Home | About | Donate

Neoliberalism Has Met Its Match in China

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/09/neoliberalism-has-met-its-match-china

1 Like

2017, China bought $19.5 billion in US farm commodities (prior to the trade war).
From this date forward, China will buy $0 in US farm commodities.

Trump, he’s a negotiating wizard!..Well if wizard means fool.
If you think this will only affect the agriculture industry, think again.

5 Likes

From the article:

“The Chinese have proven the effectiveness of their public banking system in supporting their industries and their workers. Rather than seeing it as an existential threat, we could thank them for test-driving the model and take a spin in it ourselves.” (emphasis added)

The existential threat is not to the US working class—quite the opposite, in fact—but to the obscene, undeserved wealth and power of the FIRE sector. The US Federal Reserve needs to be federalized with all deliberate speed.

2 Likes

By the way with the US still complaining about “Russian Interference” one of the organizers of the protests in Hong Kong is photographed consulting with the US embassy. The Chinese are convinced the US behind these demonstrations.

The US Government claims that the Chinese engage in thuggery in making this claim

What would the US do if members of the Russian embassy were consulting with peoples protesting those concentration camps? When it comes to pushing Countries around, China is no Venezuela.

4 Likes

We, the U.S. created a successful China.

When China offered Free Factory Space and Cheap Labor our Industrial Giants packed up and ran to China.

American Corporations ran like thieves in search of Cheap, Slave wages where they no longer had to deal with Unions or Pay their Employees a Fair Salary.

It was not the Genius of Chinese Banking rules that made them a strong competitor around the world, it was the Greed of American Corporations.

Our Fortune 500 companies, like Apple and General Motors ran to China looking for a Bargain and in the process shut down our Factories put high wage earners out of work and made ghost towns out thousands of communities.

Bring the Jobs back to America, Pay workers a decent fair salary and our Middle Class will blossom again and China will lose its competitive edge.

But American Corporations are too Greedy to change their tactics, it would mean sharing their profits and dealing with Unions again, they would rather find another country willing to work for slave wages.

3 Likes

the position of the US is flat out absurd:

“Our system has failed 80 percent of our people. We demand that you embrace it.”

Good for China. Keep giving the US the middle finger.

3 Likes

This is an interesting proposition. It is also more than a little scary.

If “neoliberalism has met its match,” the match is something very close to neoliberalism itself. The Chinese system is a collusion between government finance and corporations, mostly owned by the state. The dollar system, which includes but is partly outside of the US because of the structure of the petrodollar, is a collusion in a system largely privately owned, in which corporations mostly hire government.

Both of these share a single enormous problem. Some very small coterie of people direct government, finance, and distribution of resources so as to benefit that very small coterie of people.

Just because the United States has no real call to its bizarrely humanitarian reputation in some quarters does not mean that China has any particular call to anything similar. The US is clearly the more externally violent country, a serial invader and war criminal. However, China is massively oppressive internally. Ellen Brown is correct that the government does distribute internally to keep people happy. That should not be interpreted to suggest that much is distributed, nor that people are very happy.

There is certainly plenty right in suggesting that a replacement for the Fed should be found and that it should be controlled more locally–and in this case, an actual federal bank would be more local and quite likely would have greater motive to answer to the populace. On the other hand, placing greater control in the hands of the single most violent government on Earth has to have a down side. Furthermore, suggesting that a decent system might involve government assigned for-profit operations is dangerously myopic. We already have a lot of that going on in the States. What evolves is in one thing simple: the for-profit pays the government or some individual thereof to hire the for-profit And others have access to goods and services only insofar as they are judged to serve the hierarchy.

A description of this attributed to Benito Mussolini describes government and industry and population working together as bones and muscle fascia and connective tissue. But whoever says it, we’re talking about the same thing.

At a certain level, lending systems are not just about the flow of money.

3 Likes

I think the Federal Reserve should be abolished, and let the Treasury do what it was intended to do - manage and issue US currency as is its constitutional mandate. The Fed is a creature and creation of the banking cartel. Banks now create currency out of thin air by creating debt. Take our currency back from the banks and give it back to the people’s government where it belongs!!

3 Likes

China is an export platform, that’s its path to prosperity. I like this article because it broaches the concept of national self-sufficiency. Ellen Brown is on the right track. But it’s more complicated. As someone wrote the U.S. manufacturing base deserted the U.S. and sold-out to the cheap Chinese labor, and to the Chinese government. U.S. corporate owners made profits for rich shareholders and dumped their workers, and Chinese billionaire elites also multiplied. The Chinese workers benefitted, but they still lack voting rights and many worker rights. The U.S. trade balance has been in deficit for the U.S. for about 3 decades, I think, and that harms the U.S. economy, and rewards the Chinese or the Mexican economy or these other mercantilistic countries. I read Jeff Faux’s book The Global Class War, 2006, and he recommended regional self-sufficiency as opposed to global open markets. He writes still at his own site, and has an article from 2016 that I find interesting: http://www.jefffaux.com/?p=642 — The industrial policy with state or government oversight is fine, economists such as Jeff Madrick and Ron Baiman at Chicago Political Economy Group have written about it. It has to be coupled by worker power to control corporate greed, meaning seats on corporate boards, power sharing, profit sharing, ownership sharing. The Chinese model is troubled with huge inequality, lack of civil and political rights. This paradigm must be conceptualized; the nation has a revolution to manifest, and the debt issue related to government ownership is a part of the entire solution. Democratizing the economy involves more than shifting debt creation into the hands of the government. My blog: http://benL88.blogspot.com

1 Like

Our system has failed 80% of the people. 92% would be more like it.

These people are traitors and have to make restitution to America for destroying the manufacturing engine of our economy. The same thing is happening to our farming sector. Your fathers and grandfathers wouldn’t stand for this shit that is being shoved down your throat. Stand up for yourself and quit blaming minorities and teachers and liberals for your problems. It’s the big corporations and 1 %ers who are stealing your livelihood .

Reducing interest rates when the economy was growing during the Clinton and Dubya regimes enabled the housing bubble that was the major driver of the 2008 crash.

Current interest rate reductions will hasten and worsen the next crash that will once again increase the fortunes of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

I completely agree! The fractional reserve banking system, as it is, is tantamount to printing money, and in the USA that was a power supposedly reserved for Congress. Small, powerful groups shouldn’t be involved in this for their own profit.

More to the point where neoliberal mindsets are concerned - they shouldn’t be corrupting the government into forcing people to do business with group-monopolistic scams for the basics of a modern existence, which socializes the burden, locks in the customer, and privatizes the profits. That’s nearly the worst of all worlds for most of us, right there - like a public highway that leads without exit onto a price-gouging toll road.

Certain things need to be publicly owned, serviced, and accountable from end to end, and money supply is one of them.

1 Like

The jobs you seem to be expecting to come back were abundant in America because the rest of the world destroyed most of its industrial base in a world war. That’s not going to happen again; any conflict on that level will make nuclear exchanges likely, and all arguments will then be moot. Barring that, the advantages of local manufacturing are real, but will not convey the high-riding post-war economy of the 50’s the way some expect.

The other pain point is, of course, that manufacturing as we think of it is overwhelmingly automated. Manual human toil is getting devalued and replaced; basing a human’s worth to society on what a factory owner can make them do, as a system, hasn’t got a lot of runway left, and it’s creating some nasty scenarios in its last moments.

We’re headed for radical changes here, not a replay of old glory days, and we can go into that thoughtfully or accidentally.

3 Likes

i’ll agree to pretty much any high number…:slight_smile:

China did do us a dirty deed. They stole intellectual property and produced zillions in knock off merchandise over the years.

“China is massively oppressive internally.”

Not really. I spent months there twice and so did millions of other visitors over the years and few would call it “massively oppressive.” The well-known Singaporean educator Kishore Mabubhani pointed out years ago that over “120 million Chinese toured the world every year and they all return to their country.” Today Chinese tourists, reputedly the biggest spenders in the world, have probably increased to about 150 million.

“Ellen Brown is correct that the government does distribute internally to keep people happy.”

This happened only after around 2010. Before that migrants worked like slaves and suicides were common in companies like Foxconn. Mass demonstrations were common before Xi took over. The better distribution of wealth can be said to be forced upon the government and not necessarily something the authorities preferred. Wages did increase but it was rural development that persuaded many peasants to remain in or near their localities. As a result, labor became expensive in the coastal provinces.

“That should not be interpreted to suggest that much is distributed, nor that people are very happy.”

Compared with the poor in other developing countries, the average Chinese is rather well off. Average life expectancy is higher in China than in Malaysia and certainly towers over countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. This is a fantastic achievement for a country of 1.3 billion that, pre-1949, had an average life expectancy of around 25-30 years (somewhat like India when the British left the subcontinent).

My misgivings about China lies in its political structure: a government allied with corporate power can hardly prioritize the interest of the lower classes. As I noted here years ago, the tendency towards fascism is almost inevitable.

This article is great. Our neoliberal experiment has worked brilliantly for a few, but has failed predictably for workers, communities, and the planet.

China is comfortable with it national interests, and is comfortable with formidable national strategies that serve their national interests. Their success is an inescapable economic fact, that has broken the spell of neoliberalism. Thanks to Ellen Brown for saying what should have been obvious to everyone.

Neoliberalism cannot solve the defining problems of our time - inequality and climate change. These are the 2 biggest market failures in human history. We need national strategies that serve national interests - which we can do without being nationalists.

Thanks for the update, Larry.

Not all Chinese return; I taught English to quite a few until recently. Most did, others did not, though I did not understand them to be cutting ties altogether any more than the Hispanic community (here in California) generally does. Neither my students nor the tourists were or are the more impoverished people any more than are American tourists. So I don’t think that this is a particularly relevant measure.

I am not going to back off of “massively oppressive,” though I will acknowledge that one may argue over the characterization, since it is likely taken in misleading ways. I think it is important to understand, but because Americans imagine that Americans are not very oppressed, any term that is accurate literally is apt to be interpreted as caricature. But if one follows information about US-related industry into China, as into many other countries, one finds considerable suffering. And my experience of tourism in general suggests that tourists usually do not see these places or conditions. I am glad to hear that these conditions are improving, but not convinced that they are eliminated.

“Better than other developing countries” is far from utterly reassuring. I do not mean to imply that the problems are some unique product of the Chinese government or that those problems that involve it developed in a vacuum, only that problems exist.

I suspect that what you point to as a tendency towards fascism probably has a lot to do with what I am referring to. There are also caricature romanticizations of China as benign and enlightened, based on the very real and even obvious observation that it is less active and aggressive than is the United States and in some ways more open than the inflamed boil of power around the petrodollar, NATO, the IMF, the World Bank and so forth. A “tendency towards fascism” is not only a potential danger to the Chinese, but an actual condition of oppression, in China somewhat as here.

Collusion between government and corporate entities is intrinsically a problem in itself. I don’t see that Brown accords the dangers sufficient weight in her reasoning, though I always find her analyses here interesting. Recommending that the States go to a system in which central control of the dollar economy comes from the government and corporation creates a situation that I suspect is very like what you are calling a tendency towards fascism. But it is also what many of us might call fascism.

What makes this particularly interesting is that the system suspended most centrally between the US and Europe and including the Fed and the IMF and the very large financial institutions like the Rothschilds banks and Goldman-Sachs is not clearly better and is at least arguably worse–we see one such argument in Brown’s article, and insofar as these might be regarded as the only two pragmatic options, she might be correct. My objections are that other options are at least theoretically feasible and do not share the intrinsically oppressive centralization of power in these two systems, in which decisions are made to satisfy the perceived interests of a reductively small coterie of rulers whose perceived interests bear only an eccentric and tangential relationship to those of the greater commonwealth.

It is possible that we will not do better than what Brown depicts. But we ought to understand that the results of that are catastrophic. The perceived good of the ruling class bears almost no useful relationship to the wellbeing of the larger population, and this is why our civilization is rapidly destroying the basis for its survival.

But you know, sometimes the battle is really not to the strong, and sometimes one misidentifies the strong before the battle. And once in a while, someone spots foolishness before it comes to a complete crest. A lot of information suggests that we shift authority away from these central powers, so maybe we will do it.

Some interesting ideas along that direction include Bernard Lietaer’s The Future of Money, which describes social circumstances with multiple systems of currency, and the work of Elinor Ostrom, particularly Governing the Commons, which describes the evolution of social organizations around the sharing of inevitably common-pool resources in forests, fisheries, groundwater, rainfall, and the like. Ostrom takes her readers away from the oversimplistic game theory formulations that are almost universal to what is called economics.

These formulations and the systematized design of decentralized resource use and development in the alternative farming and gardening and transition movements and most particularly in permaculture create a basis to explore a more decentralized and more polycentric system of distribution involving smaller common holdings.

That is a system that would not lend itself to fascism or catastrophe. What we do now, to be a bit dramatic about it, is like driving a car with the windshield painted black and the driver blindfolded and following verbal directions from a drunk in the back seat: there is just very little relationship between the direction of the car and anywhere the car ought to go.