Global Capitalism: July 2021 Live Economic Update

[July 2021] New

Direct Download

The Challenge of China
with Richard D. Wolff 
Co-sponsored by Democracy at Work & Judson Memorial Church
In this month's lecture, Prof. Wolff will discuss the following:
  1. China’s Economic Growth since its Revolution (1949)
  2. China’s Economic “Model” and the Global Economy
  3. China, Capitalism, and Socialism
  4. China versus the US: Options versus Threats

Transcript has been edited for clarity

Welcome friends and thank you for joining me this evening for our July presentation. I'm going to be spending the bulk of this evening talking with you about China—partly because so much silly, wrong, and misleading information is being pumped into the airwaves around us, partly because a kind of cold war is emerging, and partly because it's a phenomena that the world needs to understand and to appreciate—and by that I mean the extraordinary growth of the People's Republic of China. 

But before we begin I want to say a few very brief announcements. Global Capitalism Live Economic Update (GCLEU) is brought to you—as we tell you each time—by three organizations: Democracy At Work which literally produces this organization and is making it available to you over the internet etc., but also by the Judson Memorial Church which for a long time hosted this event and which will likely resume doing so toward the end of this year, and likewise it has always been sponsored by the Left Forum—an annual conference in New York City that is also expanding its activities here in the United States on a more general level using the internet etc. We urge those of you that are watching or listening to please help fund the work that goes into this—videotaping, organizing, editing, broadcasting—all of it. There are several ways to do that but all of your donations make this lecture series possible, and we are enormously appreciative of whatever help you can provide. You can donate via our website or via our Patreon support. Direct links to both of those options can be found in the video description below. We want to give a special note of gratitude to the GCLEU Patreon community. Their regular monthly support is extraordinarily important in enabling us to plan and formulate these programs so that they are the best compilation that we can produce. Our appreciation there is special and we want to acknowledge it. Stay up to date with the latest of the many activities we're engaged in and you can do that by going to our website It's regularly updated and it's there for your use. If you are watching on Youtube, please be sure to like this video below and click the red subscribe button. Thank you for your support, and we wish you all to stay safe and to stay healthy. In times like these we need to help each other more than ever.

I want to begin the substantive part of tonight's program not with China, that's what's coming, but with a commentary on what is going on in the United States and what it means. And to do that I want to make a comparison—a comparison between the democratic regime of Joseph Biden (now in power) and the regime of Franklin Roosevelt back in the 1930s which was the last time we had an economic crisis comparable to what we are going through now. Joseph Biden and the Democratic Party that controls both houses of the Congress as well as the presidency are making compromise after compromise not only with the Republicans, who are obstructing virtually everything they're trying to do, but with conservative Democrats who wobble about most of the issues Mr. Biden is trying for. To Mr Biden's credit and to the credit of the Democratic Party, they seem to have some understanding that the scope of the problems we have now, particularly the economic problems, are beyond anything that any administration has had to struggle with for many decades. Again the comparison really is with the Great Depression of the 1930s. But we are even worse off, in a sense, here in the United States because we have two things happening simultaneously: one of the worst crashes of capitalism in its history and certainly in the history of the United States, but at the same time a public health catastrophe partly that is of course the COVID-19 virus. But much more important is the failure of the United States to have planned for it—to have prepared for it, to have managed, to avoid it spreading, or now to properly vaccinate its people. I mean this level of dysfunction is responsible for most of the suffering that we're going through including 600,000+ deaths. But we've never before had a public health crisis and a capitalist crisis at the same time. That's why the deficit of the government last year was three trillion dollars and this year is three trillion dollars again. These are record amounts of money. The government is desperately holding on to and holding up the private capitalist sector in a way very few of us foresaw. It is literally, and I mean this, a private capitalism on life support. Money created by the Federal Reserve—deficits in which the government by its spending makes up for the failure or the lack of spending of our people and our businesses—which left to themselves would have collapsed this economy already a long time ago. So it is extraordinary the situation we face, and it's extraordinary the response of Mr. Biden. But given the blockage of the Republicans and given the blockage of the conservative Democrats—and of course behind both of them is the opposition of the corporate sector and the rich—we're not seeing anything like what we need. We need much more. We need radical interventions. We've had some, but we need much more because the problem we face has no precedent in American history. 

So what's the problem? Basically, Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party are going it alone. They're struggling in the houses of Congress [and] in the presidency using the bully pulpit in the media that those positions give them access to, but it's not enough. They're playing political games with their opponents: the Republicans and the wavering conservative Democrats, and of course that hobbles them. Now the same faced Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, but he made fundamental structural changes that were much bolder for his time than what Mr. Biden is able to accomplish now. And so I asked myself—and I'm going to offer to you an answer—I've asked myself the question: What was Mr. Roosevelt able to do that Mr. Biden either cannot or will not do? And here's my answer. First, let's be clear. Mr. Roosevelt made fundamental structural changes to the American economy. Mr. Biden hasn't done that yet and may never. What do I mean? Roosevelt created the Social Security System. We never had a program like that. We never gave our people a pension program like that. A check every month once you're 65 years of age in honor of a lifetime of work. We didn't do that before. He did that, and he did it at a time when the government had no money. When millions of people immediately became eligible and had to be funded, it transformed every elderly person's life and therefore every person's life because the children of the elderly who would have struggled in a depression to take care of those parents now got some help from the government. Changed everybody's life. They passed unemployment compensation at the federal level. We still have Social Security. That was a structural change no one has been able to undo although many conservatives have tried. Ditto with unemployment compensation. Ditto also with the first minimum wage ever passed in American history right in the Depression. And finally, dramatically, a government jobs program; millions and millions of unemployed Americans got a job not in the private sector (which wouldn't hire them and couldn't make money by doing so and so it didn't). But the government didn't have to make money. The government's job under Roosevelt was to help these people, and so roughly 15 million got jobs between 1934 and 1941. Fundamental changes. The inequality in the United States took a nosedive in the early 1930s. We went from a very unequal to a much less unequal. It's taken most of the time since the 1930s to get back to the level of inequality we had before that time. Mr. Roosevelt made big changes, and he taxed corporations and the rich to pay for a lot of it. Wow. Mr. Biden is not making the spending programs that he needs to that are comparable to what Roosevelt did adjusted for today's unprecedented crisis. And Mr. Biden is afraid to tax anybody which is why it's all deficits in the trillions—borrowing of course from the rich. Who else lends to the government? He won't tax them. Instead he borrows from them, and for them that's very good news indeed. 

So now let's answer the question: What was going on in the 30s with President Roosevelt that is not going on now, and that is therefore blocking Mr. Biden from doing what he might want to do—certainly what the progressive Democrats would want him to do—and say so? What is it? Here's the answer. Roosevelt had an ally. Roosevelt wasn't just a career democratic politician. He was that but not just that. He was working as a president and he was working with the Congress just like Biden, but Mr. Roosevelt had an ally. Who was the ally? The answer is called the New Deal Coalition. First of all, it was the CIO (the Congress of Industrial Organizations—the most powerful unionization drive in American history) organizing millions of workers who had never been in a union before, whose parents had never been in the union, who worked in America's basic industries. Together with the CIO, the unions were two socialist parties with record memberships at that time and one communist party with record membership at that time, and they all worked together: the unions, the socialists, and the communists. And here's what the unions, socialists, and communists did for Mr. Roosevelt. They were everywhere demonstrating in city streets, teaching in the schools, producing magazines and newspaper articles, running classes, and handing out leaflets. They were everywhere across America: West Coast, East Coast, north, and south. And they were working hard to change the way people on the ground think by interacting with them and by bringing them another way of looking at what was happening on the radio (there was no TV yet then) and what they were reading in the newspapers. They created the consciousness across the United States that gave Mr. Roosevelt the extra power and the extra influence that allowed him to achieve what they did. Mr. Biden has no such ally. The labor movement is very weak now. Socialist parties barely exist. The Communist Party has barely existed for quite a while. 

What happened? Well there's an irony here. The Democratic Party after 1945 seconded the Republican Party in destroying the New Deal Coalition. Together they went on an anti-communist binge that we're still living with. Communists were fired from their jobs, deported where possible, and imprisoned—ditto for the socialists. And the labor movement has been shrunken almost in a straight line for the last half century. So there aren't strong unions, and there aren't socialists, and there aren't communists like there were. There is a small, modest resurgence of socialists but they're having to start from scratch because they were destroyed. Here's the irony folks. The Democratic Party is now unable to rise to the challenge of the crisis we face because of its own complicity in destroying the ally that a president needs. Obama could have done much more if he went to the people. He didn't. He destroyed Occupy Wall Street in the tradition of the Democratic Party destroying what could be the most important ally they could ever have. Let's be clear. If Mr Biden fails, it'll be because he had no mass ally working everywhere to develop the consciousness that would give him the power to override and overrule the Republicans and wavering conservative Democrats. And it will be the fault of his own party that he's in this dilemma. At the very least we should learn that history to avoid making the mistake again. Do not doubt that if Mr. Biden's economic program fails, the Republicans will run against him and against the Democrats in 2022 and 2024—blaming them for the failure to solve an economic problem that the Republicans are more responsible for than the Democrats. That's the craziness of American politics. 

Well now to our main topic for the evening: the challenge of China. Let me begin by putting down again a historical framework here. China is the largest country by population in the world. The population of China is four times that of the United States—maybe a bit more. It was until relatively recently one of the poorest countries in the world. It had lost a good bit of its territory to European colonialism that carved out enclaves along the coast, that humiliated the Chinese into all kinds of treaties, and that introduced and made money off of opium on a scale that we still have never seen quite the equivalent of. And despite all of that, the Chinese have come roaring back. They are now the number two economy in the world after the United States, and I'll have more to say about that. They have accomplished an overcoming of poverty that is a model and will continue to be no matter what else happens. They went from unspeakable poverty to being the second most important economy in the world—producing high levels of technology able to compete and win with the highest levels of technology in the United States or anywhere else in the world. They moved hundreds of millions of people from the countryside into the city, something that took centuries in the West, they've done in a matter of a few decades. They built those cities for those people to live in because they weren't there before. They've enabled educational and medical institutions to service this spectacular reorganization and relocation of an immense population. They have virtually eradicated their own poverty. It is something which historically stands as a level of achievement that ought to make us all take a deep breath to make sure we don't miss the historic significance. And nothing illustrates it better than the difference between the Chinese management of COVID-19 and that in most other countries but particularly the advanced so-called countries of Western Europe, North America, and Japan. Let's be clear. A tiny fraction of the people of China have died from COVID. Far far far less than have died in the United States which has one quarter of their population. The Chinese have tested their people far more extensively. The Chinese provided masks sooner and far more extensively. As I'm speaking to you, China is vaccinating roughly 10 million people a day—far beyond what the United States ever achieved. Yes I'm aware that their vaccines may not be the equivalent of other vaccines—I get that and there may be other qualifications, but they don't change the basic story. They rose to the challenge of this virus in a way that embarrasses the countries with much more wealth and that embarrasses countries with much more longer developed medical systems, and that's a sign of economic maturity.

So now let's look in some detail how all of this came to be and what the lessons are for us. The Communist Revolution that brought the Communist Party of China to power achieved that goal in 1949. So the second half of the 20th century and the last 20 years—that's the history of the People's Republic of China. The economic development of China across these last roughly 70 years is easily divided into two parts. The first part depending on how you look runs roughly from the revolution (1949) to around the 1960s into the early 70s. You might, if you're an American, want to divide it between the early period up until 1971 when Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State in the United States at the time, in the Nixon administration made his secret trip to Beijing to meet with the Chinese Communist Party leaders. Before that time, the United States had refused to recognize the People's Republic of China. Its policy was to pretend that the tiny number of Chinese who had lost the civil war to the Communist Party and who escaped to the island of Taiwan with a tiny population that they were somehow the legitimate government of China, whereas the party that had won the civil war and that ruled over the vast population of China was somehow not the legitimate government. This fiction was maintained—let's be clear—from 1949 for the next 20-25 years before it was finally chucked. And during that time China was isolated. It was considered by the United States to be some sort of secondary satellite of the Soviet Union at the time. And the Soviet Union (and there was a Communist Party-led government) had an alliance with the People's Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party. Various efforts were made to recover from the unspeakable poverty and wreckage in China. Remember, the Chinese had been invaded by the Japanese back starting in 1931, had been ravaged by the Japanese military, and then had been drawn into World War II, and then had a communist revolution, and then fought a civil war that the communists won. A poor, poor country ravaged by all of that military activity was in desperate shape. So the early 20 years were used up in efforts to recover to establish a functioning economy and all of that with the enmity of the United States. Barely had they gotten their government going in 1949 when we had what we call in this country the Korean War right next door to China which borders Korea. And the Chinese had to get involved as the Americans were pushing through Korea heading towards China. And there were open discussions in the United States about invading China to overthrow its communist government—a threat the Chinese had to take seriously diverting resources to their military that were desperately needed to recover from the wars and the devastation of the Japanese invasions and so on. But they had to take it seriously because the Chinese knew only too well that in the immediate aftermath of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Britain, France, Japan and the United States invaded Russia to put down the new regime and that wasn't that many years ago. So that slowed them. They became a bit desperate. The so-called Great Leap Forward or the so-called ‘commune movements’ where they tried to make drastic economic progress with drastic economic changes some of which were quite successful and many of which were not. And so a great change happened during the 1970s and 80s in China. A new direction was achieved. 

The United States recognized the People's Republic of China and the Chinese in turn undertook a new way of developing their economy. They would not go it alone. Russia had always gone it alone. The Soviet Union had been isolated and could not for a whole host of reasons take advantage of the world economy, find the place in the world economy, and find a way to interact with the rest of the world economically to help China do its number one objective which was to stop being one of the poorest countries on Earth and to become at least in the words of their current leader moderately prosperous. Yes. That's what Xi Jinping refers to the Chinese condition: “moderately prosperous.” And here's how they opened themselves in a way different from the Soviet Union; They wanted to engage international trade. And to do so being a so-called socialist country in a capitalist world they basically said to the rest of the world, “We can offer you capitalists something you want but we have to get in return something we need. Here's what we give you. We have a well-developed, well-disciplined, well-educated labor force willing to work at wages way below what you pay in North America, Western Europe, or Japan. Come here. We will welcome you. We will give you the space to operate your private capitalist businesses. And we will give you a labor force that will make it very profitable for you. You will of course be leaving behind the higher wage workers in your respective countries. We of course cannot force you to do that but we can offer you the lure of higher profits if you employ lower wage Chinese workers.” Corporations in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Japan, and the United States lept to the opportunity especially once diplomatic relations with the United States had been established. Kissinger and Nixon did that in part to enable and facilitate corporations to become more profitable. That was their ideology. That was their political practice. As the companies came, as they employed lower wage Chinese workers, and as their profits accordingly went up, all their competitors back home began to realize, “Wow you better do the same or else they're going to out compete you. They're going to be able to offer these products at lower prices because they pay so much lower wages and if you don't want to be out competed, you better develop your branch and your operation in China as well.” And so the movement went from a trickle to a flood. American enterprises (most of the big corporations) became more and more active in China as they continue to do right now as I am speaking to you, and as they employed millions and millions of Chinese workers paying them bigger wages than they had gotten in China before but still way below what the American worker or the British worker or the Japanese worker got. You began to develop a well-paid labor force in China, and they began to use their wages to buy things which allowed China to offer to the West not just low wages but a rapidly growing consumer market. General Motors now sells more cars in China than it does in the United States. China by the 1990s and into this century was able to offer to capitalists in the West not only cheaper labor—better educated and better disciplined industrial workers—but the most rapidly growing consumer market in the world. Either one of those would have brought capitalist companies to China. Having both of them is unmistakable. It became and has remained a flood to make money. 

The Chinese Communist Party also gave private capitalists inside China their opportunities. They too could emerge—run a business, hire Chinese workers, and serve the expanding Chinese market. They allowed private capitalism both domestic, Chinese, and foreign to function and become important partners in their economic development. They retained many industries and many companies for the government in China. It is a very mixed economy: state-owned and operated enterprises interacting side by side with privately owned and operated capitalist enterprises both Chinese and foreign. That's been their growth story over the last 30 years. It couldn't have happened without the development of basic education and basic highways—infrastructure that was done before. It couldn't have been done without developing a communist party organized across China. The change in policy that happened after the 1970s was made possible by what happened before the 1970s. Any argument that the Chinese success is somehow peculiarly the responsibility of the capitalist part as opposed to the leadership of the Communist Party, the remaining enormous state-owned and operated enterprise sector, or all that happened before 1971 isn't historical analysis. It is bald, ideological junk. 

The Chinese demanded something in exchange for making low-wage workers available and an expanding market available. They demanded two things. One, access to western industrial technology. “You want to come here and employ our people. You want to come here and sell your goods in our market. Okay, but in exchange we want a sharing. We want partnerships between Chinese and foreign companies, between Chinese government, companies, and private foreign companies where we learn industrial technology from you. No one is forcing anything from you and no one is stealing anything from you. This is a deal. Take it, leave it.” The United States took it and was eager for it. It is only sour grapes now to talk all the time about stealing intellectual property. There’s no “stealing” a deal. It's not very nice to make a deal, get what you made the deal for, and then try to get back what you had to give to get the deal by claiming it was stolen from you. We wouldn't admire it anywhere else. We shouldn't admire it here either. It worked; China over the last 70 years got no foreign aid from the United States because it was a Communist Party-led country. They got wars. They had to deal with Korea and Vietnam—very close, very scary. It cost them a lot. But they grew anyway without foreign aid relying mostly on themselves, because they had lots of disagreements and fights with their former ally the Soviet Union, and of course after 1989 there was no Soviet Union to ally with. Remarkable. They've done better crawling their way out of poverty than the vast majority of countries that did get foreign aid, and that's not because those countries didn't use it properly (although most of them didn't). It's also because it came with enormous strings that have kept the Third World very much third right to this present moment. The Chinese went on their own. They had to and they pulled it off. 

Here's some statistics: over the last 25 years the average rate of growth of output of goods and services, what we call GDP (Gross Domestic Product), has grown in China on average six to nine percent. In the United States it's grown over the same period on average two to three percent. There is no comparison. The rate of growth in China is precisely three times what it is in the United States. That's why they've caught up. If for 25 years you have this kind of disparity, it's no longer “whether” it's just “when,'' and most predictions are that the GDP of China will be larger than that of the United States at the end of this decade we are now in. Over the last 20 years the real wage of an average Chinese worker—and by real wage again we simply mean the amount of money you get in your paycheck every week relative to the prices you have to pay when you spend that money—because obviously if your wage goes up 10 and all the prices go up 10, you're not better off. You can't buy any more now than you could before so we make that adjustment. The real wage takes into account the degree to which your wage really allows you to buy more stuff to enjoy a higher standard of living. Over the last 25 years the real wage in the United States has been basically stagnant. If it's grown it's very small. Over the last 25 years the average real wage in China has, get ready, quadrupled—gone up 400 or 300 depending on how you count your percentage. But there's no comparison. You want to know why the Chinese working class supports its government? Now you know. And I'm not being vulgar. It's not only, of course, a matter of your income but it sure is important. The Chinese have delivered to their own people an extraordinary situation especially for a very large country, especially for a very poor country, and especially for one that is isolated politically and militarily as the People's Republic of China has been. Is the China we know of a model? Yeah. That record that I've just summarized makes it a model for the vast majority of countries on the face of this planet. It went from poor to moderately prosperous. It went from “backward” to being on the cutting edge of modern technology, as we can tell from how they handled COVID and as we can tell from their space explorations that they're now engaged in and so on. They are a model. They are a society that mixes state-owned and operated enterprises with private capitalist enterprises all under the leadership, directorship, and pretty tight control of a communist party. And they didn't just last five years or ten years. They've now lasted 70 years with no end in sight. 

Do they have their problems? Of course they do. Do they have issues where they can be criticized? Absolutely, and they should be. But that's not the issue for tonight. We get plenty of information about Hong Kong or the Uyghur minority or fill in the blank. That's because of the cold war. Because of the fact that having made a ton of money in China, the political leadership of the United States finds it convenient to have a scapegoat because United States capitalism is in deep doo doo and has been ever since the debt explosion of 2008 and 9. It needs somebody to blame. Mr. Trump focused on the poverty-stricken immigrants from Central and South America. A lot of courage there. And then he discovered China after he had savaged Mexico, Canada, and everybody else the United States trades with. China became the target. Mr. Biden can't decide between Russia and China which one he would make his scapegoat. Maybe there should be a division of labor. The Democrats can focus on Russia and the Republicans on China, but then again Mr. Biden I think is torn and may end up blaming China for whatever it is they can think of—anything other than the problems of American capitalism. 

What is China? Capitalist or socialist? China calls itself socialist. It always has. Russia always calls itself socialists. Let's remember USSR stands for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Only in the West are these countries referred to as “communist” countries. They never refer to themselves that way. They have communist parties, but they don't call themselves communist. Why not? Because for them communism is at best a long in the future goal—something they're moving toward, they hope, but the reality they have now isn't that. It is socialism. And in China it's called ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics,’ and there what they're referring to is this mixture: this complicated mixture of state-owned and operated enterprises together with privately owned and operated. Let's be clear, the state sector is still a very large part of the Chinese economy—much larger than what you would have even in European countries that call themselves socialist or social democratic. So yes, socialism with Chinese characteristics is a precise and clear name for what they think they are. And by their definition—if you mean by socialism a very large influence of the government—then they deserve the title because that's what the words mean. 

But I would like to introduce another thought not as a criticism and not as a disagreement, just another way to look at it. You can look at the difference between socialism and capitalism not so much by focusing on the role of the government; Is it large? Is it very invasive? Is it not? Is it laissez faire backing away? You don't have to do it that way, there's another way. You can think about capitalism and socialism as different ways of organizing the workplace, the enterprise, the factory, the office, or the store. The capitalist way has a tiny group of people at the top—the owner of the business, the board of directors if it's a corporation, a very small group—who decide what to produce, how to produce, where to produce, and what to do with the profits that everybody helps to produce. You could go and call that capitalist as many of us do and you could contrast it with something else—with a democratized workplace, a place where the decisions are made democratically, one worker - one vote. Whether you're a supervisory worker or a line on the assembly line or you are a clerk in the office, whatever you are, one person - one vote - majority rules. You decide together what to produce, how to produce, where to produce, and what to do with the profits you all helped to generate. You could call that socialism. If you did then you would disagree with those who call China socialist because you have a different definition. It's not a question of right or wrong. It's a question of different definitions. So if you define socialism in terms of the organization of the workplace then the People's Republic of China hasn't got there yet. Then the question is, will the People's Republic of China move in the direction of democratizing their enterprises—state-owned, private, domestic, foreign, or not? Will they hold on to socialism with Chinese characteristics in terms of what they have now or will they move to a different definition? That's an open question for the People's Republic of China. But let me be clear, it's an open question for everybody in all capitalist countries with all socialist, political organizations. Which way are you going to go depends on what definition of capitalism versus socialism you work with. And you may not be conscious about it but you're making that choice whether you're aware of it or not. 

Let me conclude this discussion by facing up to this cold war that's emerging. The cold war in which the United States’ media and its politicians talk endlessly about whatever they can find negative about the People's Republic of China like Hong Kong, Uyghur minority, military maneuvers in the south China sea—you can fill in the blank. It’s very dangerous as cold wars always are as the one with the Soviet Union was. We don't seem to have learned that. And I want to close with a historical analogy. Many years ago a small colony of the great world empire at the time, the British empire, a small colony here in North America made a revolution and fought a war. We celebrated in the first weekend of this month of July 2021. It became an independent United States of America. A very small, rag-tag poor part of the British empire had the daring nerve to go to war against the most developed military naval power the world had ever seen—the British empire of the 18th century. It won and it became independent, and the British empire scoffed. A few years later in 1812, we had another war with Britain again trying to undo the revolution. Failed. The United States survived. Well over the next 200 years, roughly, the old colony became the master and the old master became the poodle. Now Britain, when told what to do by the United States, asks for directions on how best to do it. Role reversal historically. Not very pleasant for Britain. Difficult. Many in Britain still pretend that it hasn't quite happened. Does the United States want to be the Britain relative to China? Do we want that future? Well it has to do with coming to terms. To the credit of the British, they didn't make any more wars against the United States. They tried to work out a live-and-let-live relationship that has its rocky moments, but it's an understanding that war isn't the way to go neither hot nor cold. The United States has many problems—so do the Chinese. Maybe we can help one another solve them. In a way, the last 40 years have been that. The United States maintained its capitalist economic system in part out of cooperation with the Chinese. Let me drive that point home. Many of you are wearing clothes made in China and are using appliances made in China. You know that. You know that when you went to the discount stores—the Walmarts, the Targets, all of them—you were buying from China because those stores became big and successful, and because they became the outlet for what the Chinese could produce better and cheaper than could be produced anywhere else. Walmart owes its success to China just as China owes part of its success to being able to get into the American market—which Walmart helped it to do. We helped each other, and that was good for the United States and good for China. It is my hope that we do not let petty political calculations of scapegoat artists—like Mr. Trump and like Mr. Biden sometimes threatens to become—undo a cooperative mechanism. That's what we can hope for. That's one of the reasons it was important to present this discussion of the People's Republic of China, and the challenge that it represents and presents to the world today. 

Thank you as always for your attention and for your support. Two months from now we will do the next GCLEU Global Capitalism Live Economic Update. For Democracy At Work this is Richard Wolff.

Transcript by Rachel Bang
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