[Marxism] The Story of China’s Economic Rise Unfolds in Switzerland

Chris Slee chris_w_slee at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 22 03:03:44 MST 2020

Putting a label on China is not the most important thing.  China is not static, but changing.
We have to try to analyse the direction of motion.

In the 1990s it looked as if China was becoming a semi-colony of Western imperialism.  US and other transnational corporations were ruthlessly exploiting low paid Chinese workers, mainly migrant workers from the countryside with guest worker status in the cities.

Today China has its own TNCs such as Huawei, which are competing with US and other corporations on the world market.  Chinese companies are investing overseas, including in mines and oil wells in Africa, Latin America, etc, but also ports in Europe and Australia.

China is bullying its neighbours in the South China sea.  It intervenes in conflicts in other countries (e.g. helping the Sri Lankan government to suppress the Tamil independence movement).

Thus China is beginning to act like an imperialist power.  But still millions of Chinese workers are exploited by Western TNCs.

Chris Slee


Some of my articles on China:



From: Marxism <marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu> on behalf of Patrick Bond via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, 22 January 2020 5:34:10 PM
To: Chris Slee <chris_w_slee at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] The Story of China’s Economic Rise Unfolds in Switzerland

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On 1/22/2020 2:19 AM, MM via Marxism wrote:
> On Jan 21, 2020, at 4:13 PM, Michael Meeropol via Marxism
> <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
>> But is China an IMPERIALIST capitalist country or a NATIONALIST capitalist
>> country ---

I'm sure some comrades will disagree, but the case for reading China and
other countries aspiring to greater shares of increasingly polycentric
global power not as imperialist or anti-imperialist or
national-capitalist, but as sub-imperialist, is based on the framing
that Ruy Mauro Marini and David Harvey have established - and that many
Chinese researchers have advanced:

* the accumulation process which entails geographical displacement of
China's massive crisis of overaccumulated capital (hence Belt & Road, etc);

* super-exploitative processes in which China's lack of environmental
regulation and its rural-urban migrancy system contributed to the
cheapening of labour power (as ever, in a predictable gendered manner);

* the role China plays in financing and legitimising multilateral
imperialist power politics, especially in the IMF, WTO and UNFCCC, and
as Xi put it at the World Economic Forum and in BRICS meetings, above
all maintaining the merits of corporate globalisation, in search of
centripetal economies of scale (when in reality centrifugal capitalist
crisis tendencies are tearing the world apart);

* the regional sub-hegemonic 'deputy sherriff' functions for global
capital undertaken by Beijing, particularly to spread traditional
Western crass materialism; and

* an historically (and per-capita) minor role in global-scale ecological
catastrophe, but one nevertheless that entails the worst tendencies of
imperial-corporate emissions-trading, energy and transport expansion,
through municipal/national carbon markets and export of coal-fired power
plants and port building, often characterised by just-as-corrupt
relations with local elites as practiced in the West.

Let me know, offlist, if you want longer essays by myself and others on
these themes of uneven and combined development now driven more by China
than any other power - yet China's capacity to retain surplus value
streams for this accumulation process remains weak, in the 20-30% net
range (of corporate profit/dividends received to dividends paid)
compared to the US' 150-220% and even to South Africa where our
sub-imperial accumulation nets a 40-60% return.

But the overarching dilemma for Beijing's economic managers is whether
China's vast overproduction problem can continue to be mopped up with
existing globalisation and financial techniques (along with a small
degree of internal devalorisation) - or whether the sub-imperial powers'
death spiral will be decisive at global scale in coming months and years.

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