The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

This Week’s Rant

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Howard Schnieder in the Washington Post posits that, with the fall of China’s superstar status, more rapid change in the relations between China and the US may be possible.

It’s an informative piece that nevertheless leaves me in a sputtering, almost incoherent rage.  The author notes that “some members of Congress” still worry about  the loss of jobs to China? Are you kidding? These trade agreements were responsible for the closure of thousands of factories in the United States, which were shipped to China.  Millions of jobs were lost, creating blighted communities in the Midwest now referred to as the “rust belt.” In the meantime our favored-status trading partner China provides subsidies to state-owned businesses, controls the movement of investment capital into and out of the country, and regulates a financial sector dominated by state-owned banks and state-dictated interest rates.  And, this is considered “free trade?”  The betrayal of laborers and the middle-class, who built this nation, by their Congressional representatives for the benefit of their large corporate donors is infuriating.  Any Congressperson who votes to continue these policies should be kicked out of office and sued for malpractice.

Labor leaders, some members of Congress and other groups in the United States still worry about the loss of jobs to China and argue that the country’s currency and other strategies to boost exports continue to give it an unfair advantage. Ebbing Chinese growth has meant a slower rise in U.S. exports to the country. Coming at a time when the U.S. economy seems to be firming and imports are on the rise, that produced a record trade deficit with China of $440 billion last year.

…investment by U.S. companies into China has slowed, while Chinese companies — looking for technology, growth and other opportunities that have become harder to find at home — are increasingly going overseas, sometimes with controversial results.  The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to hold a public hearing about the proposed takeover of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, by a Chinese company trying to lock in supply for an increasingly meat-hungry nation and gain access to U.S. technology.

Changes in U.S. monetary policy and the potential for rising interest rates may divert even more capital from China, said Cornell University economist and China expert Eswar S. Prasad. The dropping cost structure for energy in the United States, meanwhile, coupled with the steady rise in China’s labor bill, has the potential to further change international investment patterns. China, Prasad said, will likely press U.S. officials for a better understanding of those trends.

Overall, U.S. officials say they expect the economic pressures being felt inside China to push the country toward some of the decisions that the United States and other Chinese trading partners have long advocated: cutting subsidies to state-owned businesses, allowing freer movement of investment capital into and out of the country, and deregulating a financial sector dominated by state-owned banks and state-dictated interest rates.

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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