One interesting point, not expanded up on, is this:

One writer chalks this concern up to a bunch of “conspiracy theor(ies)”.

Balding dismisses this by citing Premier Li Keqiang, but I think this objection illustrates a deeper problem with the way the phrase "conspiracy theory" is used. It's frequently used to dismiss any suggestion that someone in authority is behaving badly regardless of whether an actual conspiracy would be required.

Let's look at what it would take for Chinese economic data to be bad. The data is gathered by the central government by delegating gathering the data to appropriate individual branches, by province, industry, etc. So what happens if someone at that level decides to fudge with the data for whatever reason (possibly to make his province and/or industry look better). The aggregate data will be wrong. And that's just one person on one level. In reality, of course, there are many levels in the hierarchy and many corrupt people in all of them.

this objection illustrates a deeper problem with the way the phrase "conspiracy theory" is used. It's frequently used to dismiss any suggestion that someone in authority is behaving badly regardless of whether an actual conspiracy would be required.

You misunderstand Balding -- he asserts loudly and explicitly that the Chinese authorities misbehave with respect to statistical data. The conspiracy theories he is talking about are the conspiracies of China-watchers and the point of them would be to sow FUD about the Chinese economic development, presumably after shorting China.

3RichardKennaway5yStamp's Law. Josiah Stamp, 1st Baron Stamp [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josiah_Stamp,_1st_Baron_Stamp]

Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015

by MrMind 1 min read21st Dec 2015233 comments

2


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