Cooperation with China is the way forward

Cooperation with China is the way forward

By Carlton Joseph

Carlton Joseph

United States President Joe Biden recently signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package saying: “it was an historic piece of legislation that delivers immediate relief to millions of people.”

For individuals earning up to $75,000 in annual income, heads of households earning up to $112,500 and couples with incomes up to $150,000 , the bill provides a one-time $1,400 in cash payments.

 It  extends unemployment benefits, helps small businesses and lowers healthcare premiums for many. It also provides food and nutrition, keeps families in their homes, and it will cut child poverty in this country in half.  Imagine not one Republican voted for this bill !

Worst, all Republicans, seven Democrats and one independent opposed the increase of $15 per hour minimum wage by 2025, stripping it out of the relief bill.

 Imagine, in this, the world’s richest country of 330 million people, where 62 million workers, before this pandemic, were making less than $15 an hour, and most of them considered essential workers, are forced to work for the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.   And they have to buy food, pay rent, and meet other basic expenses.  Whoever said slavery has ended in the United States?

Like the police kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, greed and racism is draining the life out of America. People vote for their representatives to make $174,000.00 per annum plus benefits, and their Republican representatives vote to give businesses a 2 trillion tax break and refuse to give them a living wage or health care protection.  This situation infuriates me and I get more infuriated when I’m told that this capitalist system is the best in the world.

How can a system based on the foundation of slave labor be the best s in the world? Why does the top one per cent of Americans own almost as much wealth as the entire middle class?  In 2019. the wealth of the richest Americans was approximately $35 trillion and the middle class, representing the 50th to 90th percentiles hold roughly $36.9 trillion.  The 2017 tax cut enabled rich people to hold on to more of their cash, which allowed them to invest it and earn even more money. The old adage the “rich get richer” is true.  If you have money to invest, your money starts working for you.  

Approximately 50 per cent of the US working class is living in poverty, and 38 million of them are living in extreme poverty. Is the goal of society to create a few billionaires and millionaires? Is the goal of society to provide for the health and welfare of its citizens? Should society not  pursue equity? America needs to ask itself these questions because inequality is so extreme that it’s inviting revolution. The US middle class and  those in abject poverty need to look to places such as China, Canada and Europe for some guidance.

While the goal in America is to give money to the rich and let it trickle down to the poor, China is looking after the welfare of its people. Data indicates that during the 1990 -2015 period, 746 million people in China were lifted out of poverty, accounting for 65.3 per cent of the total number of people in the world who  got out  out of poverty during the same period.  This number represents more than twice the population of America. Do you still believe that capitalism is the best system in the world?

Healthcare in China consists of both public and private medical institutions and insurance programs and  almost 100 per cent of the population has at least basic health insurance coverage, and, in most cases, expats as well. In America, the patch-work approach to health care has created a national crisis, leaving thirty million Americans uninsured between January and June 2020.

America’s infrastructure is in decay, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the US needs to spend some $2 trillion by 2025 to improve the state of the country’s roads, bridges, dams, airports, schools, and more.  America lags behind its peers in the developed world in transportation, water and energy systems, and internet services.  And, although America developed the internet, Americans pay more than  Europeans  for this servivce.

China, on the other hand,  is leading the world in infrastructure development; it’s Belt Road Initiative is slated to increase the country’s economic influence across Asia. Over the next ten years, the country plans to move 250 million people into the

the country’s rapidly-growing megacities.  To accommodate that enormous migration, the country has invested billions of dollars in massive infrastructure projects, from highways that span the continent, to the largest wind power base in the world, to enormously popular airports, to new cities in the desert, China is demonstrating what it means to do big things.

America and its Western Allies (G-7) have used the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to extract wealth from resource rich countries and developing countries.  This cabal has dominated the global economic scene since WWII.  The result has been endless wars, regime change, transfers of wealth from poor countries to rich countries, structural adjustments that decimated developing economies, and economic sanctions or military invasion if you refuse to accede to their demands.

 

Recently, many people  have been  saying  that China’s initiatives in Africa and the Caribbean will result in China ‘owning’ these countries. This  line of discussion has serious negative implications.  It follows the old narrative that Black people do not understand money or business and will not be able to pay off the loan, China will then own the “country”.  This narrative does not consider that, under the current economic regime, the US installed puppets in our countries and that these puppets serve the interests of the G-7. This is why our countries are underdeveloped.

While the world’s capitalist leader and its allies are hoarding vaccines, Beijing’s ability to mass-produce vaccines and ship them to countries in the developing world has given China a diplomatic and public relations bonanza. 

America’s constant global struggle for military, economic, and ideological supremacy is untenable, and remains the primary source of decades of foreign policy disaster.  Instead of cooperation with China and Russia to address existential challenges such as climate change, ecosystem collapse and extreme income inequality, it continues its aggressive dominance policy.  It was okay for China to deliver its workers to produce products for American companies. However, America is unwilling to accept Chinese companies that are competing  with American companies.

China’s scientific and technological developments in robotics, green technology, telecommunications, medicine, and other areas have  far surpassed those of  the United States and European companies. America has stopped  manufacturing products and is now a consumer nation, China is now registering more patents than any other country.

The Biden administration appears to be doubling down on the Obama and Trump administrations’ cold war policy against China.  This is a losing strategy. Cooperation with China is the way forward.

 

(Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington DC, is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)