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China’s Stock Market Crash Is the Latest Crisis of Global Capitalism


China’s Stock Market Crash Is the Latest Crisis of Global Capitalism

Walden Bello

It’s always amazing how the stock market pulls big surprises on those who should know better.

The momentous rise in share prices in the Shanghai stock exchange from mid-2014 to the middle of this year, when the composite index shot up by 150 percent, should have been a strong indication of what Alan Greenspan labeled “irrational exuberance” — the sign of an impending collapse of stock prices far above the real value of assets being traded.


It's interesting to read Walden Bello on the Chinese economy, and then read Pepe Escobar. From differing "left" perspectives, both analysts have studied the topic way deeper than i have, but come to startlingly opposite conclusions about the strength and prospects of "economic growth" for China.

Even if both these analysts have studied China's economy way more than i have, i think they both miss some fundamentals:

Economic growth is a terrible metric for anything good. Economic growth is an excellent metric for all kinds of horror, including ecosystem destruction and mass extinction. Economic growth absolutely undermines prospects for human existence on a healthy Earth, and needs to be abolished as a positive metric.

If we're going to measure anything as a basis for investing work or money in economic development, the fundamental measures MUST first be ecological health and resiliency, for ecosystems and species; and then human health and resiliency, for individuals and communities.

Economic growth as a metric and metaphor for "good" is based in colonialist, extractivist, capitalist models of "wealth building." The concept that one should "expect a decent return on their money" is a "civilized" expression of the looting that is the foundation of the "science" of economics.

Until this fundamental basis of "the economy" is subsumed in popular consciousness by the fundamental imperative of "the ecology," we will remain unable to comprehend the kind of economy and society that we actually must have.

Humans and human institutions must get in "right relationship" to the ecology, and this focus must permeate all our institutions and our daily lives.

(And thanks to the interwebs, for allowing me to check my writing and catch that i had first written "Pablo Escobar...")


Haven't seen what PE wrote but Bello, beyond being always highly informative, is still an acolyte of the systems you rightly fingered.


While I agree that 'raw' economic growth i.e. growth in capital by any means, is a volatile and unstable as well as unsustainable basis for an overpopulated and increasingly resource deficient world, China's experience with unchecked capitalism shows the flaws that are easier to spot then in the older capitalist systems. The results will nevertheless be similar.

When you gamble - you sometimes win and sometimes lose. By artful banking and governmental manipulation, the attempt is made to keep on winning. Economic growth as if it were the winner's circle. Economic downturns cause panic because nobody really wants to gamble - they just want to keep on winning. The world wide Ponzi Scheme known as the 'Market'! To speculate in stocks is to gamble. To knowingly speculate in overvalued stocks is a Ponzi Scheme. Evidently it is an irresistible lure.

The ideal of a 'right relationship to the ecology' is easily stated but hard to accomplish. You simply say it but make no attempt to explain how or what it would be like as opposed to the extractive wealth building currently in operation.

I think that given the limited time available to effect a positive change in the global warming 'downturn' fast approaching us all, that perhaps the need is not to effect a change in the wrong relationship or wealth building perspective but to change direction for the wealth building. Let the greedy bastards be greedy but be greedy using (and developing) alternative fuels rather than fossil fuels. Let the money hungry obsessive compulsive selfish be selfish but do it switching us from fossil fuels to alternatives, to clean manufacturing and agriculture rather than a dump it into the ocean (rendering vast areas as dead zones and toxic to sea life) model.

I don't think we have the time to change people from being hungry for money to ecological saints who only want a better world. We need to redirect their greed and desire for profit into less destructive ways instead. In other words to make it so that you'd make a bigger profit by developing alternatives than you would by continuing to use fossil fuels.

This is happening to the coal industry already. It is not a sure win money maker industry like it once was. Wind power and solar are fast becoming the surer way to make profits! We need to speed up this switch over.

We can change their mental outlook of the greedy later, once we save our planet. Meanwhile if we can show them that the big money is in renewables and alternatives, that is where they will go. Where profits are to be made, that is 'irresistible' to capitalists. As yet they remain deluded by their unwillingness to change.

But once coal was a sure thing and now they see it will not remain that way. We just need to redirect their need for greed to more healthy and helpful paths.


Thank you for calling out that gross mis-reading of our ecological health, within which the economic health thrives or dies.