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Here's a simply titled article from China Daily:

"Opening up of financial market continues" (9/26/19).

The article may have a plain title, but it is full of gibberish.  The concluding sentence takes the cake:

Therefore, the securities market as the focus of the internationalization of the entire financial market must be targeted in order to truly realize the internationalization of the market and the internationalization of finance.

If I were forced to read this kind of babble all day long, I think that my mind would start to fragment.

Can anyone explain that sentence in more accessible language?  Is there a kernel of sense behind it?

Is the failure to communicate effectively in this article due to  the faulty premises of the political  system that underlie it?

Is this kind of palaver inherent in the writing of economic "science"?  Or would good economics writers condemn it?

P.S.:  If I try very hard, I can dimly discern what the author is trying to say.


  1. Jane said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 8:28 am

    At a guess, “To truly realize the extent of the internationalization of the financial industry and related markets, we need only examine the securities market.”

    But who knows.

  2. Rob Grayson said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 8:36 am

    A quick bit of re-parsing helps unearth what the author is, I think, trying to get at:

    "If the market and finance are to be truly internationalised, the securities market – as the focus of internationalisation of the financial market as a whole – must be targeted."

  3. Phillip Helbig said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 9:33 am

    For some reason, this reminded me of one of my favourite headlines, announcing Richard Branson selling stock: "Virgin goes public".

  4. Gregory Kusnick said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 10:43 am

    Rob Grayson has the gist of it. If we're allowed to paraphrase, I'd put it like this:

    If China wants to fully integrate its markets and financial services into the world economy, then the first step is to open up the Chinese securities market by removing barriers to foreign investment.

  5. Victor Mair said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 10:56 am

    One colleague, who called it "moronic drivel", reworded and edited the statement this way:

    Therefore, the international securities market as the international focus of the internationalization of the entire international financial market must be targeted internationally in order to truly realize the internationalization of the international market and the internationalization of international finance.

  6. Michael Leddy said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 11:39 am

    To make the entire financial market international, we must make the securities market international.

    (Can’t bring myself to write “internationalize.”)

  7. unekdoud said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 11:53 am

    Obviously "internationalization" is too long. My mind almost reached to shorten each occurrence to "i18n", even though that abbreviation has a different meaning.

  8. Philip Taylor said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 12:16 pm

    At the risk of seeming exceptionally dim, what does "i18n" mean if not "internationalisation/internationalization" ?

  9. unekdoud said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 2:36 pm

    "i18n" is overwhelmingly used in the computing sense: preparing software for adaptation to international markets. So I don't think it would (yet) include "internationalization" of the financial market.

  10. TM said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 3:10 pm

    In the writer's defense, despite the sentence being clearly translated from Chinese, some sense can still be made from it.

    Purely from the linked article, you can parse out the argument like this:
    1. China's (financial) markets can benefit from being more open / "internationalized"
    2. Ditto for China's financial system
    3. The (A-share / Shanghai) securities market is a significant component of China's overall financial market system
    4. Having A shares included in the FTSE Russell and S&P DJI indices is a step towards "internationalizing" the securities market
    5. Points 5 was essential for Points 1 and 2

    Doing a bit of search with the keywords in Chinese, it is highly likely to be a loose translation of the following article:

    Even the reference "financial products are not cabbages" was carried over. The article argues for the liberalization ("internationalization") of the Chinese securities market through more flexibility in its operations as well as alignment with other securities regulators on disclosure requirements, and asserts that China should be cautious about the liberalization of its capital account.

    Here is the offending phrase in the original Chinese:
    " 所以,证券市场作为整个金融市场国际化的重点,方向选择上一定要有针对性,如此才能真正实现市场的国际化、金融的国际化。"

    Doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary from the Chinese financial press and needs to be read in conjunction with the preceding sentence.

    My attempt at rendering it in English:
    Therefore, with the securities market being a key priority for [China's] efforts towards internationalization of its financial markets as a whole, there needs to be focus in selecting the direction of change, in order to achieve true internationalization of the [Chinese] financial markets and financial system.

  11. Noel Hunt said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 4:29 pm

    Isn't gibberish more or less characteristic of writing in finance, at least? An elaborate and rich, pseudo-technical vocabulary, with very faulty syntax, to discuss what is nothing more than elaborate gambling, ever so quaintly justified by pages of second-order differential equations?

  12. John Lawler said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 5:14 pm

    Reading only the quoted title and last sentence, my immediate strong impression was that it reads like the sentences constructed by the Chomskybot, which assembles them from randomly-chosen phrases in Chomsky's writings.

  13. Paul M said,

    September 26, 2019 @ 6:24 pm

    Hi Victor —

    I can’t remember which writer talked about this phenomenon—it might have been Lucian Pye—but it was suggested that Chinese essays are written differently than western ones.

    In the west, you have a logical progression. In China, the writer dances about a subject, mentioning anything and everything related, and then the reader is left to draw his own conclusion.

    A somewhat more modern quirk is to pretend at western logical structures while introducing a Chinese circular reference—if that makes any sense. It’s sort of like saying, “global politics matter because global politics are important.”

  14. Daniel Barkalow said,

    September 27, 2019 @ 12:20 am

    It's talking about stock indexes run outside of China including Chinese stocks in the indexes they track. Aside from mistranslating the jargon, the only problem I see with the article is that other financial newspapers are saying that the particular event the article starts with (further inclusion of China A shares in FTSE Russell's indexes) unexpectedly didn't happen.

    It's no better or worse than a Feb 4, 2018 article about the Patriots winning the Superbowl, translated poorly into Chinese would be: it would be kind of incomprehensible due to lost jargon, it would have a bunch of stats that were only kind of relevant and things you could say about any football game, and the Patriots also lost the game later that night.

  15. CD said,

    September 29, 2019 @ 12:42 pm

    Securities markets in China have long had restrictions that impede foreign purchases and trading, in particular by making a category called "A-shares" unavailable to foreign buyers. Among the anxieties is that foreign ownership and trading would enhance volatility. There are surely also concerns about foreign control. On the other hand there are potential advantages to drawing in foreign finance, at least for some players. So there's a policy debate and presumably strong views and deep interests on both sides.

    I know very little about China, but the article appears to reflect the views of the pro-opening side. It trumpets the recent inclusion of A-list shares in several foreign stock indexes, which paves the way for index funds to buy them (an index fund, generally, replicates an index by buying all the shares in the index at the index's weighting). Investors in index funds tend to be more "passive" i.e. less likely to buy and sell quickly.

    The 3rd para from the end acknowledges the views of opponents. The 2nd sentence from the end gestures at the article's core argument, that index funds will help "counter capital fluctuations" and "attract the entry of long-term capital" i.e. non-volatile investment.

    The last sentence is indeed mostly tautological, but its gist is that it is high time securities markets were more fully opened to foreign buyers.

    The article has little to do with academic economics, which is obscure for different reasons. It *is* characteristic of a lot of business press writing, which is that the intended audience does not need to be walked through the connections. I suspect here there is an additional layer of woolliness because the writer wants to tread carefully.

  16. CD said,

    September 29, 2019 @ 12:53 pm

    … so, contrary to Paul M, the article is in fact tightly logical in its construction! It just assumes a reader who knows the issues. Can we dispense with this self-regarding palaver about "Western logical structures"?

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