Sunday, May 1, 2011

Missing the point...

Greetimgs good citizen,

Happy May Day for those of you who celebrate such things! We can start off today’s mental journey with a disturbing headline: today marks the 39th ‘Walk against hunger’ here in Boston.

Does this not bode poorly for any hopes of ending this scourge?

Naturally, there are other fundraising events which are much older and it begs the question of if are they really trying to find a cure or is this just a handout program for fake researchers?

But I both digress and commit a common sin. I am mixing intractable diseases that are genuinely difficult to cure with a wholly man-made phenomenon like hunger.

And, given the economy, ending such efforts wouldn’t help the needy that those in charge of our society neglect, creating the need for such charity programs!

Still, it is both a shame and a condemnation of our society that such efforts have to be undertaken in the first place.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, isn’t it good citizen?

We, as a society, have our issues, don’t we?

So we arrive at shin kicking time, although I leave it up to you to determine which one of us is missing the point here?

When I lived in China in the 1980s and ’90s, there was always an awkward economic imbalance between me and my Chinese friends. I had a car, and they had bicycles. I paid for our meals together because I was so much better off.

Now there’s a new imbalance: Some of those same people ride around in chauffeured limousines while I get around in taxis. They take me to fancy restaurants whose prices give me headaches.

One Chinese friend took me to a home with private indoor basketball court and personal movie theater. It was a tribute to the stunning improvement in the country’s standard of living. But it also speaks to growing income gaps at a time when, by official figures, 320 million rural Chinese do not even have access to safe water.

Moreover, some of the economic boom appears attributable to a bubble, particularly in real estate. And some of the grand fortunes are linked to corruption by government officials. One friend, the son of a Politburo member, once told me that he was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by a Chinese company just to be on its board. That way, the company could persuade local governments to give it land at reduced prices.

What are we to make of such a country?

That it contains multitudes. And that at this time of rising China-United States tensions, any simplistic black or white view of it may well be right — but also incomplete and misleading.

Mr. Kristof’s point is fairly clear if not somewhat banal. Who gives a flying fuck if a Chinese kid has a longer life expectancy than your average US kid (by a couple of years.)

Given the way things are going I do not think a child born in China today will to see old age period. The social as well as the developmental clocks around the world are both poised to do some serious retrograde action in the not too distant future.

The world eighty years from now will be an alien environment that your great grandfather would be right at home in. Although ‘politically’ it will likely to regress to something that your great, great, great grandfather experienced (and if he wasn’t a ‘noble’ he almost certainly didn’t ‘enjoy’ it.)

But still we digress!

Mr. Kristof’s point is (in essence) the great strides China has taken ‘lifestyle-wise’ in a relatively short period of time.

Make no mistake about it bubba, something’s got to give and we’ve seen the ‘writing on the wall’ already.

As the ‘winner’ of the global race to the bottom, China is (temporarily) enjoying a taste of the ‘western lifestyle’ (a lifestyle that has already bankrupted Japan.)

Why do I say ‘temporarily’?

The western lifestyle was developed and is totally reliant upon ‘cheap and abundant energy’. Once energy is neither, all bets are off.

More chilling, good citizen, is the implications ‘Peak Oil’ has for ‘the world’s breadbasket’. We became the world’s breadbasket thanks to ‘automation’. Much of China’s success is heavily reliant on cheap food imported from…you know where (and they don’t pay anywhere near what we pay!)

Call it a ‘government subsidy’…

Did I mention that Mother Nature DOESN’T HAVE A CASH REGISTER?

How many times do I have to repeat something before it sinks in?

How ironic is it that the thieves say it themselves…’If they knew what we were up to they’d lynch us on the spot!’

But STILL I digress!

The ‘point’ that struck most of you right in the eye (that Mr. Kristof appears to have missed) is how China came to enjoy this sudden change of fortune!

Geez Louise, you don’t suppose this sudden turnaround in lifestyle is due to the fact they are now doing our jobs, do you?

OH, but wait a minute…those actually aren’t ‘our’ jobs, they belong to the capitalist who generously awards them to the ‘lowest bidder’!

It would be ‘semantics’, I’m sure, to point out that the ‘demand’ for the products they make only existed here until just recently. Which is to ask how ‘fortunate’ is it for the capitalist that the Communist Chinese can set the value of their currency wherever they need it to be? (Something we can do here too, IF we wanted to…but, naturally, that would eliminate China’s advantage!)

Do the words ‘captive audience’ mean anything to you?

If you understand what I’m saying then it should be clear just how badly the capitalists are fucking us!

And, PS, by the way…there IS another way!

If you don’t understand what I’m saying then there isn’t much hope.

So, good citizen, who, if anybody ‘missed the point’?

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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