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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"Free Market Reform" in China

The other day, at some talking head conference on CSPAN, I saw some suit solemnly intoning that American corporations are attracted to countries with "rule of law." Yeah, I guess that's why they've traditionally gravitated so strongly toward Latin American banana republics where death squads and secret police murder union organizers, military dictatorships (like Indonesia until recently) with draconian anti-labor policies, and workers' paradises like China. Boy, howdy, United Fruit Company sure was all fired up over rule of law in Guatemala!

Dave Pollard comments on why Wal-Mart's suppliers (among many others) find China so attractive:

One of the reasons we can buy Chinese crap so cheaply is the use of prisoner slave labour to manufacture it. Detention and torture of any group opposed or even thought to be opposed to the corrupt government is systematic and uncontrolled. Workplace conditions in many factories are deplorable, and massive government corruption allows it to continue unabated.

Now go back and read this howler from Globalization Institute blogger Cameron Carswell:

...the development of China occurred due to a simple combination of a move toward free markets coupled with an opening of the country to foreign trade and investment. In short, China embraced globalization rather than trying to fence the world out, engaging in a massive programme of unilateral liberalization.


Anonymous Wild Pegasus said...

How much of China's exports are based around slave labour? I see a lot of criticism of China's labour/management relations (much of it probably true), but no one seems to quantify just how much is freeman labour and how much is slave.

- Josh

December 01, 2005 7:20 PM  
Blogger troutsky said...

And then Wal Mart puts a refining touch on it by having US taxpayers subsidize it's own slave wage labor force who sell the slave made products.Im not sure where that fits into Tom Friedmans flat earth theory. How much prison labor exists in the United States? We keep hearing how unemployment is at 4 or 5% but how many workers are in prison (and how many gave up looking, turned to crime, black market etc)?

December 01, 2005 10:25 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


I have no idea. Just a wild guess, but I'd guess that they have a pretty large prison population (for obvious reasons), and that they're big on putting it to economic use. So I wouldn't be surprised if it's pretty significant.

Of course, that's leaving out the gray area of slave labor in "private" sweatshops, through coercion of resident workers.

December 02, 2005 10:59 AM  

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