A little while ago, I wrote about the wave of problems involving Communist China’s exported consumer products to the United States. Well, it turns out that we shouldn’t be so paranoid; it turns out they’re poisoning people in Panama, too.
I discovered this story through Paul Hamilton at Wizbang Blue, who ascribed it to “corporate greed.” I found that tremendously amusing.
The Communist Chinese company that passed off the poison — like pretty much every other company in Communist China, and everything else in the country — is owned by the government.
The real problem is not, as Hamilton asserted, “corporate greed.” It’s the confluence of government and corporations to the extreme, when the two are utterly indistinguishable. There IS no “private sector” involved here, just the government trying to create its own version of it without the troublesome element of actually letting it exist separate from the public sector.
The best description (and I’m no Sinologist, by any stretch of the imagination) is that Communist China is that they’re pretty much where we were about a hundred years ago, and their biggest problem is that they won’t learn from our mistakes — and, consequently, are doomed to repeat many of them.
I don’t think that’s quite right. It’s not that they won’t learn from our mistakes, but that they can’t.
The biggest force that brought about corporate responsibility in the United States was the people. Through a variety of methods — the two most potent being unions, where the workers demanded and won better working conditions, and government regulation, brought about by the voters’ demand of their politicians — they forced reform and regulation on the unfettered titans of industry.
In Communist China, though, there is virtually no possibility of either force gathering much steam. The workers have no rights to form a union in opposition to the company, and elections are nonexistent.
Further, when the corporation is owned and operated by the state, any attempts to push reforms can be considered treason — and charges of treason in Communist China tend to end with the government giving the accused’s family a bill for the cost of the bullet they put in the accused’s head.
(And, as rumors say, the accused’s various vital organs being parceled out or sold on the black market.)
Hamilton ascribes the situation as the ultimate expression of “corporate greed.” That might be the case in some situations, but here it’s just the opposite — the ultimate expression of big statism, when the government runs everything.
It’s just more evidence that when you start getting to the extremes of politics, the opposites tend to resemble each other more and more. The political continuum, I’ve always thought, was best described by Ouroboros, the serpent swallowing its own tail. To bring up the classical example, during World War II the Axis powers consisted of Communists, Nazis, Fascists, and Imperialists — and the arguments about whether Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo were “left-wing” or “right-wing” are largely irrelevant — they were all dictators and their methods were largely interchangeable.
(Yes, Stalin later joined the Allies, but that wasn’t so much political as a resurgence of the Russian/German historical emnity. At the outset, he had no problems allying himself with Hitler.)
That’s a hell of a lot of words to simply say “Hamilton brought up a good story, but blew it when he resorted to his standard talking points instead of actually thinking about the issue.” But the crux of the matter is very important: Communist China has spent literally decades building their economy on selling cheap stuff to the West, but now are having some critical problems in meeting some very basic standards — mainly revolving around “don’t kill your customers.” And they are singularly ill-equipped to solve those problems.
As I said before, if I had stock in any company that made a large portion of its profits dependent on importing Communist Chinese goods, I’d be thinking strongly about selling it off. There is a huge crash coming, when people — either on their own, or through their demands on their governments — will start rejecting Communist Chinese consumer goods out of sheer self-defense. And I have no faith in the Communist tyrants of China to head that off.