Xenophobia – or – Why do we hate that China is getting richer?

So I was reading the news a bit today, and I came across this story.  It’s about how the Chinese economy will overtake the US’s by 2016.

Well pardon me but…DUH!

Hello, McFly.  There are 1.5 billion Chinese.  1.5 BILLION.  The fact that their economy isn’t already head and shoulders above ours is a testimony to how backward they’ve been since Mao’s revolution as much as it is to how amazingly vibrant the US’s freer economy has been.

A little history.  The US currently produces 27-28% of the world’s total economic output.  This is important for a couple reasons:

  1. It puts the silliness to the tired guilty white liberal meme about how evil the US is for having 5% of the world’s population but using 25% of the world’s resources.  Forget for a moment that this is patently untrue: the US doesn’t use 25% of ALL resources in the world, just selected ones, like oil.  But the fact that using those 25% we produce 27-28% of all economic activity means we’re returning pretty good bang for the buck.  Go US!
  2. 200 years ago, do you know who was producing 28% of the world’s economic output?  Yep, you guess it: China.

China’s always been an economic powerhouse, except for a brief period started by the British Empire and continued by Mao’s murderous idiocy (and make no mistake, all Socialism/Communism is idiocy.  And murderous, too, for that matter).  But now that they’re starting to pull their heads out of their collective asses and embracing freedom, however slowly, it’s no surprise they’re back on the upswing.

Freedom works every time it’s tried.  You’d think this axiom wouldn’t have to be explained to people.  Ever.  But sadly, we have very powerful forces in this country who seem bound and determined to denigrate the virtues of freedom at every opportunity.  But I digress.

Anyway, it’s only natural that China will become a big economic force.  And India as well, for that matter.  Personally, I think it’s great.  Do you have any idea how many millions of people have lifted themselves out of abject poverty in China over the last twenty years, since they’ve begun to liberalize their economy?  It’s freaking awesome.

Which is why I find the comments section of this story so disturbing.  It’s unbelievable to me how people can be so resentful of others’ good fortune.  And so scared of the “outsider”.  It’s also sad how economically illiterate so many people are, that they think economics is a zero sum game.  If China’s doing better, that means we must be doing worse, right?

No.  That’s not how it works.

When someone, or many someones, become richer, EVERYONE ELSE becomes better off as well.  Economic activity begets more economic activity.  The pie grows, as long as its allowed to by the powers that be.

It shouldn’t surprise me.  One of our two major political parties makes its money, and gets its votes, by appealing to the most base, most ignorant, and most envious nature of people.  And we’ve systematically disassembled economics and civics education in this country.

So now, instead of celebrating our neighbors’ good fortune, whether down the block, across town, or across the sea, we instead try everything we can to either retard their good fortune or to take from them and give to ourselves.

It’s really sad.  Pathetic, actually.

0 thoughts on “Xenophobia – or – Why do we hate that China is getting richer?”

    1. Wow. I’d never heard that side of things. That puts a different spin on it doesn’t it? You’re right: this is going to come bite them in the rump. Hard.

      Clearly they’ve not liberalized enough, at least in the construction sector. Just goes to show the folly of a central command economy doesn’t it?

      1. I don’t know if a central command economy is necessarily the problem. I feel like the problem is more lack of flexibility (yes I think central command can be flexible). They wanted to beat the US – they have. Now they have to sustain it, but they didn’t actually improve their infrastructure/quality of life among their citizens, they just met a target they arbitrarily set.

        If they were more realistic in the build and moved gradually, improving the country as they went, I think it could absolutely be sustainable. They could crush us beneath a boot-heel. But, with the average citizen making 6k/year now, unless their currency takes a huge spike (and/or ours a huge dive) they are pretty far off. They have to improve overall – not just meet monetary targets.

        YA: Cheat, Liar
        Adult: Shackled

        1. Which is the problem with a command economy. It’s impossible for a central commander have enough knowledge, creativity, intelligence, or know-how to effectively direct things. Nor do they have the incentives to really care about how people are really doing. To the bureaucrat in the Capitol, it will always come down to raw, aggregate numbers. Because that’s all he sees, and it’s all he can comprehend (there’s too much data for one person to know the details). It simply cannot work. History has proven this out time and time again. The Soviet Union was one big smokescreen for decades: the central planners pushed for numbers, and made things look good perhaps. On paper. They fooled a lot of analysts in the west for a long time; had them thinking the Soviets were doing well. But in reality, the country was decaying.

  1. How funny. I have a BBA and that type of thinking sounds exactly like the problem with American corporations…

    I think a command economy could work, IF the central command kept strong lines of communication throughout its country AND acted on the facts. The problem would be bringing that all to proper fruition. Something always corrupts along the line.

    YA: Cheat, Liar
    Adult: Shackled

  2. I didn’t say so 😛 I’m saying the theory of central command could work, but hasn’t. Much like American corporations – they look at the bottom line and results in the short-term over long-term. It’s “how can I make a dollar today” not “how can I sustain the company for 10 years”. Command economies are saying “how can I look good today” and not “how can I keep from collapsing in ten years”.

    I don’t agree with an entirely free market, either. Take Ohio’s road situation, for example. Our roads seem to crumble at a moment’s notice, even though we keep replacing them. The weather wreaks havoc on the composition of the materials. A solution was made – grind up old, used tires (that just go to landfills anyway) to allow the roads to flex more when freezing in the winter. It _works_. No company offers this because the roads last longer and they have less work. So, we still have crappy roads (and lots of flat tires from potholes, which then go into the landfills :P). Despite the fact that it’s _best_ from a number of perspectives, it doesn’t feed the bottom line sufficiently.

    I do like that competition can pop up an any moment, because I think it improves the market by offering options and lowering prices. But, there are things about entirely free markets that I believe ultimately hurt the consumer.

    YA: Cheat, Liar
    Adult: Shackled

    1. No. It can’t. Individual corporations look at their own bottom lines, but you’re wrong when you say they don’t look at the long term. That’s an oft-cited cliche which ignores the fact that the one of the chief things businesses do is try to think strategically, which by definition means thinking more than one quarter at a time. But even if we concede your thesis about corporations, your point still doesn’t hold up. Because individual businesses monitor and manage their own bottom lines, but the larger ones have to spend significant resources to do it, and still wind up having big problems with poor governance, mismanagement, or outright fraud from time to time. You’re talking about having a single entity try to manage EVERYONE’s bottom line. It’s not just that it hasn’t worked: it CAN’T work. The information problem alone is too much to handle, let alone the logistics of how you’d actually give orders, receive reports, and ensure that everyone does exactly what you want. And then there’s how do you handle changing market environments, new technologies, other new developments. The short answer is you couldn’t so you’d just ignore or repress them. Beyond that, if you think the government is corrupt now (and it certainly is), you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  3. If you think it’s an oft-cited cliche then you should scold Kent, because I can’t count high enough to number the times my professors said it to me in college 😛

    With 49% of small businesses failing within the first five years, I am inclined to believe they _aren’t_ thinking long-term enough. Even amazing ideas and a strong customer base can’t save a company that over-reaches, over-extends, or kills successful projects before they completely unfold. Though, I realize I’m saying small businesses and not corporations as before.

    Don’t get me wrong – I know our government could be a hobojillion times worse. But I have to wonder, with all the bipartisan bickering that goes on, if we aren’t digging ourselves into a grave with false complicity. I think our country is suffering in its own way, and some drastic things need to happen to straighten it out on the home front. We are still an amazing country, but I don’t think we are the dream of the past. I seem to find a lot less to be proud of anymore, and a lot more to apologize for.

    I feel like I’ve completely de-railed your comments sections. Maybe I should stick to writing fiction 😛

    YA: Cheat, Liar
    Adult: Shackled

    1. Hey don’t get too down on the good ol’ US of A, She’s got a bit of life to her yet. 🙂 Partisanship is part of what makes us strong. Have you you ever studied the election of 1800? There was almost armed rebellion over the results back then, and it all stemmed from the same issue we argue over now: what is the proper role of government? Disagreement, even violent disagreement, is nothing new in this country. It goes hand-in-hand with freedom.

      But yes, I agree. We should both get back to writing other things. It’s been fun as always. 🙂

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