Marty's Ƀent - January 17th, 2022 - Issue #1146

Monday, January 17th 2022 - Issue #1146

The China pull is strong

There seems to be a rising trend of billionaires who are more than happy to come out in defense of the Chinese Communist Party due to how successful the regime has been at stoking economic growth. Ray Dalio came out and stated that he believes America should emulate the Chinese Communist Party's ideal of "common prosperity". Citing the massive wage gap as evidence that we need to act and completely neglecting the massive human rights abuse tradeoffs the regime made to get its economy to this point. This week, Chamath Palihapitiya made some pretty tone deaf statements in regards to the treatment of Uyghur muslims by the Chinese Communist Party.

As Nic sniffs out above, there is a very common type of large economic actor out there who believes that China is the preordained winner of the 21st century and they need to shuffle their capital and publicly position themselves in certain ways to financially benefit from China's rise to the throne of the global economy.

We've seen these economic actors take their mask off many times in recent years. The NBA tried to put Daryl Morey in his place when he tweeted in support of the protesters in Hong Kong who were fighting to defend their freedoms and autonomy from China in late 2019. Since then the world shifted all of its focus to COVID and the citizens of Hong Kong has watched as their rights have been systematically dismantled by the CCP. The NBA, however still has very strong economic ties with China and the league expects the market to be one of its largest generators of growth in the future.

Part of ensuring this pipeline of potential economic growth is open and flowing for the NBA is making sure the league is on the good side of the regime in power. What we've witnessed is that staying on the good side of the regime may mean having to overlook human rights violations made by the CCP from time to time. Not only that, but to reprimand and scold those within the league who openly oppose actions being made by the regime, as was the case with Daryl Morey. Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom is currently pushing the conversation in a new direction with his very vocal human rights advocacy on and off the court, which includes condemning China for its treatment of the Uyghur muslims.

We've seen Hollywood become beholden by the CCP's influence as China invests large amounts of capital into the film industry. Apple's dependence on China for their cheap manufacturing and consumer base has led to it bending the knee to China and censoring certain applications in their app store for Chinese users. There are a number of other examples we could highlight. Each putting a massive mirror in front of the American people and forcing them to attempt to rationalize their support for these companies while also claiming to be a believer in the American ideals of freedom and dignity. If most people are honest about what they see in that mirror, they should be able to admit that there are a bunch of LARPers out there. Many people are willing to consciously overlook the atrocities for the convenience or profit produced by an end product. Whether it be the NBA thinking about jersey profits or your average American consumer tapping and swiping away at their iPhone (I am one of them).

One thing is abundantly clear, it's a very touchy and awkward conversation. The interdependence that has been built up between the two economies over the last few decades has waded the relationship into "too big to fail" territory. We have become addicted to China's cheap manufacturing and China has become dependent on our addiction to an extent. Many argue that a severing of economic activity between the two economies caused by companies deciding to refuse to support the actions of the CCP could lead to a hot war if the CCP perceives it is being actively undermined by another super power. Your Uncle Marty argues that the hot war argument is a bit of a cop out.

I think Mike Solana highlights the absurdity of the hot war argument very well in this thread.  
It seems abundantly clear that the hypocrisy is becoming impossible to ignore. We can try to shift capital and manufacturing home, try to convince the CCP to start respecting human rights and freedom, or continue to look the other way while raking in billions. Shifting capital and manufacturing home is the most peaceful and likely to succeed option of the three. Convincing the CCP to embrace freedom doesn't seem very likely and looking the other way while raking in billions will lead our culture even further down the path of low integrity and complete capture. China's economic pull is very strong though. Going along to get your billions is a relatively low effort move when compared to the other two options.

Hopefully the public begins to have more serious and introspective conversations about this growing ethical dilemma.
Final thought...

The thought of walking through the muck at low tide makes my skin crawl.
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