Capital Account -- 12/21/11

It's the holidays and Santa Claus is coming to town but in what form? Yesterday, markets rallied and you had bond bigwig Bill Gross of Pimco tweeting: "today is a santa claus rally prepare for record cold winter solstice upon us, euroland will not go away, china lurks, US not an island." So there's the threat of Europe, concern about China, and the US susceptible to all these problems, not to mention it's own. Now the China US issue – is a favorite for US politicians, too. They love to hammer China – we've seen it in the GOP debates – we've seen it in negative campaign ads. But our guest says china is not to blame for America's economic ills. Far from it – she asks if Santa Claus is Chinese! She points out that US manufacturing declined before China became engaged in the global economy going from 53% of the economy in 1965 to 25% in the 1970's. Meanwhile, Americans she argues have been the biggest beneficiaries of Chinese labor and consumerism with us exports to china growing 468 percent over the last decade while to the rest of the world it's been 55 percent. But all this great growth aside, what has been the effect of China's rise on…well….China? After all, you can't have this type of growth without some malinvestment, and as we have covered on this show in the past, the chinese banking system, with its tremendous loan growth over the years, is undoubtedly hiding plenty of malinvestment. No one knows just how high shadow inventories of things like real-estate and development projects is in China, but ghost cities and empty sky risers serve as an eery warning that even the world's economic darling and largest creditor nation in the world may not be immune from economic forces now gripping a world flooded with credit.