Imagine if you will that you are in your car taking a nice quiet drive. Suddenly you realize the car is out of gear and that your foot is on the gas pedal full down. The engine is racing very loudly and the car is shaking violently and you are not going anywhere.
Welcome to China; China that is, less than thirty years ago. It took the Chinese government a long time to figure out that their country of over two billion was not going anywhere and that without change Chinas place in the world would be severely lessened. So faced with the unacceptable effects of staying the course of rigid communism, those in charge, put the country in gear and began practicing their own form of capitalism/isolationism/open-border-with-limitations/communism and got busy. And get busy they did get.
China is now involved in just about ever country in the world in one way or another. They have taken their seat at the world table in manufacturing, financial markets, automobile making and every other conceivable business opportunity available. Whether it is building infrastructure in Africa, or supplying the basic chemicals a burgeoning world wide drug cartel needs to make methamphetamines, you will find China knowingly or unknowingly in the process. They have been to Space and they are nuclear and their foremost policy in every case is not to let politics be a stopping point for business. They carry a large checkbook to any table and are not afraid to use it.
Do we have anything to fear from all that I have said here? Probably more than we care to acknowledge. Can we do anything about the surging Chinese influence, co-sponsored and supported by American Corporations who now call themselves “global” rather than American Companies? Sadly very little, other than product boycotts, returning products we find tainted, and educating ourselves as consumers to be aware of what it is we are buying. We need to be educated consumers and not afraid to exercise our options not to support a system that jails a man for alchemy because he complained about local pollution in his community.
As I write this, nurses are preparing to give all of my residents a flu shot. Protections against a germ that will undoubtedly start somewhere off the coast of China. It might and it might not work against the flu. Just as what you do as a consumer might or might not work to improve conditions in China. But it has taken us years to develop pollution controls; food and drug laws to protect us from tainted products and years to develop labor laws to protect us in our work place. These laws didn’t happen over night and neither will the fight against those who have found a way to beat our system by shipping production overseas. What we must never forget, is that we the consumer are the key to all that happens in a Capitalistic world. The buck starts and stops with you. It always has, and it always will.
(For more information on this topic I highly recommend “The Coming China Wars,” by Peter Navarro)