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Capitalism, Democracy, and Globalism

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By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

Capitalism and democracy have been nearly synonymous terms in the course of history. Free people and free trade existing as one, an optimistic ideological counter to authoritarianism and communism. However, capitalism has shown that it can be an oppressive force, and not mix with democracy. There is no finer example than that of what has happened in China for the past thirty years. Globalization has helped many, but has been a detriment to many in China as well.
In 1989 communism seemed as though it was falling. Many Soviet satellites in Europe were becoming liberal democracies, Fukuyama's "The End of History" was published, and Chinese citizens were having large protests in Tiananmen Square. Unfortunately for Chinese citizens, Beijing was put under Marshal Law and many of the protesters were killed as a result. The Chinese government did make a bit of a compromise though. The compromise was that China would free up its market, but political freedoms were not given.
Before 1989 China was mostly a state run and strict economy, hence the reason it was "Communist China." The collective economy struggled. Also, the country was not friendly to the concept of international trade, and little of it was allowed.
Reform started in the late 1970s, but the largest chunk occurred in after the events at Tiananmen Square. China became more lenient in economic freedoms, making China a market economy. Thus international trade was allowed. Many state-run facilities were shut down. A Chinese stock market came into existence, and foreign investors were welcome.
As the Chinese market was freed up, some things looked well. The Chinese sky-line came into existence and many were now prospering in business. China rose and became an economic force to be reckoned with, Now China could quite possibly become the largest economic force in the world very soon. Not all of the Chinese got to enjoy these gains though.
Many of the Chinese were left out of work when state-run institutions were closed. Peasants were left being very incapable of advancing their lives, some could sell at a local market, but it is near impossible for peasants to fund an education for themselves or their children (The Tank Man). When looking at statistics approximately forty-three percent of China's economy is agriculturally based. One may counter with statistics that only eight percent live in poverty, but "21.5 million rural population live below the official 'absolute poverty' line (approximately $90 per year); and an additional 35.5 million rural population above that but below the official 'low income' line (approximately $125 per year). Most of these problems are simply domestic.
The impact of globalization can be seen in the cities of China, both in the upper and lower classes. Many companies in the United States decide to out-source much of their production to China where they can much easily pay for the cheap labor provided in China. Approximately twenty-five percent of China's economy is based on industry (Economy). Here corporate profits increase at the price of two things. One is that some United States Citizens may loose jobs due to the out-sourcing. The other is that the Chinese citizens must work long and hard hours for between $100 and $200 a month. The workers have almost no rights and cannot form unions. These rights are repressed by the authoritarian Chinese government. A fine example is the government officials monitoring the interview in the film.
Corporations of the United States have little care for the rights of the Chinese citizens. Corporations such as Microsoft, Google, and Cisco have no problem monitoring what is seen by Chinese citizens on the internet. It is unfortunate that corporations seek profits no matter what rights people are deprived of, even if their own corporation helps deprive people of the truth of some things that have happened.
Turning to the environment, China has historically done very little to prevent damage to this aspect. China has been one of the most heavily polluting countries. Globalization once again allows countries to exploit China for this reason. Corporations that are located in countries with more strict environmental policies may once again exploit the Chinese by polluting in that country. However, China has made recent efforts to help the environment by adopting a climate change policy.
Many in the past may have been pleased with the economic reform in China, but it is still a sad country to look at. Globalization has taken an unfortunate toll on China. Many citizens of China are exploited into working the long hours and harsh conditions. Corporations of the United States have no problem in assisting the Chinese government in censorship of what the citizens of the Chinese see. Now the Chinese are left with a small sense of history being that almost none are aware of the Tank Man.
There is little chance that any countries will take action to help the Chinese gain political rights. China also serves as an example of how capitalism and authoritarianism can easily coexist. If the United States loses its status as the economic leader of the world, or if it becomes a nice country to relocate jobs, the citizens must make sure that they are not in the sad state of affairs as those of China are.


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Comments

Jan 1, 2010 5:13am
ethelsmith
Well said
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