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Glenn Greenwald — Is China Merely A Competitor Of The U.S., Or An Adversary Or Even An Enemy?

Summary:
The topic of China in political economy brings out so many bad opinions even from the left. Lots of people write apologia for China despite its large human rights violation. Although it’s communist, CEOs of large companies in the United States, the masters of mankind, also speak positively about it and their tone is different from when they’re speaking of Latin American countries, for example, which have socialist governments.China is mercantilist and uses all sorts of unfair economic practices to further its interests. From the United States’ viewpoint itself, China allows US companies to offshore jobs and allows exploitation. China is a huge beneficiary of the rules of the game under the WTO, at the expense of both advanced and poor countries.The US net indebtedness is around 50% of GDP

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The topic of China in political economy brings out so many bad opinions even from the left. Lots of people write apologia for China despite its large human rights violation. Although it’s communist, CEOs of large companies in the United States, the masters of mankind, also speak positively about it and their tone is different from when they’re speaking of Latin American countries, for example, which have socialist governments.

China is mercantilist and uses all sorts of unfair economic practices to further its interests. From the United States’ viewpoint itself, China allows US companies to offshore jobs and allows exploitation. China is a huge beneficiary of the rules of the game under the WTO, at the expense of both advanced and poor countries.

The US net indebtedness is around 50% of GDP now, the result of accumulated current account imbalances in balance of payments. This implies the United States needs to do something by political economic means to reverse this dynamic.

The latest episode of Glenn Greenwald’s weekly show System Update podcast talks discusses the issue with Kishore Mahbubani and Matt Stoller.

Glenn Greenwald — Is China Merely A Competitor Of The U.S., Or An Adversary Or Even An Enemy?

From the write-up:

… while hawkish, pro-war political elements in both parties speak of China as an adversary that must be confronted or even punished, the interests of powerful western financial actors — the Davos crowd — are inextricably linked with China, using Chinese markets and abusive Chinese labor practices to maximize their profit margins and, in the process, stripping away labor protections, liveable wages and jobs from industrial towns in the U.S. and throughout the west.

That is why standard left-wing anti-imperialism or right-wing isolationism is an insufficient and overly simplified response to thinking about China: policy choices regarding Beijing have immense impact on workers and the economic well-being of citizens throughout the west.

Of course Glenn Greenwald is wrong that it can’t be analysed by standard left-wing anti-imperialism. It’s mainly a problem of failure of social scientists currently, not of left-wing political economy itself. There are exceptions of course. Thomas Palley has analysed it well. But otherwise Glenn Greenwald is quite sharp in his analysis.

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