The idea for this post came from two places.
First, some time back, I heard a news story about China wanting to develop their own company to build jumbo passenger jets. (Here’s one story I just dug up about this.) It seems they aren’t too keen on having to rely on buying Boeing aircraft made in the USA. For China it seems to be sort of a “control your own destiny” kind of thing.
Then I recently came across a story in Wired magazine that China wants to develop their own microchip company because, again, they don’t like relying on getting them from American companies. (Even though they aren’t made in the USA.) They especially don’t want military technology based on American computer chips.
Oh how very interesting! We’ll just go ahead and file both American computer chips and American-made passenger jets in China’s “do not want” column.
So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what goes in China’s “want” column?
First and foremost I think an argument can be made that China wants us to buy cheaply made plastic crap, like the Google Marble Maze pictured on the left, which I received for Christmas a few years back. They are willing to make that crap at wages less than most Americans would be willing to accept, so the crap can then be sold at prices Americans find palatable.
By the way, I don’t think you can buy this toy from Google anymore. China and Google are having a little tiff right now. But I’d bet my paycheck that Google still happily sells plenty of other useless items manufactured in China.
China also wants a middle class with more buying power so they can dump walking and bicycles and ride around in gasoline-powered internal combustion engine vehicles like Americans. They want western-style fast food. Believe it or not, Chinese people in their new cars have to be trained how the drive-thru works. We’ve been trained on them for decades. It’s new stuff to them.
Something else that China wants is the United States in their debt. According to Wikipedia, China is the largest creditor of the United States. Says Wikipedia, “In May 2009, the US owed China $772 billion. In total, lenders from Japan and China held 44% of the [United States] foreign-owned debt.”
Now I’m no economist, but it sounds to me like China has no problem with us owing them big time (no doubt our own fault for selling them things like our treasury securities and what not) and buying their cheaply made pieces of plastic crap, but at the same time they don’t want to be beholding to us for our computer chip technology and our passenger jet aircrafts. Is it just me or does that leave a bad taste in my mouth?
It’s a Chinese world. Read “Guns, Germs and Steel” if you haven’t already. The Chinese were on a roll at one time to conquer the world, but pulled back at the command of one of their emperors, but now they are getting so crowded in China that the rest of the world looks mighty tempting. They also have an excess population of young men because of their preference for males and their rule of one child per family, so there are plenty of men to command in an army. We are practically handing ourselves to them on a plate with all of our consumption on the payment plan. We need to stop buying crap from China. That will be very hard, since a lot of our electronics comes from Asia. We need to cut back on our entitlement mentality, before we find someone else entitled to our stuff.
I think I’ll get that book (from the library) about the family that stopped buying stuff from China for a year. They found it very difficult to do. They discovered that even the dried strawberries in their Special K was from China. I stopped buying the cheap pinenuts from Costco, because they are from China — and also are an inferior nut with a turpentine flavor.
It’s ironic that our “Christmas spirit” has partly led to this balance of payments — how much of the Christmas crap is from China — the plastic trees, the ornaments, the gifts, the cards, the clothes?
Very interesting stuff!
I recall walking the Christmas aisle at the local Rite Aid and checking out all the stuff that was made in China. Fake berries, fake wreathes, and a veritable plethora of junk. I remember wondering what they must think of a country that buys such things.
Lots of interesting coincidences you point out. Yes, they do have plenty of men to make quite the army. And yes, we are handing ourselves over to them on the payment plan. (Nice turn of phrase there!)
I actually had a blogging idea about living without anything made in China for one year. Like most of my ideas, someone has already beaten me to the punch!
Typically, throughout history, the leaner and meaner culture has kick ass on the lazy and fat one. So I guess the one silver lining is that the more China becomes like us, the less we’ll have to fear. 🙂
There was actually a very fascinating book about this phenomenon but I can’t remember the name. It made a compelling case for the lean and mean country conquering the lazy and fat one throughout history. IIRC about the only exception was when white people came to North America. In that case, technology made the difference.
I can’t wait for the world to rebel and send back all their lead laced, melamine tasting, plastic crap products in one massive mother load!
It does leave a bad taste. Also, I read an article not too long ago on the factories in China (and I am certain in various parts of the world), and it makes me sick to realize how many people lose arms, fingers, and what not, simply so we can buy cheap crap. Anyway. Sorry. That was my rant. LoL