Saturday, September 01, 2007

Two modes of electronic waste

about 80 percent of the electronic waste in the United States that is brought to recyclers is in fact not recycled in the United States but exported to Asia, and especially China where it is melted down in primitive, environmentally damaging conditions including the cooking and melting of computer circuit boards in vast quantity.

Dr. Weidenhamer’s analytical work now implicates electronic waste as a source of the lead that comes back to harm our children in the form of toxic children’s jewelry made in China for the American market. The vast majority of electronic waste found in China comes from North America. via

China owns the mortgage on your house

Brad Setser estimates that Chinese banks bought about $100 billion of US mortgage-backed securities from mid-2005 to mid-2006, and that they might have bought as much as $124 billion in the last year. He opines:

In some deep sense, this whole system is nuts.

China is a poor country. It is buying this debt on terms that almost guarantee enormous financial losses for Chinese taxpayers simply from the RMB's appreciation against the dollar. Plus, Chinese demand for safe assets – and the resulting low-yields on those assets – also helped to induce a lot of the excesses that are now clogging up the arteries of the US financial system.

At the same time, if China stopped buying -- especially now, when the private market is clogged up -- US financial markets would really seize up.

The US is in a position where it has no realistic alternative to ongoing financing from China -- at least in the short-run. In the long-run, though, I continue to believe that the scale of China's dependence of the US to provide financial assets that will retain their value and the United States dependence on credit from China is unhealthy for both parties. Creative Destruction

via Notebulb


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