Chinese Communism at the Crossroads

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at wolmail.nl
Mon Nov 4 13:54:35 MST 2002


Thanks Henry for your comment. I do not pretend to be anything like monetary
economist, but if what you said is true, it would fit well with Marx's
theory of value, that is what you would expect to see. I never met a good
Marxist monetary theoretician, the only one I read that made some sense to
me was Prof. Laurence Harris, a British economist. The quantitative
relationships are very important here, but I don't have any grip on them, in
my corner of the world. For example, if 100 million Chinese get an annual
raise of 10 percent, what difference would that really make for the world
economy in five or ten years ? Currently I work for local government myself,
so I am naturally glad my Chinese colleagues are getting paid better, good
on them !

The nature of my question was to ask how better wages could come about -
they could come about by Chinese workers successfully struggling for better
wages, or because the Chinese government decided it was time for a pay rise.
In the former case, I have not seen much news of large-scale successful
struggles for better pay and conditions.  In the latter case, I was
wondering exactly where and how the Chinese government has a stake
(interest) in raising wages of Chinese workers, and whether they would
actually be able to do that with the resources they have available. I don't
want to make judgements about a society I don't know, but it is a reality we
cannot ignore, after all, there's over a billion people living there
producing an gigantic output of manufactured goods as Louis highlighted,
some of which I have used, or use, in daily life with satisfaction,
including electronic equipment and textiles.

You asked, "Seen a Hiaer refigerator lately in your shopping mall?". I
haven't actually, but I bet I will soon. The question that interests me
there, is if that refrigerator is ecologically sound - if you produce 100
million or 200 million fridges like that, it does have an impact if they
aren't ecologically designed (I am not saying that they will necessarily
produce that number of course). It is not that I am suddenly turning into a
Green theoretician, as I said, I am socialist by inclination, it is just
that one day I read some pretty silly arguments about the "right" of Chinese
people to own fridges in view of environmental factors. Of course the
Chinese have that perfect right, just as they have a right to cars and other
mod cons. I just hope they're well-designed with the future in mind, that is
all.

As regards "the crossroads", I did notice a Chinese woman with two kids by
the tram stop here in Amsterdam just before I read your post (I just came
back from Prague where I went for a sojourn to clear my head some and learn
something new; you will have noticed my recent posts contained bad bits). I
actually chatted very briefly with her, she reminded me of someone far, far
away. We have a sizeable Chinese community here in Amsterdam making a good
contribution to society. There are still regular "panics" in Holland about
immigrants, of which we have a lot, but never about the Chinese as far as I
know.  I haven't had much contact with them yet beyond shopping and food,
but I am sure I will in time. Who knows, Chinese entrepreneurs may end up
buying up the port in Amsterdam, and do something with it. They recently
bought a large chain of stores here. Like I say, it is a reality we cannot
ignore.

Regards

Jurriaan



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