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Sunday, October 4, 2020

Three Cheers For Capitalism -- October 04, 2020





  

Three Cheers For Capitalism

By LARRY ROMANOFF – October 04, 2020




 

 •Playing the Word Game

 

 In early 2014 the Shanghai Daily carried an article by Cherry Cao titled "Pudong office rents outperform Puxi’s in Q4". Its content is instructive. First, what are rising prices? Inflation. Is that good? Not usually. We certainly don't like to see rising home prices, we don't enjoy paying more for the fuel for our cars and few of us are happy to pay the increasing prices in the supermarkets. China's Central Government has taken resolute action on many occasions to kill inflation, to at least stop prices increasing if not to drive them down. Inflation is bad, and harms almost everyone. But this article isn't bemoaning rising office rents in Pudong; quite the contrary, it suggests that this is a good thing because Pudong's rents are "outperforming" those in Puxi. What are we to think?

 

 If I own a shopping mall and raise the rents, 600 shop-owners will now have to raise their prices and hundreds of thousands of shoppers will have to pay more for the goods they buy. Who is supposed to be happy about this? The consumers have nothing to cheer about. Certainly the shop-owners aren't happy. Does the city government smile at the news that rent inflation is taking its toll on smaller businesses? I don't see why it would. The only person who is happy is me, because I am bleeding more bank accounts faster. The end result of course, is precisely the income disparity that everyone claims is a bad thing, the increasing transfer and concentration of wealth in a steadily decreasing number of hands. By raising the rents, I am transferring several RMB from each purchase by hundreds of thousands of individual consumers, through the shop-keepers, into my bank account. That is the prime source of what we call income disparity, the difference in assets between the very rich and everyone else. What we need to do is to push the rents down, make it easier for the shop-owners to stay in business and offer lower prices. And we need to increase taxes to the landlords, to reduce the profitability from their greed, and redistribute that money through civic infrastructure and social services. This is how we push incomes to the lower levels, to the smaller shops and the smallest consumer, and how we reduce the income disparity in China. And in doing this, we needn't feel sympathy for the landlords who now have only $80 billion instead of $90 billion.

 

 And therein lies the danger of listening to the Americans: the risk of being contaminated by their political/religious/capitalist ideology is surprisingly high because you become infected without conscious realisation. The subtle changes in definition and usage of words, the clever presentation of bad as good and, just as with the movies, we unconsciously accept the moral lesson contained in the message, in this case that "performance" is somehow a good thing, even if the thing performing is inflation. And instead of feeling concern, we are urged to feel a kind of pride that Pudong is performing so well and also a bit of pity for poor Puxi that is underperforming the market, probably being left behind because it is old-fashioned. Rising prices - bad inflation - is now reclassified as good performance, cleverly couched in terms of prestige, success, and high-class development and therefore to be praised. We are creating a myth that bad is really good and should be supported. Listen to the words, and how they are intended to push us to accept values that are against our own best interest. This choice of words is not an accident:

 

 "Rents for Grade A offices on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River "continued to outperform" those on the Puxi side", "strong demand" "continuing to drive rental growth". And this was "a notable contrast" to poor Puxi that "shed" its prices and had "a flat office leasing market" because "demand from cost-conscious companies" remained weak.

 

What conclusions do we draw from these words? First, that Pudong is growing and expanding and doing markedly better than Puxi, with increasing demand driving growth, and attracting all the companies that have money. How can we not be in favor of that? And secondly that backward Puxi is not expanding but contracting, "shedding" its growth, and how can we be happy about that? Even worse, Puxi rents were flat because demand from "cost-conscious" companies was weak, and what does that imply? That Puxi is the location of choice for firms with no money, those who can't afford to rent nice space because they aren't expanding and are probably worried about paying the water bill. Not only that, but Puxi is probably on a long-term trend to failure since it is "shedding" what appears to be value. But Puxi is not shedding value; instead, it is shedding high prices, the opposite of inflation, which is what everyone really wants.

 

 And with all of this, where will you go if you want to rent space? To Pudong with its driving growth and demand, where all the action is, or to poor shrinking backward Puxi with all the other losers who have no money? And what is the result of all this? To take advantage of clever psychological tricks to force demand in Pudong where these companies are building and leasing space, to play up Pudong at the expense of Puxi, to denigrate the real heart of Shanghai, to change social attitudes and alter society's values to fill the pockets of parties with vested interests. For many of the above quotes we can thank Eric Xin at Jones Lang LaSalle and others at Colliers International, which are not Chinese companies and have no interest whatever in what is good for China. I would be interested to know if these people think about what they do, in terms of what is good for Shanghai, beyond promoting huge profits for an American company.

 

 China is being contaminated by American ideology and so-called "values" in ways you can't even imagine. It wouldn't be so bad if these values were beneficial or neutral, but they are not. American firms, and the US government, are almost viciously anti-consumer and anti-society, this ideology reflected in their actions if not their words. Why do you suppose Monsanto is suing every state in the US that tries to pass food-labeling laws requiring identification of GM food? Why do you suppose the US has the most expensive and dysfunctional mobile phone system in the world, but some of the most profitable mobile phone companies? Why do you suppose the US government spent trillions bailing out the banks that caused 25% of Americans to lose their homes, altogether ignoring the victims of those banks? This is merely one symptom of the insanity that is the financialisation of the American economy: cheering for high prices in new home sales, office and shop rents, bank profits, a rise in the Chinese currency and more. Increasingly, portions of society that should be stable are being treated as a kind of imaginary "investment" for the benefit of the public when of course they are no such thing. In what way are excessively high home prices or property rents a good thing for society? In what way is a steadily increasing currency exchange rate good for China?

 

 The International bankers and financiers have utilised their control of the media over decades to create an enormously dangerous public myth that price-gouging and excessively-high corporate profits are somehow good for the economy of a nation and for the people. We needn't be very intelligent to realise this is nonsense. And yes of course corporations need profits in order to grow and remain in business, but this is not the issue; it isn't normal or reasonable profits that are being encouraged and praised, but excessive and abnormal ones. The purpose of course is the dividends and stock values for the top 1% who control these banks and industrial companies, but they are not "society" in any sense, and their intention is not to contribute but to drain, to bleed the middle and lower classes and transfer an increasing share of national wealth to themselves. This is the cause of the large and growing income disparity in America today, precisely the situation the Americans are encouraging in China and that China is working to reduce: Capitalism is extractive by nature, never contributive, and will destroy a society if not rigidly controlled.

 

 We read that China's RMB is "performing well" on international markets. What does that mean? China's currency is rising in relation to currencies of other countries, damaging China's trade position, making Chinese goods more expensive and creating domestic employment pressure. Why is that good? Yes, it lowers the cost of imports and makes foreign travel cheaper, but most Chinese expenditures are for domestic products whose market position is damaged by their price increases relative to foreign goods. And the lower-income people suffer the most, increasing China's income disparity. But "performance" must somehow be good, and we often fail to think beyond this.

 

 We read the same propaganda with relation to bank profits, the US media constantly crowing about these reaching record highs, as if this were a good thing for the nation. It isn't a good thing, not in any sense. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their homes and jobs, with many millions of these people working part-time at McDonald's or Wal-Mart and sleeping in tents in the park, but Americans have for generations been conditioned to cheer on command when Goldman Sachs is achieving record profits. And again, of course banks need profits to stay in business, but again that isn't the issue. The issue is that banks are achieving exorbitant profits at the expense of the nation, sucking immense sums of money from the middle and lower classes and concentrating it in a few hands. The retail fees and charges - and lack of paid interest - function as a tax on all of society, something no other industry can do, and it is these greatly-increased fees and charges to consumers that create the record profits. Why should we cheer about that? There was a time when banks earned their profits by taking deposits on which they paid 3% and lent out at 6%, and that interest rate differential was sufficient for them to survive and make a good living. But then greed activated their imagination and they discovered hundreds of ways to make customers pay extra fees, not because they did anything to earn them, but just because they could get away with it.

 

 In the same vein we are conditioned to cheer for a firm like Apple who had more than $200 billion in excess profits sitting in China and other countries, outside the reach of the US tax man. We are supposed to be impressed at this wonderful firm with its sexy products, and cheer its good fortune. But it earned much of that good fortune in viciously anti-consumer behavior, by gouging its Chinese consumers in totally illegal ways, from gross over-pricing to cheating on warranties, charging for free services and paying Foxconn almost nothing for the wages of Chinese workers. Apple's China executives should be in prison, but instead we are admiring them. Why?

 

 Similarly, in October of 2014, an article in the China Daily by Zheng Yangpeng lamented the "weak" housing prices in many cities in China, saying the October figures were "the gloomiest" house pricing report since January. And Yan Yuejin, an analyst with 'E-house China R&D Institute' was whining that "the road to recovery" was bumpy, complaining that developers "might have to cut prices to get more sales". And what does all this mean? It means that too many Chinese have lost their brains while listening to the American version of capitalism and free markets.

 

What are 'weak housing prices'? Evidence that finally the totally outrageous home prices in some large cities have stopped rising, maybe for the first time in a decade giving hope to millions of Chinese who want to buy their own home. But to Zheng, this is "gloomy" news and we should hope that prices "recover" to even higher levels, creating even more profit for the few owners of three or four companies while another 100 million Chinese can forget about ever buying their own home. And what a shame that developers might actually have to lower their prices. How terrible, that these few people will fail to earn yet more billions, with no apparent thought of the overall good of the nation or the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese. Who is more important to China? A few property developers, or the people? I have no particular animosity toward big business, but:

 

 If all the large property developers in China go bankrupt, that event would be of no consequence whatever to the nation and others would be quick to take their place. But if 300 million Chinese cannot afford to ever purchase a home, that is of enormous consequence to China and its future.

 

For the sake of all Chinese, we should hope for more 'gloomy' news on house prices, and soon. And these so-called experts need to be committed to institutions for the mentally incompetent where they can stop listening to Americans and do no more harm to their country.

 

•Let the Market Decide

 

 This is one of the most pervasive - and most dishonest - capitalist myths promoted by virtually every part of America from the government to the average brainwashed man on the street. But what does it mean to "let the market decide"? For one thing, who is 'the market' that will do the deciding? The statement somehow implies that this market consists of all the consumers, designated by God as the final arbiter of choice, and that they should be presented with a more or less unrestricted selection of products, be free to choose those which they prefer, and thus determine the kind and quality of the future flow of products and services. But when dealing with American capitalism, this is precisely what does not happen. The simple truth is that people cannot buy what they prefer because they have no control over the manufacturing and supply of goods. They can choose only from what they are offered.

 

 General Motors does not want to build electric cars. It made one in the US that was a success, but then repossessed all those cars and had them crushed into scrap metal. GM didn't want to build them in the US and doesn't want to build them in China. But China's government wants electric autos because it realises that is the only hope for a mobile China, that we cannot have 1.5 billion Chinese driving gasoline-powered cars since the resultant pollution would eventually kill everyone. GM refuses to comply with China's wishes and needs, until recently producing only the useless Volt, badly-overpriced to ensure it wouldn't sell. GM wants to produce only gasoline-powered autos, so how to deal with China's government? Easy. Preach the capitalist mantra of "letting the market decide", which in this case means permitting Chinese customers to choose from among GM's badly-overpriced and crappy Volt and the badly overpriced and crappy regular GM autos.

 

 There is nothing in here about producing a wide range of gasoline and electric vehicles and then letting the consumers choose. It is all about GM using the myth of market demand to support its own manufacturing preferences. GM is focused entirely on profits and has minimal knowledge of or concern for China's larger social or economic needs. GM was telling us there was no demand for electric autos, hardly a surprise since GM didn't make any. But China's government is encouraging and subsidising electric auto purchases, which meets with great displeasure from GM who, sadly, doesn't qualify for the subsidies. We are therefore treated to the added attraction of watching GM whine about how it is morally wrong for the Chinese government to promote or subsidise the manufacture of anything GM doesn't want to make. GM has little or no interest in either the market or in demand. It simply designs and makes whatever it believes will produce the highest profits. A "free market" means leaving GM free to do whatever it wants. And that is the entire story.

 

 We find the same with housing construction where a relatively small number of firms control the bulk of the residential housing supply. Certainly they assume people will buy what they build, but then people can buy only what is available. Since these firms control the entire design and construction process, they will build whatever they estimate will produce the highest profits, almost entirely without regard for either consumers' wishes or the good of society as a whole. As with autos, the land development companies use the smoke of "market demand" to justify their own building preferences based solely on profitability.

 

Capitalism presents its arguments on the basis of some cryptic moral code, suggesting it is tantamount to God's will or some law of nature that choices must be left to "the market" which, in the end, consists entirely of their own preferences and driven only by their own profitability. The entire mantra of "letting the market decide" has no meaning at all. None. It is all foolish and baseless propaganda presented in terms of some kind of high morality but which, if properly examined in full daylight, would be discarded as dishonesty and nonsense.

 

American capitalism has pushed the envelope so far in its favor that even Western governments today are afraid to challenge this claim of "letting the market decide". But it needs to be challenged; the entire capitalist narrative is nothing more than a presumption imposed on a nation by those who stand to gain from it. There are precious few examples where letting the market decide anything, had a beneficial result for a society. GM's total destruction of the electric train and auto industry in the US was a perfect example of the real meaning of "letting the market decide". (1)

 

 On the same note, China has been overly blessed with a veritable cornucopia of foreign professors at Chinese universities, people like Patrick Chovanec, a professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management, telling us in condemnatory fashion that China's government "doesn't want to let the market define risk", except that he isn't talking about 'defining risk' but instead about abandoning the economy to the kind of unregulated capitalism that produced the disastrous 2008 financial debacle in the US. Chovanec complains that China "wants to channel resources" in what it deems to be the best places, and is "refusing to give up control" to the free market - as if this were a bad thing. Of course China wants to channel resources and investment into those areas most necessary for the nation. Why wouldn't China do that? And what demon would possess China's government that it would turn over full control of the nation's economy to be structured and then plundered by Western multinationals? Mr. Chovanec's ideological US preachings no doubt make their way into his classrooms, to the detriment of all students and China's future.

 

 There are many such examples of Western "professors" spending their classroom time in subtle and hypocritical condemnation of China's policies on matters ranging from social planning, censorship, democracy, human rights, infrastructure spending and financial controls, to the evils of a one-party government and the "lack of choice". These people are dangerous and should be removed. Almost no Americans are able to separate their programmed ideological nonsense from rational fact, and I doubt any American professors would be either able or willing to eliminate their utopian blindness from their classroom responsibilities. In fact, as Americans, they deem it their responsibility to infect their Chinese students with the full gamut of US political and commercial ideologies, all of which will be detrimental to China.

 

User-Pay

 

During the 1980s recession, the bankers and MBA's came to the rescue with yet another new gospel for their capitalist bible, this one dictating that "users" should be held responsible for their personal share of the costs of any public good they accessed, transferring government social costs directly to the public at large. In simple terms, 'user pay' means that whenever you as an individual use any service provided by any portion of the state, whether local or national, you should have to pay the cost of that service. Nothing is free any longer, on the theory that it is 'unfair' for those who don't use the public library to 'subsidise' you who like to read. Why should my taxes contribute to the cost of public transport, when I don't use the subway? So, if you use the subway, you pay in full.

 

 Everything from library cards to public swimming pools, from the use of public highways to hospitals, from airports to driving licenses, were targeted by this recessionist and tragically disingenuous philosophy promulgated by the bankers and business schools. They attacked the very foundations of society, targeting education and health care, all public utilities and transportation, and virtually all public services which had to that point been part of the universal "social good" that all governments funded through general tax revenue. In fact, the bankers and the business schools were simply extrapolating the corporate religion of greed (nominally referred to as "efficiency") into the public sector. Unfortunately, it seemed to not occur to any Western government that these public goods, manifested in items like communications and transportation, health care, education, were not "costs" in any corporate sense, but were the very fabric of the nation, and as such were necessarily provided by a national government through general taxation.

 

It is frightening to me that some influential Chinese have senselessly bought into this twisted philosophy with all their hearts, failing to see that the only reason for the existence of their governments was to fulfill these same responsibilities to the people of the nation. But 'the people' had now become a kind of enemy, greedy abusers and exploiters of free "optional" services like ambulances or passports. These 'cheaters' wanted to drive on streets without paying, or graduate from elementary school at a bargain price. The bankers and business schools exposed to us the irresponsibility of the public in forming such unreasonable expectations of their government, and asked why they should expect to eat freely at the public trough, at the expense of other citizens. It doesn’t seem to occur to many governments that the reason the bankers and corporations don't want the population 'feeding from the public trough' is that they wanted to feed off it themselves, and the trough wasn't large enough for both the bankers and the people. In the end, governments were re-trained by the bankers and business schools to recognise that the true reason for their existence was not to provide for the people of the nation, but rather to plunder them for the enrichment of the top 1%. User-Pay, which became a new capitalist gospel not for reducing debt but for rapidly accelerating a nation's income disparity, was a concoction consisting of equal parts of 50% ignorance and 50% stupidity. Privatisation was 100% stupidity.

 

Wal-Mart and Basketball

 

 There is one other item that fits neatly into the category of privatising profits and socialising losses, and usually includes big-box hypermarkets, sports venues and transportation nodes. In the US, Wal-Mart has almost always been successful in coercing a local government to pay for all the necessary infrastructure, including access roads, cloverleafs, electrical, sewer and other, when it decides to build a store many Kms. from the nearest highway. This is always justified on the basis of Wal-Mart "creating jobs" when virtually every Wal-Mart in existence has destroyed many more jobs than it has ever created - which is why Wal-Mart is illegal in some US states.

 

Sports venues like football and hockey stadiums and basketball courts are almost always another massive theft of public funds, the private investor usually threatening to move the stadium to another city unless local authorities pay most of the cost of the facility - without any ownership, of course - hugely increasing the profitability of a sports franchise. It is not for nothing that sports teams are so profitable they sell for hundreds of millions of dollars and yet provide no benefit to a city except foolish pride. Shanghai's Formula One auto racetrack is one good example; there are hundreds more. Shanghai Disneyland would like a high-speed train link directly to its site; so long as Disney pays for it, I have no objection, the same as with other public facilities. This is one of the oldest scams existing, sucking billions of dollars of public funds to enrich a few private pockets, almost always Jewish-American pockets since this particular fraud was invented by them.

 

 The stories about professional sports teams are the stuff of legend, of naive and gullible local governments spending billions of taxpayer dollars to enrich the personal bank accounts of one or two individuals and receiving little or nothing in return. It is always astonishing to read of the extortion so openly practiced by the owners of sports teams, usually of the following nature: "If you don't build a new stadium (or racetrack, or football field, or basketball court), we will move our team elsewhere and your city will become a wasteland." The extortionate threats seem to almost always work. And the result? In 2015, St. Louis in the US was dismayed to learn their football team was relocating to Los Angeles, but even more dismayed to realise they still owed a major portion of the nearly $300 million they had borrowed to build a new stadium to convince the team to remain in their city in the first place. The mayor of St. Louis tried to put a brave face on the loss by claiming with the absence of the football team the city could book more conventions to help recover its losses. Perhaps things are different in America, but I don't know many organisations that care to hold a convention on a football field. But not to lose the main point which is that none of these contracts, at least none that have come to my knowledge, contain any penalties for a renege or a default on the part of the company. Again, a one-way street. It's actually worse than this, because in so many cases a city also incurs substantial costs for creation or upgrading of roads and utilities as well as for the facility itself. Moreover, many of these firms demand as part of the incentive for their presence that the local government embark on an intense crackdown to protect logos, copyrights and various other things loosely classified as IP, much as Disney is doing in Shanghai.

 

 When the financial crisis hit the US in 2008, GM filed for bankruptcy, with the US and Canadian governments injecting about $75 billion into the company to save it. The unprecedented Canadian government decision to virtually donate almost $15 billion to GM was defended on the basis that it prevented a much greater loss of Canadian auto sector jobs, a claim that is clearly nonsense. If GM had been permitted to go bankrupt and disappear as logic dictated, Chinese and German auto factories would have been fully operational in Canada within a year or less, providing Canadians with much better cars and much less whining. Canada's $15 billion would have paid for the factories with enough left over for interim unemployment benefits. It was only extreme political pressure - bullying - that would have prompted such an extravagant waste of money, a great proportion of which was never recovered from eventual share sales. And that means Canadian taxpayers gave a gift of billions of dollars to an American company the country didn't need and which regularly reneged on contractual commitments to invest in Canada. Dealing with the American capitalism is almost always a one-way street.

 

 A similar situation occurred when US Steel filed for bankruptcy in Canada while its pension plan had a deficiency of nearly $1 billion, with the company claiming Canada would be responsible for all those pensions unless the Canadian government wanted to "restructure" the pension plans, which means assuming the American company's debts. US Steel also had other obligations in Canada totaling hundreds of millions of dollars for loans and pension obligations, not including a massive liability for environmental degradation and cleanup. Some years prior, Canada's government lent $150 million to US Steel, at an interest rate of only 1%, to encourage the company to "invest" in Canada, but virtually all these investment agreements go sour at the end with the Americans reneging on their commitments. But not everyone was unhappy. Citibank applauded the move, saying the best plan was to "bankrupt the bad and keep the good stuff", without specifying that this meant 'keep the good assets for yourself, while you dump the bankruptcies and the losses onto yet another gullible foreign government'. In other words, privatise the profits and socialise the losses.

 

The American Dream. Just so it doesn't go unsaid, this was the same Canadian government that gave American pharma companies exclusive patent rights extending for decades into the future, in exchange for 10% of their revenue being invested in R&D. But the only 'research' investment the pharma firms made was in creative accounting, where they fraudulently charged all possible operating expenses to "R&D" but still could reach only 4% of revenue, justifying the shortfall by denigrating Canada as 'uncompetitive'. Naturally, the semi-perpetual patents remained in place. As I wrote above, doing business with the Americans is almost always a one-way street.

 

•Labor Productivity

 

 Labor productivity is yet another area where the Americans have cleverly re-defined a term to mask a bitterly anti-social agenda. Productivity is normally measured by volume of output in a given time or by the amount produced per person. If I can work faster and more efficiently and produce more items in a day, I am more 'productive', but the Americans have changed the meaning of the term from an improved performance of labor to the elimination of it. What was once a desirable social good - improving individual performance and creating more highly-skilled employment for the benefit of the long term - has now become the elimination of labor to improve profit in the short term. American capitalism has re-defined productivity as the elimination of jobs, with the consequent impoverishment and unraveling of society.

 

 I have detailed elsewhere that while the Europeans and Asians will utilise new technology to enhance product quality and performance, the Americans will apply it to lower their costs and maximise their profits without regard to quality or product development. This is one reason that American products, with some exceptions, have seldom been highly regarded and were most often only barely acceptable in terms of quality. It is the same with labor and productivity; when organisational efficiencies or advances in technology present an opening, the Europeans and Asians will take advantage of these to improve the skill levels of their workforce while the Americans will almost invariably apply those same advances to eliminate their workers. Both parties claim an 'increase in productivity', the Europeans and Asians by upgrading the skills and increasing the output of each worker, and the Americans by firing workers and claiming increased output for the unskilled remainder. You can decide which way is best.

 

 When a US corporation today claims it can increase productivity, it means it can make more money by firing more people and adding their salaries to the bottom line, and when it claims that government is not efficient and productive in providing social or other services, it really means that a government is sacrificing potential corporate profits by foolishly maintaining social objectives (employment, for example) as an integral part of these services. Shanghai today has many street sweepers with their little brooms and wagons, picking up litter from the city's streets. It is true this method is not efficient by some economic measures, but it provides thousands of jobs for unskilled laborers who might have difficulty surviving otherwise, and those people are more important than efficiency, at least to me. American firms want Shanghai to purchase large numbers of street-cleaning machines that could do these jobs without the people, the theory being that huge one-time profits for a large American multi-national are more morally praiseworthy than permanent jobs for thousands of Chinese. I disagree.

 

 On this topic, the American position totally ignores the massive capital cost of purchasing these machines as well as the large expenditure for buildings and maintenance facilities to house them, and of course the huge operating costs as well as the salaries of the operators. Finally, their position ignores entirely the problem of many thousands of suddenly unemployed workers who would either starve or fall onto the city's welfare rolls, thereby leaving Shanghai with all its original costs in addition to all the new ones. Everybody loses, except one American firm who gains millions in profits by selling street-cleaning equipment. And, by American standards, that's called "efficiency". It is also known as privatising the profits and socialising the losses, in other words some privately-owned company gets all the money and the local government is left to pay all the bills.

 

 The truth is that for many social goods, labor productivity and efficiency are not a blessing but a curse. In education, private one-on-one tutoring is the least productive and efficient of all methods, but is also by far the best and offers by far the highest social utility in the long run. We can double the 'labor productivity' of education by firing half the teachers, but then what do we have for quality? Yet this is precisely the approach promulgated by American capitalism that strives to eliminate or at least heavily reduce every possible labor component without regard to the larger social issues. This is one reason the US unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, with its high accompanying social and personal costs. The creation and maintenance of employment as a social good is a prime responsibility and an area of serious concern to any decent government, but one Americans shun for the sake of corporate profits. This anti-social attitude has always existed in the US but gained momentum from the early 1980s to the point where the Americans not only commoditised labor but degraded and dehumanised it. Why would China want to emulate this pathology?

Notes

(1)The American Love Affair with the Automobile”: The Unspoken History of the Electric Car



https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/04/the-american-love-affair-with.html

 

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Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com

 

Larry Romanoff is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney's new COVID-19 anthology ''When China Sneezes''.

Copyright © Larry RomanoffMoon of Shanghai, 2020