Monthly Archives: April 2012

Modeling might be real: Taiwan and the Falkland Islands

A few weeks ago I was in class and Dr. Sterken asked me a question I don’t remember, which I had no answer for because I hadn’t been following the discussion at all. Obviously, I’m a great student. I had a pretty good reason, though: I was extremely distracted by this paper.

I may be overselling it some, but this is arguably the coolest academic/policy publication I’ve read. That includes a paper on cereal pricing, and I love cereal.

To make a long story short, Goldstein argues that China visualizes the Falkland Islands conflict between Argentina and Britain as a proxy for the tensions involving itself, Taiwan, and the United States. Going further, the paper provides rather substantial evidence that China actively models a great deal of its military planning regarding Taiwan on Argentinean action in 1982. This is not entirely unexpected, given the relationships between the relevant states and how China thinks of itself in the context of global power projection.

Why am I so enthralled by this? That’s a good question. Continue reading

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Places I am unqualified to drive, an extensive list

“Obviously for India, the horn is a category in itself,” Michael Perschke, director at Audi India, told Monday’s Mint newspaper. “You take a European horn and it will be gone in a week or two. With the amount of honking in Mumbai, we do on a daily basis what an average German does on an annual basis.” Perschke said the horns are specially adapted for driving conditions in India, a booming market where Audi is one of many foreign car brands competing for increasingly wealthy customers. “The horn is tested differently – with two continuous weeks only of honking, the setting of the horn is different, with different suppliers,” he said.

via Markets in everything the culture that is India — Marginal Revolution.

 

I’ve heard this before, of course: driving behavior in India is dramatically different from that in much of the West. It seems that different cultures produce different social equilibria, which is I suppose an intuitive conclusion.

The real takeaway on this for me is the sourcing issue: exporters to Indian markets have to identify entirely different supply chains to replace what to us would be a fairly insignificant part. That is probably just as intuitive, though: a dollar says car salesmen in Seattle spend more time talking about windshield wipers or all-weather tires than those in Arizona do.