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Don’t Blame China

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Posted on Jan 12, 2010
U.S.-China trade toast
AP / Eugene Hoshiko

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, left, and China’s Vice Premier Wang Qishan make a toast during the signing ceremony of the 20th China and U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, last October in Hangzhou, China.

By Robert Scheer

The Chinamen did it. In the great American tradition of finding foreign scapegoats for our problems, the hunt is on to somehow hold China responsible for the misery that Wall Street financiers inflicted upon the world. Even the normally restrained New York Times editorial page argued Tuesday that China’s tying its currency to the dollar was a devious trick that “is exacerbating economic weakness around the globe.” 

Tell that to the shoppers at Wal-Mart and Costco who are managing to stay decently clothed while still affording some of the diversionary electronic trinkets that keep them from going crazy-mad at the bankers who cost them their jobs and homes. How absurd to blame China for a crisis brought on by Wall Street hustlers operating within a mile of the Times’ home office. The bankers’ greed was unleashed by a radical deregulation of the financial industry that the newspaper had once encouraged.

Back on April 8, 1998, a Times editorial applauded the “Monster Merger” of Citicorp bank and the Travelers insurance company to form the too-big-to-fail financial conglomerate that a decade later had to be bailed out by U.S. taxpayers. The merger represented a clear violation of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which Congress at that point had refused to repeal despite decades of lobbying by the banking industry. The Clinton administration issued a temporary waiver to allow the merger, and the Times couldn’t have been more pleased:

“Congress dithers, so John Reed of Citicorp and Sanford Weill of Travelers Group grandly propose to modernize financial markets on their own. They have announced a $70 billion merger—the biggest in history—that would create the largest financial services company in the world, worth more than $140 billion. … In one stroke, Mr. Reed and Mr. Weill will have temporarily demolished the increasingly unnecessary walls built during the Depression to separate commercial banks from investment banks and insurance companies.”

Citigroup led the way into the massive marketing of toxic collateralized debt obligations that has brought the world’s economy to its knees, and China, which did nothing to create that problem, suffered mightily as a result. Yet instead of attacking the U.S. and its dubious dollar, the Chinese continued to buy our questionable paper. For that reason alone we should be happy that China recently managed to turn the corner on the adversity we created for it, thanks to a stimulus program that makes ours pale in comparison. As a result, not only did China’s exports rise 18 percent last month, as compared to the previous December, but imports rose an astounding 56 percent. China is now not only the world’s biggest exporter, having surpassed Germany, but it topped the United States as the world’s leader in auto sales last year.

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All of this is good news, given the fact that hundreds of millions of people in China have witnessed a dramatic improvement in their lives. Instead of being a source of misery at home and undesired migration abroad, the once-feared Chinese population bomb is now a source of increasingly skilled labor and the most promising emerging market for the rest of the world’s products. Of course, with its vast population of more than 1.3 billion, China remains a very poor country, and if it doesn’t manage to spread the wealth to rural areas and solve major environmental problems the future may be dreary for the Chinese as well as for us.

That is precisely the reason we should welcome China’s success rather than bemoan it. If China has figured out how to cope with a U.S.-engineered financial meltdown so as to feed its people instead of starving them, isn’t that a victory for human rights that we all should applaud? But if that weepy sentiment doesn’t cut it for you, do we really want a trade war with China that might compel it to shun the dollar and stop carrying our debt load?

The Times’ editorial warns correctly that a “trade war with China would be disastrous” but then shifts the blame to China, stating “we fear no one is going to feel restrained if China doesn’t change its strategy.”

Suddenly, after a century of preaching the virtues of the free market to the world when we held the upper hand, we will now play the protectionist game? I think not. Too many jobs in this country, and too much profit for our big multinational corporations, would be lost to other industrialized nations. Anyway, it’s just absurd to blame a Made-in-the-U.S.A. crisis on a foreign import.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, January 18, 2010 at 1:10 am Link to this comment

Maximilien, in the USSR every single party member was elected democratically. Two candidates were put forward by the state, and the state then respected the will of the people. Obviously this was a scam, simply because there was not very much to choose between in the two selected candidates. All we are saying is that we now have almost exactly the same system. In the USSR people knew they were being had, so the state didn’t function very well as patriotism was difficult to engender. In our silly system many still believe they are living in a democracy and so they are patriotic rather than appalled by our government’s actions. That is why we are so much worse off than the Soviets were and will suffer so much more terribly for it.

We are creating enemies by the second, accumulating millions in debt by the second, killing innocent people by the minute. The notion that we are fighting a war between civilizations is a manufactured notion. Excluding the fringes—and those fringes have obviously been and premeditatedly radicalized—neither peoples have the slightest self-generated interest in warring with the another. Clashes between peoples are actually clashes between leaderships. When not interfered with by leaders (whether that be foreign leaders attacking them or their own leaders rousing them to attack or both) then we have war. The populace foots the bill and blood and the leadership gets more wealthy and powerful.

China is a perfect case in point. The peoples are interested in what the people of any country are: earning a living, protecting their families, being left alone. The trans-national elites have investments in “both sides”. They don’t really care who wins, only that there is the continual threat of war.

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By Maximilien, January 17, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maximilien   Brussels 17th Dec 010 at 16.22 hrs local time

I already mailed you this morning soul-searching comments about the relations between us and China, may I still add some further commentary to my previous remarks.

On 14th Dec last, the New York Times published an article “Chinese company Buys Rights to Make Old Saab Models” which requires a careful reading. We learned that General Motors sold to Beijing Automotive Industry Holding the right to technology from its Saab Unit that will help the Chinese Company to lift is profile “at home”. To some extent, these last two words should comfort us as exploiting Saab’s technology should be (in theory) used “at home”. Inasmuch as you are prepared to believe fairy tales, this one is not bad.

Another company named Spijker from Netherlands also competed for the deal together with the Russian bank Convers Group but we all know that Russians are loathsome for some past reasons, so the preference went to a Chinese group. But further, almost unnoticed an interesting statement i.e. “The Chinese automaker has long coveted Saab’s engineering expertise” as well as ” BAIC said the acquistion of Saab tooling has cut four to five years from its development plans”

On 23rd December 09 we read in a Reuters report that Chinese Geely nears Volvo buy, as Chinea ascends in autos”. Further that “Ford Motor stated it agreed on all substantial terms to sell Volvo to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, parent of Geely Auto”

But also that:” the value of the deal has been estimted at $1.8billion-far short of the 6.45 billion Ford paid for Volvo in 1999. Then the unavoidable question: what about shareholders’s approval of such a wonderful deal: maybe firing of the former Ford Supremos with lavish indemnities?

Reverting to the already mentioned GM sale of Saab to BAIC we note “BAIC’s Saab acquistion includes the intellectual property for Saab’s 9-5 and 9-3 and some equipment to make them .

Compared with our previous comment on our relations with China, and legitimate grievance against the passivity of our ” authorities” but also Wall Street and some branches of our industry (the real one, not the so-called finance “industry” ) we have to add GM and Ford which also decisively got rid of European carmakers together with “patents, tooling and equipment to make them” together with loss of jobs and know-how transferred from Europe to China. In the long run, the concept of “globalization” has been a catastrophy based on the illusion of so-called “society based on services” but finally reserved to a separate caste with its own criteria but cut off from the mass of the population, getting under way a dangerous class and political split in our society. Not only that, but also generating a deep malaise in Europe translated, for instance, within Nato and undermining its efficiency.

I have to apologize for this second chapter but things even if unpleasant must be said and contribute to our awareness of our loss of image abroad and also, an intrinsic weakness in progress?

Maximilien

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By Maximilien, January 17, 2010 at 5:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Maximilien, January 17th at 12.45 local time Brussels
I refer to the article written by Robert Scheer on 12th inst. “Don’t blame China”
I mailed a short message on the following day i.e.the 13th of which I quote the very last paragraph: “...social chaos in China should be a world disaster but on the other hand, I don’t see any comfortable issue to the current situation.But by the way, WHO DOES ? ”
I am daily carefully perusing the comments mailed by many readers and I should especially refer to the last three ones written by “JV99”-“PT” and “Inherit the Wind” .These three messages expressed well thought-out considerations but still, none of these comments gave a semblance of solution and this is extremely worrying.
Are we influenced by the fatalistic mindset which pervades some dark sides of the Arab world which we are-we like it or not - fighting in Irak and indirectly in Afghanistan (same creed but ethnically, Indo-Europeans) as in all these messages we readily admit that Wall Street is responsible, or -a good formula- “Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43 not to mention a tame Congress”. But did we not elect these people in a democratic way ? (or almost, remember the first Bush Jr difficult election) as we also are accountable for the mistakes of approving two unwanted wars, the Wall Street collapse (uncontrolled and lacking in civic spirit) which finally produced two unwanted earthquakes i.e. the Wall Street Collapse and slow but deadly desindustrialization.
Did we forget that Lenovo (Chinese) bought the private electronic branch of IBM with all the know-how related to our computers, that we sold planes to China but with a sizeable technology transfer as did the Europeans with their Airbus? And long before, Israel selling without angst its Lavi fighter-plane project and was ready to sell to China an advanced Falcon radar until we told them to stop this game? Did the Russians not authorize the Chinese to produce under licence some 200 advanced Sukhoi-29 then slowed the system after the first one hundred duly patented as in the meantime the Chinese started to export their Cheng-Du 11 showing a striking resemblance with their own planes ? The French sold their high-speed train system to China but so did Siemens and the Japanese but after three or four years, the Chinese are beating all speed records with their own system !

Still,I am impulsively developing a sould-searching mentality, a continued act of contrition but the question remains: what are we going to do NOW especially as we are in a vicious circle , selling them our Treasury Bonds for buying their cheaper but quality goods. Let’s face the truth, we are now in a kind of blind-alley and we must get out of it, as soon as possible (difficult but never impossible). There MUST be solutions : we have elected the President, the Congress Members and it is THEIR duty to get us out of this apparently hopeless situation alternatively, are they waiting for social problems, in the States, which could overturn our democratic system as well ?
Maximilien

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By bachu, January 17, 2010 at 12:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is nothing to worry about as long as the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. When that system breaks down there will be hell to pay in the US. So this is not bad news in anyway.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

China is not our friend. She is our competition and she has played the game the last 30 years far better than we have.  I don’t have to like the Chinese system, the way they built their economy, the cheats they’ve allowed and encouraged over the years (remember the Compact Disc bootlegging?) or the shoddiness of many of their products.

But,

It’s not China’s job to monitor and correct the stupidities and greedy grabs we did and allowed ourselves by our own companies.  We elected these @$$#0les—Why would China need a “Manchurian Candidate” when they had Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43, not to mention a tame Congress?

We did this to ourselves!

Imagine swimming in shark-infested waters and then deciding you’ll be able to catch more fish if you let a little blood into the water.  So you cut your own wrist…..Now you bitch that the sharks have gone into a feeding frenzy?  THEY ARE F***ING SHARKS! THAT’S WHAT THEY DO!!!!

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By P. T., January 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer asks if we really want a trade war with China.

We are in one already, and we are losing—hence the wiping out of U.S. industry.  However, the fault is not China’s; it is just pursuing its own interests.  It is the U.S.‘s fault for going along with China in attempting to maintain an overvalued dollar.

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By RdV, January 14, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Don’t be so sure that is such an improvement in the lives of the Chinese. Providing slave labor in sweat shops in a landscape increasingly unable to support life to profit US corps avoiding labor and environmnetal standards and rolling in obscene profits so American citizens can be tossed a couple of cheap trinkets as consolation for losing their jobs, their homes, their standard of living?

  Doesn’t sound like the citizens of either country are the beneficiaries.

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By JV99, January 14, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Sigh.  Always somebody else is responsible.  Not China, but the evil
monsters on Wall Street now.

How sad that you even pointed to the very people responsible in your
piece.  Us.  “Pogo’s Enemy.”  The WalMart shoppers who can still
manage to by Chinese made goods with their unemployment checks
while their homes is foreclosed because they mortgaged it to twice its
value to buy junk from WalMart.

Wall Street just made it possible and we loved it.  China was not stupid
- they just took all those jobs we were too good to do anymore and
sold us the opium we could not buy fast enough from them.  They did
not lie or cheat or steal, they just did what we asked them to.

Its us baby.  We took all that free money and sent all our
manufacturing jobs to China and computer jobs to India and kept the
service jobs - like banking and retail clerks at WalMart for our selves so
we could mortgage our houses and run up our credit cards and buy
everything on the planet with it.

I have a mirror, want to see if you have a reflection in it?

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, January 14, 2010 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

I found this article interesting:

http://www.rense.com/general82/uspol.htm

(don’t look to rense.com for most things…rense has
some beyond nutty crap on his site, but this was the
only full copy of this Webster Tarpley article on the
.NET that I could find.)

I agree that China has not been taking the bait for a
while now. They have ten times more control over us
than we do over them at the moment. Virtually
everything that is happening in the Middle East, Asia
and Africa traces back to our Brzezinski-controlled
plots against Russia and China. Chine may we end up
owning much of the US, as they already do of Canada.

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By truedigger3, January 14, 2010 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Re:By Timmay, January 14 at 1:46 am #

You talk in generalities and didn’t address the main points of my post.
China already own about one trillion dollars( that is a T) in US Treasury bonds.!!!
What “fire sale” you are talking about?. Can you give some exapmles.? Do you consider buying the Hummer operations is a smart move?? In my humble opinion, it is a dumb move.

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By Timmay, January 13, 2010 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truedigger3,

I don’t think China has been enticed by our bonds for some time now. Remember, they and every other industrialized nation were/are still reeling for our funky Wall Street derivatives that were rated considerably higher then our bonds by Moody’s. At this point, they could dump a light load of U.S bonds and hardly feel it, but it would shock the hell out of us.

China’s foreign ministers and top investors are telling their country’s wealthiest to wait and see if the U.S. markets recover. They’ll enjoy a good fire sale on us, which should give 85% of South America a good laugh because the U.S. enjoyed many fire sales within their industries. The U.S. doesn’t have to be top dog anymore. That is the beauty of globalization.

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By Big B, January 13, 2010 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

“The Chinaman is not the issue here…and Dude, Chinaman is no longer the preferred nomenclature, Asian American, please.”

Ardee, I would be surprised if you did not know that less than infamous line from “The Big Lebowsky”

It is hard for me to think that our dealings with the “chinaman” don’t qualify as begging to our own demise. It was, after all, our big businesses that made the chinese economic revolution possible by moving as many american jobs as possible to that region on the world. They just took the ball and ran with it from there. It’s funny that when one looks back you see that china is building their nation on the same model as did late 19th and early 20th century america did, on the backs of a seemingly inexhaustable amount of cheap labor (we did ours with cheap immigrant labor, theirs is nearly a billion country bumpkins who can no longer make a living off the parched land of inland China)They will, however meet a different fate than we have, as their forrests vanish and they continue to burn more coal than anyone can mine. We lived long enough to choke on our own arrogance, they will choke on their own smoke.

Different paths to the same pugatory.

Oh, I gotta do one more…
“Am I the only one who cares about the fucking rules!!”

there, I feel better now.

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By truedigger3, January 13, 2010 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer wrote:
“The Times’ editorial warns correctly that a “trade war with China would be disastrous”
__________________________________________________

The Times is taking part in obfuscating and misleading and bullshitting the public.
Corporate America has transfered most of its manufacturing operations to China, and as a result laid off millions of US workers.
Most of the products imported from China, are originally US products, which are produced in totally or partially owned US manufacturing plants in China.
So, a trade war between the US and China doesn’t make any sense at all, because both countries will be at war with themselves. Both of them are partners and has important part to play in the partnership.
An imortant part of this partnership is that China uses large part of its savings to buy US Treasury bonds, and doing so, China is helping finance US budget deficits. So, a trade war means that China will not have extra savings to buy US bonds and finance the US deficit.
There is a lot of bullshitting going around about the relation between US and China.

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By ghostrider67, January 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Yes China is to blame.
They made us start two illegal wars that so far has cost a couple (officially acknoledged) trillion dollars and still going as Obama has just announced the first military budget for this year->

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100113/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_obama_war_funding


And yes lets not forget the hundreds of millions of bonuses for the fat assed CEO’s that saw the decline and chaos reigning in the financial sector and chose to exploit rather than sensibly find a solution..oh wait,lets see..yes the untold billions to Israel to steal and plunder while massacring the palestinians,and a few more billions spent on propping puppet regimes around the globe(afghanistan,pakistan,egypt,yemen,etc etc)and the cost of seven hundred or so military bases around the globe plus the countless billions spent on hiring private contractors to protect those bases and while we are it,lets also blame china for the gas guzzling monsters we manufacture for the average joe to go vacationing or to drive down wall mart.
The list can go on and on till i run out of space,but its just pathetic that The mighty USA has started to sound just like their beloved cry baby sister state Israel that blames everyone else but themselves for their problems.

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By ?????, January 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is completely natural for us humans to blame some one else for our own faults. Nations are of no exceptions as they are run by a selected/ elected human beings. You can only hope for situations like this to be improved but hardly do they actually get any improvement.

For people who are offended by the word ‘chinamen’, please take into consideration that it actually is a regular word which denoted men of china. We don’t have to make a mountain out of a mole :p

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By prole, January 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

The “normally restrained New York Times editorial page”??!! Since when?? Was Scheer born on Tuesday? Did he never wade through a NYT op-ed – or even a few noxious lines of one – by the rebarbative Abe Rosenthal, late exec. Ed. up until ’99. And since succeeded as editorial page dir. by his like-minded son Andrew, who carries on the unrestrained family tradition.  Or perhaps the frothy fulminations by Rosenthal’s hand-picked contemporary featured editorial successor at the Times, the equally repellant Thomas Friedman are Scheer’s idea of pleasingly ‘restrained’? 
  “How absurd to blame China for a crisis brought on by Wall Street hustlers operating within a mile of the Times’ home office”...and how equally absurd to go to the opposite extreme and extol China. This is typical Scheer illogic. Just as Scheer is always glorifying Obama because he’s not Bush, now we’re to have it that China is unsullied because it’s not Amerika. In fact, there’s plenty of blame to go around. We’re all pretty well aware that China is not “responsible for the misery that Wall Street financiers inflicted upon the world.” But that hardly makes China any great paragon of virtue in its own right (and likewise Obama vis a vis Bush). China is responsible for inflicting plenty of misery on Tibetans and Vietnamese and Uighurs, and others in the world. And although China doesn’t hold a candle to the crimes of state Amerika has been guilty of in the outside world, it still doesn’t let China off the hook.
  And “the fact that hundreds of millions of people in China have witnessed a dramatic improvement in their lives”...in some material ways, does not alter the fact that China is rigidly ruled by a secretive, authoritarian government that has ruthlessly suppressed nascent democracy movements among its own population and severely dealt with dissidents. Government censorship has become so widespread in China that Google is now on the verge of pulling out of the country altogether. In the political sphere not much has changed since Tiananmen Square despite Sheer’s short memory. And “the once-feared Chinese population bomb is” still to be feared. Over-population of the human species, no matter where it occurs, is still the biggest threat to the planet and the seminal source of most other problems. It’s hardly anything to cheer about that China “topped the United States as the world’s leader in auto sales last year.” And topped the U.S. in production of global-warming gases, too! The thought of a billion Chinese driving gas-guzzling SUV’s is an environmental nightmare. It would be far more hopeful if Chinese - and Amerikans - all rode bicycles. So if China really has “figured out how to cope with a U.S.-engineered financial meltdown so as to feed its people instead of starving them”, then that might be one kind “victory for human rights that we all should applaud”. But before we get all “weepy” about that sentiment, it should not be at all forgotten that in many other respects, China’s human rights record just “doesn’t cut it”.
  At least Scheer is right to “think not” that ”suddenly, after a century of preaching the virtues of the free market to the world when we held the upper hand, we will now play the protectionist game”. The U.S., of course, seldom practices what it preaches. Despite WTO, the U.S., like China, has been practicing selective protectionism all along, with both countries making numerous exceptions in their adherence to “free market” premises to suit domestic special interests with powerful lobbies. But Scheer finally gives his game away in the end by revealing his real motive for not wanting to upset the unrestrained Chinese autocrats or their Amerikan counterparts. As he so pointedly explains, in the best liberal tradition, “too much profit for our big multinational corporations, would be lost to other industrialized nations.”!!!

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By Michael Shaw, January 13, 2010 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For the longest time I’ve heard people here in the US saying if China ever calls in our debt, we and China, along with most of the rest of the world would have a cataclysmic economic meltdown. Now it seems, according to the tone of the NY Times, it is we who intend to renege on our debt, which of course would have the same ultimate affect. It is true other countries have defaulted in the past. France, Spain, Italy, Germany and others, yet managed to survive and even become vibrant. Of course those circumstances were far less interwoven and complicated than the world trade mess we’ve gotten ourselves into this time. Because economies today are interlocked, IE too dependent upon each other and too big to fail, if any major aspect of the market fails, the entire world suffers. As the author points out, Wall Street has already done that. But at the same time, when these markets do so prosperously well, raping the wealth of the world, particularly from third world countries, millions of people already suffer on a daily basis. Indeed in the so called years of great American prosperity the middle class has shrunk drastically. Now look where we are! So in either scenario who wins? The same crooks who always do, the billionaires.

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By omop, January 13, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Maxim,

  Mein friend the time to worry is when the Chinese try to do to us what Les
Anglais did to them during the Anglo-Chinese Wars also known as the Opium
Ones.

  In the meantime as the Beatles using to sing about the 20th. Century ...“those
were the days my friend , we thought they would never end…..tra, la la,”

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By Lincoln Bergman, January 13, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

surprised me to see use of term “Chinamen” (even in reference to scapegoating). I was raised to consider the term derogatory toward people of Chinese descent.

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By Maxim, January 13, 2010 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Maxim   Brussels 13 Jan 010
China, the United States and the World.
There is a glitch in Robert Scheer’s reasoning as it is not possible to br indefinitely satisfied and the world economy with this close-circuit game. We buy and buy Chinese products which become more sophisticated and as they have a huge reservoir of workers (at bargain prices) but also turning out each year a mass of qualified engineers educated if not trained for years in the West, they are already able to develop new and better products ! To top it all, they are gifted for “reverse engineering” i.e. a patent can always be bypassed.  How long are they going to accept U.S.Treasury Bonds but also and wherever possible, buy arable land, rare earths deposits (they already control some of them)and other mineral wealth ?
These are questions which are left unanswered : of course we have no interest in having social havoc in China,it would be a disaster but on the other hand, the way things go and develop, I don’t see any comfortable isue to the current situation and looming crisis.  By the way, who does ?
Maxim

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By beeline, January 13, 2010 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

China is not entirely to blame, just like it was not solely responsible for the climate change talks not resulting in binding agreements.

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By cann4ing, January 13, 2010 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Can Ordinary Citizens Fight Wall Street?
Community bank movement urges consumers to dump big banks…

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7631

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By judie, January 13, 2010 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you ardee and omop. Walmart told their suppliers to produce their merchandise in China or they wouldn’t buy products from them (Rubbermaid is an example). Walmart doesn’t clothe my family…I stopped buying kids clothing there because the shirts shrunk (even in cold water),the jeans and pants came apart at the seams, sneakers and shoes literally fell apart. Most of this occurred by halfway through the school year…how about having to buy school clothes twice a year and ending up with few hand-me-downs for siblings? Looking at the volume of clothing in my local Salvation Army Thrift Store I don’t expect anyone to be walking around naked for lack of clothing(and there’s even more out at the curb in carbage bags because people are too busy buying more to take the castoffs to the thrift store.)Yes, let’s follow Mr. Scheer’s lead and not think at all. Let’s not think about how China is a COMMUNIST country with complete control over it’s citizens…a trade union? a union strike? Really? How about calling it what it is: a well-orchestrated propaganda display! Let’s ignore the so-called multinational corporations;which are run by a handful of rich Americans and Europeans and they let a few Chinese, Indians, Vietnamese, etc.in on it to get their cooperation in turning their countries into sweatshops. Look at your clothing labels: Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, India, Jordan, Guatemala(things are really great in Guatemala, right? they are getting rich sewing our clothes; that’s why so many are crossing our southern border to come here illegally.). So let’s just stick our heads in the sand…multinational corporations aren’t spreading the wealth to poor countries, they are spreading poverty to the middle class worldwide. They aren’t leveling the playing field…they are CLOSING THE DOOR: closing the door to opportunity, closing the door to higher education, closing the door to entrepreneurship and concentrating the wealth at the top and dismantling the middle. There is no “trickle-down” if you give the wealthy and corporations a tax break they will invest it in offshore enterprises. The big banks and the stock market are a Ponzi scheme aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve which keeps the interest rates low to drive all investments into the stock market instead of bonds, treasuries and Certificates of Deposit. There is still inflation…the figures are cleaverly manipulated. Grandma didn’t get a COLA this year for her Social Security because there was no inflation but how come her pills went up, her Medicare Part B insurance went up, her drug coverage went up, her heating bill went up, the gas for her car went up??? We are truly foolish to believe we are being told!!! Mussolini said that FASCISM IS THE PERFECT MARRIAGE OF CORPORATIONS AND THE GOVERNMENT! American consumers make 70% of our country’s economic activity, isn’t it time that we get to share in the wealth? 70% is why you are urged to shop at Christmastime, to shop at back to school time, to shop all the time, to be a shopoholic!!! But it will unravel without good paying jobs and easy credit(which it started to do). So if we stick our heads in the sand, those in charge will do what they want and everyday Americans will lose in the end. And if you think the Walton family of Walmart and their cohorts in the top 500 wealthiest people in the world are going to give a damn when the rest of us fall…dream on. I came to Truthdig because I like Chris Hedges and I like to read alternative viewpoints. Mr. Scheer’s commentary is better suited to Walmart’s annual report or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The difference between Liberals and Conservatives is that Liberals will always allow all viewpoints to be aired, even those they disagree with, while Conservatives believe that they have the only right opinion and when let into the conversation they will use lies & distortions and if that doesn’t work they scream so loud that you can’t hear anyone else talk!

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By Jim Yell, January 13, 2010 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course, China is not the prime villian in this piece, but neither is it innocent. This mess was started by a turning away from responsible government by our own elected officials. No regulation or lax regulation allowed this collapse into Depression to happen.

The unwillingness of even a Democratic President to use the tools by which President FDR successfully began the process of recovery from the freebooting of the investment community prior to the 30’s, is just another episode in failure for the government to be responsible.

Instead of creating jobs in the public sector and helping small business and combating monopoly our tax money went to the gangsters who caused financial collapse in the first place and left workers without jobs, or a way to pay their bills.

Briefly let us go back to China question? China has had a negative history for international trade from the time of the Romans. They refused to buy anything much from Rome and would only take gold for payment. It caused a great deal of financial dislocation, although surely it wasn’t the only reason. Arrogance amongst the rich played its part.

The British couldn’t get China markets that helped off set what was brought to Europe and so they became drug lords and addicted the Chinese population to their profit, but it is unclear if this was high handed of the British or just self defence.

To day China manipulates its trade with this country and our elected officials (probably due to the fact they make huge money from investment in the irresponsible manufacturing done in China) have sold out the jobs of American workers over and over again. Until most of our production is done in Asia instead of employing people here.

So as I say China has not been innocent, but it would be wrong to blame them primarily as we had and have it in our power to balance the unfair trade advantage.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, January 13, 2010 at 8:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ron_woodward, January 13 at 11:10 am hits the mark:

China has indeed transformed itself into a controlled
capitalist society - I might call it ideal fascism as
opposed to crony fascism like we have here in the
USA. Our greedy corporations buy the government
regulations they need through lobbying. This does not
work in China, where the party leaders keep the
greedy in check (or do they get kick-backs too?) and
rather than rewarding the mis-behavers, they shoot
them. Remember the melamine in the milk fiasco.

“Be careful what you wish for - you could get it”

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By bozh, January 13, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is the sybaritic class of life which writes, interprets, or abandons the ‘laws’.

It is a myth that we’ve had a lawful society in US and most other lands.

And in present system of rule in US, expect more of the usual lawlessness. tnx

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, January 13, 2010 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Sure, blaming it on China would be retarded. But what
does that have to do with a nice fat 10% import tariff?
The latter is not a related idea. It is, however, a
very good idea!

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By Hank from Nebraska, January 13, 2010 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Excellent piece.  Chine is not entirely innocent, but, yes, in the scheme of things, China is the least of our worries.  Unfortunately, we have an administration that defines war as peace, proposes to stop global climate change with some voluntary actions by individual countries and corporations, lets the foxes design the henhouse, and thinks drone attacks will create lifelong friends overseas.  Of course, we have an opposition party that cannot think beyond tax cuts as the solution to anything and everything.  So, I guess China will just have to take the blame for whatever goes wrong, at least until we (and they) realize they are bigger than we are.  But that won’t happen for a long time yet, right?

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By mlb, January 13, 2010 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

It is China’s fault!  If they had the sense to take back the no-limit credit card they issued to the US Congress, Congress wouldn’t be able to go around attacking the world in hopes of controlling its most valuable energy resources, and might even have thought twice about feeding mountains of dough to the Wall St. banker slime. 

Or maybe China’s not so dumb after all.  Maybe they’re replaying the scene from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, where the restaurant employees purposely keep feeding an unbelievably fat insatiable pig of a customer until his guts literally explode.

But geez, cool down about Scheer’s use of the word “chinamen.”  He’s poking fun at the idiotic US media, not the Chinese.  And thanks very much to Scheer for providing perspective on this, for showing how demented our “establishment” has become.  Just as with the “war on terror”, they’re quick to blame anyone but the real culprits: themselves.

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ron_woodward's avatar

By ron_woodward, January 13, 2010 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

Over the past several decades China has transformed into a controlled capitalist society. The citizens save a sizable portion of their salaries. The banks make funds available to entrepreneurs under strict rules. China punishes severely bankers and manufacturers who game the system. She controls the allocation and the deployment of the labor force. The workers are quick to strike, if they feel they have been wronged.
China has about 300 millions citizens in the coastal areas who enjoy a western standard of living. Another 900 millions functioning as peasants are gradually being absorbed into the modern economy. Their absorption provides the 8%+ growth rate in productivity the country accomplishes almost every year. The government has fashioned an export-led economic growth financed internally without the IMF or other larcenous sources.
When her export markets failed in 2008, China made quick and wise adjustments to regain stable growth. This demonstrates the dedication to the public good.
Dylan Ratigan has described the present US system as corporate communism. Similar to Stalin’s USSR, the US system suffers a major decline into decadence, war and torture. Nobody needs me to describe that.
As a resident of Asia, I must advise Americans to withdraw from the continent ASAP.

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By Madaline E. States, January 13, 2010 at 6:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Tralling Begonia,

You gave me my laugh for the day!!

Ruhullah

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By omop, January 13, 2010 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer’s commentary warrants a “spot on”.

An instance of personal knowledge/experience of just one instance defines the
reality of the US/China economies.

A plant in a nearby state used to be the main facility for producing “outdoor
furniture” and was faced with competing with cheaper imports during the
Reagan years and complained to the US Commerce Department about what it
believed to be “unfair trade”.

It was informed by Washington that instaed of complaining to move their
“production” to China.

Most if not all that is produced in China/Taiwan is either owned by a US
corporation and or is jointly owned.

The problem of toxicity is due to the negligance of US policies and consumer
ignorance. Lets get real. there is no such thing as ” FREE TRADE”.

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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, January 13, 2010 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

Please produce evidence for the common, yet misleading claim that the yuan (yen, ardee, is the common (also misleading) transliteration for the Japanese currency unit) is «artificially manipulated» ? The yuan is tied to a currency basket in which the USD plays an important role - not unnaturally, as so much of Chinese trade is with the United States. Doing so ensures that Chinese manufacturers are relatively shielded from currency fluctuations - which does, of course, diminish the opportunity for currency speculators to make a bundle by shorting a currency (thank you, Mr Soros !), but should that really be the objective which determines how exchange rates are regulated ? Somehow, I find that doubtful….

With regard to toxic products, what is needed both in China and in the United States - and elsewhere as well - is better and stricter regulation of the chemicals that are used in products, not merely to consumers, but to industry as well. But pointing the finger at China - I understand Mr Scheer’s «Chinamen» to be ironic ; as Malcom X pointed out many years ago, the disparaging term «Chinaman» for persons from that country lost its currency sixty years ago, when to cite another public figure, «the Chinese people [stood] up» - is, indeed, useful in drawing attention from problems nearer to home. Thus the enormous outcry in the US about the lead-based pigment in paint used in toys produced in China, but the absence of headlines noting the lead content in paint in NYC apartments, which still lead to dangerous levels of lead in the blood of thousands of children being discovered annually. But then again, generally speaking it’s only the children of the slum-dwelling poor who are affected, so why get excited ?...

Henri

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By Trailing Begonia, January 13, 2010 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

The Amerikans blaming the Chinese for their show of greed and stupidity.  Now, that’s rich!  I can’t wait till the Mao Tse Tung Collection Agency comes knocking at the White House door.  That’s a show I wouldn’t wanna miss!

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By marta, January 13, 2010 at 5:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The US has a tendency to blame whatever country when they do not bow to our command, especially if run by a republican. Since Obama was picked to be a clone of Bush Jr. he fits the bill. Remember when China refused the Trade agreement Bush demanded, that is when all of the Toxic products seem to be contanctly in the news, as a revenge sabotage.

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By Madaline E. States, January 13, 2010 at 5:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is good to see that discerning journalistic judgment still prevails. The realization that the United States can not continue to blame other nations for our mistakes is a great step toward inclusion in global management.  What is that old saying about paying a piper for his tone?

Sincerely,

Ruhullah

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By ardee, January 13, 2010 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

If all the economists ( and Robert Scheer) were laid end to end they couldnt reach a conclusion.
(with apologies to George Bernard Shaw)

Never mind that the word “chinamen” that leads off this paean to capitalism may be of questionable taste, and never mind the fact that China’s success is in the arena of capitalism where giants battle and consumers are pawns. Let us also forget the myriad of toxic products China foists upon our “happy little consumers” as well. While we are at it let us not think upon the artificially manipulated Yen that allows those toxic products to be so attractively priced.

In fact and in summation, let us follow Mr. Scheer’s lead and not think at all.

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