[Marxism] Exaggerating Chinese economic power
sartesian at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 28 19:12:32 MDT 2008
Now that's insulting too. But what is your point-- that China will replace
the US as the cornerstone of capitalism?
Whether Chinese growth can be sustained depends on (a) continued access to
global markets, for the import of raw materials and technology & the export
of manufactured goods; and (b) wage levels in China remaining significantly
lower than wage levels in North America, Western Europe etc- thus
maintaining China's competitive advantage.
Sorry, other countries have had just those things, and growth has not been
sustained. Regarding (B) Wage levels in and of themselves are not the
driver of growth. Rates of return on investments are. And I think we need
to get some hard data on that, because reports in the Financial Times
indicate that the rate of return on foreign held assets in China has dropped
below 12%, putting it not just behind Vietnam, but behind the US.
Regarding (A): all you say can be summed up "As long as international
capitalism remains profitable, avoids overproduction, and can support
Chinese growth... China will grow." Which is a tautology. Means nothing.
Take a look at eastbound container traffic to theUS from China, look at
eastbound container traffic from all of Asia. It peaked in 2006 and has
been in decline. And does traffic to the EU compensate for this decline?
Check it out. Or do you think Europe too will surpass the US and avoid an
Only country with increasing eastbound container traffic to US-- Vietnam.
OK, just a matter of time before Vietnam replaces China, and then a mere
blink of the historic eye until it passes the USA, I'm sure.
But there is a more important point: Since when did Marxists become the
cheerleaders for abstract "growth," and decide that growth didn't create
the conditions of its own negation, its own contraction? Since when did
Marxists think growth of capitalism somehow resolved its contradictions, and
expanded growth could go on forever, I guess, as long as a great helmsman,
or helmsmen, were holding the wheel?
When did we, as Marxists, not see the social contradictions in China that
make this once and future capitalist utopia just a wish?
When did we stop looking at relations between city and countryside? When
did we decide to ignore the 200-300 million (probably an underestimate)
unemployed, and underemployed?
When did we decide the shuttering of factories, namely shoe and clothing
factories was insignificant compared to GDP growth, and fixed asset
When did we not see that fixed asset expansion must lead to a slowing of
capitalist expansion, its contraction and the shuttering of the shoe and
Now I realize am I've got my head stuck way down a well, but that's a better
place than some heads are stuck.
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