Yesterday, one of our lawyers, Mathew Alderson, wrote an overall pretty favorable review of Martin Jacques’ book, When China Rules the World. In the comments section to that post, an excellent discussion is ensuing, mostly focusing on whether or not Jacques’ various thesis are correct. I personally liked and agreed with the comment from “thinking too much,” who said, “Good comments from everyone, even those who disagree with each other.”

But what I found most interesting was a sub-discussion between a number of the commenters regarding whether I (or my law firm or this blog) would prefer things to go well in the world or go badly. The first comment to address that issue was from “The Hobbit,” who is of the view that we (me/my law firm/China Law Blog) needs an ascendant China:

However, for the purposes of China Law Blog and for your law firm, it is probably a good idea to preserve the notion of an ascendant China for as long as possible.

To which FOARP left the following comment, noting that we lawyers do just fine in downturns and that we “regularly” push doom-and-gloom here on the blog:

Dan, as a lawyer, would profit just as much from a collapse in China as he would from its continued success. Indeed, he regularly carries doom-and-gloom predictions on these very pages.

And then things got really weird. Otherworlder then left a comment essentially saying that he/she would cease reading CLB because we fervently want our readers to suffer.

“Dan, as a lawyer, would profit just as much from a collapse in China as he would from its continued success. Indeed, he regularly carries doom-and-gloom predictions on these very pages.”

So THAT is why this blog always left a strange bad taste in my mouth!! Okay, I get it, will quit it from now on. It’s just not quite worth the effort of sharing opinions when fundamental purposes and intents diverge. What’s the point of listening to the opinions of those who don’t wish you well? Lol.


Let me clear a bit of air here.

Does anyone actually believe that I or this blog or my law firm can influence world events? I sure don’t. As proud as I am of our purported influence, I am 100% convinced that what we write on this blog is not going to influence the course of the world economy or the economy of China in the slightest. That being the case, even if we were to benefit from a tanking of the world economy (or from its ascendancy), who cares? I and my co-bloggers simply figure that if we cannot influence any economies, we might as well just tell the truth about them, to the best of our abilities. I mean, why not?

But would we benefit from China tanking? Probably not. The reality is that lawyers overall usually do best during periods of change, be the change good or bad. When an economy is rising fast, we get a lot of deal work. When an economy is tanking fast, we get breach of contract cases, work-outs and assorted other litigation or debt relief type work.

But as far as my firm goes, we do best when the economy is rising. When the economy tanked in 2008, we did very well for the first six months or so of the tanking, but when most of the issues arising from that tanking had mostly been sorted out, our business plateaued, not to rise again until the recovery started happening at the end of 2009. 99.9% of our clients are businesses that do business internationally. When they do well they have more money to spend both on us and on the deals that drive our business. So even if we did think we could influence the world’s economies, we would be seeking to influence them on the upside.

I could go on and on with this, but I am starting to find this all a bit silly? Oh, and otherworlder, I wish you good riddance.


  • bill rich

    Those who likes comedies should stick with comedians. Those who want to read realistic information and analysis can read CLB.

  • I think you could have given this post a miss.

  • Jorge Mann

    This is what I like so much about your blog. You are super accommodating of any and all quasi-reasonable viewpoints, but when someone is an off the wall dick about things, you don’t hesitate to stick it to them. Honestly, I find the mean Dan Harris more interesting than the nice one and I wish you would flash it more often.

  • ”Does anyone actually believe that I or this blog or my law firm can influence world events?“
    Just a little bit. In this little corner of world affairs what you say carries a little bit of weight. And it’s an entirely benign influence, as far as I can see. Remember that great talk that Kaiser Kuo gave a couple of years back on the difficulties of person-to-person online contact between China and the USA? If that situation is to be improved, then it will happen through better access to accurate and impartial information about the countries for internet users on both sides. And good blogs can play a big part in that. Where on earth would I go to learn about Chinese law, if it weren’t for a blog? Law school, academic journals, visiting a court myself… not very likely. A good blog opens up whole worlds of knowledge that used to be completely walled off.

  • Belaieff

    Tell more of your readers to get lost – good riddance I say as well. Dan is the man and it should remain that way not some opininated jumped up oik that thinks he knows better.

  • Glorious truth

    Yeah baby. Yeah! That guy’s comment was just plain weird. Of course you have biases and strong opinions and that is what I and others want. What I and everyone else like about your blog is that you are emotional and you tell it like you think it is. If all we wanted was dry legalistic readings, we’d be reading law journals and who reads those nowadays.

  • OK, so I was being flippant – I don’t actually think that law firms prosper long-term in a down-turn, but they certainly can make money in the short-term as you say. CLB carries negative predictions as much as it carries positive ones, but this is only because there is disagreement in general about some of the fundamentals of the Chinese economy, and this blog reflects that.

  • mike

    Dan is right, of course, and as usual. The thing with blogs (and various other forms of commenting on news and what not) is that besides being informative and often times entertaining, it/they also attract(s) all sorts of nut jobs. One would say something along the lines of “if you don’t like it, stop reading”, but it seems that it is not quite as simple as that. Getting “your” opinion in print (and acknowledged as “truth”) no matter how deranged, is seen as a human right, especially by “some people”. So what can you do but shrug? It does not stop me from reading (as a china permanent resident, I need my daily shot of CLB, just to know it’s not all in my head — if anything, from where i sit — china gov’t organization — Dan’s views of China are often too rosey, imho) but these days I am reluctant to get into any “discussions” where I don’t get the benefit from my 6’5″ don’t bleep with me physique that would normally act as a sanitizing catalyst in face to face discussions. As in “oh, paleeze….” So, thanks CLB, keep it up!

  • Nate

    Feel like that last shot at Otherworlder was kind of letting the high ground slip away…

  • ken

    If you want a business boosting cheerleader, call the Chamber of Commerce. If you want an honest assessment of legal troubles, and how to avoid or extricate yourself from them, call a lawyer. Dan happens to throw in, for free, what I consider a very accurate reading of the business/regulatory/cultural climate in China.
    The notion that Dan would benefit from a “collapse in China” might benefit by a bit more thinking through.
    Nobody, not stockbrokers, lawyers, drug makers and even coffin salesmen benefit from a long term catastrophe. Even if you consider them parasites, (and I definitely do not), consider that most parasites benefit from a healthy host.
    Drug makers would certainly benefit from a lethal pandemic, but I wouldn’t boycott them because they made money providing a cure.
    It is the rising tide that lifts all boats, allowing everybody to enjoy sustainable benefits.

  • Andy Friedman

    I think this shows exactly why your blog has been so popular for so long.

  • Nick Ashford

    FOARP Great to see ya back in action and writing about China again. I missed you.

  • Dan,
    I have to say, as both a loyal and enthusiastic reader of your blog and a huge fan of your output – the best of its kind, in my view – I was (and remain) more than a little bewildered by your stick-it-up-yours reaction to a (minor) comment.
    So, I’m sorry but I’m not at all with you on this one and, frankly, just don’t get what the fuss is all about.

  • @Nick – Thanks a bunch, though I guess there’s folks out there who would write the exact opposite of what you’ve just posted, and would be surprised to see a comment like that.

  • The Wuxi Kid

    @Geoff – Blogs have a habit of being opinionated and telling their readers to go screw themselves, which is what happened. Get over it, dude.

  • Richard Arnold

    Dan has every write (pun intended) to tell his readers to get screwed.