liked him. "Then Germany complains that it can't afford the 2% of GDP to meet its NATO commitments?" Provide evidence that the 2% are enough or that the 1.5% are not. BTW: the 2% would not change the lack of US products that are markable in Germany.