Re: Made in China

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 15:03:47 MDT

Bill Douglass wrote:
> If enough Americans were to decide to stop buying Chinese goods, the effect
> would be the same as if a protectionist like Pat Buchanan were to become
> President, and equally tragic: it would cut off the flow of oxygen to
> China's economy.
> Since reforms first began, haltingly in 1978, the pattern in China has been
> that in times of strong economic growth, liberals in the government such as
> Premier Zhu Rongzi have managed to hold a lot of clout, and be successful in
> pushing through further liberal, capitalist reforms. The process builds on
> itself.
> However, in times of economic stagnation or crisis with the West (such as
> the aftermath of the embassy bombing in Belgrade, for example, not to
> mention the current problems in Hainan Province) the anti-progress Communist
> hardliners in government tend to gain ground, and criticism of the liberals
> becomes louder.
> It's always hard to predict the future, but as far as I can tell, the
> effects of a large-scale boycott of Chinese-made goods would have the
> primary effect of slowing or even reversing the liberal, pro-freedom trend
> in China (there would be other negative effects, but again, I'm keeping this
> relevant to the thread).

The problem with this is that:

a) all attempts at unionizing in China are in fact brutally repressed.
b) reform groups (like Falun Gong) are brutally repressed.
c) there is NO opposition political group permitted to exist in China.
d) nobody in the public sees much of the prison labor system.
e) the Chinese people know quite well what the punishment is for not
parroting the party line. Even here in the US, Chinese citizens who are
living here in the US were very very hard to find who would voluntarily
go on US television to comment on a Chinese perspective. Several US tv
journalists have commented that most everyone they asked reacted with
outright fear at the idea. I am not surprised at all that your friend
found nobody who was not ecstatically happy with the current regieme.
Prisoners are always quite happy with the most brutal wardens. Just ask

While the 'temptation island' model of 'engagement' that has been used
with the Chinese has produced zero real reforms politically, while much
economic reform has occured. The system there is very much the sort of
'state capitalism' that western 'anarchists' claim the Soviet Union was.
What we do know is that isolation and economic embargo works. It worked
with the Soviets and the rest of the Warsaw Pact nations. It hasn't
worked well with Cuba because several key nations ignore the US embargo,
esp. Mexico and Spain.

As someone else said, the difference between communism and capitalism is
that with one, man exploits man, while the other is the reverse. What
capitalism has as an advantage is that it PERMITS the possibility of a
tolerant and open moral and ethical society to evolve and exist IF the
culture it exists in allows such a thing. China is heavily Confucian in
its cultural make up, and as such is quite intolerant and autocratic.
Thus China is possibly one of the worse nations to try the 'engagement'
strategy with. They will become capitalistic wizards, while they
monopolize and enslave markets and people.

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