GUEST BLOG: Dave Brownz – What’s behind our love- hate relationship with China?

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NZ is in an unbreakable love hate relationship with China. Like a child we are dependent on China for economic growth. We may be unhappy about a parent that is too dominant and punitive on occasions. But like most children we don’t want to run away because there is no alternative but the cold outside. 

The Western world in general is waking up to the reality that China is in the process of now leading the world. Not only economically but increasingly politically. The behaviour of Trump towards China displays the reluctance of a child to acknowledge the growing dependence of the US on China. The US is actually in its second childhood. During the first, it rose to be the dominant imperialist power in the 20th century, it stood over China demanding absolute obedience. When the Maoists spat the dummy and threw the US and its proxies out to make a revolution in 1949, the US learned the lesson that it had to share the world with a new gang of delinquents who staked out their own territory, and demanded to make deals.

Fast forward to the neoliberal age of global capitalism in the 80’s and 90’s. China opened up to new deals to re-enter the world market and offer opportunities to foreign investors. The Western powers, especially the US, grabbed the opportunity to invest in free trade zones taking advantage of cheap labour and raw materials. But the quid pro quo of this foreign penetration was that China was able to impose its own terms which included the transfer of technology. 

The key to this transition was the ‘authoritarian’ centralised state regime that planned the details of this move. The market was subordinate to the centralised state plan of the command economy. By the 2000s China was rapidly catching up to the Western powers and expanding into the global market. In the 2010s China surpassed the Western powers except for the US, and during the GFC of 2008 saved the world economy from total collapse into depression. The former child was now a young adult that bought-up US bonds to cover US state deficit spending. So, the family dynamics were a changing.

While the West had no answer to the GFC except print money to bail out failed industries, China was going from world factory to world exporter of capital to buy Western debt. Its surplus capital was now being invested in all the countries historically the client states of the West including the major powers in the US bloc, notably the EU. 

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Aotearoa/NZ was one of those states and the first to enter into a bilateral trade deal with China in 2008. This deal marked our recognition that China was our new ‘big daddy’ provider not the US. As a result, we have accepted a dependent relationship that allows China to export consumer goods, tourists and students while becoming our major export market for raw commodity exports. It soon took over the whole value chain to become Aotearoa/NZ’s key investor in production in this country.

While our participation in China’s economic growth benefits the economy, the loyalty of our political leaders of all parties, has historic security ties to the former big daddy the US. This creates a contradiction between economic benefits and political loyalty that is under great strain and about to breakdown. The cause of the breakdown is the intensification of the great power rivalry between the US, the long-term hegemonic power now in decline, as it meets the rising economic power and political influence of China on the global stage.

This growing rivalry reflects the inevitably terminal decline of capitalism as a global system that cannot survive without destroying the natural bases of its existence, scarce resources, and the ecosystem. The US faces the loss of its global share of resources as China claims an increasing share. While China’s new power is made possible by its economic growth, the US and its remaining allies rely increasingly on the escalation of trade wars into military wars.  

Both the US and China however, are reaching their limits as regimes capable of rescuing capitalism from its own self-imposed nemesis, falling profits. They cannot be restored except by a massive destruction of value, mainly less productive industry, and the expulsion of workers from production onto the scrapheap. This means that depression, the collapse of production resulting in massive devaluation, is inevitable. But no country wants to lead the charge. All bailout unproductive capital building up trillions of dollars of debt. What is needed is a trigger that forces depression on the whole world economy and devil take the hindmost.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. Caused by destruction of ecological and social boundaries by capitalism, spread by the failure of capitalist regimes to see the connection between capitalism, climate change and pandemics, this became the unintended trigger of global depression. The progress of the pandemic proved that China’s ability to limit its impact on both lives and the economy was due to its long-historic centralised state planning allowing it to be isolated and quarantined. The failure of the Western powers to move in time left them resorting to panicked shutdowns and lockdowns which created the conditions of economic depression overnight. 

Industry was closed down apart from that designated “essential”. Business is being subsidised temporarily but the test will be to see which have the capacity to survive the lockdowns. Workers are being thrown out of work onto the scrapheap of underfunded and privatised welfare and health systems. Yet this is what capitalism demands to survive, the destruction of nature and humanity, so that its terminal decline can be prolonged by a miserable decade or so. 

This will be the decade between now and the full-on impact of climate change beyond which there will be no fully human future. The Western powers are doing a catchup to compete with China globally. But they can only to it by copying too late China’s authoritarian state capitalist regime. We see everywhere the indecent rush towards a Bonapartist central state control of the economy and people. In Aotearoa/NZ Jacinda makes a great female Bonapartist as the Blairite who appeals to the whole nation in the name of classless unity and compassion and now has the police powers to shut down the extremes of right and left.

Do we, the 80% who as a class who work for a living exploited by the 20% who live off our labour, want to spend the last decade or two on earth, dumbed down into quiescence by authoritarian regimes of centralised command economies presided over by Trumped up Bonapartist leaders who draw their authority from the herd of lobotomized automatons sleepwalking to oblivion? 

I don’t. That that is why while I can still and think I advocate the urgent need for survival socialism as our only escape route from human extinction. 

Dave Brownz is TDBs guest Marxist Blogger because every Left wing blog needs a Marxist.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “Like a child we are dependent on China for economic growth”

    …. ahhh nope, the neoliberals want NZ to think we are all dependant on China for Growth, but somehow (sarcasm) NZ survived (with a lot less poverty!) prior to our 2008 foray with China and obsession with mass migration.

    Funny how the China trade deal worked out great for Chinese companies but not really for anyone else!

    Same thing is happening with the US and UK also who “fell in love with China” or used Chinese money, manufacturing and labour. US and UK have got poorer and more dysfunctional under the trade agreements and offshore manufacturing in China, and US and UK look to have the worst deaths from Covid-19.

    Lets look at what is really going on with NZ reliance on China and mass immigration….

    Not gone too good for NZ Farmers…

    In spite of evidence of milk crisis in China that has the Chinese milk industry killing their own babies, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/apr/21/china.jonathanwatts Fonterra decided to do a partnership with Sanlu but of course then more babies died with yet another milk scandal a few years later https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal in spite of Fonterra losing millions of NZ farmers money on the venture. Not to learn a valuable lesson, Fonterra then decide to invest in Beingmate but yet another failure at the expense of NZ Farmers! https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/348650/fonterra-extremely-disappointed-over-beingmate-losses

    Not gone too good for NZ construction…. (when we are apparently in a ‘boom’ and more and more of NZ taxes seem to be going to construction companies like Fletchers for roads etc, instead of actual medical equipment and staff)

    Mainzeal loan generated hundreds of millions in wealth, court hears
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/375760/mainzeal-loan-generated-hundreds-of-millions-in-wealth-court-hears

    Engineering business closure comes as shock
    https://www.odt.co.nz/business/engineering-business-closure-comes-shock

    Construction firm in liquidation
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/376335/construction-firm-in-liquidation

    Maven Interiors liquidation leaves workers, creditors in limbo
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/363235/maven-interiors-liquidation-leaves-workers-creditors-in-limbo

    Auckland building boss charged with fraud after investigation into illegal labour
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12005146

    Not gone too good for NZ working poor….
    Jobseeker benefit numbers up 11% in a year
    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2019/04/jobseeker_benefit_numbers_up_11_in_a_year.html

    Auckland City Mission has its greatest ever demand for food parcels
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/01/auckland-city-mission-has-its-greatest-ever-demand-for-food-parcels.html

    Not gone too good for the environment or NZ natural resources that seem to be drying up…
    Waihi runs out of water, council distributing water bottles
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/02/waihi-runs-out-of-water-council-distributing-water-bottles.html

    Appeals against Chinese water bottling plant dismissed
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/118255435/appeals-against-chinese-water-bottling-plant-dismissed

    Dairy firm wants ocean wastewater outfall
    https://www.odt.co.nz/rural-life/dairy/dairy-firm-wants-ocean-wastewater-outfall

    No plan to tackle environmental degradation by increased tourism – Commissioner
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/405767/no-plan-to-tackle-environmental-degradation-by-increased-tourism-commissioner

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1904/S00055/nz-government-secretly-funded-water-bottling-companies.htm

    Good for more overseas criminals to launder money here and buy a bolt hole and start international operations here…

    William Yan AKA Bill Liu to keep NZ citizenship despite money laundering conviction
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11905478

    Queen St money remitter discharged after laundering Polish and Russian crime syndicate’s cash
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12260326

    Auckland finance director sentenced for laundering dirty multi-national drug money
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12116319

    More small and large business labour scams to gain fraudulent residency or undercut other local labour firms…

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/117551892/death-of-a-migrant-under-the-table-workers-building-aucklands-multimillion-dollar-homes

    Migrant worker speaks out against exploitation at rural Reporoa holiday park
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/118329341/migrant-worker-speaks-out-against-exploitation-at-rural-reporoa-holiday-park

    Lawyers’ fees restrained by police after Auckland drug bust
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11842563

    The businessman and the stolen honey: Sheng Sun sentenced over 480kg mānuka heist
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12077932

    Bakery owner to pay back $33,800 illegally deducted from worker’s wages
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/112128450/bakery-owner-to-pay-back-33800-illegally-deducted-from-workers-wages

    Sushi restaurant owner to pay $30k for exploiting workers
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/321156/sushi-restaurant-owner-to-pay-$30k-for-exploiting-workers

    Jailed trafficker committed ‘crime against human dignity’
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/320465/jailed-trafficker-committed-'crime-against-human-dignity

    More terrorism and murder in NZ

    Evil gunman Brenton Tarrant, 29, pleads GUILTY to murdering 51 Muslims during Christchurch mosque massacre
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8153719/Brenton-Tarrant-29-pleads-GUILTY-murdering-51-Muslims-Christchurch-mosque-massacre.html

    Judge: Extraordinary that killer Rohit Singh maintained fiction during murder trial
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12254105

    Mandeep Singh sentenced to life in prison for central Auckland murder
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/72529233/Mandeep-Singh-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-central-Auckland-murder

    Dunedin doctor Venod Skantha found guilty of murder of Amber-Rose Rush
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12288940

    West Auckland stabbing: Man remanded in custody after been charged with murder
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/114976886/west-auckland-stabbing-man-remanded-in-custody-after-been-charged-with-murder

    Indian sentenced to life for murdering wife in NZ
    https://www.hindustantimes.com/world/indian-sentenced-to-life-for-murdering-wife-in-nz/story-MpDOdR9DJXcKI2pkfpBTMK.html

    More sexual criminals gaining citizenship and residency in NZ…

    Child abuser wins right to stay in New Zealand for humanitarian reasons
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/84891031/child-abuser-wins-right-to-stay-in-new-zealand-for-humanitarian-reasons

    Child abuse dad avoids deportation on humanitarian grounds to stay with family
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/76059417/

    New resident convicted of sex offending twice, won’t be deported
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11837608

    Judge’s difficult sentencing of a former refugee who won’t stop offending
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/111480343/judges-difficult-sentencing-of-a-refugee-who-wont-stop-offending

    Rapist wins case to be allowed to stay in NZ
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/327784/rapist-wins-case-to-be-allowed-to-stay-in-nz

    NZ Suicide figures
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/08/new-zealand-s-suicide-statistics-increase-on-last-year.html

    So based on the evidence, I’m not sure the reliance of China is working out too well for many people in NZ! But seems to be doing great for China! Same happening all around the world. This is not to do with Chinese people but the systems they are using to get more power for their governments undemocratic totalitarianism that has an appalling human rights record.

    • 100% correct SaveNZ

      We need to revert back to self – sustaining.

      Anything else we produce will go to any market that pays premium price for cleaner more healthy products that we can produce if we try to produce premium organic produce.

    • “So based on the evidence, I’m not sure the reliance of China is working out too well for many people in NZ! But seems to be doing great for China! Same happening all around the world. This is not to do with Chinese people but the systems they are using to get more power for their governments undemocratic totalitarianism that has an appalling human rights record.”

      I don’t disagree with this at all. You accept that NZ’s dependence on China is bad for NZ. That’s why I talk about a “love hate” relationship. When Chinese imperialism is getting stronger, and weaker imperialist powers are forced to adopt its authoritarian state form to compete economically, politically and militarily, heading for catastrophe, the point becomes “how do we stop this”?

      We have to stop being children, become adults, and run away from home (rotten capitalism) to build a new home (survival socialism). You can post millions of links which highlight the problem, but if you don’t put up a solution as to how the billions of working people are going to unite internationally to get rid of the cause (capitalism) and fight for the solution (socialism).

      What is your proposal?

  2. The ‘McPherson Paradox’ hypothesis is about to be tested. According to Guy McPherson, a substantial drop in atmospheric pollution (due to decreased industrial activity) will result in clearer skies and a surge in warming (overheating), due to the reduction in Global Dimming.

    I am of the opinion that McPherson has it wrong, and that clearer skies will result in more heat reaching the ground in the daytime and more heat leaving the ground at night -leading to greater (more natural) diurnal ranges (as per the discovery made by Travis immediately after 9/11).

    https://www.bing.com/search?q=global+dimming+documentary&qs=HS&pq=global&sc=8-6&cvid=4566AA932D4241479E12E8460284DA6A&FORM=QBLH&sp=1

    In either case we know we cannot keep desequestering carbon and cannot keep putting carbon in the form of CO2 into the atmosphere and ocean without even more dire consequences that we have already experienced.

    While the world fixates on Covid-19, some of us continue to follow other ‘stories’ such as this

    Daily CO2
    Apr. 10, 2020: 416.67 ppm
    Apr. 10, 2019: 413.85 ppm

    and this

    https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    and wonder whether the reduction in Global Dimming will accelerate the meltdown of the Arctic region, leading to almost unimaginable consequences in a rather short time frame.

    There is little doubt that the ‘1%’ will attempt continue to do what they have always done -exploit the 99% and degrade the environment in the pursuit of short term wealth and power. However, it is clear that ‘printing money’ will not solve any of the predicaments we now find ourselves in, and we will witness the complete failure of dog-eat-dog and “Greed is good” economics over the coming few years, if not the coming few months.

    • There is no separation between economic depression, climate and pandemics. They are all caused by capitalism. The basic cause is the LTRPF – the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. This law shows how as profits fall, productive investment falls, and recession, followed by depression, results.

      Depression is capitalism’s means of overcoming the LTRPF – a sort of immune system, which drives down the value of capital (both constant – the value or dead labour invested such as plant and machinery, and which doesnt add value; and variable capital – the value produced by living labour that does add value).

      The problem for capitalism is that it is rotting from the head down (its political regimes and ruling class institutions) and depressions as immune responses are too weak to work. This is because nature which capitalism depends on for its very existence is being destroyed.

      So in the process of this destruction of value capitalism destroys nature both in the form of long-term climate, and as a consequence, human habitations and interactions with other species with potentially fatal results for humans such as viruses jumping species.

      Therefore there is no way we can stop depression, climate catastrophe and pandemics, without taking out the basic cause, capitalism and its drive for profits at all costs including our potential extinction.

      The COVID-19 pandemic is a massive learning curve to force the useful idiots who defend capitalism in many guises to face up to the reality that capitalism has to go, or we as a species go.

  3. And modern China is NOT a social state anymore. No free education or health care or free pensions! Same for India, they do not have a welfare state in their own countries.

    Lucky them. NZ taxpayers are so rich, we will pay the above health, education and pensions for overseas nationals when they come to NZ, no taxes necessary to claim!

    Chinese pensions…

    Guess what, in China you have to CONTRIBUTE minimum 15 years to get a pension and only get 1% of the indexed wage in China for your public pension.

    http://www.oecd.org/els/public-pensions/PAG2017-country-profile-China.pdf

    In India it sounds like no free public pension and minimum 10 Years of CONTRIBUTIONS of 12% and only 12% of the work force seemed covered for pensions anyway.
    http://www.oecd.org/els/public-pensions/PAG2017-country-profile-India.pdf

    In NZ you don’t have to contribute at all to a pension as an overseas person or be working, just be resident here for 10 years (used to be 5 years) to get 43 per cent of the NZ average wage and it is not means tested for overseas pensioners either.

    “To meet the residency requirements for New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran’s Pension (New Zealand pensions) and most New Zealand benefits, generally, you must:
    be lawfully resident, and
    be present, and
    be ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and
    have spent some time living in New Zealand (a period of residence).”

    https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/pensions/travelling-or-moving/moving-to-nz/residency-requirements-for-new-zealand-benefits-and-pensions.html

    Public Health care in China is not free for urban nationals…

    “Residents of urban areas are not provided with free healthcare, and must either pay for treatment or purchase health insurance. The quality of hospitals varies. ”

    “Despite this, public health insurance generally only covers about half of medical costs, with the proportion lower for serious or chronic illnesses. Under the “Healthy China 2020″ initiative, China is currently undertaking an effort to cut healthcare costs, and the government requires that insurance will cover 70% of costs by the end of 2018”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_China

    Public Health care in India is poor quality and most people don’t use it…

    “The Indian public health sector encompasses 18% of total outpatient care and 44% of total inpatient care.[10] Middle and upper class individuals living in India tend to use public healthcare less than those with a lower standard of living.[11] Additionally, women and the elderly are more likely to use public services.[11] The public health care system was originally developed in order to provide a means to healthcare access regardless of socioeconomic status or caste.[12] However, reliance on public and private healthcare sectors varies significantly between states. Several reasons are cited for relying on the private rather than public sector; the main reason at the national level is poor quality of care in the public sector, with more than 57% of households pointing to this as the reason for a preference for private health care.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_India

    Superannuation and health care was known about as a major issue a decade ago for our lazy immigration policy. Natz encouraged it, and Labour have just bought back migrant parent entry based on woke stupidity.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1110/S00572/grey-power-warns-of-impact-of-high-immigration-rates.htm

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/315435/migrants'-parents-cost-nz-'tens-of-millions‘.

    You can also now sponsor into NZ other aged people you marry at 79 with an 11 day on-line romance, under our ‘relaxed’ marriage laws for residency, and the government seems hopeless to do anything about it.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/376220/10k-11-days-and-one-failed-deportation

    Great news for Ryman’s rest homes profits!!!

  4. See Whanau. This is why we’ve got to get off this rock. There’s to many powerful morons in charge of nuclear arsenals.

    • There’s to many powerful morons in charge of nuclear arsenals.

      There’s also danger from nuclear reactors, within the US. Their essential workforce of skilled technicians has not been adequately upgraded. They’re fewer, older, and more vulnerable. Those ageing techs travel the country, going from one reactor to another. Some of them become exhausted to the point where they’re afraid they’ll fall asleep while working. Also, five of them have to be in the workroom at all times, in the confined spaces.

      Terrified Atomic Workers Warn Covid 19 Pandemic May Threaten Nuclear Reactor

    • China has never been socialist let alone communist. If you had read Marx you would know this, so why not read Marx and educate yourself? Two criteria. No state and no classes. In contrast what passes for communism in China is a fig leaf designed to hide the fact that CCP leaders are corrupt and accumulate private wealth as state functionaries. Others like Jack Ma own private companies so are capitalists like the billionaires in the West. So authoritarian state and capitalist class = capitalism not communism.

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