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alstry (< 20)

Why does "Economist" Scott Grannis HATE the facts????



July 20, 2009 – Comments (10)

Scott Grannis as a well respected Economics Blog at

He is constantly talking about how Green Things are....but when you offer him with factual data, he goes out of his way to dismiss matter how obvious the facts.

It seems strange that someone seeking intellectual respect would dismiss the facts.

Here is an exchange back and forth:

Here's an updated version of a chart I've shown before, using June data for container exports from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and goods exports through May. Things haven't bounced quite as much as I was expecting. However, I do think it's clear from this chart that the free-fall in global trade which began in the fourth quarter of last year has at the very least stopped, and has reversed to some degree. On a year over year basis, outbound LA container shipments were down only 9% in June, whereas they were down 29% last December.

24 comments: alstry said...

Do you know the contents of the containers???

As you know, the #1 and #2 exports by container from the U.S. is trash....scrap paper and scrap metal respectively.

alstry said...

Just to be serious for a second.

Many Economists cite Exports as an economic indicator.....but most economists don't realize that America's key export is trash.

As a percentage of container volume, trash is so high that using export container volume as an economic indicator is not much better than the contents.

FWIW, recyc papyer prices are up recently and could explain the higher volume.

The following are cites to a couple articles:

alstry said...

To be really serious,

If you notice, LA container traffic was much better than Long Beach, looking at the second link I provided, you would see that waste paper was piling up due to depressed pricing in the Winter.

Prices picked up recently which helps explain the pick up in L.A. relative to Long Beach.

Hopefully this clarifies things a bit.

alstry said...


Just a quick question to digress a bit.....

In Law and business analysis, the facts, and weight of the facts, are important in building a foundation to reaching a presentable conclusion.

And in Law, socratic discourse is encouraged when the facts are in dispute.

In Economics, do the facts matter?

I ask this question in all seriousness because I was at a dinner once and when I raised a point about mortgages to a highly regarded Economist from the Fed, he responded to me, in part, that he didn't like facts getting in the way of his theories......

Is this line of logic common among economists, and if so, is getting the right conclusion important in Economics?

Scott Grannis said...

alstry: your high regard for facts is just hot air. If you had done some basic due diligence, you would have discovered that paper scrap represented a mere 10% of outbound container shipments from Los Angeles in 2007, at a time when prices were sky-high. Volumes are almost certainly down today, but paper probably represents less than 10% of this year's shipments. That shipments are up significantly from year end on a seasonally adjusted basis thus implies that non-paper exports are doing quite well.

alstry said...


I hope you understand and appreciate that my only goal is to determine the truth with this socratic discourse. Without a doubt, the majority of U.S. Exports by container volume is simply waste paper.....I am not sure where you obtained your 10% number, but I am not sure if it is valid.

Here is some more data:

America's largest exporter, in terms of volume via container, remained a company virtually unknown in the United States: American Chung Nam Inc. The Chinese company exported 211,300 containers of waste paper to its Chinese sister company, Nine Dragons Paper Industries. Its exports were one-quarter the amount of Wal-Mart's imports. American Chung Nam's cargo was worth virtually nothing in the United States.

Weyerhaeuser was the country's second largest export company, with 165,800 TEUs filled with paper. At least 10 of the 20 largest U.S. exporters shipped paper or waste paper in 2007; four others shipped bulk chemicals and one shipped scrap metal. Only one of the top 20 U.S. exporters was a U.S.-based product manufacturer: Procter & Gamble. The few remaining large U.S companies among the top 20 exporters via ocean container sold bulk chemicals, agricultural commodities or paper.

Few of America's top corporate giants were shipping manufactured goods via container to overseas markets. Mighty General Electric ranked 23rd among exporters with 41,200 container equivalents shipped. But the company imported three times that amount (112,900 containers) and was ranked 11th among importers. Caterpillar was in 27th place among exporters, behind 12 wastepaper exporters.

Thanks for your patience trying to get to the bottom of this....for all of our sakes.

Scott Grannis said...

alstry: read the articles you linked to. They have the data I referred to.

alstry said...


Thanks again for your patience and civility....I have read the articles and could not find anything relating to export container VOLUME being only 10%.....

It was clear that paper was in a depression last Fall, but thank goodness it has improved this Spring.

Scott Grannis said...

One of the articles cited the fact that 164,000 containers of paper scrap were shipped out of the port of LA in 2007. If you check the port's statistics, they shipped a total of 1.6 million containers that year.

alstry said...


American Chung Nam Inc. alone shipped over 200,000 containers.....

Scott Grannis said...

I am rapidly losing patience here. As the article states, "America Chung Nam ... annually exports over 211,000." That does not specify a time period, nor does it specify a port. Earlier in the article an LA port official is quoted as giving total containers of paper scrap shipped in 2007.

Your sloppy use of facts is a waste of everyone's time. I will exercise my veto power if this continues.

alstry said...


The data is per year and virtually all of Chung's scrap goes to think it is reasonable to think that trash is shipping off the East Coast to China?

This is just an area I know a thing or two about.

I don't mean to upset you....I would think getting to the bottom of this would be your goal as well.

If I am wrong, I would truly appreciate you bringing the correct data to my attention.

Thanks again for your patience and hard work you put into your blog.


Some portion of Chung's shipments could be going out of Long Beach, couldn't they?

In any event, paper scrap represents a small fraction of container shipments. And regardless of the amount, shipments of paper scarp represent value added for someone, otherwise they would not exist at all. To dismiss the rising volume of container shipments just because 10% or so are paper scrap is a specious argument.

July 20, 2009 10:48 AM

 When I responded to Scott with the following clip from above.....he had it and deleted my post:


In any event, paper scrap represents a small fraction of container shipments.

Alstry:  This is from ABOVE:

Caterpillar was in 27th place among exporters, behind 12 wastepaper exporters.

My we were discussing container volume, 12 of the top 27 exports are WASTE PAPER exporters....the number one exporter is a WASTE PAPER can Mr. Grannis say with a straight face that paper scrap represents a small fraction of container shipments????


10 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 20, 2009 at 2:50 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

For clarification....

When Scott was referencing 164,000 containers.....the article was actually discussing PAPER.....not scrap paper.

At first it is easy to understand Scott's confusion, but when offering him additional facts, he continues to simply dismiss them.

At the outset, I knew traditional Economics was NOT PREPARED to analyze this historic downturn....hence, that is why I invented Alstrynomics....the common sense and honest approach to Economics.

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#2) On July 20, 2009 at 3:01 PM, leo744 (< 20) wrote:


 That's the typical American response....just bury you head in the sand and it will eventually go away!!!! Right......WRONG!!!

 When will Americans start waking up and show some guts, and start taking on Wall street and these Banking monopolies!  

My fear is that one day we will wake up not to the US Constitution, but to the ways of Lennonism......Stand up America and take heed....a war is coming your way and you don't even see it...much less preparing for it!!!

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#3) On July 20, 2009 at 3:48 PM, OldEnglish (27.37) wrote:

Much praise Alstry. You nailed Scott on this. He's dead wrong and took the censorship route. Time to break out the Kool Aid and start dying his punk panties now. (It's a prison reference). I hope more people see this post. Legitimate analysis and almost traditional punctuation. Absolutely top notch.

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#4) On July 20, 2009 at 5:08 PM, Melaschasm (< 20) wrote:

I am not sure if Scott is wrong, because I have not seen any data that tells me what percentage of recent container volume is trash paper.  Scott cited the 10% figure from 2007.  I did not see anyone cite a specific % from 2009.

Based upon the lack of response from Scott, I suspect he does not have data regarding the trash paper % either.

I would also like to note that container volume is not including a great variety of American exports.  Much of what America exports is not physical goods but rather intellectual property and digital goods. 

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#5) On July 20, 2009 at 5:20 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

What Scott and I were discussing was CONTAINER VOLUME, no more and no less and he was relying on it to make is point.

He indicated waste paper volume was only 164,000 containers citing an article I provided.  That article was referencing paper...NOT WASTE PAPER.  If you add relatively low value paper to waste paper...we are contemplating the vast majority of container volume leaving the West Coast ports.

When 12 of the top 25 exporters are exporting Waste Paper, and the #1 by far is a Waste Paper exporter ....only a fool could say:

paper scrap represents a small fraction of container shipments.

Why do you think Scott deleted my last entry raising this point?

Scott is what I define as an intellectual wimp....let's see how long the Green Shoots Grannis charade guess is not beyond 9.09.

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#6) On July 20, 2009 at 5:23 PM, UKIAHED (32.09) wrote:

The data is per year and virtually all of Chung's scrap goes to think it is reasonable to think that trash is shipping off the East Coast to China?


Actually, yes. 

Material moving from the Atlantic Seaboard and transiting the Panama Canal will likely spend 22 days on the water. So, the total shipping time could be more than 45 days, door to door.”

In fact, America Chung Nam has their East Coast offices on the New Jersey piers.

They have other world-wide offices in: New Jersey, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Rotterdam and United Kingdom, Japan and Taiwan.

I would expect that they ship from the closest and cheapest place they can.  I’ve gotta think that if they can get from Europe to China via boat – they can get from New Jersey to China via boat.  And I’m pretty sure that it makes more sense to ship the containers from Seattle than LA for the Pacific Northwest zones…

If you follow the above link – it was actually interesting to me that the most cost was associated to moving the materials across land.  The water shipping was the lowest cost…

Anyway – I’m not sure why Scott Grannis could not have given you this info/interpretation.


 Much of what America exports is not physical goods but rather intellectual property and digital goods. 

We do ship a lot of physical goods - but most of our export items do not fit in a standard container.  A Cat D-6 will not fit into a standard container - a Boeing 737 would also be a tight fit...:)


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#7) On July 20, 2009 at 5:51 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:


12 of the top 25 exporters are waste paper out of LA and Long Beach...including most of the top ends there.

That was the point we were contemplating.

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#8) On July 20, 2009 at 8:27 PM, ofset (< 20) wrote:

WOW Alstry. you are the biggest 47 year old baby on earth.  You are getting OWNED on a daily basis on his blog. 

Get a life loser.

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#9) On July 20, 2009 at 9:51 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:


The fun part is actually I own Scott.......;)

Seriously, what kind of competent Economist uses container volume for exports as a relevent Economic have to undrestand, I used to cross examine Econmists for fun in  court and get the exact same reaction when the get frustrated for saying something stupid.

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#10) On July 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM, skeptic86 (36.01) wrote:

entertaining conversation. you guys werent really arguing the point of the blog. scott is saying the deceleration of declining year-over-year exports means the economy is rebounding. looking at his chart, it looks like volume has increased, but the dollar value is still declining versus dec 08. your coversation about some of the facts is kind of pointless.

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