Friday, March 15, 2013

Check the label on that rope

The People's Republic of China has a new President. It's an indication of just how powerful China has become that the west universally refers to Comrade Chairman Xi Jinping as a 'president' since he wasn't actually elected. He's been groomed for several years to take over as the figure head of the ruling coalition. After a couple years as 'Vice President' he was 'elected' Chairman of the Communist Party, then made head of the People's Liberation Army (by the military itself), and finally he was made Chairman of the seven member Standing Committee of the Politburo. Presto, you have a President.

Comrade Xi is a powerful man, but not in the western sense of the word. His power comes from bringing together the interests of a group of extremely powerful men. Powerful men that have overseen China moving in just 30 years from relying on steam locomotives to being on the cutting edge of technology. In fact after the new Chairman completes the next five year plan China will move past the United States in practically any measure you care to apply.

The US media used to make fun of 'five year plans', but China always hits the mark and there is nothing stopping them from meeting their current goals. There are Wall Street short sellers constantly  touting the imminent collapse of China. It's been 'imminent' for a long time now, while China moves ahead at flank speed. One of market 'oracles' favorite pieces of evidence are photos showing a landscape of empty malls and 'deserted' apartment buildings. This supposedly shows the bursting of China's real estate bubble and proving the 'imminence' of the economic disaster. This is just central planning, before building one of those massive factories China is know for, they build a city to house the workers, or three, or what ever they need. No austerity please.

In the US, libertarians and conservatives in general resist any sort of government planning. In places where they've been able to avoid any urban planning you have local governments that are totally dysfunctional, and unable to provide even basic services. The right likes to point to the New Deal as proof we don't want government involved in anything. They'll tell you with a straight face that "FDR caused the Depression, and only WWII got us out of it because it ended the New Deal". No matter that during 'War Time' everything business did required a permit from a government board, everything was rationed and price controlled. Most people either worked directly for the Federal Government or for a contractor funded and tightly controlled by the government. It was the New Deal on steroids with a huge dose of nanny state on the side.

Red China is definitely an oligarchy with not even any pretense of democracy, but you can make a lot of money in China and move way up from your current status. China has more middle class than we have people. In the US there is practically no upward mobility anymore and you are far more likely to drop out of the middle class permanently than succeed at bettering yourself. We're very close to losing democracy in the US, and our oligarchs aren't the 'benevolent' kind that build up the country for everyone's benefit. We have the greedy, stupid kind that will smash anything they can't take for themselves.

This will be the China century, and pretty soon they'll be making plans for the next China century. Supposedly communists used to say, 'capitalists will sell us the rope to hang them with'. Now the rope is even made in China.


Anonymous said...

Now that's funny you mention dysfunCtional government check out "wiliston north dakota" on you tube. A guy calling him self gregg zart has a great seires of vids on this modern day oil boom town. They really remind me of the grapes of wrath......over the last decade I've hauled a lot of wire rope to a logging supply co. Here in these parts in big old COSCO ( that's CHINA OCEAN SHIPPNG CO.) Containers. How 'bout them red necks bitchin 'bout the new ropr there hangin them selves with.

Anonymous said...

Saw a show on the modern machine shop in the US. In the not so distant past a journyman machinist would cut one widjet from a steel billet on a lathe per day. He was paid $19/hr in a union shop. Todays machinst will turn out 10 widjets per day using a computer programed automatic lathe that he programs himself. He gets paid $12.50/hr. Go figure.