Politicians may exploit China to the brink of war!

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by David Remer PoliWatch.Org

I received an email regarding a news item I posted elsewhere, entitled Chinese Girl's Toil Brings Pain, Not Riches. The story reflects inequities between standards in the work force in the U.S. and the plight of Chinese workers. The email claimed we should start making plans for war with China to free those people under that horrible Communist system.

Absent a history of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. and rise of the super capitalists from the close of the Civil War through to the stock market crash of 1929, it is easy to view the oncoming interaction between the U.S. and China in such black and white simplistic terms as exemplified by the author of that email. Absent an understanding of the cultural and demographic differences between the U.S. and China, it is possible to view China now and in the future as a greater threat than the USSR during the post WWII era. Should a President today, or in the future, fall prey to such ignorance, the world as we know it may be lost.

China has over 1 billion people, more than 3 times the U.S. population. Just a few decades ago, China was largely agricultural with 100's of millions of self sustaining farms and villages. Life expectancy was far lower than in the U.S., life was hard and the monetary system did not even reach the majority of those self sustaining farms. In just 60 years China has come from virtual medieval standards of living into the 20th century. This kind of growth in the U.S. was accomplished through sweatshops in the garment district that spanned decades. Through sharecropping labor that just met subsistence living standards. The U.S. brutalized children in the labor force, breaking their backs and their spirits during the industrial age of the North and in the coal mines of the South.

This history was all part of the transition in the U.S. from an agriculturally based economy to an industrial based economy. Such a history of industrialization was not unique to America. Great Britain and most of the modern free European nations on the west side of the iron curtain experienced similar exploitation of the work force in their transition to an industrial economy.

While it is heartbreaking to read of child labor in China especially through the eyes of a young girl, we must not forget that our own prosperity and burgeoning middle class with comfortable 41.2 hour work weeks and two cars, home, DVD players and PC's, resulted from moving the agricultural workers into industrial jobs and using labor as a cheap consumable to grow the capitalist enterprises that would employ ever more and more farm workers in the cities. It is just such a transition that is taking place in China but at an accelerated rate, since, they have almost a magnitude of order more people to move from the farm into productive industrial and technological positions than the U.S. had during its industrial growth period.

China has no other option but to make this transition from agricultural to industrial/technological economy. Millions of Chinese were starving a little more than a decade ago. China faced another revolution and civil war had it not laid plans to move the people in China into the 21st century with all of the benefits that a modern economy can offer. The people of China are demanding more freedom, more prosperity, and more security. China's government has made believers of its people and for the most part, the people have faith and trust in their government to guide their nation into the 21st Century world marketplace. It is difficult, but, the Chinese people are seeing more democracy in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore. And more democracy is promised. They are seeing more jobs and money is becoming common place even in many rural villages.

It is a mistake, a very great and grave mistake, for Americans to superimpose their current worker and work place values on China as it experiences the same transition today that the U.S. has now placed deep in its history books. There is no question, that current trade imbalances between the U.S. and many nations undergoing this transition from agriculture to industrial and technological economies are hurting the job growth in America and forcing the U.S. to give up its hold on manufacturing for the world marketplace. To politicize and base foreign policy on the negative trade imbalances in America is easy game for politicians. It is seductively easy for politicians to use the trade imbalances as a means of creating the illusion of predatorial third world nations and painting American workers as victims. Such an illusion will not however lead to any solution for American workers. The third world's only resource to enter the global marketplace and the 21st Century is cheap labor. They must exploit it or cease to exist economically.

Further, if such an illusion is used to create a hostile foreign policy toward China, which has a well developed nuclear arsenal and is eyeing military objectives in space, a new era of nuclear brinkmanship will inevitably result; one which the world may not survive. Americans must make intelligent choices at the ballot box in November of 2004 and beyond. And American political leaders must yield manufacturing to other growing countries since, we can no longer be competitive in that arena. The U.S. must make its own transition from manufacturing to technology, innovation, and services which can be marketed globally.

It is one thing for the American people to elect political pundits who have no experience in government or Hollywood stars with lots of money to be Governor of California. The world will survive a poor choice there. It is quite another issue should the American people so cavalierly vote in a President with a similar lack of credentials. The world, including the U.S., may not survive it.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on October 2, 2003 3:47 AM.

Bush wants $600 Mil. tax dollars for reelection? was the previous entry in this blog.

Tide Is Turning is the next entry in this blog.

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