Hypocrites at the Helm

The United States and Europe are launching diplomatic and PR assaults on China for protecting their steel industry from contraction and market volatility. The fact that Western reps can make such claims with a straight face is impressive. After Brussels charged China with systematic market distortion via state subsidies, started taxing Chinese imorts, and threatening further action in the WTO, rhetoric of “trade wars” began popping up in headlines and news reports. On April 8, American steel interests filed a suit in Washington against Beijing for allegedly dumping upwards of $3 billion of steel onto the American market last year. The steel industry in China employs some 2.5 million workers; obviously, Beijing finds it to be undesirable to allow the global crisis to severely shock its domestic industry-steel or anyother sector- which would inevitably lead to job loss and popular discontent (to put it lightly). Clearly, China has reached global power status, allowing it to dismiss the dubious claims of free-market purity in the West. The American economy is the most protected in the world; Wall St. and Detroit are on non-stop life support at the public trough, not to mention the standard public subsidies and state support for agribusiness, high-tech and the matrix of war-related sectors. There’s not much more to the American economy, except the drug cartels and private prisons. Private prisons are a promising sector, but Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline both posted considerable 1Q losses, 18% and 13% respectively. They hope to make up in the second half of 2009 by undermining the recent rise in generic drug options not yet under thier private control. Not to be condused, the firms are still highly liquid and raked in BILLIONS in 1Q profits.  And while increased steel production anywhere in the world is at this point undesirable for ecological reasons, it’s good to see the facade of Western free-market piety begin to be exposed for what it is…a laughable absurdity. The Washington Consensus has long been discredited, so states don’t have to subject themselves to the “rules” of the global economy. Once this becomes obvious, then countries can start talking about opting out of the global economy (like in areas of South America), rather than sumbitting to a cycle of dependence and instability. Of course, China is a long way from this, and current institutions have no plans for building regional, self-sufficient Chinese economies.  But in the short terms, jobs saved are jobs saved.

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