What do you get when you combine a communist state with unbridled capitalism? You get a fascist’s state of mind, of course. Why bring this up at this time? Well, I think for the time being I have exhausted my rants regarding the Creationists movement and because we are rapidly approaching the start of yet another Olympiad, I figure it’s time for me to chime in on this auspicious event. The pageantry of the Olympics is a Chinese homage to their ruthless march to the top of the world economic food chain, a grand spectacle that was fueled by the callous deaths of millions of Chinese laborers and the ruined careers of millions of American workers, engineered by both callous communist party officials and greedy and stupid American CEOs.
In the nineties, a curious blend of communist backed entrepreneurialism began to take hold in China, fueled and abetted by the voracious appetite of American CEOs for a cheap and reliable foreign labor source. What better way to improving corporate productivity than to pay a fraction for that labor and China had plenty of cheap bodies for hire? A sick Six Sigma corporate mentality of looking at the American labor pool as a waste rather than as a resource further fed this destructive mentality as we outsourced American jobs, pensions, technology and pollution to China for what will amount to be some chump change. As they tour the latest ISO 9000 level Chinese factories the American executives conveniently ignore the shady underworld of subcontractors in the Chinese countryside, where the labor is subjected to substandard working conditions the likes of which belong in Sinclair Lewis novel. Imagine factories where workers do arc welding without protective eye goggles or spray paint shiny new air compressors without the benefits of the simplest air mask and where even the most basic sanitation is lacking. Why? Because it is cheaper, so you could cut the cost of that compressor by a nickel and there are ten others to replace the one guy with the burnt-out eyes or lungs who fell from the assembly-line.
I saw this destructive Wal-Mart mentality first hand. Every distributor began to push American manufacturers for better pricing and that became synonymous with outsourcing to China. I literally had manufacturers crying on the phone to me that they would have to close their American factories, fire their workers and partner with a Chinese manufacturer. That also meant sharing with the Chinese their tooling and industrial secrets and everybody knew how the Chinese manufacturers felt about honoring intellectual property. There is no such thing! I quit in disgust, not so much out of any great moral obligation, but because I personally couldn’t stomach watching entire industries being savaged by this sick mentality.
There’s an old Clash song, called death or Glory, from London Calling that had a line about “he who !@%#$ nuns later joins the church”. In short, I couldn’t continue to be a tool, especially when I knew those so-called great IT and service jobs that were being created to replace our lost manufacturing jobs -you remember that crap about the US going from a manufacturing economy to a service economy- were now being outsourced to India! Every economist was saying we didn’t want to fall into that European trap of protecting jobs with tariffs. Well, the Europeans have a more leisurely lifestyle, live longer and get a month off while our women are literally forced to hold down a job and we sit at home feeling guilty if we take our stinking two week vacation during the course of the year because it’s going to make the company less competitive in the world economy. Is it me or am I missing something here?
So, if you think this callous Chinese and corporate America behavior doesn’t impact you, well, think again. It impacts the manufacturing jobs that are no longer based in the US to the cost of gas at the pump, to the quality of the air you breathe. And now that the housing boom is in a perpetual death spiral don’t you think that negative trade balance is finally going to pose a drag on the American economy? Can we continue to afford to send billions of our dollars to both China and OPEC?
We basically put them in business with our shortsighted Wal-Mart outsourcing mentality and now we compete with the Chinese for food, oil and other basic resources. Free trade advocates would say you got it wrong, that we are growing large new markets for our products to sell into. What the hell do we export to China other than raw materials, some planes, our garbage (literally), food, and until recently our crappy high risk mortgage paper? Okay, maybe the occasional designer bag, no wait a minute, they make those over there, right?
Wow, would our CEOs really sell us out like that? If they can make millions or billions of dollars in terms of their own personal payouts, you bet they would sell us out and their mothers too! No, American manufacturers crawl into bed with any hideous country for a buck and the tech firms don’t exhibit much better behavior in terms of a corporate conscience. Witness the recent behaviors of Yahoo, MSN and Google and their complicity and capitulation to the state sponsored censorship machine of the Chinese. With all of Bill Gates so called humanitarian work you think he throw in a good word for the prisoners within the walls of Microsoft. Not a chance when a buck can be made.
You probably thought I would go off on a liberal, Hollywood-tinged rant about Tibet; after all, the Chinese view the country as implicitly theirs, even though the Tibetan people want no part of the Chinese occupiers. Couple that with the traditional Chinese racist’s attitudes toward Tibetans, they sort of view Tibet as a sort of a northern Mexico, and you have a brutal repression strikingly similar to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In fact, it escapes me as to how this situation is different and why a movement has yet to materialize to boycott the Olympics like we did the Moscow games other than the fact corporate America is still making a buck in trading with the Chinese. I guess that was the Russian’s mistake, not making enough money with the US. Undoubtedly, the mountainous terrain also reminds the Chinese authorities of this unflattering parallel but fortunately for the repressors they face a pacifist Buddhist population rather than a Jihadists Moslem population like they may be facing in their western provinces.
Still the parallel sends a collective chill down the spines of the Chinese oppressors, so much so they felt compelled to kidnap the chosen Panchen Lama. For those not up on their comparative religious studies, in Tibetan Buddhism, the Panchen Lama is a sacred religious figure who chooses the successor to the Dalai Lama. With that kidnapping the Chinese now claim the right to name the next Dalai Lama! They have absolutely no shame but to hold the Chinese responsible just for Tibet is to miss out on the bigger picture. For the past five years the rest of the world has been so busy excoriating the U.S. for our misguided Mid-East policies they have literally allowed the Chinese to fly under the proverbial moral radar!
For example, China’s draconian prison policies should engender the biggest outrage for any thinking person or the grudging admiration of any closet Nazi. China’s penal policies include the systematic execution of 10,000 people annually, comprised mostly of petty criminals, the occasional corrupt party officials (no doubt the ones who stupidly refused to share or whose shoddy practices led to the death of some unfortunates) and numerous political prisoners. Fervent believers in recycling and in making a quick buck, the Chinese authorities routinely harvest the organs of their executed prisoners’ minutes after their death. Yes, if you haven’t heard, you can buy that liver or kidney from China that may have been inaccessible to you in the states. Or they sell the bodies for medical research; you know for that human anatomy plastination exhibit that the touristos love to goggle over in America’s big cities. How obscene and complicit is that viewing now that you know there is a possibility that the contorted and flayed body mounted in Plexiglas may have belonged to an executed political prisoner. One moment you’re alive and vigorously chanting for the return of the Dalai Lama and a few months later, your executed, lifeless inner guts are on display at the BodyWorlds exhibit at the South Street Seaport in NY. To add insult to injury, they made a few hundred dollars in the process of executing and selling your sad-assed carcass.
China’s own foreign policy is even sorrier and you only have to look to Darfur to witness the Chinese complicity in the killing of native Africans. And if China doesn’t get you with their abhorrent foreign policy they’ll kill you with their damn pollution. China continues to put a new coal firing plant on line each week, none of them fitted with scrubbers and in short order, they have already exceeded the U.S. in the dubious distinction of being the world’s biggest carbon gas emitter. And please, I don’t want to hear about that stupid knee jerk carbon tax proposal of Al Gore’s until the Chinese and India also agree to curb their emissions.
But, hey I digress and this mess gets even better. A global recession, coupled with China’s twenty million plus surplus of young males, ought to elicit some interestingly bad behavior by the Chinese authorities in the years ahead. You know, of the criminal and warlike variety. The extra males, euphemistically called bare branches because they can’t find a mate, are the result of decades of female infanticide, in part due to the stringent population control measures the Chinese authorities have put in place. Any way you look at it, it’s either going to be golden era for Chinese prostitutes or a tumultuous period of continuous regional wars as the Chinese Authorities put their surplus male population to good use.
Should the American populace be concerned about such egregious behavior, especially considering that our own politicos don’t appear to be too concerned? “Hey give them time; they’ll come around to our way of thinking,” is the standard line. So are we engaging them and thereby opening up their society and hopefully ameliorating their egregious behavior by some form of mythical Western cultural osmosis or are they changing our own perceptions by dramatically rewriting the rules for capitalism? Who knows and nobody cares, because in the interim, we all think we are making a buck in the process. And in the final analysis what is more important, the ongoing misbehavior by the host country of the Olympiad or missing out on the opportunity to watch thousands of over trained, steroid-fueled, doped-out amateurs looking for their big pay day in the Beijing smog?
My best guess is that we are all going to mindlessly watching the modern day equivalent of the 1936 Berlin games, as we and the athletes hold our collective noses, albeit for entirely different reasons. Frankly, do we even care? Should we care? Does our participation in a global economy mean that we have to turn a blind eye regarding the ongoing human rights atrocities by our biggest trading partner? Hell, President Bush doesn’t care since he is on his way to games even after he meets with Chinese dissidents. I can only imagine the scintillating intellectual debate that will ensue from such a historic meeting of the minds. “You know you all should try a little more democracy, by the way, the Peking duck is real good.” If the President can be a such a tool why shouldn’t we?
Moreover, by boycotting NBC are we not just penalizing an American Company? That’s the beauty of my proposal: NBC is owned by GE, the corporate progenitor of that sick six sigma mentality, you know the one that outsourced your job to China in the first place. Hence, we have come full circle and you know what they say about payback. All we have to do is not watch and send collective chill down the spines of the communist oppressors and corporate hijackers of the American dream. Ah, screw it, I know you’re going to watch these pre-digested games anyway, after all there’s nothing else on during the summer and by August the majority of baseball teams have become also-rans. It’s just that I won’t be joining you in viewing this fascist spectacle on NBC.