MONEY TALKS AND BULLSHIT WALKS
BY STAN WEISLEDER
That’s what we used to say when we were kids. It was true then and just as true now. Before I start I want you to take a walk around your house, condo, apartment or whatever, pick up the nearest object, turn it over and see where it was made. CHINA.
How did this ever happen?
Back in 1972 President Nixon opened the door to China in order to promote trade between our two countries. In 1972 China had a population of 862,000,000 compared to ours of 209,900,000, a ratio of more than four times. Today our populations are 1,439,000,000 and 331,000,000 respectively, still more than a four times ratio. Our subsequent Presidents also joined in by opening the door even further in order to promote trade. Makes good business sense, right?
But the Chinese are not stupid. They’ve been around for over 5,000 years so what’s another fifty years? Instead of buying our over priced stuff they sold us their under priced stuff. They did this by enticing investors from across the planet with grants and low or no interest loans so they could create start up businesses in China utilizing all of their unemployed workers. It took a while but it worked. The end result was that the US, and other countries, became a gigantic employment agency for the Chinese work force of almost 1,000,000,000.
But wait, there’s more. Most people never heard of the word, “Geopolitics”. What is it? In simple terms it means that the country with the largest population and the greatest amount of natural resources will eventually be the country that leads the rest of the world. Do you think that we won WWII because we were smarter and fought on the right side for liberty and justice for all? We won because of our numbers and natural resources, or “Geopolitics”. The axis powers of Germany, Japan and Italy had a combined population in 1939 of 447,407,000 with limited natural resources. The allied powers of the US, UK and Russia had a combined population in 1939 of 865,950,000 with unlimited natural resources. Now do you finally get it?
Because the US and other countries have unwittingly contributed to the making of China into an economic powerhouse, we are now paying the price. Because of our greed, stupidity and total lack of long range vision, China is now able to flex its muscles and run rampant in ways that we would have never thought possible in 1972. Will we all be speaking Chinese in another fifty years?
Can this trend ever be reversed or is it too late? It took almost fifty years to get to where we are but it shouldn’t have to take another fifty years to get back what we gave up, provided we are willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
At one time the ILGWU, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, was a labor powerhouse ensconced in the once famous Garment Center in lower mid-Manhattan. These two organizations are now shadows of what they once were. Why? Some say it is because they collectively bargained themselves out of existence. But it’s not just the unions. It’s every US company that buys cheap stuff in China and sells it here because it is profitable to do so.
It won’t happen over night but if we can turn off the economic spigot, China will no longer be able to pursue its quest for world dominance. You don’t think that is their goal? Think again. Or you can remain complacent and tell yourself that we’re still ahead of them in Broadway Shows.