Market Socialism in China

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Nov 13 11:31:00 MST 1995

"The casualities of China's economic revolution are rising.

Among them is a thin, 39-year-old worker named Fang. Caught in a 
financial squeeze, the state-owned medicines factory that employed 
Mr. Fang stopped paying him early this year. Its once-popular 
remedies had lost market share to new imports--just as China's 
government, trying to slash deficits, withdrew subsidies.

And so, at dusk one evening, Mr. Fang loiters on a street in this 
coastal town in Fujian province, a beeper clipped to his black vinyl 
belt. He is waiting for a call from a man who promised--for $3,500 up 
fron, $17,000 on arrival--passage to what Mr. Fang hopes will be a 
brighter future working as an illegal alien in America.

'I don't care about immigrating, just money. There is no money in 
China, no future,' Mr. Fang says."
(Wall St. Journal 10/18)


"This mountain city's (Liuyang) main export has no machines. It uses 
no electricity. The only sound inside is the scuff of cloth shoes on a 
concrete floor, where gunpowder gathers like sawdust.

Several hundred young workers, spaced a body length apart for safety, 
stuff wicks into explosive balls. The factory, one of 67 employing a 
total of 100,000 workers here, makes fireworks with names such as 
'Dixie Repeater' and 'Battle of Vicksburg.' The boxes bear a slogan: 
'China's Best. An American Tradition.'

With multitudes of such labor-intensive industries, China has 
exploded into a global export power. China now produces half the 
world's toys and two-thirds of its shoes. Most of the world's bicycles, 
lamps, power tools and sweaters also are produced here.

But what is more worrisome to other export giants, such as Japan and 
the U.S. is that China's export surge is now being powered by high-
end products. Exports of machinery and electronics--everything from 
alarm clocks to video camcorders--have jumped 60% this year, 
Chineses statistics show, becoming China's top export category for the 
first time. Exports to the U.S. of fascimile machines alone jumped 30-
fold in the first nine months of this year, compared with the 
comparable 1994 period."
(Wall St. Journal, 11/13)

Louis Proyect
Dept. of Hydrophonics, Visiting Scholar
Columbia University

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