Sunday, February 20, 2011

The West: Changing the rules of the Monopoly Board?

Okay, I am not a stupid woman and I have an MA in Psychology and an MBA but I do not understand why China is being scapegoated for American and western financial mismanagement.

How can the argument possibly go?- Are the Americans really saying that third world (but quickly climbing)
China forced them to overspend? Are they saying that their products were just so attractive that they tricked the American public into buying their bargains? Are they saying that the real estate bubble was a communist plot ( when really it and the derivative market were greed in the extreme by their own people in their own system?) Meanwhile, China stayed home, worked hard and saved. What is so wrong with that? They  were also studying what can go wrong and they have taken steps to safeguard their own interests.

And while we are asking questions- I need to know why it is so wrong for the Chinese to buy up freely available American dollars if they are on the market and being purchased at the asking price? I may be naive but why is it so wrong for a nation with the world's largest population to stockpile food when it is clearly becoming a scarce and valuable commodity? It's not like they can count on the good will of other countries to feed their starving masses especially when they have in the past century encountered mass starvation on an earth shaking scale without much help.

From my reading of history, China has been on its own a lot. No one screamed 'NO fair' when they were mistreated in the settlement of the second world war and their lands were given to our own enemies even though the Chinese were allies. No one set up an international tribunal when the Opium wars harnessed them with trade rules so criminally biased that every nation involved in the settlement should collectively blush with shame.  In addition, China has had its own experiences with leadership that did not care enough for the people and let them down to the tune of millions of lost lives so the current government must prove their dedication in concrete ways.

So why is it that Western nations suddenly believe that all the decisions should be just and fair (and does that mean in their own favour?) Yes, I can see the danger to my own country and to my way of life. Yes, I have Canadian children who need to have a future. Still I have to wonder why if westerners have made the rules for most of the last 100 years at the same old "Monopoly board' that every country has been playing at  do we now believe the rules must be changed? No one had the power to tell the USA not to make profit from the misery of the second world war. No one is telling the western nations not to make and sell more weapons into troubled areas of the world for profit. No one dares tackle those issues.

In my MBA, a classmate who worked in the aeronautics industry in the US posted a response on Blackboard for our finance class the indicated that all the US had to do was decide that China was not playing fairly or going against US interests and the US could then cancel their debt to China. All class mates were required to post responses and mine was very clear- "that's called theft and you are advocating that the riches nation on earth perpetrate it against a poor nation."

China is like a person who has lived through the depression. Have you ever met such a person in real life? They hoard because the memory of their experience is fresh and painful no matter how many years have passed. They save because their optimistic view of life was overtaken by the reality of hard, hard times. No amount of chat from someone who has not gone through it is going to change them. They will be careful and prudent in a way we will never fully understand but they will be more prepared for hard times than we will be no matter what comes.

How do you deal with fearful people?The answer is: kindly, with assurances and with understanding. Saber rattling makes them further entrench in their position. We are way past that point anyway. Western stupidity and greed has led us to this place and the Chinese have gained the power position by quietly taking  Boardwalk. So maybe the answer is: very politely.

No comments:

Post a Comment