The myth of competition between nations

Politicians and corporate leaders, speaking through the media, consistently refer to the alleged competition between the U.S. and China for supremacy in the world economy. It seems that the sole purpose of this is to inflame a vacuous patriotism, since no competition really exists. Let's look at a few simple facts.

With the claim of "weapons of mass destruction" exposed as a ruse, it's clear that the U.S. invaded Iraq for oil - since acknowledged by the then-director of the Federal Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan. But we now find that Iraqi oil - secured by American blood and taxpayers' dollars - is not going to the U.S., but to China.

Under the headline, "China is reaping the biggest benefits of Iraq oil boom," The New York Times (6/03/13) says, " China already buys nearly half the oil that Iraq produces and is angling for an even bigger share, bidding for a stake now owned by Exxon Mobil in one of Iraq's largest oil fields." Noting China's willingness to accept less profit than others on Iraqi oil, the article says that "China is more interested in energy to fuel its economy than profits to enrich its oil giants."

Since an economy is fueled by production, this would seem to vindicate those claiming Chinese competition over economic ascendancy. But here's the hitch: much of China's production is from outsourcing multinational corporations. A bevy of non-Chinese automotive and appliance companies produce in China, as do Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and most of the big e-technology names - all of which account for China's heralded development. So Iraqi oil is not fueling exclusively "Chinese" industry, but the industry of global capital that's settled there.

In yet another example, we read that the "Chinese Bid For U.S. Pork Had Links to Wall Street" (The New York Times, 6/03/13). Shuanghui International, China's behemoth pork processor, is trying to take over Smithfield Foods, America's biggest pork producer. "But behind the bid was a group of savvy investors and global deal makers who hold a substantial stake in the Chinese company" - including Goldman Sachs, which owns 5 percent of Shuanghui, and "with financial help from Morgan Stanley, the company's banker in the deal." So Smithfield is not a Chinese coup, but another asset of global capital.

As to China and Iraqi oil, Michael Makovsky, former Defense Department official who worked for George Bush on Iraq oil policy, says, "We lost out .The Chinese had nothing to do with the war, but from an economic standpoint they are benefiting from it, and our Fifth Fleet and air forces are helping to assure their supply." He's right about the American military protecting the supply, but global capital is the beneficiary, not primarily China. I refer readers to my Journal article, "Our Army of Global Capital" (3/31/10), in which I maintained that the new role of the U.S. military was the protection of global capital, not America. As I said then, our defense budget was seven times larger than China's and bigger than the next 15 nations combined. There is a new paradigm in which global capital transcends the nation-state, and people who cling to the mindset of long-gone 20th century capitalism will remain susceptible to - among other things - myths of nation-state competition. What we need in order to address global capital is global social unity, not phony, factionalizing patriotism deliberately fostered to prevent that unity.

Andrew Torre lives in Landgrove.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions