A Viral Message for Americans and their Friends

My God, I agree with Thomas Friedman about something. Have a look at this paragraph from his latest article;

"Studying China’s ability to invest for the future doesn’t make me feel we have the wrong system. It makes me feel that we are abusing our right system. There is absolutely no reason our democracy should not be able to generate the kind of focus, legitimacy, unity and stick-to-it-iveness to do big things — democratically — that China does autocratically. We’ve done it before. But we’re not doing it now because too many of our poll-driven, toxically partisan, cable-TV-addicted, money-corrupted political class are more interested in what keeps them in power than what would again make America powerful, more interested in defeating each other than saving the country."
Disenthrall yourself from that partisan sugar rush of self righteousness and aggressive whining that your media and political class plays on, cut down those flabby, lazy corporations and banksters, and you will save the republic.

Give into it, and the Depression and the world will overwhelm you.


Toni said…
China is an interesting subject. The country depends on a massive amount of slave labour and the western corporations take full advantage of this. China recently overtook Japan as the second largest economy in the world and yet the PPP GDP is hopeless with average annual wages less than $2,500. The west is enthralled by the promise of China as a market because even if only 10% of the population achieve middle-class purchasing power it is a number that dwarfs the population of most countries. Ferrari and Mercedes cannot make enough cars to satisfy that demand and LV and Channel are hopelessly unable to supply the market. The problem with China is that the primary focus of the regime is to minimise public disturbance by keeping everyone employed. This is all well and good but China can only produce things that we want to buy so as our own economies are hollowed out by the Chinese economic miracle, people with money to buy products made in China are fewer and fewer, the symbiotic debt relationship between the US and China is equally flawed. No western banker, no matter what they tell you, can accurately predict the number of bad debts in the Chinese banking system and that is where this economic miracle will first stall. Its happened before, of course, I suppose you recall the Tiger economies of South East Asia in the mid nineties, which was followed very quickly by the Asian Crisis of 97-98. India is a similar case, although without the mass production ability of China. And look how well India is exposing itself on the international stage during the build-up to the Commonwealth games.
gurnygob said…
well said Martin
Martin Meenagh said…
Thanks, Gurnygob.

Toni, I'm very much thinking along the lines of Asia posts after I get the next few distributism ones out, and I think we'll probbly end up agreeing. I have taught a good many Chinese people who will become very influential over the years, as well as a good cross-section of that Empire, and have a good few thoughts.

The Asia crisis of 97 is very instructive--I remember it as a sort of primitive version of 08, in which Thai land values, uncontrolled balance of payments imbalances, and attempts at fixed currency systems collided with the emergence of India and China, as well as a dotcom cash wave.

My abiding memory is that Koreans took a big hit to living standards and just pulled together, even sacrificing wedding rings and gold teeth to get their country back on track. Can you imagine that in the west when the great recession is acknowledged as a depression?

I also agree with you that, since capitalism (and especially developmental capitalism) is an inherently unstable system, the trouble which will emerge when China goes into a cyclical crash and recession will be, well, historic. Especially since they are postponing the reckoning and not getting a grip on malinvestment and 'exuberance'.

Good luck to them though. I would say that the west is in decline, but we've always been this awful--look at Rome, or the Middle Ages, or the European Empires. It's just that we used to reap slightly less than we sowed for others. Well, I write we. I can always go and be Irish.


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