Alt Left: No, China Is Not Engaging In Imperialism or Colonialism in China

It’s not doing either. Vijay Prashad here tells us what imperialism and colonialism are and lays out how China, a Communist country, is of course neither because imperialism and colonialism both violate Communist principles. In addition, much of the investment is from Chinese state firms or public enterprises and these firms by their nature do not exploit people or plunder resources as they do not operate on an extreme profit motive.

Yes, they like to make money but instead of the money going into the owners’ and shareholders’ pockets, it goes into government coffers, where it is then given back to the people in various ways. A firm with that sort of orientation is not going to be rapaciously profit above all else oriented. Few state enterprises are. This nonsense is all just Western propaganda against China. China has done more for Africa than the West ever did. All we ever did is exploit Africans and plunder their resources.

China, being Communist, operates on the basis of solidarity, not imperialism. And it’s orientation is win-win. The orientation of Western capitalists is zero sum game. As much as possible for me (profits) and as little as possible for you (cuts into profits hence minimized. Western imperialism, by its very nature, is I win – you lose. It can’t be any other way. That’s the air that capitalism breathes.

As I noted, China is not without self-interest and they want something out of all of these operations in Africa. And public firms do operate on a modified profit motive. I like this system better than the “profits uber alles” (maximize profits) motivations of capitalist corporations.

Profits aren’t everything. Many nonprofit enterprises do just fine. They hire lots of workers, pay them well, and stay above water. Cooperatives operate on a profit basis, but the cooperative mode of development is not a capitalist mode because there is no exploitation. All profits go back to the firm and management decides how much to plow back into the firm. Whatever is left over goes into the pockets of the workers.

There has to be a disinterested management layer above the workers because when you leave these decisions to workers as was done in Yugoslavia, they failed to reinvest enough in the firms and instead opted to put much of that money into their pockets. Predictably, as reinvestment was not kept up, the firms tended to deteriorate and collapse.

This can be avoided as in the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Country in Spain by having the workers hire and fire disinterested management. Furthermore, decisions regarding how much to reinvest and how much to dole out in salaries are made at the level of huge community-wide banks. These banks are not stuffing their pockets with the profits of these firms, hence they are able to rationally allocate resources to reinvestment or profits as required. There’s no self-interest on their part.

Nevertheless, the Mondragon cooperatives have to compete with bottom line uber alles capitalist firms so they too are subjected to the laws of capitalism – successfully compete with the competition or go under. The result is that this form of development ends up being less utopian than it could be.

Instead, China is engaging in commerce, or in a word, capitalism. Furthermore, Chinese loans are given to Africa on very favorable terms and many loans are out and out forgiven. China is building an incredible amount of infrastructure in Africa. Nor is China only hiring Chinese and not hiring locals. In fact, 90% of the employees of Chinese enterprises in Africa are Africans themselves. 60% of the management are Africans. No country on the planet has ever done more for Africa than China.

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2 thoughts on “Alt Left: No, China Is Not Engaging In Imperialism or Colonialism in China”

  1. So many questions. Questions, questions and more questions.

    I even today get confused by these terms- What is Communism?

    Socialism?

    Marxism?

    Are they used interchangeably?

    Is this an economic and not a political/philosophical system?

    And if yes, why do so many Westerners (especially Americans) fear it as if it were an attack on their spirituality and faith?

    What exactly is China?

    Is it communist or is it a flourishing capitalist society?

    Can a capitalist be a patriot, or he will always see profits over patriotism?

    If yes, then how come China’s capitalists are separate from its politics (seems that way)?

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