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View Diary: We've become China's farm team (115 comments)

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  •  I detect a hit of protectionism here. Whether it's (6+ / 0-)

    a Chinese-owned or American-owned corporation doesn't matter in the world of regulation.  Corporations are not distinguished by the country they are incorporated in. There is a bit of hysteria going on here and elsewhere about China buying properties owned in the US--there has never been hysteria about the Netherlands who have traditionally been the US' #1 foreign investor of US properties, for example.

    "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowden -6.62, -6.92

    by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:11:40 AM PST

    •  it's all about the climate..more meat production (3+ / 0-)

      no matter who eats it creates more greenhouse gases

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:17:17 AM PST

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    •  Nothing compared to China (3+ / 0-)

      GE and Vestas want to sell wind turbines in China.  The Chinese govt instructs them: share your technology w/ Chinese-owned firms, or you don't have access to our market.  A few years later, Chinese wind turbine manufacturers have taken a HUGE share of the global market.

      On the solar side, want to know why US solar panel makers have gone under?  B/c the Chinese government has decided that it's willing to finance the operating losses of many Chinese closely-held solar panel makers.

      Finally, ask Cisco about the similarities b/w its equipment and that of certain Chinese tech co's.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:18:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  more than a hint (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CanyonWren, FinchJ, Sky Net, lotlizard

      the title and the text contain quite a bit of language that I find objectionable.

      the Chinese have successfully made a land and water grab right here in the U.S.A.
      Just what is being said here? What does the diarist mean by "the Chinese"? The Chinese government? The entire Chinese people? Is the diarist suggesting that this one business deal by one company which happens to be Chinese is a step in some kind of nefarious grand plan by those much larger entities to buy up the US?

      Even if it is just carelessness, this is very divisive and inflammatory, and it feeds people's fears. Even if unintentional, it's veering perilously close to the kind of thing Lou Dobbs said when he spoke of a "reconquista" of the southwest US by Mexican immigrants--vague, alarmist talk of some kind of "takeover" of the US by foreigners.

      After all, if it wasn't a Chinese corporation buying Smithfield, someone else would. Why is it that only in this case is it necessary to specify the nationality of the corporation? Would it be called a British land grab, or an French land grab, or an Indian land grab if a British or French or Indian company had bought Smithfield?

      This deal is a bad deal on the environmental merits, no matter who bought the company. Criticize it on those grounds, not on some kind of nationalistic fear.

      The diarist is excellent on environmental issues, but that cause is very ill-served by the framing used in this diary (and this is not the first diary of hers that has done so). This approach whips up jingoistic sentiment and gets people to think of this issue (industrial agriculture) as some kind of narrow nationalistic conflict between US and China, rather than as a global issue.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:42:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is one way to see it. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, Shahryar, CanyonWren

        I would put it into the context of the reported large agricultural land purchases being made across the world- often called land grabs- that campaigners see as a threat to local, often poor, people who may not have official titles to the land they work.

        A new study, however, reports that these purchases are being overstated in the media. And, surprise, western firms constitute the bulk of the purchases.

        While I can see how this diary can be seen in the terms you have outlined, I also see how it can be put into the context of a global race to purchase agricultural land that is said to disempower local people.

        So what is interesting, from that perspective, is that "China" is expanding its agricultural investments into developed countries. And, of course, doing so in a way that perpetuates an economic system that supports these abusive forms of agriculture.

        •  I don't understand what's so "interesting" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CanyonWren, lotlizard
          what is interesting, from that perspective, is that "China" is expanding its agricultural investments into developed countries. And, of course, doing so in a way that perpetuates an economic system that supports these abusive forms of agriculture.
          Smart companies look for good buys, and when they see them, they make them. That's what companies do, and that's all that's happening here.

          China is one of the world's fastest growing markets. A company saw that there would be a rising demand for food in China and saw another food company that it could buy to provide food for that underserved market. That is all.

          That America is a "developed country" is irrelevant. It's not like just because nation X is developed, there will never be companies in nation X looking to sell. Developed countries will sometimes have assets that are attractive to foreign corporations.

          Probably quite often, in fact. Because the level of infrastructure, technology, skilled labor etc. will be often be much higher than in an undeveloped country. If you want to buy an agricultural company, wouldn't you rather want one with the best equipment and most skilled labor?

          And just what do you mean by putting "China" in quotes? Now, in the process of attempting to clarify what the diarist is saying, you're making things even more mysterious than she is.

          "China"--whatever you mean by that--did not make this deal. A company made this deal. Or do you think that every time GE buys a company overseas, that "America" (in quotes, whatever that means) is behind that deal?

          Are you saying that the Chinese government is not reining in corporations and is neglectful of the environment? Well, they've got plenty of company in that regard.

          There is nothing new or particularly remarkable about any of that. And the diary would have been far more effective without injecting the gloss the diarist put on it.

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 10:22:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This part, in particular, is spot on: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard
            "China"--whatever you mean by that--did not make this deal. A company made this deal. Or do you think that every time GE buys a company overseas, that "America" (in quotes, whatever that means) is behind that deal?

            Are you saying that the Chinese government is not reining in corporations and is neglectful of the environment? Well, they've got plenty of company in that regard.

            There is nothing new or particularly remarkable about any of that. And the diary would have been far more effective without injecting the gloss the diarist put on it.

            "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying."Edward Snowden -6.62, -6.92

            by CanyonWren on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 10:32:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well, you got it at the end there- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CanyonWren
            Are you saying that the Chinese government is not reining in corporations and is neglectful of the environment? Well, they've got plenty of company in that regard.
            Yes. I am saying that. And, this might come as a surprise, but I am very well aware that they have plenty of company in the deplorable on the environment front. That doesn't mean that every time someone criticizes anything that one must mention the rest of the company kept by the thing under scrutiny. Discussion would hardly get anywhere if we were to go down that road.

            I am also saying that it is a sad state of affairs that our economic system considers Smithfield to be a good buy or a company worth investing in.

            Since you asked, if I wanted to buy an agricultural company, I would buy one that is working in regenerative enterprises and not one that is deeply entrenched in a wholly unsustainable system of production.

            What I mean by "China" in quotes is that whatever the details, people are going to see this as China purchasing an American company.

      •  One concern is that the Smithfield purchase gives (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VL Baker, CanyonWren

        China almost a monopoly on pork.  Prior to the acquisition, China produced more pork than the rest of the world put together.  

        Here's some interesting information on China's increase in meat consumption.    The purchase of Smithfield will further entrench us in unsustainable agricultural practices.

      •  I agree. Gratuitous pivot toward Sinophobia, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac, CanyonWren

        … if not yellow peril-ism?

        Shuanghui bought it fair and square, jumping through all the hoops, did they not?

        The words "land grab" and the general thrust those words represent have the capacity to summon some unpleasant historical ghosts.

        Internment was popular among many white farmers who resented the Japanese American farmers. "White American farmers admitted that their self-interest required removal of the Japanese."[20] These individuals saw internment as a convenient means of uprooting their Japanese American competitors. Austin E. Anson, managing secretary of the Salinas Vegetable Grower-Shipper Association, told the Saturday Evening Post in 1942:
        "We're charged with wanting to get rid of the Japs for selfish reasons. We do. It's a question of whether the white man lives on the Pacific Coast or the brown men. They came into this valley to work, and they stayed to take over… If all the Japs were removed tomorrow, we'd never miss them in two weeks, because the white farmers can take over and produce everything the Jap grows. And we do not want them back when the war ends, either."[28]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

        by lotlizard on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 12:39:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Protectionism is the wrong word (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac, CanyonWren

      Because a protectionist would cheer the fact that american pork is getting exported to China. The whole point of protectionism is to protect domestic producers. This is more like xenophobia (if not worse).

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