Monday, November 18, 2013

"Death by China" looks at our dangerous dependence on imports from China and outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, a corporate addiction for short-term profits

Death by China” (2012, 78 minutes), by Peter Navarro, certainly lays out the case of how dangerous it has become for Americans to become dependent on goods manufactured by low-cost, sometimes almost slave, labor in China. 
One idea that seems striking at first was that the Communist Chinese, more than any other power, made so much of making everyone have the experience of becoming a peasant with the “Cultural Revolution” of the 1960s. Americans do not want to do these kinds of jobs at low wages but want the high standard of living that the manual labor of others can provide.  The film opens with a crowd of shoppers storming into a Best Buy at midnight on a “Black Friday”.
One of the issues explained in the film is Chinese currency manipulation, which makes their goods appear even cheaper.  But China is also one of the larger holders of US Treasury debt, an observation not lost in the debt ceiling debate.  The trade deficit with China might arguably undermine the idea of the U.S. dollar as being the world’s fiat “reserve currency”.
President Clinton was instrumental in getting China admitted into the WTO (World Trade Organization) in the 1990s, in conjunction with his support of NAFTA and GATT, which much of organized labor opposed.
Small manufacturers in the US can’t compete with larger companies that outsource the manufacturing to China and don’t have the lobbying strength in Congress.
The film reports that the Chinese stole the engineering of Google and used it to build their own engine, Baidu, after banning Google.
fmilitary hardware to countries like Iran.  It also discusses the safety issue of depending on products made in China (such as plumbing contaminated by lead).
Senator Chris Smith (R-NJ) open speaks in the film.
The current system in China is a curious mixture of formal communism and statist capitalism, as in the Discovery series “The People’s Republic of Capitalism” (TV Blog, July 9, 2008), by Ted Koppel. There is no freedom of the press and no ability for people to organize or redress abuses of the system. It is a kind of servitude.  China’s system is still one which predicated on “disciplining” the individual into conformity for the supposed “common good”.
The official site is here
The soundtrack has a song by the director by the same name, as well as another song, "Death by Chinese Junk".
The film (from Virgil) can be rented on YouTube for $3.99 or watched in Netflix Instant Play.

Can boycotts do any good?  I doubt it.  We’re addicted to the easy life. 

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