Community Service

To the Editor;

The current spate of mass protests across the world have a common denominator: the global economy is not attending to the well-being of the general populace, with wealth increasing concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The same can be said of the new populism and rise of autocratic leaders pushing for national self-interest. Global trade has spawned an economic order favoring the corporate/financial sector. The power of capital today spares only crumbs for the average worker whose employment resembles more and more an enforced community service. Modern China, with a government operating essentially as a mega-corporate entity, thus far has been exemplary in raising it citizenry out of poverty, and, other than in Hong Kong, Chinese people thus far have been willing to accept an Orwellian iron hand over thought and the flow of information in exchange for economic security. (1984 should be required reading for all Chinese students in America.)  It remains questionable how far Western democracies will follow this example. 


Whither goest thou?

To the Editor:
Given China’s economic gains, the possibility rises that it may be following a business model superior to our current path.  Unlike here, the Chinese government has a firm oversight of its growing economy.  Compensation is regulated, profits benefit the entire nation, and corruption and mismanagement are severely punished, even to the point of death.  Here, on the other hand, corporate campaign money controls the government, with  lobbyists actually writing regulatory legislation.  CEO’s are compensated royally, profits go mainly to a small, already wealthy, elite class, and mismanagement is often rewarded with a year-end bonus. Tax breaks were even given to companies for taking their jobs and technical expertise overseas.
Further, China has generally relied on a traditional capitalist approach to gaining prosperity.  It is investing money (much of it American consumer dollars) in its manufacturing and transportation infrastructure, in education for its youth, and in peacefully securing resources for its industrial growth, while we in the West have gotten so bogged down in unending wars and occupation of oil-producing nations in the Middle East that our longstanding support for education, infrastructure, and social safety nets is now being termed, “no longer affordable”.  This seems an odd tale of two nations heading in vastly divergent directions.