To find out to what extent Brazilian intelligentzia is in the dark about what goes on in the world, just go to Walmart in any small American town.
Seventy percent of the products sold there are Chinese. The data are from China Business Weekly magazine. “If Walmart were a country” – writes Ted C. Fishman in his recent book China, Inc., “It would be the fifth largest export market in China, above Germany and England.”
Still, Walmart is not the only one: in any popular supermarket in the U.S., it is hard to find cheap furniture or appliances, from an American brand, that is not made in China.
American citizens are aware of what this means: 2,900,000 factory slots lost and a decline in old industrial cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Allentown, Bethlehem and Pittsburgh. Some military strategy scholars, like Jeffrey Nyquist – one of America’s smartest men – go a step further: they know that shoppers in America’s cheapest supermarket chains are financing the growth of the Chinese war machine, whose explicit goal, already repeated a thousand times in military publications of the People’s Republic of China, is the destruction of the U.S. (I will explain more about this in the upcoming weeks). This machine increases its stock of atomic bombs day by day, at a pace never known to the U.S. and the USSR during the Cold War, and invests massively in the production of biological weapons whose current stock would already be enough to infect the entire American population in a matter of hours. When strategists warn that American spending on Chinese products fuels the growth of a potential enemy, they are not just referring to the implicit gain that any country’s armed forces have when the national economy grows. The Army is China’s main investor: it profits directly from the sale of every TV, CD player or cell phone sold abroad by Chinese factories. And the Army gains double, since the profit is added to the amount collected in taxes by the Chinese government and transferred to the armed forces. Not double; triple, because the more Chinese products are successful in the U.S., the more American investments go to Chinese companies, that is, to the Chinese Army.
It is mainly thanks to American aid that China grows at a rate capable of making it the largest industrial power in 2012 and the largest economy in the world in 2050.
None of this, of course, results in considerable benefit to the Chinese people. Around five cities that prosper at a fast rate, there is a whole continent of poverty and suffering that the Western public can hardly imagine. A worker’s salary in China is five times less than in Mexico. And don’t you fall into the belief that public services – the ultimate excuse for socialism – stabilizes low pay. Chinese hospitals, all of which belong to the government, don’t offer childbirth services, don’t treat others with a broken arm, don’t pull out a tooth without sending the bill at the end of the month. The water and sewage network is terrible throughout the countryside, and the survival difficulties for peasant families are so great that the government becomes an accomplice to them in the so-called “war against girls”: the habit of throwing newborns to pigs (and then eat the pigs, of course). Chinese prosperity is based not only on American blindness, of course, but on the ubiquitous political police, slave labor, the forced sterilization of millions of women and the massive persecution of minorities, especially religious (the number of Christians murdered by the government goes up to twenty thousand per year). To the violence and cruelty of a police state is added to institutionalized shamelessness: out of the profits of Chinese industry, 50 billion dollars a year come from counterfeit products.
Don’t you be fooled by believing that all this monumental amount of human suffering has at least served to preserve an ancient culture. Mao Zedong’s “Cultural Revolution” devastated China’s traditional culture more intensely than any foreign activities could have done. And what was left was totally deformed by the official reinterpretations, which, incredibly, tried to give a materialistic sense to the classics of Chinese spirituality. Today, at Beijing universities, it is impossible to find a scholar who understands the meaning of Taoism or the symbolism of I-Ching. If Western scholars like René Guénon and Marcel Granet hadn’t preserved this knowledge, the Chinese spiritual treasure would have been irretrievably lost to humanity.
Also, science and technology don’t gain anything from American investments in China. Most of the Chinese knowledge in this area is simply bought in New York or Florida and shamelessly imitated. What you can’t buy in stores is obtained by espionage – sometimes under the protection of the American government itself, as in the case of the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory, where President Clinton himself blocked investigations (nothing more logical, indeed, since Chinese state-owned companies had substantially contributed to his election campaign).
How was it possible that so much American money flowed to feed this monstrosity?
The culprit is called “globalization.” It is by looking at things from this point of view that one can notice the total alienation of the Brazilian media and, especially, the enlightened media intellectuals with their lessons of wisdom. “Globalization,” for those people, is the same as the American Empire. In our public debates, the triumph of the free market doctrine in the 1990s is invariably presented as a Machiavellian device invented by Wall Street strategists to implant the American way of life in the world. Some of these strategists, in fact, claimed that opening up trade borders would spread American democracy around the world. Others, however, warned that simple economic freedom couldn’t work this magic, especially if adopted up in the air, in abstract, outside a geopolitical approach that would take into account business competition and strategic competition between States. China’s economic opening, they said, was perfectly compatible with the continuation of the communist dictatorship and an aggressive, militaristic, expansionist foreign policy. This side of the American debate has been entirely ignored by our media: reasoning exclusively on the basis of the stereotype State versus market, which has become the maximum fetish of national leftist thinking, the media has identified a priori the free market dogma with American national interest, seeing a convergence exactly where the best American analysts found a contradiction. The relationship between market freedom and national interest is ambiguous, to say the least, and becomes highly problematic when there is not enough reciprocity in opening markets from side to side, that is, when one of the states bets all on economic freedom and the other in the growth of national power, using the openness offered by the first as a weapon. Economic openness is a good formula for relations between trader peoples. However, between the trader and the warrior, the advantage in favor of the latter is overwhelming. In Flaubert’s novel, Salammbo, two mercenaries talk about what they plan to do when the war between Rome and Carthage is over. One of them dreams of buying a farm and a plow and get rich in the food trade. The other replies that he doesn’t need any of that to get rich. Showing his sword, he says: “This is my plow.” Such is the difference between Americans and the Chinese: the former bets on the success of an economic system; the latter uses this success as a temporary means to grow and win in the field of weapons. Americans just want money, and delude themselves into thinking that the Chinese want the same. The Chinese feed this illusion, betting that it will help them get what they want: money and everything else – the complete cultural, political, military, and economic destruction of the enemy. In the beginning, abstract free-market apologies tended to cover up this difference. Today the difference is clear through the eyes of all, and it is in this difference, exclusively in itself, that the cause of the unusual growth of China resides, parallel to the weakening of the American industry.
The relations between ideology and power are obviously more complex than that imagined by the vain philosophy of the Brazilian speaking classes. What an attentive observer learns at Walmart is that the doctrine of liberal capitalism can help destroy liberal capitalism, fostering the growth of a communist dictatorship as aggressive, at least, as the former USSR.
Olavo de Carvalho
Diário do Comércio, June 20, 2005
Translation by Leilah Carvalho