Tag Archives: China


The number of people who lived on boats in the Tang is unknown, but tenth-century Quanzhou was home to “floating boat people” who made their living as fishermen and traders, while in other inland areas as much as half the population was waterbound. The practice of living on houseboats has never died out, and while there are far fewer today, an estimated forty million Chinese lived on the water “in some shape or form” in the mid-twentieth century.

Lincoln Paine The Sea and Civilization: a maritime history of the world Atlantic Books, London pb 2015

The Belt and Road is How

When Charles Wye Williams and others were lauding the benefits of free trade between Britain and Ireland (thanks to the abolition of customs duties, one of the many blessings of the Act of Union, now alas likely to be eliminated by the dogs’ brexit) they did not have the wonders of tinterweb available to them. Now, however, our brethren in China can make an all-singing all-dancing case for One Belt One Road, for linking to which we are indebted to Alex Tabarrok on Marginal Revolution.


Update here from Alex Tabarrok.

Presumably the USA will be sending guided-missile destroyers to deter occupation.


“A man, a plan, a canal — Panama!”, said Leigh Mercer.

The man with the plan this time is Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, who wants to build a second Atlantic–Pacific canal, capable of taking ships of greater capacity than the Panamax limits. The OilPrice story says that the canal would be more than three times as long as the Panama, with (if I understand it correctly) 130 miles of cut and 50 in Lake Nicaragua:

[…] the proposed canal could take 11 years to build, cost $40 billion and require digging roughly 130 miles of channel.

[…] the canal’s proposed locks will require 1.7 billion gallons of water per day, given that the channel will be 200 feet deep in places.

Mr Ortega hopes that China will fund the construction, which suggests that he is rather more optimistic about the Chinese economy than some others are. However, it is a thought, and one that the Inter-Agency Group on the Ulster Canal might wish to consider.

This week’s quiz: which ocean lies at the western end of the Panama Canal?