Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm still afraid of China... Part 1

I don't know the solution, but I do recognize a problem when I see it.  It makes sense to pay attention to large and powerful countries that are ideologically opposed to you, as someday they may try to take you over.   I think an overthrow of the US could come in a variety of ways, and I think we are losing grounds on all the fronts. Follow me down my envisioned future path, and let's see how we make out.....

     Let's start with population.  According to the latest US census, we have 308 million people.  That seems like a lot of folks, until you look at the Chinese numbers.  Their census in 2010 set their population at 1.34 billion people.
That's a whole lot more folks, in fact it's more than 4 times our population.  It may seem inconsequential at first, but then envision any sport or game with a 4 to 1 roster advantage.  How successful a football team would you have if you faced off each week with your 11 men, against a team on the field of 44 men?  Think of the Alamo.  So greater numbers quickly turns a chess game into checkers.  You don't need a strategy, you just keep sending your men in, and the odds are so lopsided, the win is guaranteed.  For some reason (likely because I am a geek), when I think of China's overpopulation, I am reminded of the Star Trek episode where Kirk finds himself in a replica of the Enterprise on a really overcrowded planet (The Mark of Gideon, Season Three).  This wasn't a particularly great episode, but the theme of not being able to get away or have privacy, resonated with me in my household of 14 at the time. That's China to me now. Fact is, they simply outnumber us. 

     Moving away from population let's talk commerce and the trade imbalance. 15 years ago approximately 6% of the goods sold at Walmart were made abroad, and in fact they ran a Buy American campaign.  Today over 60% of the goods come from overseas, largely from China, and it's not only Walmart doing it.  Think of any of the larger retailers.
I heard recently that Walmart had just placed orders for 4 more super freighters from Maersk to carry the goods here from China. I couldn't substantiate the claim, but the largest one out there now can carry 11,000 containers from China to California in 10 days.  I could find good figures on our trade imbalance.  The good news is that we sold 91 billion dollars worth of goods to China last year, the bad news is that we bought 364 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods last year.  That creates an annual trade imbalance of 271 billion dollars !  It rose 23% last year alone and is still growing.  How's that Flat World thing working out for you now?  They have the ability to control their currency, which the current administration blames for the imbalance, but we all are to blame when we insist on the least expensive products, instead of the best made ones.  Again, no answers here, I'm just alerting you to the snowball rolling downhill at us, and the fact that it is gaining speed and momentum. One of the oddest things to me is that we are increasing our food imports each year from China at an alarming rate.  In 2008 it was 5 billion dollars but 10 years before that it was less than one billion.  I couldn't find a current figure but I'm sure it's up a lot more now, and it's not foods used for Chinese cooking, it's apple juice, coffee, shrimp, oil, and garlic.
Garlic ready for export

The trade imbalance doesn't include the goods that are produced in China and then shipped through other countries either.  As soon as we pass a law to protect us from a particular food item, they figure a way to route it through an non-restricted country.  It's a shell game, literally, but the shells are shrimp.  If you want to buy local garlic, look for roots on the bulbs and a less than white color, or shop at a farmer's market.  The Chinese garlic is pure white, irradiated, and has no roots attached, it is cut close to the bulb.  We have already had health issues associated with Chinese food products, as they do not have the same restrictions as US growers do placed upon them.  The problem lies more with the processed food items we purchase, as there is no way to tell where the ingredients in them come from, but one thing is certain, an alarming number of them are coming from China.It's not food, but remember the pet food issue in 2007?  Over 1500 pets died from a toxic ingredient in the pet food, that could have easily have been in some of the processed foods we eat.  After a year of investigation, here is what happened in China according to Wikipedia....

Chinese state media announces that 180 food factories have been closed for improperly using industrial chemicals and recycled or expired food. The director of the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine's quality control and inspection department states that "These are not isolated cases." Most of the offending manufacturers were unlicensed food plants with fewer than 10 employees. It is estimated that three-fourths of China's one million food processing plants are small and privately-owned. In addition, the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce states that it closed 152,000 unlicensed food manufacturers and retailers in 2006 for making fraudulent or low-quality products.[92]

      This will end part one of this blog.  In order to try and present the most accurate information, the research part of this blog took many man hours. I hope you find it was worth it.  Next week, I'll look at Chinese education, their investments in us, and their armed forces and tie this all together with a humorous look at the way I could see an attack on us going.  Yes, I can make that funny.  Feel free to comment and give me more ideas to work with.  Stay tuned for part 2.


Tor Constantino said...

Who knew the role that Chinese garlic would play in the ultimate demise of western civilization! In all seriousness, tons of thought-provoking info Bill! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that Syria spying on dissidents?

Upfront said...

Ok, I realize this an old post and I'm ove a year late. Nevertheless, it's relevant to this posted blog. Fast forward to September 2012. I went to the .99 cent store near by us. I purchased garlic, without even thinking about it. I loved it, it had a bit more of a kick than the usual Garlic I'm used to buying at the local market. I paid attention to the little bag it came in. Low and behold it says "product of China". First time I ever see Garlic from China. Why tell this story? For one the Garlic was not the very white type. Instead, It was white and plenty purple. I liked it but did not want to buy it again. So I did the best next thing I could think at the moment. I planted 4 cloves in early October 2012. I'm happy to say they are doing very well. After all I do live in California which is well know for garlic. The moral of the story? Even in a small way we can do something about this issue, think baby steps. If I could add a Picture of two of the four plants I would. Why only two plants? I planted two in pots and gave them away to my mother in-law cause I know she'll continue to propagate them. Now there are two of us fighting back in a very small way. I figure by Summer I'll have my Chinese-American Garlic ;).

Bill said...

@upfront - your comments are appreciated and I frequently get hits well after these have posted. Thanks for sharing your story of how you made a difference.