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In Which I Carry Yet More Water for the Commissars-Turned-Capitalists of Shanghai

Speaking as a Water-Carrying Policy Intellectual...

Over at the coffeehouse that is TPM Cafe, I feel compelled to sail into harm's way vis-a-vis the eloquent and dangerous Jeff Faux:

A Question for Jeff Faux... | TPMCafe:

Jeff Faux is... confused, to put it politely. He opens:

Confronting Davos: The Class Politics of Global Governance | TPMCafe: it’s no surprise that a cross-border class politics has developed in the wake of the globalizing economy... a one-party system. Call it the Party of Davos, after the annual elite bash in the Swiss Alps that resembles the big-donor receptions at a political convention--corporate CEOs and world class investors, the people who carry their bags, and the politicians, pundits and policy intellectuals who carry their water...

Well, as one of the policy intellectuals who carries the water for the "corporate CEOS and world-class investors... people who carry their bags, and the politicians" I guess I should respond.

Jeff goes on:

[T]he economic challenge to Americans is not from China, per se, but from a business partnership between Chinese commissars who provide the cheap labor and American and other transnationals who provide the technology and financing--and whose lobbyists in Washington provided access to the US market.... [T]his reality is rarely if ever part of the mainstream discussion of globalization. It discomforts advertisers and campaign contributors. Better to define the issues with the abstract homilies of economics 101--“free-trade vs. protectionism.”...

[...]

Don’t think of your job, they tell anxious workers, think of the benefits of cheap prices.... [W]hatever numbers you want to believe, neither economic theory nor statistical calculation can determine whether the benefits of cheaper sneakers are worth the costs of lost jobs, disrupted lives and increased economic security. It is essentially a values question. In the context of the domestic economy, Progressives rightly reject the argument, even where true, that lower prices and greater employment generated by cheaper labor would justify the elimination of social protections and safety nets. Yet intimidated by the prospect of being labeled a “protectionist,” many support international trade regimes that are based on the same argument...

Let me respond with a question: Is there a way to interpret Jeff other than as a call to keep China a society of poor subsistence rice farmers as long as possible--keep them poor, barefoot, uneducated, and by no means allow them to work at any of the high-value manufacturing occupations we want to keep in the United States?

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