Baseball91's Weblog

September 29, 2008

The Whole World Is Watching

Filed under: Current Affairs,newspapers,on politics — baseball91 @ 4:03 AM

If you thought communism was dead, if you were not in St. Paul for the Republican National Convention, you might not still notice that there is a lot of class warfare in the current political environment.

The underlying ideology of liberalism looked at ideas, not ideology. For someone like me with an understanding of the cloak and dagger underworld of intelligence agencies, the mystery of what exactly this Henry C. K. Liu is, who is all over the internet, is intriguing. I suspect his biography is not accurate. I note that in January 2008 Wikipedia deleted a webpage for Henry C K Liu.

Henry C K Liu allegedly was born in Hong Kong, came to the U.S as a student in 1951, and was educated at Harvard University in architecture and urban design. (Harvard – M.Arch, 1960). After pursuing interdisciplinary work on urban and regional development as a professor at UCLA, Harvard and Columbia universities, Mr. Liu was the founding Chairman of the Graduate Urban Design Department at ULCA 1964-1970. He also served as an adjunct professor in several universities, including Harvard and Columbia. Mr. Liu practiced consulting in urban planning/development development as President of Liu Urban Design Associates from 1970 to 1978, listing among his clients Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. In Arkansas. Beginning 1974, Mr. Liu acted as developer for his own account for major urban projects in New York and Washington D.C. He was development advisor to governmental agencies of several developing countries. The Rockefeller Foundation can do that for a career. For the last decade, Mr. Liu has been primarily focusing as a principal on investment and finance for projects in the U.S., Asia and the Middle East. Mr. Liu is currently the chairperson of a New York-based private investment group, a contributor to Asia Times Online and a visiting professor of global development at the University of Missouri at Kansas City though not listed at http://cas.umkc.edu/econ/_people/faculty_and_staff.asp on the corresponding link. According to the Huffington Post is Associate Professor of Economics and Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City. In the last year his company moved to West Covina, California. Mr. Liu must be close to 80 years old. Why would a man his age, as such a prolific writer, move his business (Liu Investment Group, East 62nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10021) from the east coast at this stage of his life to California? (Liu Investment Group, Inc., 2640 E Garvey Ave S, West Covina, CA 91791-2156, Phone: (626) 705-3509 Line of Business: Real Estate Investment. SIC: Real Estate Investment Trusts). Or his move to California could be, at the last stage of life, related to a desire to be closer to a care-giving child?

There is nothing in an internet search indicating his ideology. One researcher wrote, “Henry C.K. Liu, Chairman, Liu Investment Group, East 62nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10021. It’s worth noting 1) that he has a mindspring email address, not a corporate domain, reinforcing the idea that he doesn’t work for a big company, and 2) The “Investment Group” is located in a townhouse on the upper east; again, it could be a real business, but if it is, it’s very small.”

“It’s worth noting that Liu claims in his bio to have been a professor at Columbia, Harvard and UCLA. I find zero evidence of this. If he was faculty there at any time, you’d expect some to exist. In conclusion: I suspect Henry C K Liu is padding his resume, but not completely full of crap. It seems like he’s an educated guy, and probably worked for a while at one of the big investment houses. But now he works for himself, doing some small-time investment work, and freelances articles for the Asia Times. He probably was a TA or gave a lecture once at those schools, he was never faculty.” Another researcher writes, ““Funny you should ask about the pay. The weirdest detail of the story I left out because it is so implausible. As I mentioned in cam’s diary, a troll on the china daily bbs was accused of being Henry. On top of “revealing” Henry’s identity, they also claimed he was on the payroll of the Chinese government and was paid to spread anti-Taiwanese, pro-communistic propaganda. I think this is highly unlikely (it was part of a confused and very silly flamewar)….” Or another view, “Or their columnist Henry Liu who apparently was a professor at Harvard and was chairman of Liu Investment Fund or some such (try finding a 13F for this outfit… none exists, and the guy was never a professor at Harvard!) Ignore their articles and file as trash!”

He certainly has a world view which seems to favor the growth of the Chinese economy. He writes, “The two key factors preventing the use of sovereign credit to finance sustainable development of the domestic sector of the Chinese economy are China’s high export dependency operating under dollar hegemony and the ill-advised blanket privatization of the public sector.” One allegation was that he was the son of Liao Chengzhi who rose to the director of the Xinhua New Agency, the official news agency of the People’s Republic of China. However, the biography would not correlate with the dates of Liao’s life, including a photo on Wikipedia of Liao’s family in the hospital at his side at the time of his death. This calls the question of who funds Online AsiaTimes where his work is regularly published.

The following includes views of economists with socialistic views about the current crisis. I do suspect a lack of transparency on the part of Henry C. K. Liu which is ironically the same problem with Wall Street over the last ten years.

“Meltdowns on the scale we are seeing are not slow-motion events. They are swift and chaotic, with rapidly spreading side-effects. Having created the conditions that produced history’s biggest bubble, America’s political leaders appear unable to grasp the magnitude of the dangers the country now faces. Mired in their rancorous culture wars and squabbling among themselves, they seem oblivious to the fact that American global leadership is fast ebbing away.” –John Gray is the author of Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia

“Warren Buffet’s $5 billion-plus stake in Goldman Sachs is a great vote of confidence not only for the firm, but for the future of Wall Street. He is confident, I assume, that the Treasury’s rescue plan will take hold in some fashion…” wrote Liz Peek. (Or was it? It is my view he was taking short term action so that in the long haul he could liquidate to cash.)

“The economic engine of household spending and rising debt has run out of gas.” Steven Fazzari, Ph.D., professor of economics at Washington University in St. Louis and Barry Cynamon interpret the financial history of the past two decades.

“The plumbing of the financial markets and economy “is all esoteric Wall Street stuff,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, a former college economics professor, explained to lawmakers last week. “It doesn’t have any meaning to people on Main Street, but it connects very directly to their lives. If the credit system isn’t working, then firms cannot finance themselves.” –Sudeep Reddy in the Wall Street Journal on September 28, 2008

“Ron Paul, Republican congressman from Texas, told Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke on July 9, 2008 that the Federal Reserve is a ‘predatory lender.’” – See http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/ron-paul-something-big-is-happening/

“In the United States, although predatory lending is not defined by federal law, and various states define abusive lending differently, it usually involves practices that strip equity away from a homeowner, or equity from a company, or condemn the debtor into perpetual indenture. Predatory lending or abusive lending practices can include making a loan to a borrower without regard to the borrower’s ability to repay, repeatedly refinancing a loan within a short period of time and charging high points and fees with each refinance, charging excessive rates and fees to a borrower who qualifies for lower rates and/or fees offered by the lender, or imposing new unjustifiably harsh terms for rolling over existing debt.” –Henry Liu on July 20, 2008

“The collapse of market fundamentalism in economies everywhere is putting the ChicagoSchool theology on trial. Its big lie has been exposed by facts on two levels. In fact, Friedman’s fundamental flaw is his fixation on the business cycle as expressed by the stock market, rather than looking at the whole economy with a wide range of meta-finance concerns such as agricultural economics, labor economics, population economics, the economics of war, pollution, development, etc.” –Henry Liu

“One friend of mine who became a sociology instructor at Chicago told me that he began one class trying to explain whether there was such a thing as an ideology of the vested interests might be. ‘That’s what we’re here to learn,’ a student replied.” -Michael Hudson

“Milton Friedman has said famously – perhaps infamously – that ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch.’ But the economy today is all about how to get a free lunch. That is what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were all about, and what government bailouts of the financial sector tend to be about. –Henry Liu

“Alarmed by the sharply eroding market confidence in the nation’s two GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), the largest mortgage finance companies, the Bush administration announced plans on Sunday, July 13 to ask Congress to approve a sweeping rescue package that would give officials the power to inject unlimited funds into the beleaguered companies through investments and loans.” –Henry Liu

“The post-Keynesian economist Hyman Minsky later became the godfather of the present post-Keynesian faculty providing an alternative to Chicago-style monetarism at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where I now teach. In contrast to today, the Chicago faculty from the 1930s through early 1960s included such men as Maynard Krueger (a vice presidential candidate on the Socialist Party ticket behind Norman Thomas). Hyman Minsky told me that it was Krueger who converted him to socialism.” –Michael Hudson (Is that so? References list that he was born the son of 2 of socialists.)

“The policy ascendance of the ChicagoSchoolUnited StatesChicagoSchool is more than just a movement of economic theory. In recent decades, it has become an aggressive agent of intellectual imperialism, taking on the dusty mantle of social Darwinism, applying its economic doctrines to other disciplines such as political science, legal theory, history, sociology, international relations and even theology.” –Henry Liu

“The adverse effect of this type of globalization on the US economy is also becoming clear. In order to act as consumer of last resort for the whole world, the US economy has been pushed into a debt bubble that thrives on conspicuous consumption and fraudulent accounting.” –Henry Liu

“World trade is now a game in which the US produces dollars and the rest of the world produces things that dollars can buy. The world’s interlinked economies no longer trade to capture a comparative advantage; they compete in exports to capture needed dollars to service dollar-denominated foreign debts and to accumulate dollar reserves to sustain the exchange value of their domestic currencies. To prevent speculative and manipulative attacks on their currencies, the world’s central banks must acquire and hold dollar reserves in corresponding amounts to their currencies in circulation. The higher the market pressure to devalue a particular currency, the more dollar reserves its central bank must hold. This creates a built-in support for a strong dollar that in turn forces the world’s central banks to acquire and hold more dollar reserves, making it stronger. This phenomenon is known as dollar hegemony, which is created by the geopolitically constructed peculiarity that critical commodities, most notably oil, are denominated in dollars.” –Henry Liu

“In a period of less than a year, what had been described by US authorities as a temporary financial problem related to the bursting the housing bubble has turned into a full fledge crisis in the very core of free market capitalism. A handful of analysts have been warning for years that the wholesale deregulation of financial markets and the wrong-headed privatization of the public sector during the last two decades will threaten the viability of free market capitalism. Yet ideological neoliberal fixation remain firmly imbedded in US ruling circles, fertilized by irresistible campaign contributions from profiteers on Wall Street, methodically purging regulatory agencies of all who tried to maintain a sense of financial reality. This ideology of ‘market knows best’ has allowed the nation to slip into an unsustainable joyride on massive debt giddily assumed by all market participants, ranging from supposedly conservative banks, investment banks and other non-bank financial institutions, industrial corporations, government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and individuals. The once dynamic US economy has turned itself into a system in which it is difficult to find any institution, company or individual not over its head with speculative debt.” –Henry Liu

“The way the Fed has been trying to stabilize the financial market in this horrendous credit crisis since it burst open in August 2007 is looking like punching new gaping holes in the throat of the patient to deliver more air to his lungs. One of these days, it may accidentally puncture a jugular vein to end the game. The lender of last resort has become a predator of last resort, nationalizing all dying enterprises. But it seems to be racing headlong onto the road of nationalization not so much as to help the common people as to keep dying financial dinosaurs alive. The Fed continues to pretend that firms likes AIG are merely going through a liquidity crunch. The fact is that undercapitalization is by definition a solvency problem.” –Henry Liu

I do think that Mr. Liu ultimately favors class warfare, a weakening of American power and the rise of China.

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7 Comments »

  1. I just heard him speak at Yale.

    Comment by Ellen Clark — December 14, 2012 @ 2:18 AM | Reply

  2. Liu’s point of view is aligns well with post-Keynesian. I have noticed he has cited Paul Davidson, Hyman Minsky and Steve Roach in his works – the first two are noted Post-Keynesians and the latter a well known economists formerly employed by Morgan Stanley. Some of what Liu has to say is not much different than the things Michael Pettis has been saying (who often cites Hyman Minsky).

    Comment by Luke Smith — January 27, 2013 @ 7:23 PM | Reply

  3. http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/11/economist-explains-6

    The above piece shows how other nations — perhaps out of distrust of how the United States uses its power by omission or commission as seen in all of the NSA revelatons — are setting out with greater independence from the existing systems. Over what is good and what is evil, and who really might be trusted in times of world crises.

    Comment by paperlessworld — January 12, 2014 @ 8:06 PM | Reply

    • Comment by paperlessworld — August 22, 2016 @ 6:59 PM | Reply

  4. What does it matter who Liu is or isn’t? What does it matter what economic category he does or doesn’t fit into? What does it matter where he taught or didn’t?

    Liu’s writing are to be judged on the quality of his research and reason. Does he make sense? Yes or no.

    Use your heads people!

    Comment by Hank Shaeffer — November 17, 2015 @ 6:50 PM | Reply

    • I like to think that I write better now, with a lot more editing, than at the time this piece was written. And your questions posed are right on. All the quoted pieces that Henry C K Liu writes about take aim at an out-of-balance system that too much are approached in daily life, without contemplation. Even still, since the time of this piece, I consider all the information of which Edward Snowden has told the world. For me, it does matter who is an ally or who is a friend. It does matter the perspective from where a writer comes. Every writer has a purpose for writing. It does matter what is really the truth. Did you live through the times of Nikita Khrushchev who warned, “We will bury you.” When there are missiles pointed at each others’ lands, at each others’ currency, it does matter with whom I conduct business. It does matter where there is credentialed trust. The deprivation in North Korea, the lack of transparency in any system, does matter. In the world of spies, it is good to question why any writer writes. Is the writer – any writer– out to seek the truth? In the days now when we know about the NSA, when there are tremendous emotions connected to the facts, I think it does matter to question whether any information is the Truth, both from when I have come and to where I am directed. There is propaganda and then there is the Truth. And the Truth does matter, along with identifying those out to use a version of the Truth to their own personal benefit, like for more power and personal profit.

      Comment by baseball91 — November 17, 2015 @ 8:28 PM | Reply


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