China's currency valuation is once again under attack by the White House, which claims China isn't letting its currency "float" in a fair way. What is China's currency crime? It has pegged its currency to the U.S. dollar! In other words, the usual dollar manipulation games played by the United States to artificially boost a flailing domestic economy don't work against China, because China's currency rises and falls with the dollar. And that's just not acceptable to U.S. policymakers, who are used to being able to artificially manipulate their own currency in order to make U.S. goods cheaper to international trading partners. This is done by cheapening (weakening) the U.S. dollar, which is exactly why you've seen the value of the U.S. dollar plunge over the last few years.
But as usual, Americans are hardly ever told this truth. All through the mainstream media, China's currency policy is being characterized as unfair. What could be unfair about pegging their currency to the U.S. dollar? China doesn't even need to manipulate its own currency; the U.S. does it for them.
It's the classic American complaint: Our trade deficit is YOUR fault, China! It has nothing to do with the fact that Americans are the world's largest consumers, while Chinese are the world's biggest savers, we're led to believe. It must not have anything to do with the fact that the U.S. manufacturing base has practically disappeared, while China's manufacturing base continues to grow by around 15% per year.
There's a saying in China, and I'll translate it into English for you: "Americans watch TV. Chinese make the TVs." And that, my friends, sums it all up.
Tech firms called a "disgrace" by U.S. lawmakers
Indignant U.S. lawmakers, always looking for an excuse to engage in "moral high ground" theatrics, recently grilled Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Cisco about their cooperation with Chinese internet censorship. Rep. Tom Lantos, a Democrat, is reported to have said, "Your abhorrent actions in China are a disgrace. I simply don't understand how your corporate leadership sleeps at night."
What do U.S. lawmakers really expect? The U.S. is a culture of limitless greed, built on the imaginary bullishness of an economy that most people believe is unstoppable (and hope is unaccountable). From Big Pharma to WorldCom and Enron, the corporations that exploit the most people have always been richly rewarded with dollars, recognition by the business press, and plenty of political clout. Why do U.S. lawmakers suddenly expect our corporations to act with -- gulp! -- ETHICS?
Since when were ethics part of the equation of success in this country? We don't teach ethics in schools, we don't report on it in the news, and unless the Dalai Lama is speaking somewhere (usually with protests from attending scientists, by the way), the word "ethics" hardly ever enters the minds of most Americans.
Ethics? Are you kidding me? Carl Rove would be flabbergasted. That our lawmakers are even surprised at a corporation's sacrificing of principles for profits is astonishing. And if they're really so concerned, where's the outcry against Big Tobacco? Where's the grilling of pharmaceutical companies who drug millions of American children with speed while calling it a "treatment" for a fictitious disease (ADHD)?
If you're searching for the evil lurking in the dark crevices of U.S. corporations, you don't have to go very far (certainly not all the way to China). There's plenty of evil right here at home, from junk food companies who knowingly use ingredients that harm children, to megalomaniacal companies like Monsanto, which apparently wants to own and control the entire world food supply (and all the patents on all the seeds and animals, too).
You wanna grill some evil corporations? Start with the big sugar producers, who still receive millions of dollars in government subsidies thanks to wartime emergency measures enacted during World War II. Talk to soft drink companies, which continue to use a downright toxic chemical (aspartame) in products that are heavily marketed to children. Grill DuPont over the hidden story on Teflon, and why it took so long for the truth to come out on its dangers to humans.
Gee, if you're looking for evil corporations to grill, you don't have to look very hard. From diabetes treatment centers that don't teach nutrition to medical journals that sell out their science to Big Pharma advertisers, there's evil, manipulation and censorship all around us. And we're not even talking about all the weapons manufacturers yet. America is a big country. There's lots of easy pickin' from the evil tree.
Sure, Google is an easy target. They have reams of cash, they're smarter than just about everybody, and they're just a little too smug. "Don't be evil," is a great slogan, but on the evil-meter scale, censoring search results in China pales in comparison to the day-to-day exploitation of Americans (their health, their money, and their minds) by home-grown corporations right here on U.S. soil.
Don't be evil? If that philosophy were actually adopted in American business, the Fortune 500 list would be slashed to the Fortune 50.