American Hypocrisy Over China

I’m not an expert on world trade disputes, but it seems to be that the U.S.A.’s current whining about Chinese manufacturing is pathetic and hypocritical. American manufacturers, with the full support of the U.S. Government, has spent 40 years outsourcing their manufacturing to China in order to benefit from lower Chinese wages and TCO, so they could sell their cheap products to the world. Those same policies that benefited U.S. companies in the past now pose an economic threat, as Chinese companies make and sell their own goods to the world. There’s a stunning level of hypocrisy criticising China while having benefited from these manufacturing dynamics, but try to find that perspective articulated in the mainstream U.S. media. Instead they just continue to act as the P.R. arm of the U.S. government and its corporate owners.

And surely we want the world for have as much cheap, high quality green energy products as possible, don’t we? On one hand, the U.S. government says that climate change is a top global priority – on the other hand, they don’t want China to produce too many products to solve the problem.

Me:

The U.S. government is complaining that China is “creating an oversupply of clean energy products”. They are also complaining that China is “overproducing” products and “dumping” them on global markets. This seems churlish to me. I thought the US believed in “open markets” and capitalism? Don’t the US also use tariffs and government funding to make their manufacturers more competitive?

ChatGPT:

You’re picking up on the contradictions that often emerge in international trade rhetoric. The U.S. has long championed open markets and free trade, but that support is sometimes tempered by national interests and the desire to protect domestic industries.

Let’s break down the criticisms you’re mentioning:

     

      1. Oversupply of Clean Energy Products: China has heavily invested in clean energy manufacturing, like solar panels and batteries. The oversupply issue is essentially that China can produce more than the global market demands. This drives down prices, benefiting consumers and countries looking to transition to renewable energy but also putting pressure on non-Chinese manufacturers who struggle to compete with lower-priced imports.

      1. Dumping Allegations: Dumping refers to selling products abroad at prices below their normal value (often below production costs) to capture market share. Critics in the U.S. argue that China’s subsidies and state support lead to artificially low prices that damage U.S. manufacturers.

      1. U.S. Use of Tariffs and Subsidies: Yes, the U.S. has its own protectionist policies, such as tariffs and subsidies. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, for instance, incentivizes U.S. clean energy manufacturing, while tariffs imposed during the Trump administration continue to impact trade with China.

    In essence, while the U.S. preaches free markets, it’s not above using government interventions to protect its industries. The complaints about China are often rooted in the notion of maintaining a “level playing field,” where countries are expected to follow a similar set of market rules. However, these rules are often defined through political and economic lenses that favor the rule-maker’s interests.

    These dynamics reflect broader tensions in global trade, where the line between fair competition and protectionism becomes blurry, especially with strategic sectors like clean energy.

    Me:

    Can you give me examples of where the US used its economic and military power to make sure its manufacturers didn’t have to worry about a “level playing field”?

    ChatGPT:

    The U.S. has often wielded its economic and military power to protect and advance its manufacturers’ interests, sometimes at the expense of the concept of a “level playing field.” Here are a few notable examples:

       

        1. Marshall Plan (1948-1952): After World War II, the U.S. implemented the Marshall Plan to aid Western European reconstruction. While it provided crucial support for European economies, it also tied many of the aid recipients to American products and markets. The plan ensured European countries remained aligned with U.S. interests and created a favorable trading environment for American manufacturers.

        1. Operation Ajax (1953): The CIA-backed coup in Iran removed Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstated the Shah. The overthrow protected U.S. oil interests and their control over Iran’s oil resources, ensuring that American and British oil companies retained profitable operations in the region.

        1. Intervention in Latin America: Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. supported coups and regimes in Latin America to ensure stability favorable to American businesses. In Guatemala (1954), the U.S. supported a coup to protect United Fruit Company’s interests after land reform threatened its dominance.

        1. Trade Agreements and WTO Disputes: The U.S. has leveraged its negotiating power in international trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO to secure preferential treatment for its manufacturers. At the same time, it has challenged other countries at the WTO for practices that disadvantage U.S. companies, winning cases like the one against China for rare earth export restrictions.

        1. Tariffs on Japanese Electronics and Cars (1980s): As Japan became a significant competitor to the U.S. in cars and electronics, the U.S. used tariffs and quotas to restrict Japanese imports and protect its own manufacturers.

        1. Recent Trade Wars with China: The U.S. imposed tariffs on a wide array of Chinese goods to counter what it claimed was unfair competition due to Chinese government subsidies, currency manipulation, and intellectual property theft. The tariffs effectively protected certain U.S. industries, even as they strained global supply chains.

      These actions demonstrate how the U.S. has historically prioritized its national and economic interests, often invoking the language of free markets but frequently resorting to state intervention, military action, or diplomatic leverage to secure advantages for its industries.

      Using ChatGPT to Analyse The News

      One of my hobbies at the moment is to use ChatGPT to help me analyse the news. I imagine this will be come pretty standard in the near future, and there will be better tools to use. At the moment it seems the ABC has blocked ChatGPT from reading its articles, so I have to copy and paste the article into GPT. But then I run a couple of prompts to get it to breakdown the story for me. My basic objective is to get GPT to act as a second brain, helping me uncover the biases in news stories and highlight the gaps in the coverage.

      Here’s GPT’s analysis of a recent ABC article about the US and Israel. It gave the original article a rating of 6 our of 10 for journalistic quality.

      Media Is Politics

      I’ve been saying it for 20 years. If you want political influence in a democracy, you need to control the media. That’s why I started TPN. That’s why Murdoch is king. Don’t blame the voters. They get their opinions from the media. Don’t blame the politicians. They were chosen by the media to do a particular job. It’s the media. If we want change, we need to control the media. We need to invest in independent media. Not the ABC. Truly independent media. That’s why you don’t want advertising to find your podcasts. That’s why you don’t want VC firms to invest in New Media. That’s why you don’t want Facebook to be the new publishing platform. Those things just subvert the opportunity to wrest control of the future from the rich white psychopaths.

      What can you do? You can make the media. Make podcasts. Write blog posts. Write books. Make documentaries. Make comics.

      TAKE CONTROL.