[Marxism] Re: I'm glad that China's economy is growing so strongly, and enjoy Cuba's role in the world
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Nov 19 18:35:11 MST 2006
>Movies are not such a touchy subject as world politics, and socialist
>revolutions, or the growth of China, the country of about one fifth of
>humanity, which is preparing to take its place in the world, where one
>fifth of world production and world consumption should happen in China.
I've been pretty busy all day studying Turkish so I am first getting
around to reading some of these posts. This one in particular demands a reply.
About twelve years ago I heard Joel Kovel give a talk on ecology at
the Brecht Forum in NYC where he made the analogy between capitalist
growth and cancer. He said it makes about as much sense to celebrate
profit-driven capitalist growth as it does to celebrate metastasizing
tumors. If somebody came up to you and said, "Oh wow, my prostate
tumor has spread to my brain", you would think that they were nuts.
Meanwhile, Lueko--who should know better--has joined the Thomas
Friedman school of growth is good under Walter Lippmann's
inspiration. Even Friedman has been backing off from this stance
lately--how could he not in the face of such evidence:
Down a potholed street leading into an industrial park, a brick
building that was once part of a forced labor camp is now another
sort of prison: the small sundries shop where Zhang Yueqing lives
amid the choking pollution of one of China's newest industrial corridors.
Hulking factories spew blue smoke as hunched men shovel minerals into
the red glow of open pit furnaces. They are making coke, silicon and
other raw materials to be shipped elsewhere in China, as well as to
Europe, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Furnace ash is
spread over empty lots like black icing over a cake.
"If you are here in the morning, you'll see an inch of coal dust on
the ground," said Mr. Zhang, 54. "We cough a lot. At night, sometimes
the smoke is so thick that you can turn on your car lights and you
still can't see where you are going."
His wife, Chen Fengying, 53, added: "We can't plant anything. We
can't plant tomatoes or hot peppers. They cannot grow."
The industrial park sits along the river in the region that joins
Ningxia and Inner Mongolia, part of an industrial colossus built in
less than six years on the arid, water-starved land surrounding the
city of Wuhai.
"The kind of development that is happening is abnormal," said Chen
Anping, an advocate for restoring grasslands in Inner Mongolia.
"There's no way this can be sustained. There are not enough resources."
With one important exception: coal. The northernmost route of the
Yellow River courses through the center of China's coal country.
Under the planned economy in 1958, the central government founded
Wuhai in the rocky terrain as the coal supplier for the state-owned
steel maker, Baotou Steel.
But the collapse of the planned economy almost meant the collapse of
Wuhai. By the early 1990s, local officials were debating how to save
the city and built three coal-fired power plants to provide
electricity to the east. But the city still needed jobs. So officials
recruited investors to build the energy-intensive, heavy polluting
industries that other regions no longer wanted.
"We told them we have cheap coal, cheap electricity, and if they came
and invested here, we could give them land on credit," said an
official in the Wuhai environmental bureau, who explained the city's
history but asked not to be identified for fear of official reprimand.
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