rethink: subliminal eye candy [Made in China]

My proposition is fairly simple and straightforward. There can be no competition without standardization. None. The effects of a lack of standardization are obvious, but important enough to be reiterated, using a few examples.

Consider the consequences of asking a Formula One team to compete against the others using a de-tuned engine or even worse, one with less cylinders. I’m using relatively simple examples here. Think Monza not Istanbul. More complex ones do, nonetheless, exist. But this is not the point. To put it rather succinctly, I would immediately pack my bags and find a new business venture. Unless I had money to burn…which I don’t.

We watch soccer and most of the time we watch two teams compete. (Thank you Mr. Obvious). Or so this is what we perceive is happening. Again, consider the type of game you would be watching if one of the soccer teams fielded players that were heavy smokers, while the opposing team did not. If players on both sides “lit up,” then it would make no difference, but when one team decides to quit, the rest is destiny: the other is compelled to quit also. That is of course, if they want to keep playing soccer. In a competitive league. You get the idea.

If we move on to international competition, between states or nations, or more precisely the extent to which one country can compete with another, the same outcome can be teased out. However, I want to table my own interpretation of the current obsession with “if-China-does-not-become-a-super-power-then-all-this-talk-of-a-re-emerging-cold-war-may-very-well-become-a-reality.” Many things may become a reality.

However, China’s growth may be associated with its unrivaled ability to coerce, compel and if not by political incentives, then either by economical or even legal ones, control and subsequently focus its large pool of human capital with one purpose or goal: expansion and growth. Now, the United States is playing catch-up. Competition requires a standard, and the United States has fallen behind. The U.S. is running the de-detuned engine while smoking a pack of fags and even worse, losing its mind.

The Bill of Rights and in Canada, the Charter, notwithstanding the civil-rights of other countries, have become an obstacle in the way of economic competitiveness. When China decrees, a skyscraper is built, a steel mill goes up, and a few more oil-reserves deplete. On the other hand, when the U.S. passes a law, a few more housing bubbles pop, Ford goes bankrupt and the Supreme Court, to aggravate the situation even further, yells “unconstitutional.”

Why there has been a resurgence in conservatism and neo-imperialism is now less difficult to understand. If the United States (add other countries, as desired, here) does not tighten its authoritarian and repressive grip, it may lose the fight and never catch up to the Chinese. To lose this “war on standardization” would be to lose the war on competitiveness and ultimately bring another empire to its knees. And if we really add hyperbole to speculation, destruction.

Call me clairvoyant. I’m not.


*A picture from the “Made in China” Installation.



Filed under academia, China, communism, consumerism, corporate, economics, economy, government, human rights, irrational, liberty, life, market, pathologies, philosophy, Policy, politics, rant, rights, symbols, terror, United States

4 responses to “rethink: subliminal eye candy [Made in China]

  1. Hi Vlad,

    interesting entry, though maybe an alternative view of the same phenomena will be useful?

    there is no doubt that there is a conservative resurgence and a corresponding tightening of the noose around our collective necks.

    but I think it has less to do with rampant capitalism and china, and a simple game of matching tit-for-tat (n.b. Freudian slip). though it is true people like Chalmers Johnson have argued dictatorships can lead to economic development (mainstream political economy theorist, embarrassed to quote him, yes), I think the current torturing of the liberal individual (not that that’s a bad thing..) is a result of two monoliths of american capitalism falling down, rather than the rise of China.

    after all, its China that has had to adopt the rules of capitalism (hence its “special economic zones” and “capitalism with chinese characteristics”)…

    I also think China’s dictatorial power is overstated. I lived in China for two months, and traveled by train across the massive country step-by-step. Living in the home of a farmer, I remember him telling me distinctly over dinner, “Why is it that Americans believe we are not free? It’s the Americans that aren’t free!”

  2. Jovan

    Sure regulation/standardization would level the playing field. But even the US cannot follow NAFTA (their own) rules!
    Sure we can dream of hyperactive expansion but you don’t hear how the acid rain is eating through their tin roofs. Most of their major rivers are so polluted they cannot be treated for drinking water. They are taking a huge huge environmental risk with this run-away economy of theirs.

    They (China) have certainly cooled to the US dollar. They have stopped stocking reserves at 1 trillion US. Plus they will start diversifying that figure. The us is a wounded lion who is losing his mane, but still chooses to fight it out. After all their new budget has over 50% of the funds going to the military – they have to do something with it.

    Here is a little prediction for you – Just before the $ collapses – there will be another major tragedy on NA soil, and the NA Union will be the ‘only way out’, allong with the saving grace of the new Amero.
    The future is foggy or is it my glasses?

  3. I am very much against government regulation of any industry and appreciate that you used standardization as the model term. The football analogy is perfect- to stay competitive, a company must know what the industry is doing and find ways to become more efficient. This is not the program America has in place.

    For example, the U.S. Senate is voting today on a bill to regulate health and wellness products. For the uncynical, the bill seems to be a well intended attempt to save people from taking “dangerous” vitamins, supplements or other alternative medical treatments. (This is, I’m sure, a knee jerk response to people taking too much Ephedra.) For people like me, it is a government/corporate version of competition rape. If it passes, Big Pharma will be the only group with pockets deep enough to participate in the FDA required clinical trials that “prove a medicine safe and effective.” The pharmaceutical industry spends $300 million USD annually to influence recommendation panels and the medical professionals who influence the regulators can speak for a drug while receiving financial compensation of up to $50k.

    I am certainly not anti-pharmacology or a granola type. My husband is a doc and I know that Rx drugs are not necessary for every ailment or malady but I would never knock antibiotics. (I do have a problem with the overuse of them though. Another issue.)

    I believe in choice and personal autonomy. If this bill passes, Americans may not be able to get a multi-vitamin or even a Red Bull unless it has FDA approval. If a Mom & Pop business develops a natural skin lotion for eczema,it will need FDA approval. With the years and costs of clinical trials, that Mom & Pop company wouldn’t have a shot at approval and the product would be illegal without it.

    You can be a free markets capitalist and be in favor of industry standards but you cannot reconcile liberty and government regulation of industry. I’m sorry for the long rant on this particular FDA issue but it is on my mind this evening and it is frightning to think how bad off we’ll be if the FDA becomes a true pharmaceutical appendage. We all have seen that they approve drugs that aren’t safe and any idiot knows that there is no foolproof way to make certain that person take a supplement as directed.

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