Talk among the right wing and some corporate media claims the opinion that tariffs will bring jobs back. That’s not going to happen. Of course, some other sources claim that tariffs are destroying jobs. That may come closer to the truth but also not entirely accurate.
China did not come first. First, let’s consider the fact that corporations have historically exported manufacturing jobs to low income countries. At varying times, jobs have been exported to Japan, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Mexico, South American countries, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the list goes on.
What you can surmise from this is that corporations will continue exporting jobs to lower wage countries that offer tax breaks. Even if the wages were the same, corporations would export jobs to avoid environmental restrictions in the US.
No, US manufacturing is not on the rise. Of course, some sources claim that manufacturing in the US is back on the rise. Ask them for specifics and they cannot reply exactly what manufacturing jobs they are referring to. No, US Steel is not building new plants. Auto manufacturers have added a few jobs but far more have been laid off in the last few months by a negative balance of tens of thousands.
Bailing out corporate farms. Agriculture in the US is suffering because of lost trade with China thanks to trade conflict. Thing to notice most about that is that this caused an oversupply in the US market yet it did not result in decreased grocery prices. Mostly because the farmers got bailed out by the US taxpayer, so they had no need to offer their crops at lower prices to diminish their losses. They dumped many of their crops rather than selling at lower prices.
China refuses our oil sales. China stopped buying US oil back in Oct or Nov of 2018, resulting in an oversupply in the oil market. That was the reason gas and oil prices dropped for a time, as there was no way to store that much oil and no way to dispose of it. It had to be sold. Even if they could have stored it, that would impact trade with OPEC. Relations with OPEC nations, especially Saudi Arabia, are already contentious at the moment.
Where next? One question is where they will be exporting those jobs to. Workers in Mexico are rising up, demanding better pay, benefits and working conditions. No doubt US corporations were counting on further exploiting South African workers but China has beat them to the punch. China is investing billions in South Africa, to include infrastructure which benefits the communities and low interest loans. Things that the US and IMF do not offer. Meanwhile China issues no threats to the countries they work with.
Eastern Bloc? So, the most likely nations that US corporations may target for low wage labor are some former Eastern Bloc nations like Poland. Countries that have few resources of their own and have suffered since the fall of the USSR. One big problem with those countries is that the population is aging because the younger generations have left due to lack of opportunities. Other problems include social unrest and the rise of white supremacists (literal Nazis), so that may well impact the willingness of American consumers to purchase goods produced in those countries. No doubt we will see continued propaganda claiming these countries are standing up to big, evil Russia.
US consumer market. Yet even with low cost labor, that will not bring back stability to the US consumer market. That is where the conflict lies. To bring back the consumer market means the need for living wage jobs. Wages the corporations do not want to pay. Without decent wages, American consumers cannot afford to buy the items produced.
Chinese consumer market. That is why corporations are trying to make inroads to the Chinese consumer market. The Chinese consumer market is now the largest in the world. US corporations have no loyalty to the US. They are loyal only to their own profit margin. If they can make money convincing you how evil China, Russia, North Korea or any other country is, yet conduct profitable sales in those same countries, they will do exactly that.
US impact on China’s GDP. Threats and tariffs are not going to budge China. Our politicians and media try and make it seem as though the Chinese economy relies solely on US trade. Nothing could be further from the truth. US trade accounts for only 4% of China’s GDP. That number is from before China stopped buying US oil around Oct of 2018. So our trade accounts for even less of their GDP now. Basically, China could survive without any trade with the US at all.
US military empire. Trade is not the actual issue concerning China. Their concern is our militarism. We already have considerable military forces in the South China Sea. There is much made in the US media about China building up military forces yet they never mention that the only reason China is doing so is because of the threat posed to them by the US. Think about it and you realize that nobody else poses any risk or potential for risk against China. Nobody else is trying to pose a threat to them.
Weapons sales. Essentially, the only US industry that can compete with China at this point is weapons production and sales. Something the US seems to excel at above and beyond any other country. For now. Meanwhile China is advancing their military technology and offering sales of military drones at prices lower than the US. While Russia has developed aircraft and missile defense systems that are more advanced than our own, also offered at lower prices and with fewer diplomatic demands or threats. I’m sure they would each refuse to sell to nations that pose a threat to themselves or their direct interests. That’s understandable.
Chinese technology. China is building artificial islands, dams, bridges and railways spanning not just their own country but reaching into other countries , other continents as well. Their projects tend to be completed far faster and at lower cost than US corporate contractors have managed projects for decades. They built 18,000 km of high speed rail in under 11 years. Can you even imagine that happening here? They now have the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam, which incorporates the second largest hydroelectric power plant on earth and a ship lift. It took 18 years to complete but considering the scale that time frame is still a huge accomplishment. While some try to portray China as some backward country where technology is concerned, I’d say they are quite capable. China has a long history of being technologically competent. Rockets and gunpowder originated there. Take a look at the history of China and gunpowder is only one accomplishment of many.
Competition should not be war. The trade war between the US and China should not be a war. It should be nothing more than competition. I’ve written before that growth is toxic. If our economy does actually need to grow larger, it needs to be redirected toward industries and efforts that help our own people. Stop building weapons, stop creating wars, stop building bombs, start building and repairing bridges. When you create an entire segment of your economy to be dependent on war machines, you must create wars to sustain that industry. That means you must create enemies where none existed before. you must destroy things in order to build something and call that growth. That means destroying ecological environments and entire civilizations much older than our own, killing people and call it business.
They are more experienced than we are. China has survived thousands of years in spite of numerous enemies, both economic and military. They are more experienced at trade than we are, having built the original Silk Road and are now building what is dubbed the New Silk Road. Our economy is barely planned 6 months in advance, while they plan 50 years and further ahead. The Belt and Road Initiative is an indication of this. It’s highly unlikely they did not take possible US responses into account when planning. When they refuse to negotiate, that is negotiating. It’s just saying they will not bow down to US tantrums.
They hold far more, far better cards than we do. We are playing their game, they’re not playing ours. So we can play by the rules or take our ball and go home. Because if we try cheating against them, we already lost. Tariffs may bring jobs back.. just not to America.
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