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.

      The most insidious forms of oppression

      “The very efficacy of opinion manipulation rests on the fact that we do not know we are being manipulated. The most insidious forms of oppression are those that so insinuate themselves into our communication universe and the recesses of our minds that we do not even realize they are acting upon us. The most powerful ideologies are not those that prevail against all challengers but those that are never challenged because in their ubiquity they appear as nothing more than the unadorned truth.”

      ‘Contrary Notions’ by Michael Parenti

      Chomsky: America’s Rank Hypocrisy — Why Is it Only an “Atrocity” When Other Countries Do It?

      I’m about 20% of the way into my new writing project “You Are Blind” – a look at how propaganda works in a corporatocracy – and it’s going very well.

      Meanwhile, OpEdNews has this excellent new article by Noam Chomsky.

      He starts by quoting  international affairs scholar James Peck who states:

      “In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us” — whoever “us” is.

      Chomsky then presents a few recent examples of how the western media loves to focus on atrocities by “the bad guys”, such as Syria, while ignoring (or justifying) similar or worse atrocities committed by “our side”. Or they highlight China’s treatment of dissidents like Chen Guangcheng while ignoring 0r justifying American treatment of dissidents like Bradley Manning.

      It’s all part of what I’m writing about in my book. We are programmed from birth by our governments, corporate media, corporate PR departments, the education system (co-financed by the government and the wealthy elite) and religions to believe that a certain set of truths are self-evident – and that this programming is so pervasive that we don’t even notice it.

      don't ask, don't tell

      don’t ask, don’t tell

      The 2008 Falsies Awards: In Memory of the First Casualty | Center for Media and Democracy

      CMD have released their 2008 Falsies list. As always, it’s interesting reading.

      Learn about:

      • PR industry tricks such as ” third party technique” and how the Pentagon has been using it to dupe American citizens;
      • Which PR firms are taking dirty coal money to try to dupe people into thinking ‘clean coal’ is anything more than a line of spin;
      • Which PR firm took China’s money to try to make them look better during the Olympics – and failed miserably;

      The 2008 Falsies Awards: In Memory of the First Casualty | Center for Media and Democracy