The USS Quad Damage

China and Foxconn

China's "rise" as they call it shows just how strange political ideologies are with respect to the common sense implementation of those ideologies.

It is one of the few countries running a budget surplus, and if their line of credit was to be pulled out, almost all western economies would fall.

I remember watching a documentary about the space race between the US and Russia. One of the talking heads said it was interesting that the Russian space program was essentially operating like capitalism — survival of the fittest; everyone fighting to get a share of the money, where the US were effectively operating like communism — a whole bunch of companies working together to achieve a goal.

The US won. But what does that mean in terms of ideology?

And so here we are, where we have companies like Foxconn inside a communist country where heads of big western companies are lauding their abusive work practices — You can’t force a worker in America to wake up at 2am in the morning to do multiple 12 hour shifts because your CEO changed his mind. Even worse (or better), the workers aren’t allowed to form unions, or go on strike, or really have much of a say in pay negotiations, because ironically, they live in a communist country.

And this communist country is competing with capitalist countries for labour, and winning because they’re artificially keeping their currency low, and opting for conditions — in pay, living standards, and pollution — which no sane country would opt for.

And built on these workers, these abused laid down like train tracks, they have built a massive economic engine. It is one of the few countries running a budget surplus, and if their line of credit was to be pulled out, almost all western economies would fall. Europe is struggling as it is, and the US cannot survive in at least the mid-term without China’s funding, and Australia is effectively both shielded from failure by China, and simultaneously held under its iron grip — with our dollar as high as it is, we cannot shore up a manufacturing base, and even if we could, we would be competing with China.

Despite the Arab Spring, the real spring we should care about needs to happen in China, and amazingly, this is not the sort of thing that will necessarily benefit the Chinese in the long term, it will benefit us. While you have the kerfuffle that’s flowing around Apple and people back and forth arguing that these are real people vs a tacit assumption that they’re just like ants from up here, and the kind of world that the people making these arguments are looking for.

In Australia this sounds so strange. You’ve got.. I guess “1 percenters” might be the best way to classify them.. You’ve got 1 percenters talking about how China is an economic powerhouse and how we should be emulating them, and the proletariat talking about how they should fight to try and improve their working conditions — because their working conditions are inexorably tied to ours, because proles need to stick together, because ultimately a strong economy comes from everyone having some money, and not just those at the top.

But historically, Labour — a side of politics practically formed out of unions — have always been about engaging with the Chinese, and it has been the Liberals — the big business guys who side with America, and are perhaps critical of the Chinese from time to time, even as they try and replicate China’s success by destroying the lifestyles of common men.

So I guess I’m never going to understand politics. Either people don’t actually believe in anything, or they don’t fight the fights that matter. Why doesn’t China have economic sanctions for not floating it’s Yuan? Why is Australia blindly selling it all the raw materials without demanding that at least some of it is processed here? What the fuck is going on here?