APRIL 22, 2012 7:44PM

america NOT China in serious trouble:Paul Craig Roberts

Rate: 8 Flag

I seldom disagree with my good friend ONL, but from my vantage point, and from my personal experience, Paul Craig Roberts has a different viewpoint; one with which I happen to agree.

 China's GDP fell to 8.1% last month, and all the economists are suddenly falling all over themselves about an american resurgence.

Led by the fearless, feckless obama, we're going to maintain our status as the world's number one economy.  With ben bernanke at the helm presiding over QE1, QE2, QEinfinity, and erstwhile advisers like ex-GE and Goldman Sachs execs (precisely the guys who created the mess to begin with) to oversee economic policy, how can we be beaten?

 

"Where Life is Regarded as Cheap

Unplugging Americans From The Matrix

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

 

"Americans, the British, and Western Europeans are accustomed to thinking of themselves as the representatives of freedom, democracy, and morality in the world. The West passes judgment on the rest of the world as if the West is God and the rest of the world are barbarians in need of chastisement, invasion, and occupation.  As readers know, from time to time I raise questions about the validity of the West’s extreme hubris.

China is often a country about which Washington’s moralists get on their high horse.

However,  China’s “authoritarian” government is actually more responsive to its people than America’s “elected democratic” government.  Moreover, however incomplete on paper the civil liberties of China’s people, the Chinese government has not declared that it can violate with impunity whatever rights Chinese citizens have.  And it is not China that is running torture prisons all over the globe."

 

SNIP

 

"Moreover, it is America’s, not China’s, extractive elites who are bombing, occupying, and droning other countries.  As the bumper sticker says, “Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country.”

As for economic management, there is no comparison.  Unz reports that during the past three decades China has achieved the most rapid rate of economic development in human history. Moreover, most of the new income has flowed into the pockets of Chinese workers, not to the one percent. While American real median incomes have been stagnant for decades,  incomes for Chinese workers have doubled every decade for three decades. A recent World Bank report attributes more than 100 percent of the drop in global poverty rates to China’s rise. "

 

SNIP 

 

"In 1978 the American economy was 15 times larger than China’s. In the next few years China’s GDP is expected to exceed that of the US.

This is heady stuff providing astonishing details of how poorly Americans are served by their elites.

America has failed, because political elites represent only the powerful special interests that write the country’s laws in exchange for funding the political campaigns of “lawmakers.” To divert attention from their failures, American elites point fingers at external scapegoats.  China, for example, is accused of manipulating its currency. As Unz says, the scapegoating is political theater designed for the ignorant and gullible.

America’s economists, or most of them, have so prostituted themselves that propaganda has become wisdom.  Most Americans believe that if China would simply let the value of its currency rise more rapidly relative to the dollar, America’s economic woes would be at an end. It is beyond belief that any economist could think that Americans with stagnant and declining incomes would be made better off by a sharp rise in the prices of goods manufactured in China on which Americans are dependent,  or that the US dollar’s role as reserve currency, the main source of American power, could survive such a manifestation of Chinese economic superiority." 

 

SNIP

 

"Americans associate lawlessness with unaccountable governments and view China’s government as unaccountable.  However, Unz points out that it is the Bush/Obama Regime that has declared itself to be unaccountable to both US and international law.

The demise of the War Powers Act and the Geneva Conventions, and the asserted power of the executive to imprison without trial or charges or to assassinate any American whom the executive thinks might be a “national-security threat” are indicative of a total police state masquerading as an accountable democracy.  In America six-year old little girls who misbehave in school are handcuffed, jailed, and chargedwith felonies.  Not even Hitler and Stalin went this far." 

More at: 

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/20/unplugging-americans-from-the-matrix/ 

 

Nobody ever said it better than the late, great, George carlin, may He r.i.p.:

 

"Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls.

 

They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying,  lobbying, to get what they want.  Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don’t want: 

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. Thats against their interests.

Thats right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that!

You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fucking place! Its a big club, and you ain’t in it!  You, and I, are not in the big club."

 

SNIP

 

They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL.  And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Thats what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick thats being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.

 

Its called the American Dream,because you have to be asleep to believe it."

 


Read more: http://shoqvalue.com/george-carlin-on-the-american-dream-with-transcript#ixzz1srmQaVEt 

 

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Just call us the country of smoke and mirrors.
Blunt honesty hasn't worked yet.

The obvious question is, "So, what do we do now?"
It's all over the moment American workers quit showing everyday to jobs they hate that don't have pay enough to live on. Third world economies with 80-90% unemployment should have taught us there are other ways to survive - through the black/gray market, bartering, living out of dumpsters. Millions of unemployed American youtha re already living this way.
Nice to see You, again Phyllis and thanks for visiting. I believe that step one is to stop playing the lesser of two evils game. This is elaborated upon in great detail especially in the last three or four comments in my last post: "Ted Rall goes "ugly" earlier than romney," by both Libby (Libby has TWO comments well-worth reading, there) and I.

Furthermore, the post garnered nearly two dozen comments and twelve ratings. There are a real lot of good comments contained therein.

Rather than tell You what You should do, which would be hubristic on my part, I would suggest that neither the republican's nor complicit dumbocrats have served us well, and therefore, search were I You, I would search Your soul and find someone whose moral compass most closely mirrors Yours, and let Your heart be Your guide.

Always a pleasure to have You visit whenever You are moved to do so, Phyllis.
Thank You for visiting, as always, Dr. Bramhall, and please forgive me for being comment-less on Your blog, of late. I HAVE been reading, but watching the world chaos has left me most morose and reticent to comment as much as heretofore. Furthermore with the idiots in Tokyo hell-bent on burning nuclear debris at sites across the country, an absolutely inane idea which will only spread radiation far and wide and further pollute the atmosphere and oceans, causing a generation of cancer/leukemia ridden children world-wide, I've been much involved in local affairs.

I appreciate Your comment in which You mention third-world countries, but america with its sixteen trillion dollar debt, and insufficient funds to even pay the interest on that debt, is essentially bankrupt.

Imagine if a family ran their household budget similarly!!!

This island is heavily populated by the american military in their forty bases spread throughout a land area 1/10th that of NJ, so I have more contact with them than I'd like, but anyone who thinks they are not seriously POed at a government that sends them to fight wars, and then takes up to a year to rule on their PTSD claims is, simply, not paying attention.

Furthermore a policy called stop-loss, which is essentially reneging on a contract and forces them to sign up for additional service is not greeted with glee. These guys are sick and tired of endless wars with shifting "policy" objectives and time guidelines.

In my eyes, america is or will soon be no better than a third world country, itself unless it changes course and FAST.

Thanks, again, for visiting and allowing me to rant.
[r] Mark, a lot of Asian tourists in NYC who are spending money and giving us something at least.

the economic framing of these US bullshit artists, smartest guys in the room hah, i don't thinks so, (they are still inviting goldspan on the teebee to give analyses (dear God, but no one will say anything cuz he is married to darling Andrea Mitchell and that is sacred craven cronyism -- pols and media actually married) ... and AG father figure to the David Gregory types, and then there are the faux-intellectual light weights like Charlie Rose who has been going to high flying cocktail parties since forever, so he is a total shill for the 1 percent. But then look at the supposed progressives on MSNBC who are Obama neo-LIBS and should be ashamed of themselves. So we got the sell outs on the Dem side and then we got the Republican paranoid fear-mongering, McCarthyism in America still lives, dumb-a** ignorance so warmly embraced. Anti-socialism robbed this generation of sane and protective universal healthcare, but the pragmatic neo-libs didn't lift a finger to stop the wacko anti-socialism crowd which is what Obama wanted.

Who was it who said America can be counted on to do the right thing only after it has tried all the wrong things first. Churchill iirc. I am thinking the hubris of Obama et al. will not ever get us to trying the right things. HELLO????? He gets to play Lucy and the football for TWO TERMS????? Obama still point man for oligarchs, nothing more.

Love the George Carlin stuff. People keep asking, but what do we do???? STOP ENABLING THE POWER ADDICTS and the enablers of the power addicts (for those who refuse to believe Obama could possibly be craven, then call him an enabler of the evil ones, but don't defend and empower him)!!!!! For God's sake and ours!!!!!

America has lost all moral ground upon which to stand. Everyone in the world knows this other than American bubble people played by their profiteering sociopathic leaders!

best, libby
One thing I can ALWAYS count on when You come to visit, Libby, is that You bring A LOT to the table with You. Many times, as I read Your comments, I think they're better than my posts. I wish I could compile a list of Libby-comments and make them a blog post on its own - maybe that would wake some of the deniers and pre-nenderthalian thinkers stop and pause and re-access their positions, even just ATTEMPT to think outside the parameters of the little boxes they've erected to shield themselves from reality.

Alas and alack, that just ain't gonna happen, even if I were to do so.

You have nailed an important facet absent my post and that is the "cozy" relationships these insiders in the media use to lull the mindlessness that pervades the land. Mary Matalin and Carville come to mind as I read the incestuous relationships You delineate.

Well, I'm just in LOVE with James when he gets all worked up, she coos softly. As You would say BLECHHHH!

Greenspan another one who belongs on trial for treason.

Yeah, I've lived in four Asian countries, and yes, they love their vacations in america, "the land of the free and the home of the brave," but when they come home, most tell their friends it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Yeah, the people seemed friendly and kind, but I NEVER got over the feeling that I was surrounded by rampant crime (and corruption).

I've done several posts featuring YouTubes of George Carlin speaking, may He r.i.p, but with the new improved Commodore-64 run servers here, I am reticent to try and embed and ruin a nearly completed blog post.

George, we need You now more than ever. Boy, would He ever be steamed.

AND that excerpt, above, was done SEVEN years ago, when we still had the moron-in-chief running the show. Talk about lesser of two evil-ism.
Replace the moron-in-chief with the liar-in-chief. Hooray. But I like obama, he's a good man, and shrub was the kinda' guy one would like to
have a beer with!

G-d, I'd rather drink arsenic than be in the same room with either.

Libby, You conclude by saying that america has lost all moral ground, but the more I watch the pathetic gyrations of the "profiteering sociopathic leaders," I think back upon another person I once knew, Howard Zinn, may He r.i.p; and his seminal work; "A People's History of the United States," and realize the moral ground was lost way before we even arrived on the scene.

Your participation is immeasurably appreciated, Libby, and I do thank You heartily.

PS - Your writing talent is awesome, and You should be saving Your scribblings and be published.
You and I seldom disagree, and I don't believe we are in complete disagreement on this score. Nonetheless, I would take issue with some points.

For starter there's this? "Chinese government has not declared that it can violate with impunity whatever rights Chinese citizens have". Declared or otherwise, filtering the Internet and Google and the like and violently putting down demonstrations does indeed violate with impunity whatever rights Chinese citizens have. That said, so does calling out the police to run roughshod over demonstrators in this country -- not to mention most of the provisions of the Patriot Act, which are a clear violation of the Constitution. So where are the "Originalists" on the Supreme Court when it comes to that outrage?

As for economics, I fear the Chinese are far more vulnerable than we are by virtue of the sheer numbers they're dealing with and the fact they don't have much in the way of domestic energy sources -- or for that matter raw materials. Add in the cultural complications of a massive and abrupt shift from agrarian to industrial society, and you have the potential for a disaster.

On the other hand, it's quite true that the leaders of China are far more enlightened about the necessity for central planning than are most the Luddites who run this country, fools who continue to believe -- or at least continue to profess their belief -- in the infallibility of Free Markets. That is a fool's game, and it has been throughout history.
The United States exports its pollution and labor exploitation to China, then criticizes China for its poor environmental record and labor practices. You have got to love American hypocrisy.
The part I really don't get is how the elites we have think they're going to keep the value of their portfolios when all these companies in them who are directly or indirectly dependent on consumer spending start collapsing. I don't understand how the business community can be so supportive of people who are terrible for business.

The whole theoretical advantage of free enterprise is based on competition. Left alone, businesses turn into monopolies, which are anticompetitive and throw all those advantages out the window. That's why TR came up with antitrust legislation.

Right now what we have is a bunch of rich guys mining our foundation, then expecting to be bailed out when the house collapses. The trouble is that they've bankrupted the government so badly that the next time the house collapses, the money won't be there for the bailout.

Sheer idiocy.
Tom, it is a pleasure and an uncommon honor to have You visit. I'm not going to dispute any of Your contentions, however I would point out:

China presently produces more than 95% of all rare earth materials that are vital in the creation of a big variety of electronic technologies including lithium car batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, flat-screen television, compact fluorescent light bulbs, petroleum-to-gasoline catalytic cracking, and military defense components such as missile guidance systems. It also dominates abilities to process them.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/04/15/chinas-rare-earth-metals-monopoly-neednt-put-an-electronics-stranglehold-on-america/

and

I. The energy strategy of China.
China (India too) is one of the rare countries that has a coherent and effective policy toward raw materials. As a good player of chess, China places its pawns for a long term advance and is planning to checkmate in three moves.
1. The strategy :
Petroleum, gas, coal, uranium, nothing is forgotten by China to assure its present energy necessities and especially for future requirements (for 10 , 20 , 30 years and even longer). This policy is coherent only with a long-term vision that ultimate price will matter little and that the sustained availability of the energy will be far more important. Long ago China understood the economic paradigm of inexhaustible natural resources, and develops its long term policy as a consequence.
China maintains its pawns on all the available squares of the chessboard. She overcomes all the obstacles such as countries with political risks (Sudan, Angola, Nigeria, Gabon) and even purchases rights at the full price (deposits of Sudan, investigations in Brazil). The negotiation for the Occidental oil private grounds of the chief warrant officers in Nigeria and even directly challenges the might of the USA (e.g. contracts with Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela). In fact China is buying all available energy deposits and contracts and using its extensive political, military force (sale of weapons), economic and commercial wiles to attain its objectives.

PLUS MUCH MORE on Chinese long-term energy contracts.

http://www.dani2989.com/matiere1/chineoilgb.htm

I'd REALLY Love to see You visit much more often, if it suits Your purposes, Tom, whether You agree with my post or not.

In any case, I am VERY happy You chose to come today.
Alaska Progressive, I've been delighted to see You popping up here and there recently -You HAVE been missed.

Your comment is short and my response will be, too. When itt comes to hypocrisy NOBODY beats america; although I was on Skype with a friend from the UK, when You, Tom, and Kosh commented (sorry for the delay in response), and he says the UK would give america a run for its money in the hypocrisy department.

I REALLY have missed You Alaska Progressive and AM thrilled to see You back.
Kosh, I feel it is MY pleasure to agree with You wholeheartedly, today.

I've missed the days when we could see eye to eye, COMPLETELY.

"Sheer idiocy," says it all.
Mark, you'll never see me rushing to defend America's role in preserving freedom all over the world or at home. It goes without saying that America has a far more imperialistic footprint on the world than China, just because of the size of our military. Because of China's geography, it is inclined to play a lower profile than the USA in foreign affairs.

This is not to say that China has an absolutely sterling foreign policy. The Chinese government has serious problems right now in Burma, Sudan, and Equador. China's purchases and operation of millions of acres of farmland in Africa has rubbed workers and locals the wrong way.

I don 't have any quarrel with George Carlin's comments. I don't even have a quarrel with much of what Mr. Martin has to say. There's no disagreeing with the fact that the Chinese economy has substantially lifted the standard of living significantly for a minority of its population. However, the differences between eastern urban areas and western rural areas of the country is quite startling. This is evident by the median 2010 income of China overall at $935 a year, compared with the median urban income of $2,965. This is a long way from when I visited the PRC in 1978. At that time, the Chinese premier was the highest paid person in China. He made $400 a month. My guess is that Hu Juntao makes a little bit more than that now. ;)

I want to re-emphasize that economic growth has been extremely uneven in the country. You're considered middle class in China if you make more than $6,000 a year, but this constitutes under 10% of the entire population, and the Chinese billionaires are just as greedy and rapacious as any other billionaires. As Balzac said, "Behind every great fortune there is a crime." So why should Chinese billionaires be different from their American counterparts.

As to income distribution, I'm afraid that the GINI index doesn't lie. The USA has a GINI coefficient of .36. China's GINI coefficient is .56, and China's income inequality has risen at a much higher rate in the last 20 years than the United States. By the way, poverty experts say that above a level of .40, severe income inequality produces social unrest (and sometimes revolution). By these standards, American inequality could even get worse and many people in Oklahoma or Alabama would still think that American Idol was the most important thing in their lives instead of thinking about how screwed they're getting from Big Unka and the plutocrats.

However, I've got to draw the line with one of Mr. Martin's statements that makes no sense. Matter of fact, it's ridiculous on the surface. Can anyone explain to me how China's "authoritarian" government is actually more responsive than America's "democratically elected" government?

No, you won't see me defending Washington, DC's culture of megarich lobbyists buying and selling politicos and bureaucrats like so many Chinese made shirts in Wal Mart. However, in China, many of the on the ground services of the Mao era like barefoot doctors and collective education have given way in the country's rush for economic development at all costs. Social Security, unemployment insurance, and health insurance in China? Fugetaboutit! None of these things exist for 90% of the people. That's why the peasant's saving rates are over 50%. They have to have some cash in their mattress for life unanticipated emergencies.

As to local governments, both China and the US are mixed bags. There are local officials in both countries that are autocrats, and there are areas in both countries with a relative degree of democracy and/or accountability. However, the US has nothing to rival the great eco devo land grabs done by local party officials in China, acting in collusion with the millionaires and speculators that exist in their own family. Since all land in China is theoretically state owned, the local government can decide to displace tens of thousands of people for a project, just because they want to. And there is no recourse. That's why there are so many demonstrations in China. The vast majority are against corrupt local officials.

While the collective nature of Chinese society may give national leaders in Beijing more empathy with its citizens overall, the diverse nature of Chinese geography and tradition in fact makes it extremely difficult for the national government to control local government officials.

And can either you or Mr. Martin point to the level of political oppression equivalent in the US to the political repression that is routinely exercised in Tibet and Xingiang?
Frankly speaking, I don't know why I didn't pick up on Paul Craig Roberts name. My only excuse is I'm dead tired.
ONL, thanks for coming on over to buttress the contentions in Your blog, and I haven't any dry ammo to combat them with. I will say, however, the mantra of the Chinese hard or soft landing has been repeated year after year, yet China continues to grow at a blistering pace.

Income disparity exists, and I would not be the first to admit that, however, as a member of the English teaching community in Japan, a traditional enemy of China, more and more institutions of higher learning are readjusting their budgets, paring down their English departments, and buttressing/initiating Chinese language programs.

From a geopolitical perspective, if america continues its pattern of war as a first solution, while China continues to view war as a final and only when all else has failed solution, China will likely continue to grow at their now ~8% level.

War is destructive in nature, not just in human costs, as You well know, and the newest regime in China has found ways to minimize hostilities, while still flexing some muscle in this part of the world.

I see NO end to american exceptionalism, nor endless war. Given that, Chinas WILL one day, likely not in our lifetimes, overtake america as the number one economic power, if not other sectors, too.

When I first arrived in Japan, the notion of China displacing Japan as the number two power in the world seemed ludicrous, but that is precisely what has occurred. Furthermore, as China continues to build alliances based on a long-term continued raw materials supply with countries in all corners of the world, while those domestic materials that may still lie untouched nor unexplored in their vast territories, more and more countries will feel compelled to keep good relations with China.

As I'm sure You noted in my first sentence, I referred to You as "my good friend," and I expect that nothing will change that, but I have to believe from my proximity and recent visits to China, not to mention my Chinese friends, that a sea change is necessary in american thought and policy to maintain its dominant position.

I see NOTHING on the horizon to indicate such a change. Until then, I will continue to believe that america was the past and China is the future.

Thanks much for visiting, and as You know, I am ALWAYS happy when You choose to visit.
With the exacting knowledge base You strive to maintain ONL, I'm surprised that You don't get fatigued more often than just now.
OK, I think I got this one:

The US is declining because of income polarization. (Income Polarization in the US was the subject of my very first post on OS and a repost because I still think it's the most important topic I've ever discussed here. I explained in simple terms exactly why it's a problem.) China is handling itself well strategically in most respects but, because of its extreme income polarization and corruption when it comes to land use, faces internal revolution, so it will also decline.

So, what horse are we betting on?

Let's try..........................Denmark.

Why not?
Mark, sorry I got here so late. You mean America is not the strongest, bravest, free-est, most wonderful country in the universe??? I'm a relativist, and you make some good points about China. As an unobtrusive indicator however, look at the migration patterns of Chinese to America as opposed to Americans going to China.

As to righteousness, there's more than enough blood on peoples' hands to go around for everyone. Better? Worse? Superiority? pfffft
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