China’s Invisible Working Class

The Chinese Economic Bubble

(2011)

Film Review

The Chinese Economic Bubble offers a unique perspective from two low income Chinese – a taxi driver and a construction worker – on China’s so-called economic miracle. Their commentary is interspersed with that of two Chinese economists. The latter discuss the growing Chinese real estate bubble, empty high rise buildings, rent-seeking and corruption, as well as the thousands of government officials who go to jail every year. These vignettes are interspersed with scenes of lavish media events celebrating Chinese millionaires and billionaires.

There is repeated emphasis on the immense sacrifice made by ordinary Chinese workers to create such phenomenal wealth. When the film was made in 2011, the construction worker early only slightly more ($4,200) than the national average ($4,000) for highly dangerous scaffolding work. At the time average global per capita income was $9,000. In 2014 the average Chinese wage had risen to $8,655, compared to an average global wage of $18,000.

Economics to Save Our Civilization

(This is the eighth in a series of posts about ending the role of private banks in issuing money)

“Somewhere in our history we took a wrong turn and today we are reaping the consequences. If we don’t step back to evaluate the root causes of the rolling economic crises, our civilization is in danger of collapse.” – Clive Menzies

A few years back, Clive Menzies, president of British Fund Building and member of the Free Critical Thinking Institute entered into an ongoing dialogue with the London Occupy movement. The result is a radical monetary reform proposal to fix the global economic mess. In the video below, he is presenting it to the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (translation: a high-powered group of investment bankers and stock brokers).

In his presentation, Menzies attributes the current crisis, as well as capitalism’s recurrent boom and bust cycles, to the alienation of the vast majority of the global population from the commons (i.e. communal ownership of land and natural resources that ended with the Enclosure Acts) and the prohibition of any discussion of this catastrophic event in contemporary economic discourse. (This is a topic Fred Harrison discusses at length in The Traumatised Society.)

Most of Menzies’s talk focuses on the urgent need to abolish our current debt-based (bank-controlled) monetary system. For five main reasons:

  • It drives systemic inequality by allowing those with more money than they need to exploit those who need money.
  • It drives unsustainable, exponential debt growth because the interest cost rises faster than society can create wealth to pay it.
  • It discounts the future, driving environmental destruction – it makes a forest worth more as sawed timber than as an ecosystem preserved for future generations.
  • It demands exponential GDP growth, rapidly depleting finite resources – 3% GDP growth means the economy doubles every 24 years which means extracting resources at twice the rate and throwing twice as much away.
  • It drives inflation.

He also demolishes the prevailing myth that a person’s existence on this planet is only justified by paid work. In a way it’s deliberate falsehood more than a myth. There is only enough “productive” work for 50% of the adult population and the vast majority of income in contemporary society is generated via “rent-seeking” (i.e. charging interest or rent or extracting and exploiting publicly owned natural resources).

Menzies lays out a monetary reform proposal that would abolish interest exploitation by the private banks who currently issue and control global currencies. Instead it would empower governments to issue interest-free sovereign currency.