Forum Post: Where can we go to get an accurate picture of where Capitalism will inevitably lead us 20 to 30 years down the road?
Posted 10 years ago on April 23, 2012, 2:36 p.m. EST by GildasSapiens
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
"Communist China, ironically.
When referring to sheer numbers, China's economy has grown to the point of invincibility. The unemployment rate is incredibly low at 4.1 percent, GDP climbs significantly nearly every quarter, and more and more industries are locating to China to produce their goods. China's population is exploding, meaning more tax dollars and productivity. Many American businesses talk of adapting to the "Chinese Model" of doing business. But how has China become the shining beacon of capitalism the world over?
Foxconn may have taken up the bulk of the news coverage, but they're merely one of many examples of China's business culture. Unions are almost unheard of in China, as is anything resembling a living wage, adequate benefits packages or labor regulations. Companies such as Foxconn can pay their employees as little as they wish, make them work unbelievably long hours, employ them at very young ages, hold them to unrealistically high standards, and sap their employees' physical and mental health until they work themselves to exhaustion or injury, even to the point of threatening mass suicide at the workplace.
Environmental standards for Chinese businesses are similarly deplorable. In some parts of China, air quality is so bad that being outside requires wearing a mask to avoid breathing in dangerous particulates emitted by coal plants, unrestrained by any clean air regulations. Groundwater in rural Chinese communities and big cities alike has been shown to cause cancer through consumption, as 70 percent of lakes and rivers are polluted. Conditions are unlikely to change, because the Chinese government refuses to impose regulations on the companies that employ a bulk of their people. Their excuse is to "help enterprises pass the winter."
The Chinese model has prevailed. American labor unions have lost their last bit of influence and the halls of Congress are completely filled with corporatists eager to undo a century's worth of regulations to enrich their campaign donors' bottom lines. Reversing corporate funding of elections would require an amendment to the United States Constitution that would not only have to pass through both halls of Congress and be signed by the president, but also ratified by three-fourths of the states. Such a plan would take decades to succeed, which is longer than we have to radically change society.
Our current problems are all rooted in greed and inequality -- corporate greed, Wall Street greed, greed of the top .001 percent, who now own more than 970 times more than the bottom 90 percent. Such greed has led to staggering inequality even greater than the inequality that preceded the economic crash of 1929. Nearly all income is flowing to a very tiny minority in a country of more than 310 million people. And even though the size of the U.S. economy has tripled since 1960, middle and lower-class wages have actually gone down. And those at the very top can't make up for the lost economic activity of the bottom 90 percent. This has inhibited the rest of the country's ability to create new wealth, rendering more and more once middle-class people to become dependent on government assistance just to meet daily costs of living."