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China, America & Questions in the Balance

We take at look at the United States and China now, as the Chinese president makes a big visit to Washington.

The Capitol dome is seen at rear as Chinese and U.S. flags are displayed in Washington, Jan. 18, 2011. (AP)

Jackie Chan was there last night, at the White House state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. Anna Wintour for glam. Yo-Yo Ma for class. George Shultz and Henry Kissinger for old times’ sake. Kissinger clinked glasses with the Chinese leader — and Barbara Streisand — at the end table.

But little about the U.S.-China relationship is old these days. Most is new. New and rising Chinese power. New opportunities and conflict over trade and economies. New Chinese confidence. A new Obama administration impatience with soft talk.

We look at the U.S. and China, in the spotlight again.

-Tom Ashbrook

**Find links here to some of On Point’s 2008 shows in Shanghai, including programs with the “Oprah of China” and with factions in the Communist Party.

Guests:

John Pomfret, diplomatic & Asian affairs correspondent for the Washington Post. He has covered China on and off for many years and is a former Beijing Bureau Chief for the paper.

Li Jin, professor of finance at Harvard Business School. He has taught at Fudan University in Shanghai and served as a consultant for Shanghai International Securities Co. Ltd.

Evan Osnos, staff for The New Yorker based in China.

Clyde Prestowitz, founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute. He’s author of “The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era.”


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  • http://www.bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson, Talent OR

    Kudos to the reporter who asked the blunt question about human rights. There is no excuse for tolerating a nation that is so blatantly repressive … unless, of course, that excuse is about money. We are a world playing with grownup toys and possessed of grownup ideas, but our collective mind is still childish. I fear for the future, but then, what else is new?

  • Zeno

    Not so much a symbiosis, but more of a deadly embrace. Neither can let go without both falling down. It makes for awkward political theater, like at the Potsdam Conference.

    How GE Is Arming China to Compete With Boeing — and America: http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/company-news/is-ge-arming-china-to-compete-with-america/19804834/

  • SteveV

    Remember when the Republicans stated they didn’t want the tax rate to increase for the wealthiest Americans because they will use that money to invest in America? The issue with GE (and there are others) points out that people go where the money is, where they obtain the best returns for their investment. And these investment groups are talking billions, money that could be used here in the US but won’t because they understand the future is overseas, in a global economy. This is capitalism in its pure form, devoid of morality, strictly pragmatic.

  • Isaac

    I doubt that this meeting will be taken as an opportunity to address matters of international policy and human rights in China, Tibet, and Taiwan, because it won’t be economically expedient, not to mention they’re painfully awkward to explore (I married a Chinese citizen last week; I’ve been to those conversations and they aren’t particularly fun).

    But those issues are central to the U.S. economy. Until Chinese workers have similar employee rights as American workers, the grass will always be greener on the other side of that fence.

    - Isaac; Groton, CT

  • Pancake Rankin, In USA and China at the same time

    During the Cold War (early days anyway) each side would publicize the shortcomings of the other in great detail.
    Soviets spotlighted freezing and starving Appalachian mountaineers, and Capitalists highlighted bewildered Moscow shoppers looking at bare shelves and meager choices. The failure of both China and the United States to examine economic failure and lack of opportunity in the other suggests they pretty much share the same methods and are only competing to see who can squeeze more toothpaste (labor)out of each tube (worker). Obama and Hu are having a summit, not a peace conference. They work to further the same economy, international finance, and serve an overlapping multinational oligarchy. That’s why billionaires are exempt from proper taxation in both places. Neil Young was once criticized that his songs all sound the same (they do). He replied,”It’s all the same song!” True that!

  • Pancake, bodily in McAdenville, NC

    Corporate State Capitalism, that’s the name of that tune
    (Baretta-Robert Blake)

  • Dave

    When you owe the bank a million, the bank’s got you. When you owe the bank a trillion, you’ve got the bank.

  • Al Dorman

    (Boston, MA)
    Tangential to this, why won’t we finally drop the charade and open trade with Cuba? We obviously have no moral leg to stand on when it comes to human rights, and that line is drawn from Truman to Kissinger to Cheney to Gates. But how are we tolerating such an absurd double-standard on Cuba, which never had a Tienanmen Sq. from what I could tell?

  • Larry

    Yesterday at the White House dinner.

    Banking CEOs Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and John Thornton of HSBC were in attendance.

    Paul Otellini of Intel, Greg Brown of Motorola, and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer on the invite list.

    Dow component company CEOs Jeff Immelt of GE, Muhtar Kent of Coca-Cola, Ellen Kullman of Dupont and Boeing’s Jim McNerney.

    John Chen of Sybase, Aris Candris of Westinghouse Electric, Andrew Liveris of Dow, David Rubenstein of private equity firm Carlyle Group and Greg Page of Cargill round out the list of American CEOs.

    Perfect list for the United Corporate State of America

  • lee

    I think there is too much attention being paid to currency manipulation and not enough being paid to the lack of manufacturing base in America.

    The reason why Americans are buying cheap goods from abroad is because their wages have not increased, not because of quality.

    I also would like to see more research being done on how our transient culture (what economists call our labor flexibility)results in American consumers buying cheaper items because they need to be mobile to be employable and stuff weighs people down.

    What our leaders fail to understand is that INNOVATION SPRINGS FROM THE ACT OF MANUFACTURING. WHEN PEOPLE MAKE THINGS THEY WILL NATURALLY THINK OF WAYS TO IMPROVE PRODUCTS FASTER AND BETTER THAN THOSE WHO ARE LOCKED IN A PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT LAB.

  • Kiran

    What happens when China does not need the US technology any more and have invested itself strongly into US economy like Japan did? Will china give the same leverage that the US did ? The only thing China is not dependent on USA is technology !

  • Dan

    The rise of China vis a vis the United States is turning out to be a relatively benign and frictionless one. The remedies need to be applied at the edges and the edges only, namely on currency and trade relations, human rights, and freedom of information.

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Larry

    The rise of China vis a vis the United States is turning out to be a relatively benign and frictionless one. The remedies need to be applied at the edges and the edges only, namely on currency and trade relations, human rights, and freedom of information.
    Posted by Dan

    Just wait Dan until Goldman Sachs works their magic on China like they have on the US. Might see some fireworks then.

  • BHA – Vermont

    Funny how we dump on China for human rights problems, yet in this country we do not have the right to adequate health care for all.

  • BHA – Vermont

    I find it VERY unfortunate that the most important part of the visit is the pageantry.

    What a waste of time and money for no purpose other than to say “You recognize that I am important”.

  • John

    The reason why Americans are buying cheap goods from abroad is because their wages have not increased, not because of quality. – Posted by lee,

    And wages won’t go up when people buy cheap goods from abroad.

  • Larry

    Why wouldn’t GE do it? They are a world corporation. Stop thinking of them as a US corporation. They have no loyalty to this country. Only to profits.

    Oh and too bad for the US if our military secrets are given away to China through GE. That’s the price you pay for the military industrial complex model that has a death grip on this country.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    If Hu is saying the “lock-down” on human rights is because of the substantial changes going on in China (per the snippets of the speeches), then it remains to be seen whether substantial changes are weathered better with the US model of the Chinese. (Didn’t Obama run under the “flag” of change?)

    Reading about Hu in Newsweek (article of Melinda Liu), this man “may be the last apparachik” and was a committed Leninist. But he is a scion of the old Ming dynasty, with the dragons of ambition that had been hidden during the cultural revolution now back on the family gates, more modestly situated. His presumed successor sounds much more modern in our view. So maybe it doesn’t matter how dyed-in-the-wool communist Hu is. He seems to think the central committee has to lead those people. Hmm.
    Obama speaks about more harmonious, more successful, more whatever he said — to honor universal national rights and individual rights. The RESULTS will be better our model of let the maniacs run wild (whatever).

  • lee

    Where we as Americans come down on trade with China has everything to do with where you are from and the memory of lost jobs. It is not a shared consciousness in America… we are not all in this together. Americans have competing interests with one another, not just with China, and this never gets talked about in the press.

    In the 1890s it was common for manufacuters to advocate for high tariffs to protect industry- they even warned against free trade when it lowered wages for American workers. These were the Republicans of the day. Businessmen. It seems to me that in the 1890s there was far less of a reason to have protectionism then there is today, considering manufacturers had virtually no labor/environmental regulations.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Newsweek this week in a lead article shows education in China WAY below that of the USA. Hu was citing yesterday about 120,000 Chinese getting education in the USA, and 20,000 Americans getting education in China (higher education, I assume).
    What’s the story?

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I think it was Prestowitz saying Hu’s suggestion of going off the dollar as the reserve currency (if my terminology is right) WOULD FORCE the USA to make the kinds of investments (in infrastructure, energy?) that China is making.
    Tax money investments or private money investments?
    Ashbrook said we would come back to this. I hope so.

  • Larry

    “U.S.” Corporations are not interested in what is best for America. They are transnational. They can make their money all around the world. And America going down doesn’t mean they won’t do well. Get used to it.

  • Larry

    I think it was Prestowitz saying Hu’s suggestion of going off the dollar as the reserve currency (if my terminology is right) WOULD FORCE the USA to make the kinds of investments (in infrastructure, energy?) that China is making.
    Tax money investments or private money investments?
    Ashbrook said we would come back to this. I hope so.
    Posted by Ellen Dibble

    I don’t see how that happens. If the dollar is no longer the world reserve currency this country is going to be much, much poorer.

  • bram towbin

    Can you discuss the rule of law in China. It seems that this will be a MAJOR challenge in terms of China’s economic supremacy. How do they compete when their political system is in such a state of flux and their is no concept of ownership/ property rights.

    - Bram, Plainfield Vermont

  • lee

    Here we go with the currency argument again…

    Do these guests realize that CURRENCY is used to buy THINGS made by PEOPLE who earn WAGES?

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Could China treat its western populations the way Israel treats its Palestinians? Ashbrook spoke of 800 million still living in the equivalent of 19th century China. So China can use the ethnic minorities (millions of them) as a reserve workforce, oppressing them, sort of like Mexican immigrants here, where they can be deprived of health care…
    That’s the impression I’m getting.

  • lee

    Give me a “W”

    Give me an “A”

    Give me a “G”

    Give me an “E”

    Give me an “S”

    What does it spell?

    Currency?

  • ThresherK

    I’m with Larry about all those “American” corporations who hide behind the flag when it’s convenient. Twenty years ago they were “moving” to PO boxes in the Bahamas, or wherever, for punk-ass tax rates. That they’d balk at China makes no sense.

    But when their intellectual property is threatened, their patents are in danger of violation, they come running back to Uncle Sam to do their fighting.

    They want the rule of law (provided it’s not too NLRB-ey or OSHA-riffic), they want inordinate say into what the laws are, and they don’t want to pay for it.

    No wonder they financed all those Astroturfed teabaggers.

  • lee

    The Chinese need to form Unions

  • lee

    what about those Chinese workers who committed suicide?

    Remember?

  • K. S.

    Wish you would discuss the Chinese tendency to see a signed contract as the beginning point for negotiations.

    My husband was approached by a Chinese company and offered a large amount of money to support his research here in the States. A big ceremony (attended by many dignitaries including the mayor of the city) was held in China for the signing of the contract.

    Top officials of the company then came to the US to meet officials on this end. Again all kinds of handshakes and photo taken. The research was begun on this end.

    That was several months ago and the company still refuses to send any money. They offer all kinds of excuses and say they will do it—sometime.

    Needless to say, this has led to very bitter feelings.

  • Jon Allen

    I have visited ShenZhen 3 times, and it is a modern monstrosity that was originally modeled on a European model, but devolved into a US model before it was completed. As a result, it has a tiny mass transit system, and a horrific mess of highways.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Tom spoke on the phone with a woman with a Chinese accent he calls Cycla (something like that), who says can’t we shift the talk from competition to collaboration.

    Bingo! But I thought I was hearing from Prestowitz that the reason the yuan is being kept where it makes it tough for the USA to export to China and easy for China to export to the USA is exactly because of the COMPETITIVE interests in China who want to keep raking in the profits. (Are those Chinese profit-makers contributing to Chinese campaign funds and Chinese lobbyists?????)

    Then she says the Chinese don’t complain; they get on with figuring out how to contribute. (I guess they message of JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you” is built into Chinese DNA.)

  • lee

    Thank you so much for taking Caleb’s call! I’ll shut up now.

  • Larry

    Will China lay down before the Wall Street Bankers?

    No. They are trying to make their own Wall Street Bankers.

    They were not happy with the ride they got taken on with the Blackstone ipo.

  • lee

    Thank you Li Jin for commenting on the opinions of Chinese workers.

  • John

    Then she says the Chinese don’t complain; they get on with figuring out how to contribute. (I guess they message of JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you” is built into Chinese DNA.) – Posted by Ellen Dibble

    Their country doesn’t ask, it just tells them what to do for their country.

  • Rob (in NY)

    As an fyi, here is the number of global and US employees for 5 of the companies Larry listed above based on most recent information available:

    GE: 310k global (150k US)
    Boeing: 158K global (152K US)
    Intel: 80K global (44K US)
    Coca Cola: 93K global (33k US)
    Goldman Sachs: 36K global (27k US)

    These 5 companies alone employ just under 400k Americans!! The last time I checked the number of people employed by whining liberals was 0. The problem with many liberals is that you claim to promote higher employment, but then seek to punish employers. This makes no sense to me.

    There is nothing wrong with a US President (Republican or Democrat) meeting with the CEO of these and other companies to get their views on economic, industry, and regulatory issues. This does not mean the President should bindly follow every recommendation, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting business’ prespective on our economic problems, most importantly high unemployment.

  • Larry

    Rob nice try. But I don’t believe a very helpful perspective. These corporations are not meeting with Obama in order to create jobs here. They are meeting with him to threaten to cut even more jobs here unless he does what they want.

  • Jim in Omaha

    “U.S.” corporations have been given the rights of human citizens but aren’t required to bear the obligations we mere mortals do. They have no loyalty to a country or its citizens. In fact, is is literally against the law for a U.S. corporation to elevate consideration of how its decision will impact workers here in the U.S. above concern for profits and return on investment.

    And “lee” @ 10:15 is correct about the connection between the loss of manufacturing and innovation. It used to be said that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” That has now been replaced with the certain-to-fail belief that “A lower marginal tax rate on high incomes is the mother of invention.”

  • John

    It is hard to believe that Obama can lecture President Hu on human rights. Gitmo, Bagram (another torture chamber), extraordinary renditions, Patriot act, a criminal and completely unjustifed war on Iraq (based on lies), another set of undeclared wars on Afghanistan and Pakistan, $400 million dollars to overthrow the government of Iran (another undeclared war), support of Israel’s Apartheid and slaughter in Gaza, silence on the Mavi Marmara, massive spying on US citizens, FBI harassment of peace activists, labor laws that make it nearly impossible to organize new unions…
    Either Obama has incredible chutzpah and arrogance or a fine sense of irony.

    But Hu did not respond in kind and raise these matters. And that is to the good. Why carry on a discussion based on hostility. That is not in China’s interest or the world’s.
    For me as an American citizen it was a bit embarrassing to view the treatment of Hu although not as bad as last time in 2006.

    Sad.

  • Jim in Omaha

    Rob (in NY)

    Your comments aren’t usually so angrily inaccurate. Of course, in addition to a lot of liberals who do run a business, like myself, it’s the spending and economic decisions of all those “whiny liberals”, along with other consumers (even poor people), that is the reason these companies exist in the first place. And I must have missed the talk of “punishing” any employers. What are you talking about?

    As for business interests having a seat at the policy-making table, you can’t possibly claim that those interests have been denied such an opportunity. Their lobbyists and trade association literally write the legislation that gets enacted by the politicians they contribute to/pay to get elected.

  • twenty-niner

    For all of the liberals on this board browsing with their favorite Apple product:

    “Apple’s dream = workers’ nightmare”

    http://www.chinaworker.info/en/content/news/1310/

  • Rob (in NY)

    Jim in Omaha,
    The “whining liberals” comment was a joke (perhaps in poor taste, but still mild by some of what we see on this site daily!!). I retract it if peopleare offended. My broader two points are:

    1)There is nothing wrong with President Obama having direct (and candid) conversations with CEO of large and small conmpanies regarding economic issues. I would argue that the President probably gets better insight from direct conversations with these CEOs than he does through lobbysts, such as the Chamber of Commerce and others. As I noted, this does not mean the President should follow every recommendation.

    2) Some (not all) liberals can be downright hostile to business and require occasional reminder that small and large business’ employ most of America. Five of the companies that Larry mentioned employ most of America. As I have noted previously, I have no problems with a social safety net, but this is reliant on a strong private sector to fund it.

  • Bill Connors

    Did you notice how Tom failed to mention the irony of a former Nobel Peace Prize winner playing host to the leader of China when the current Nobel Peace Prize winner is sitting in jail in China?

  • Rob (in NY)

    Typo. “Five of the companies Larry mentioned employ close to 400k Americans” (Not most of America). I guess I have problem typing while I eat lunch.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Last night I tuned in in the middle of a discussion between Henry Kissinger and Charlie Rose. Since Kissinger is reported to have been at the state dinner at the White House last night, apparently Kissinger had been prerecorded, but he was saying that pageantry is very important, but also important to China is the appearance of not ceding anything.
    Any negotiation that shows up as a point scored for the USA is a big problem in China, according to Kissinger. (Duh!) And so if something happens trade-wise or currency-wise as a result of Hu’s visit, Kissinger says it should surface (for public consumption) as HAVING HAPPENED in maybe a year, and without any connection to the visit. Kissinger was trying to think what Geithner might offer China in exchange for the economic moves the USA is seeking, and couldn’t come up with anything himself.
    Negotiations usually succeed when there are COMMON interests, and it is easy to see that common interests exist. (Now I don’t know if that’s me speaking or Kissinger.)
    I believe it was a previous thread where someone posted that the Stuxnet worm probably came from China, because the Siemens division that created the hardware involved is located in China. (Mentally noted.)
    That plus the fact I clearly heard a Russian exclamation at the end of that welcoming ceremony, toward the end of the last Sousa march, evaluating it aloud “Chorosho” but apparently not thinking he was going to be heard, that at the whitehouse.gov website live stream, which leads me to consider that the international collaboration in defense could be much, much broader and deeper than the public will ever know.
    That, plus look at the greeting between Hu and Hillary Clinton in the White House photo album of that morning’s proceedings. Apparently Wikileaks has not undone that diplomatic relationship anyway.

  • twenty-niner

    …Forgot this link from my previous post:

    “Apple faces pollution storm in China”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5817abce-23d4-11e0-8bb1-00144feab49a.html#axzz1BbuZmkfR

    I wonder what Al Gore’s response to this is, as a member of Apple’s board of directors?

    Of course we all know what Gore really thinks of the environment having purchased a $9 million dollar, ocean-view villa in California. Nothing says “mother earth” like nine bathrooms, six fireplaces, a spa, and numerous fountains – on top of his existing mansions and private jets.

    Of course, in the liberal confessional all sins are absolved as long as you say the right things, making sure to be sensitive and politically correct. In liberal land, words trump actions; and feel-good speeches are gladly substituted for results.

  • Jim in Omaha

    To Bill Connors:

    You apparently missed this. The Obama administration has been perfectly clear about this issue:

    From the Nobel web site: “The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Friday, January 14 for China to release jailed dissidents in the country including the Nobel Peace Winner Liu Xiaobo, saying that in matters of human rights Beijing had to keep its promises. In a speech on Sino-US relations a few days before a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington, Clinton was unusually direct in her call for improved human rights in China. She said a flourishing civil society would help solve some of the most urgent issues facing China from food safety to pollution, to education and public health.”

  • http://www.bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson, Talent OR

    “Funny how we dump on China for human rights problems, yet in this country we do not have the right to adequate health care for all.” (Posted by BHA – Vermont, on January 20th, 2011 at 10:22 AM)

    Haven’t you heard? This is America–where human “rights” are available to anyone who can afford them.

  • twenty-niner

    “Clinton was unusually direct in her call for improved human rights in China.”

    Again, talk != actions.

    The incessant genuflecting says it all:

    http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&biw=1172&bih=681&gbv=2&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=Obama+bows+to+China%27s+President+Hu&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

    Meanwhile, as Obama is hugging and bowing:

    “During the visit of China’s president, and as China’s new stealth fighter takes to the sky, America’s top jet engine manufacturer agrees to provide Beijing with state-of-the-art aircraft technology.”

    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/560292/201101191852/Trading-Away-Secrets.htm

  • Jim in Omaha

    twenty-niner, at 5:29 PM

    What’s your point? He should have held hands like “W” and his Saudi overlords did instead? You want the President to start ordering WalMarts to close? Do you have a point?

  • sam

    Ya, it is ironic that “a former Nobel Peace Prize winner playing host to the leader of China when the current Nobel Peace Prize winner is sitting in jail in China”

    it is even MORE ironic that a president, who was presiding two wars, was awarded the Nobel peace prize. The Nobel peace prize is a JOKE!

  • s

    You only hear that U.S. government, companies, and the media complain about the difficulty of doing business in China and the US insistence on China to further open up the market.

    Why no one was mentioning the fact that by the end of 2010, US companies have made 652.23 billion dollars in profit in China, and 71% of the US companies that invested in China made money.

    I guess GREED has no limit. Is this one of the sins taught by the Bible! So much to fairness and morality.

  • twenty-niner

    “You want the President to start ordering WalMarts to close? Do you have a point?”

    OK Jim,

    How about this for a point: How about not allowing the transfer to China, critical gas-turbine engine and avionics technologies, given the fact that aviation and defense are the only two industries left of which we are net exporters. This is even worse in light of the fact that China notoriously, with every tech venture with a foreign power, steals proprietary technology to allow its own companies to compete directly against its former partners, which is exactly what happened to the European high-speed rail firms.

    And remember all of that talk about green jobs and how the green revolution is going to drag us out of this recession? Here’s how that plan is shaping up:

    “More green jobs for China”

    http://blogs.forbes.com/eco-nomics/2011/01/20/more-green-jobs-for-china/?boxes=techchanneltopstories

    But I don’t expect Obama to do anything to curb the accelerating de-industrialization of this country. Obama is not a leader; he’s the community organizer/empathizer in chief. I do, however, expect more shootings as Americans get witness their country get auctioned off to the highest bidder piece by piece, and I’m sure Obama will be there to doll out more great hugs.

  • Lake

    Tom, How can you possibly compare poverty in the the US (Michigan) with poverty in China? The poor in the US would be considered middle-class in China. In fact, the great majority of our poor would be considered upper-middle class in China, and a good chuck would be upper class. Our poor own cars for crying out loud, the Chinese poor don’t even own bicycles.

    You need to get a bit more educated about China and the lives these people lead. Go to China and visit a typical Chinese factory. It’s not that difficult to educate yourself. Just go and see for yourself and you won’t make such foolish comparisons.

  • Lake

    And by the way, the answer to the China question is EDUCATION.

  • twenty-niner

    “And by the way, the answer to the China question is EDUCATION.”

    Thanks Lake, we haven’t heard that one before, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. I’m quite sure that if the 800 workers at Evergreen Solar in Massachusetts all had PhDs in physics, the company wouldn’t be shutting down the plant this quarter and moving those jobs to China. As we’ve seen, the work moves to the country with most over-educated workers.

    Clearly, the reason that Foxconn in China has the iPhone,Pod,Pad contract for Apple has nothing to do with the fact that toxic waste from the plant can flow out of a giant pipe right into the river or that the workers get paid in rice and are so over-taxed that they collapse from exhaustion. And when the finally get a breather, they kill themselves.

    Here’s the problem Lake: Trade only works when you earn enough making the widget that you sell to me, to buy the widget that I want to sell to you. You buy my widget, I buy yours. When you make slave wages and save money by pouring toxic sludge into to the river, you can no longer afford to buy my widget. For me to sell widgets, I now need to lower my pay and save money by pouring my toxic sludge into the river, which I really don’t want to do, because I like fishing in the river.

    Further Lake, not everyone has the aptitude or the desire to get a PhD in physics. Some people would just like to work, and in the process maybe help build something tangible, and then go home at a reasonable hour.

    And the beauty is, this is all possible. Apple retails iPads for $500.00 and up. Out of that $500.00, Foxconn gets about $11 bucks, and out of that, the workers get a pittance. Given Apple’s enormous profit margins, there is plenty of slack to increase work pay. Henry Ford figured out how to do this a century ago with the five-dollar work day and the 40-hour work week, which, at the time, was one of the best wages in the country; and this didn’t cause Model Ts to become unaffordable.

  • cory

    China remembers.

    China remembers 5-600 years of abuse from the west, and will pay us back with interest. Mark my words. What can we do? I can’t imagine. This payback has the feel of inevitability.

    Leftfield, Wisconsin.

  • cory

    Imagine a strategy game called “Globalization”. Let’s imagine that the game uses a world very much like our own. Who do you think might be the winners and losers in this world? What is the fate of America and average citizens in this game?

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • twenty-niner

    “China remembers 5-600 years of abuse from the west”

    A map of the Japanese occupation of China circa 1940:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Japanese_Occupation_-_Map.jpg

  • Zeno

    One of the major problems with GE, Apple, ect. giving away American technology is that usually the research and development for such technology comes from the public sector university system, and or direct public R&D subsidies to these corporations, and various tax breaks thrown in.

    In reality they are socializing the losses and privatizing the gains.

    So to be fair a company like GE should be giving profits back into the public sector when they decide to sell public sector technology. Perhaps pay the profit into a fund back into the universities from which all companies that receive such free largess from the public system.

    …Or maybe just pay an income tax like the rest of the proletariat. If they are people now, then they should have all of the encumbrances of citizenship. If any independent citizen were to sell military technology to China, They would be in Gitmo getting water-boarded each day as a terrorist/traitor.

  • Jim in Omaha

    twenty-niner @ 6:20 and 8:41 PM:

    OK now, you made your point, which I understand to be:

    The United States will be destroyed by Capitalism, since all of the things you (in my opinion) correctly point out as problems are allowed, if not encouraged by, a capitalist system. And the Communists will do it. Guess the “cold war” between competing economic systems isn’t over yet.

  • ageofaquarius

    What’s the outcry for Taiwan human right, all of a sudden?

    First it’s Tibet, now Taiwan is on the list of human right? I’m from Taiwan, you have no clue what the people want there in Taiwan, you only hear the outcry of certain political figures or activists want to go independence in terms of gaining more power, not because of gaining more freedom of independence, which we already have. Taiwan is a total politically free and democratic region, they can pretty much decide everything with their own power, China is not intervening their freedom, policies, and infrastructure. So stop outcry “independence” for us.

    Western countries and some entertainment celebrities are demonstrating clueless and nosy righteousness in other countries’ internal affairs. If we want to fight independence, we’ll talk to China, you don’t need to wave flags for us, acting like a fool.

    Most people in Taiwan are happy with our lives and China knows how to keep that safe distance from us.

    I say to the US people, go wave independence flags for Texas, and for European, plenty of neighboring regions want to go independent, get busy with your own business, alright?

  • ageofaquarius

    US: China, fix your human right issue, alright?
    CHINA: Release your own political prisoners, then we’ll talk about human right.

    US: China, fix your currency rate, alright?
    CHINA: Pay me back your debt, then we’ll talk about currency rate.

  • ageofaquarius

    So to sum it up, who’s the bigger hypocrite?

  • ageofaquarius

    *** The reason why Americans are buying cheap goods from abroad is because their wages have not increased, not because of quality.

    I also would like to see more research being done on how our transient culture (what economists call our labor flexibility)results in American consumers buying cheaper items because they need to be mobile to be employable and stuff weighs people down.

    What our leaders fail to understand is that INNOVATION SPRINGS FROM THE ACT OF MANUFACTURING. WHEN PEOPLE MAKE THINGS THEY WILL NATURALLY THINK OF WAYS TO IMPROVE PRODUCTS FASTER AND BETTER THAN THOSE WHO ARE LOCKED IN A PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT LAB.

    Posted by lee, on January 20th, 2011 at 10:15 AM ***

    So true! Wonder if majority of people aware of these facts.

  • twenty-niner

    The United States will be destroyed by Capitalism, since all of the things you (in my opinion) correctly point out as problems are allowed, if not encouraged by, a capitalist system. And the Communists will do it. Guess the “cold war” between competing economic systems isn’t over yet.

    The Chinese are far cry from communist. A suggest you read the Communist Manifesto and contrast that to the station of the average Chinese worker. I direct you to my link concerning Foxconn above, which is the Chinese contract manufacturer for Apple (and other OEMs), where the suicide rate is so high, it’s now an international story.

    The problem isn’t capitalism; the problem is globalism, which has allowed the rebirth of 19th-century sweat shop on a mass scale, off shore, and out of the purview of reasonable labor and environmental law.

  • ps

    - Foxconn is a Taiwanese company

    - when the incident in Foxconn happened, it was the Chinese government that pressed the company to raise wages by more than 100%.

  • twenty-niner


    - Foxconn is a Taiwanese company

    - when the incident in Foxconn happened, it was the Chinese government that pressed the company to raise wages by more than 100%.

    Good Lord, do you play 3-card Monte a lot? The heat was on, so the Chinese threw some crumbs on the floor. Now they’re just moving production inland where it’s easier to exploit and pollute. In recent months, the Shenzhen plant has seen a drastic workforce reduction from 800,000 to about 300,000.

    “But, as chinaworker.info has reported, while some sections of the Shenzhen workforce are now on higher earnings, working conditions have not improved and, furthermore, hundreds of thousands of student “interns” are now being forced by their schools to work at Foxconn at its new assembly plants in inland provinces.”

    http://www.chinaworker.info/en/content/news/1310/

    Think different…

  • Gail

    Please read the following to understand how the Federal Reserve, Wall Street CEO’s and U.S. multinationals CEO’s have all colluded together to send American manufacturing and our jobs to China as a wealth transfer for the benefit of Wall Street banks and their stocks. It is unbelievable! This information was just recently released.

    News article – 1/20/11 – By Dylan Ratigan – The Fed Works For . . . Chinese Workers:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-ratigan/the-fed-works-for-chinese_b_811777.html

    In the article it reveals that the December 2005 Federal Open Market Committee Meeting transcript where it was even discussed. Here’s that website link:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/FOMC20051213meeting.pdf

  • twenty-niner

    “It is unbelievable! This information was just recently released.”

    Good call Gail. I’ve been posting about the crime family otherwise known as the Fed for a long time. I don’t have the energy to go into detail about the Fed’s latest massive POMO ponzi fraud, which is making the primary dealers 100s of millions for 10 seconds worth of work on a weekly basis, as writing about this will probably make my head explode. I’m just worried people aren’t being woken up about this cosa nostra disguised as a central bank fast enough to keep pace with the rate of bloodletting.

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