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View Diary: Owners of the world, unite (271 comments)

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  •  Result not intent. Where is intent shown? (0+ / 0-)

    I guess I didn't find a motive ascribed in the diarists post, just the result. Good point but I just didn't assume that since Deng's focus was on the west, but inward - national modernization.

    •  yep. All of the Leninists, in whatever variant, (0+ / 0-)

      whether it be Lenin or Mao or Deng or Fidel or whoever, are, at core, radical nationalists.

    •  Take a look at these two paragraphs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson
      It's true enough that Deng realized that the Chinese economy needed an influx of capital if it was to compete with the rising technological tide that was sweeping through the west. However, he had also worked in the west. It was his treatment in western factories, not some scribbling from either Marx or Mao, that inspired Deng to join the Communist movement.  Deng saw the flaws in the Chinese system, but he wasn’t blind to the flaws in the western system.

      For Deng, the whole idea of communism was never to achieve the hypothetical end-stage envisioned by Marx. His understanding was, as always, visceral and pragmatic. He saw a centralized government and tight economic controls as a means through which China could overcome the vast advantages of the west. He saw a way for his nation to rise to equality, if not prominence.

      These introduce the broader discussion of the impact of Deng's reforms.  Then we've got this gem:

      That the west would tolerate any level of political suppression for access to China was only one of Deng's insights. It was what opened the door. Though his understanding of communism was different from that of Mao and other leaders, Deng still followed the labor theory of value. It was on that point that Deng launched his attack.

      Subsequent statement's of Deng's agency include "Deng saw opportunity"; "Deng offered corporations"; and "Deng's assault was well-timed".  Finally, we get the kicker that I quoted above: "Deng punched a hole in the tub."  All of that reads to me as an argument in favor of intentionality, except of course that there's no actual evidence he intended to provoke the downfall of western economies.

      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
      ¡Boycott Arizona!

      by litho on Sun May 22, 2011 at 02:28:03 PM PDT

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      •  Deng's 'theories' punched a hole in may have been (1+ / 0-)
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        a better wording. I read it that way.  

        That the west would tolerate any level of political suppression for access to China was only one of Deng's insights. It was what opened the door.
        ..seems like opportunism  as a national concern, not necessarily a directed focus against the U.S.
        I read it as a measurement of success, not a balancing or acheiving of the greater amount of a finite amount of national success that either benefits one nation or the other - but not both.

        But I get your point, it is worded more personalizingly ( is that a word?)

    •  Better read it again. (0+ / 0-)

      At best, the diary is simplistic, anecdotal and short on facts, but in case you missed some of the finer points ....

      A new agreement with the Soviets came in 1983, and in 1984 Reagan became just the second US president to visit communist China. While his meeting failed to resolve issues around the continued independence of Taiwan, China enthusiasts were heartened by the strengthening flow of capital between the two nations. The connection between free trade and freedom was drawn more strongly every day. China might be reclusive, it might be too powerful to be susceptible to military threats, but that didn't matter. Once Chinese citizens got their mitts on Big Macs and their keesters behind  the wheel of a Chevy, the communist government would pop like a soap bubble.

      US policy always recognized "One China". China was admitted to the UN and Taiwan expelled in 1971 when the PRC assumed the chair established for China as a founding member in 1945, prior to the revolution in 1949. The RoC did not petition the UN for a seperate seat until 1993. The RoC is presently recognized by 23 UM members, the balance including the US, recognizing the PRC, affirmed by the US-China Joint Declaration of 1972. The remainder of the paragraph is anecdotal, speculative and of no consequence.

      At the time Deng opened China for business, western societies had enjoyed decades of economic growth. Even though there had been periods of recession and surges of inflation, overall economies had expanded rapidly. Incomes at the top had risen, but so had incomes at the middle, and the bottom. The value of items was not completely tied to the value of labor, but the value of labor was still a big enough component in the cost of goods that workers in America and elsewhere could afford to buy the things they made. Labor cost and goods costs were still tightly coupled.

      Deng offered corporations a chance to break that connection. By moving the source of production to China, they could sharply reduce the cost of labor. At the time, labor's value was increased by years of training and skill acquisition and Chinese workers lacked the experience of American workers, but Deng's assault was well timed.  Manufacturing was becoming increasingly automated, and the value of long periods of training diminishing. Besides, the number of available Chinese workers was such that manufacturers could sort and sift to find those who learned fast and were most productive.

      The above is revisionist history. China was hardly the first poor country to open it's doors to Western businesses offering cheap labor, and in fact, there was nothing unique about it; rather China followed the path blazd by others and the only logical path to attract outside investment. Are we to suppose they would have succeeded by offereing more expensive labor? LOL.

      The lead-in to the first paragrph is a nice bit of self-fulfilling retoric; the West was rich and everybody was happy until Mr. Deng threw open the doors!

      Far more than at any point in the past, the cost of goods and the cost of labor was suddenly and irrevocably severed. The goals of manufacturing workers in the US were no longer a concern to employers, because those workers were now ex-employees. Even as prices fell, the reduced cost of labor made it possible for corporations to extract higher profit margins.

      More revisionism. Suddenly and irrevocably severed? How so? In fact, development from the mod 70's through the mid-80's was slow and painful for pretty much everyone involved and if you actually check the fact of Chinese exports you will find it was not until Asian led investment in Shenzhen, which was declared a Special Economic Zone in 1979, took root in the late 1980s that the export of low value consumer products actually took-off, and more than a decade later when China was admited to the WTO that it's economy hit critical mass. Again, a simple chart of economic data would set the subject in a more clear perspective.

      Rather than organize an international revolt of workers, Deng generated a conspiracy of business leaders willing to devalue their work force. He showed CEOs that they could become fabulously wealthy if they only reduced their companies to nothing more than nameplates and outlets – brand names for China Inc. He showed them that they could profit from the destruction of their own system. What we took as economic victory was really an invitation to economic suicide, and corporations lined up to jump.

      OK. Picture Mr Deng addressing a meeting of The World Conspiracy of Business Leaders with a flip chart lecturing them on How Capitalism Works and his surprised and astounded audiance enthusiastically taking notes. Until that day they were just a bunch of Regular Joes munching cheeseburgers in some greasy-spoon off Wall Street, the home of Altruism Inc. Do I see the CEOs of Coca-Cola and Exxon in the back row marveling at the inginuity of the clever Mr. Deng? "Gosh" Mr Exxon Valdez exclaims to Mr. Sugar Water "Why didn't we think of that?" as Colonel Sanders excitedly calculated One Wing + One Thigh + One Breast + Mashed Potatoes x One Billion on the back of his cocktail napkin. Seriously ....

      More correctly about 60% of Chinese exports are produced by MNCs and a fair amount of the remainder by their subcontractors, but they are commiting economic suicide?

      And in punching a hole in the bottom of the western moneybag, he showed how China could scoop up the falling dollar and use it to purchase the world.

      China owns the world? Really? Is my snarc detectr malfunctioning? Was this intended to be published on Saturday?

      I'm sorry, but my reading of this diary has intent written all over it and plays a bit too lose with the facts to add-up.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Mon May 23, 2011 at 09:39:58 AM PDT

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