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Coumadin – Introduction
THE SECRET OF CHINA’S MIRACLE ECONOMY:
Wolff thinks China’s “miracle” is a bubble that is about to burst, with catastrophic consequences. Historically, however, when bubbles have collapsed suddenly it has been because they were punctured by speculators. When the Japanese stock market bubble burst in 1990, and when other Asian countries followed in 1998, it was because foreign speculators were able to attack their currencies with exotic derivatives. The victims tried to defend by buying up their own national currencies with their foreign currency reserves, but the reserves were soon exhausted. Today, China has accumulated so much in the way of dollar reserves that it would be very difficult for speculators to do the same thing to the Chinese stock market. A gradual stock market decline due to natural market forces is something an economy can take in stride.
Economic Role Reversal?
For the time being, at least, China’s stimulus plan is clearly working better than those of the U.S. and the U.K.; and a chief reason it is working better is that the government has a grip on its banking sector. The government can operate the banks’ credit mechanisms in a way that serves public enterprise and trade, because it actually owns the banks, or most of them. Ironically, that feature of China’s economy may have allowed it to get closer to the original American capitalist ideal than the United States itself. China is often referred to as communist, but it has never really been communist as defined in the textbooks, and it is far less so now than formerly. Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping, who opened China to foreign investment after 1978, famously said that it doesn’t matter what color the cat is, so long as it catches mice. Whatever the Chinese economy is called, today it provides a framework that effectively encourages entrepreneurs.
Jim Rogers is an expatriate American investor and financial commentator based in Singapore. He wrote in a 2004 article titled “The Rise of Red Capitalism”:
“Some of the best capitalists in the world live and work in Communist China. . . . No matter how long China’s leaders persist in calling themselves Communists, they seem quite intent on creating the world’s dominant capitalist economy.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. has sunk into what Rogers calls “socialism for the rich.” When ordinary U.S. businesses go bankrupt, they are left to deal with the asphalt jungle on their own; but when banks considered “too big to fail” go bankrupt, we the taxpayers pay the losses while the banks’ owners keep the profits and are allowed to continue speculating with them. The bailout of Wall Street with taxpayer money represents a radical departure from capitalist principles, one that has changed the face of the American economy. The capitalism we were taught in school involved Mom and Pop stores, single-family farms, and small entrepreneurs competing on a level playing field. The government’s role was to set the rules and make sure everyone played fair. But that is not the sort of capitalism we have today. The Mom and Pop stores have been squeezed out by giant chain stores and mega-industries; the small private farms have been bought up by multinational agribusinesses; and Wall Street banks have gotten so powerful that Congressmen are complaining that the banks now own Congress. Giant banks and corporations have rewritten the rules for their own ends. Healthy competition has been replaced by a form of predator capitalism in which small fish are systematically swallowed up by sharks. The result has been an ever-widening gap between rich and poor that represents the greatest transfer of wealth in history.
The Best of Both Worlds
The Chinese solution to a failed banking system would be to nationalize the banks themselves, not just their bad debts. If the U.S. were to adopt that approach, we the people would actually get something of value for our investment – a stable and accountable banking system that belongs to the people. If the word “nationalize” sounds un-American, think “publicly-owned and operated for the benefit of the public,” like public libraries, public parks, and public courts. We need to get our dollars out of Wall Street and back on Main Street, and we can do that only by breaking up our out-of-control private banking monopoly and returning control over money and credit to the people themselves. If the Chinese can have the best of both worlds, so can we.
Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her earlier books focused on the pharmaceutical cartel that gets its power from “the money trust.”
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Worker at carbon black plant. Sunray, Texas, 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Worker at carbon black plant John Vachon. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress