[Marxism] Chinese economic growth and global ecology

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jun 16 20:42:23 MDT 2004

Xenon Zi-Neng Yuan wrote:
> with market forces and foreign capital, but on the other hand, how 
> [else] are they going to build the infrastructure to support a credible 
> military deterrent to the US?

The issue is not markets. It is class inequality. Go see "Blind Shaft" 
for an idea of what's going on.

> as melvin has pointed out, the early SU had little choice but to trade 
> its agricultural output to the imperialist west in order to build an 
> industrial society.  it's not a perfect analogy, but in some ways, one 
> might say china is being compelled in not all that dissimilar ways, 
> though admittedly in china's case the crass consumerism and loss of a 
> socialist ethics is much more apparent.

The early SU did not propose that millionaires be allowed into the CP.

> "nothing"?  well, in my humble eyes, and certainly most other activists 
> of asian nationality that i know, it has very MUCH to do with a 
> contemporary "yellow peril"-like phenomenon.

In the 1950s, when I was young, there was true hysteria about China. 
Today there is none. Columbia University has a slew of Chinese rich kids 
studying for MBA's. Times change.

> while i have no disagreement about the technical and ecological folly in 
> building the three gorges dam (when they could have at least considered 
> a less-destructive and more cost-effective multiple-dam system like that 
> in the tennessee river valley and its tributaries), you're slipping back 
> into a (trotskyist?) tendency to blur the distinction between the ruling 
> classes of a developing nation and the enemy #1 which actually resides 
> in places like goldman-sachs.

This has nothing to do with Trotskyism. Trotsky was rapturous over the 
TVA in "If America should go Communist". I am for sustainable 
development. Period.

> i believe melvin explained the phenomenon pretty well in one little 
> nutshell when he stated...
> At 12:39 PM 5/5/2004, Waistline2 at aol.com wrote:
>> The labor force in China is paid low wages not because their leaders 
>> are bad,
>> although they are most certain bourgeois, but because human labor is
>> competing in the world market with advanced robotics.

Actually, China has the same kind of class differentiation as any other 
capitalist country. The rich use the state to protect their class interests.

> and about the three gorges dam, one thing you didn't mention or seem to 
> take into account is how nationalism still plays a role in this.  as 
> misguided as you or i might think the project may be, there is a strong 
> element of national pride in making a "modern wonder of the world", to 
> combat the century of humiliation that china endured and still bears the 
> scars of. 

I think a better source of national pride would be ensuring safety in 
the mines and factories and to guarantee the "iron rice bowl" which is 
under attack from the ruling class.

> plus, even those whom i met in china who are against the dam, 
> tell me that westerners should nevertheless mind their own business.  
> because it's their own (china's) domestic problem. 

Yes, I heard the same bullshit from Meera Nanda at a Socialist Scholars 
Conference about 3 years ago while she was defending the Narmada dam, 
another idiotic project.

> not the job of those 
> of us in the imperial centers to harp on about.  offer our constructive 
> critiques and suggestions, of course, but we seriously have little 
> credibility to be giving china any condemnation about environmental 
> degradation.

This might make sense if China was some kind of Stalinist enclave and 
you were in something like the CPUSA--even though I myself would never 
have fared well as a border guard. I am far too crotchety, especially 
after having bit my tongue "for the good of the revolution" for more 
than 5 years in a sect. But China today is simply a developing 
capitalist country. That is all it is.

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