I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers.
— Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire.
For sins, multiple and manifold alas, time spent reading about China through eyes of the United States Economic Security Review Commission, report published late November..
Fascinating stuff, rich in minutiae macroeconomic and historical – not to say hysterical.
If you’ve eaten fish recently, a fair possibility since per capita annual consumption of seafood in America rose by 30 per cent to 16.5 pounds between 1980 and 2006, there is a one in five chance approximate that it came from China, which is the Global leader in ‘aquaculture’, or ‘fish farms’ – China has 4.5 million fish farmers. American catfish farmers complain that Chinese exporters sometimes bill their product as ‘Mississippi channel catfish’, because some fish farms in China raise fingerlings hatched in Mississippi.
The nerve of those Chinese!
Concerns about antibiotics led the state of Alabama to ban Chinese catfish, and Wal-Mart to remove frozen catfish fillets from its shelves in 2007. The report highlights the fact that the FDA is broken, and also the loopholes which exist for such as the Chinese, so that ‘Port Shopping’ whereby if goods are denied entry at one port, then another is tried, and ‘Transhipment’ where they are sent through other ports first to disguise origin, can prevail, way of nefarious.
All this has naturally played havoc with the fishing industry in America, given that Chinese fish farming is heavily subsidised.
Good job they didn’t focus on the American meat industry, because therein another horrific tale highlighting the toothless nature of the ‘broken’ FDA, dental extraction courtesy of lobby group ‘foot’ – but we digress.
So long and thanks for all the fish, so it goes.
Apropos of ‘subsidy’, another thing the report highlights is the fact that the Chinese State acts so as to give an artificial value to currency. We’re not talking ‘fiat scam’ or ‘petrodollar’ levels of depravity financial here, but it’s a tad unfair is it not?
These Chinese have the audacity to pollute the planet with their coal burning to fuel the sweatshops they run – and that’s before they switch from bituminous coal to the lignite variety – they’re not just grandfathering, they’re ‘great grandfathering’ as could be put.
Breathe easy in Texas – while in Shenyang?
Echoes of Marie Antoinette?
Want to know about pollution the American way?
While on the subjects of sweatshops and ‘laogai’ or ‘reform by labor’; this brief case study from the report – as intended to highlight the difference between America and China:
“Prison Export Manufacturing in the United States”
While the Tariff Act of 1930 bans the importation of prison labor products into the United States, there is no parallel provision in U.S. law that prohibits the export of products made in U.S. prison factory facilities and, indeed, some U.S. prison-made products are exported abroad. One example of such a line of products is Prison Blues, a brand of denim clothing manufactured by inmates at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton, Oregon. This enterprise is run by a company named Inside Oregon Enterprises, a division of the Oregon Department of Corrections, and was founded as a means of defraying the incarceration costs of inmates in the state of Oregon. The jeans and other denim products of the Prison Blues line are exported to Japan, where their associations with prison and perceived associations with American West Coast gang culture apparently give them a hip cachet among fashion-conscious young Japanese. The fundamental distinction between such products and those of Chinese prison factories, however, lies in the matter of forced labor: U.S. inmates involved in light manufacturing enterprises participate on an entirely voluntary basis and are paid wages (albeit minimal) for their work. Chinese prisoners laboring in laogai enterprises, on the other hand, are compelled to work and are exposed to far more inhumane conditions. Furthermore, manufacturing in U.S. prisons does not play the central economic role it plays in laogai prison enterprises, where the imperatives of punishment and economic production on behalf of the CCP- controlled state are deep seated and inextricably linked.”
See the difference?
Think defraying costs, think light labor, think entirely voluntary, think hip cachet, think brand name.
Think of pot and thence of kettle?
Now ‘Prison Blues’ may be an initiative commendable and demand further investigation as to rehabilitation and ‘audit social’ of enlightenment humane such sense, and there are certainly some positive moves existing concerning prisons American – see for example:
but in context of this report concerning China and America, and wider occurrence prevalent concerning imprisonment as a rule, way of per capita, such case study demands being set to tune of: ‘Springtime for Hitler’ – and chorus of ‘four legs good, two legs bad’?
Bet the boring old Chinese Communist Party (CCP) couldn’t come up with parallel concerning marketing their ‘laogai’.
Wal-Mart beneath shade indeed, take those food stamps rather than prison any day – ‘whaddya say, Sam’? ( Moore Walton this case as founding father Wal-Mart, though given wealth distribution as below, Uncle as could be in the ‘translation’ effected wealth and power?)
Five out of ten wealthiest say as is the American Way – and ‘State subsidy’ need not be as ‘bad’…
Not quite up to the famous cat food ad, but on the way – given as what food stamps can purchase these days – as so many Wal-Mart employees know so well?
But enough of Marie Antoinette echo; if not of varieties of ‘prison’.
China has four times the population of the USA but not as many in prison because, because …well their prisons are far more inhumane!
(This, aside from the growing number reliant on food stamps as state subsidy to labor corporate?)
It’s just completely beyond the pale.
Chinese prisons make ‘Supermax’ look like holiday camps?
Something else with the Chinese is that they are starting to use their money to generate political leverage over resources- they are on a ‘charm offensive’. They even had the audacity to usurp an IMF deal with Angola – ‘economic hit men’ indeed! Who do they think they are? Gone so far as to have their own ‘axis of evil’, what with Tibet and Taiwan, albeit those countries only on their doorstep, unlike the American axis which extends way beyond mere geographical consideration context of proximity. The Chinese have the audacity to single such ‘axis’ out for special punitive treatment, though they haven’t quite gone as far as to ‘embargo’ hundreds of thousands of children to death in a far off land and claim it was worth it, or completely destroy the infrastructure of a foreign State and litter the environment with depleted Uranium, but they are learning, ‘mutating’ even, and give it time… Maybe their leadership might even be able to pronounce ‘nuclear’…
The Chinese have their own ‘Sovereign Wealth’ funds now as China Investment Corporation (CIC) and State Administration for Foreign Exchange (SAFE). What is more they are ‘buying into’ America in form of stake in Blackstone and in 2008, CIC invested $100 million in Visa’s initial public offering and signed a deal with J.C. Flowers & Co., a U.S. private equity firm, to launch a $4 billion private equity fund focusing on investments in U.S. financial assets.
Not so much ‘reds under the bed’ as ‘reds under the hedge’ (fund).
‘Thin end of the wedge, boys’ – as they say in Chicago; way of ‘party’ scholar.
Give it time and CIC and SAFE could become as World Bank and IMF?
Perish the thought.
On that subject, aren’t we all relieved that at last the World Bank has initiated a ‘two factor authentication’ process? According to them, and this not in report, but way of aside, the November 7 lockdown came only days after the World Bank moved more than 100 of its employees into an empty floor of one of the IMF’s two buildings on Washington’s Nineteenth Street, N.W., just across from the World Bank headquarters. Nothing like slamming the stable door shut when the horses have bolted. Terabytes of data lost the possibility, and the smart fingers aren’t pointing over at India, Satyam debacle or ‘comedy of errors’ ongoing apart, but at the Chinese and thinking: ‘Cyberwar’.
See here for a most interesting analysis of ‘rules of engagement’ concerning same.
Why would the Chinese want to know what the IMF and World Bank are up to, or planning anyway?
Nick Day, who runs ‘Diligence’, a private investigative firm which has worked extensively with numerous large corporations, puts it succinctly:
“What the Chinese are looking to do is to get influence over a number of third world countries where there are assets in particular, where there’s minerals, oil, etc. — where there’s wealth that would be strategically useful. And if the IMF is not going to bail them out, or is going to bail them out at a rate which is fairly punitive, then the Chinese can go into those countries and say, “Don’t go to the IMF. Come to us. We’ll bail you out and we want exclusive deals over the next 20 years to all your mining concessions in your country, access to mineral wealth, access to oil’— all the raw materials that China is going to need to keep carrying its economy forward.”
Kind of like ‘insider’ trading really, but where the inside information has come by way of cyber-espionage – as particularly nefarious and apropos of Jonson quote end this small article?
Now the thing is, these tactics not new.
No whore like an old whore indeed.
There is, for example, considerable speculation about the ‘back door’ built into Microsoft systems architecture and the NSA, as demonstrated by Nils Ferguson and Dan Shumow. This not found in report either.
Nothing like: ‘proper preparation preventing poor performance’. (Though if one is uncouth one adds another ‘p’)
Want to know more about such matters way of letter in acronym – develop a talent for encryption and you will find you will meet all sorts of people ‘pdq.’
One could go on at length about the implications of the report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. You can read it here. As released for public consumption it has a wealth of information; even a charming modesty of tone concerning parallel of Socratic insight at times. (No way the Chinese would release such parallel analysis; ‘compartmentalisation’ being synonymous with ‘party’, more words for former in the Chinese than Eskimos have for ‘snow’?)
Or read on for a non executive summary, as follows – minus a couple of hundred pages the full report.
Beats a trade deficit any day.
Cutting to the chase:
The Chinese are running rings round America when it comes to ‘getting the act together’. They’ve done it by deconstructing the disparity between the free market ideology of American Capitalism and the reality of what happens on the ground; essentially mirroring the American Way at such level, bullshit apart, jumping ahead by leaps and bounds when it comes to resolving the internal contradictions as expounded by Marx concerning the ‘big players monopolisitic’ – and getting straight down to cartel. Think a ‘concentration camp’ in mind concerning debt peonage? How about ‘Supermax’ a holiday camp, ‘water boarding’ mild amusement? – the Chinese are cancer serious.
There’s nothing in the report which does not resemble ‘pot calling the kettle black’ – both Economies are playing the same old game, it’s just that the Chinese are winnowing away at the American lead, and exacerbating hubris financial as well as in terms of hegemony, because of the seriousness of their dedication and the unified nature, ideologically as well as functionally, of effort. Whenever the Chinese hear the word ‘Capitalist’ they reach for their Economists – and not just back issues publication paper authoritative way of being seminal under discipline either, but the real McCoy, – Stiglitz like in insight, going by results.
‘Rocky’ is running up the steps to theme tune ‘Eye of the Tiger’ – images of a boxing match evoked, some big, ring wise fighter grown cocky in the title of ‘champ’ with a knockout punch meeting some up and coming lean and mean jabber – eye on the ring and fight at all times, as in transformation of opponent to ‘chump’, way of ‘sic transit’ deliberation in the intent as to TKO, or points decision if not to count of ten. Lean and mean not without own repertoire of dirty tricks way of ring wise e.g. offering up ‘pies’ to opponent to fatten them up further, slow them down – how’s about another little addition to trade deficit? ‘ Sterilization’ of currency as to ‘fiat’? Or just a little mint – way of some cheap hardware, or financial institution – bought at ‘over the odds’ price?
The key question, much as one fails to admire hegemony and megalomania: whom to ‘support’?
One way or another be as demand; reluctance foreshadowed.
For me it is not a question, such is sadness.
My admiration, not so distant, of the American System being that it is predicated upon a Constitution enshrining ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, and though may have lost its way a bit concerning Democracy, and the rest attendant, still yet provides ‘safe passage’ for the disturbingly idiosyncratic and paranoid who waffle on about ‘humanity’ and ‘Democracy’ – though don’t try selling that one to a certain ex Senator trying to fly out to Syria, such mine admiration.
Mindset egalitarian and quite frankly ‘don’t give a damn’ in attitude as in ‘anyone in public office is fair game’ approach, would not last two minutes in China – nor would a Democratic Organ which elects to publish material reflecting same.
Gone with the wind indeed.
Most of the individuals who write for this publication would find themselves in for a spot of ‘laogai’ at best. Internet Surveillance Division ‘Jin-Jeng’ and ‘Cha-Cha’ would be working overtime, along with the ‘Fifty Cent Party’ and the ‘big mamas’ – these terms as explained in the report – and illustrating parallel of ‘Bulwark Defender’ perchance?
This quote from a ‘Party Scholar’ (now there’s an oxymoron to scare shitless, ever there was, rivalling ‘compassionate conservative’ in the synonymy, if not by way of alliteration, and ‘windy city’ parallel as to school economic aside) also from report:
‘In an information society, the internet is an important position in the ideological domain. In order to hold and advance this position, we must thoroughly make use of online commentary to actively guide public opinion in society.’
No first amendment in China, let alone fifth.
So when it boils down to it; rather sadly that old choice between the lesser of two evils, and that old Devil called ‘lust’ – ‘love’ being beyond such degeneracy way of possession.
The tragedy of the American situation is that much genius has been expended on Constitution, whereas in China one just doesn’t, try as might, get the same ‘resonance’ – which is why, in addition to the comparison apropos of Tennessee Williams made by Patrick A Mully and Peter Vedenieks as Commissioners in additional views of the report, herein concurred with up to a point concerning not putting trust in ‘strangers’ – in the fond hope, as personal addition, that they will ‘seduce’ rather than ‘rape’ – because one way or another that is way this tale has to go way of denouement, ‘charm offensives’ aside.
It really is a kind of a parallel to the wisdom of Blake, and the fool who persists in the folly.
Just at the point where any ‘wisdom’ is starting to come to the fore when it comes to Hegemony and Empire – bam! Up steps a new pretender, as new boss to be who will be tragically just like the old boss. Who will go through the same learning curve of inflicting horror by way of ‘the cause’; who will carry out the same tragedy of foolhardy exercise of ‘power’ designed to perpetuate, who will slip the same age old noose around neck of common humanity – and kick away stool.
Just before ‘benevolent paternalism’ arises concerning ‘going short or long’?
What does it take to break such vicious cycle?
This indeed the question; along side the issue of the ‘kindness of strangers.’ – when they aren’t really strangers at all, more a mirror to the same power game?
If you elect to have a read at that report – my suggestion: keep this quote from Ben Jonson in mind concerning your own non executive summarising:
‘They that know no evil will suspect none’
– Indeed I do declare: Blanche; she should have known better.
The ‘why’ left up to you – such the ‘philanthropy’; as ‘brioche’ not being French for ‘cat food’ – or ‘Wal-Mart’ Chinese for ‘takeover’ – but give it time, boys, as they say in Windy City – way of party scholarship?
STEPHEN MARTIN can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org