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A Brief Non-Explainer on Why China’s Infrastructure Projects grow while the US Crumbles

by James Porteous

A highway interchange in Yanan, China. (David Leo Veksler / CC BY-SA 2.0)

A response to Why China Is Running Circles Around America at Truthdig.com

Have you ever noticed that it is almost as though America cannot exist without the “us vs. them’ mantra?

Every step forward, by anyone, anywhere, is deemed to be a step back for America. Every innovation, a threat.

In the piece linked above we are led to believe that we are going to read an article that compares China’s real $1 trillion infrastructure projects to the CEO of America’s largely fabricated programs of kickbacks, tax-rebates and general money-making time-wasters.

But before there is even any vague hope of that happening we have to wade through an endless discussion about China’s ‘secret’ funding sources and their “innovative form of quantitative easing.”

Oh dear. It is not fair, you see. They are not playing by the same rules, you see.

So, dear reader, in order to save you time and effort here is the main conclusion of this item:

If China succeeds in rebuilding their country and the US fails, it will be China’s fault because it is not fair, you see. They do not play by the same rules.

And what of China’s infrastructure projects? Well, we are told that it “is a massive undertaking involving highways, pipelines, transmission lines, ports, power stations, fiber optics and railroads connecting China to Central Asia, Europe and Africa.”

Wow! That sounds mighty impressive. Please, tell me more!

Sorry, we are out of time. We’ve told you about their banks and their ‘helicopter money’ and now you know that they do not play by the rules and that is the main reason why ‘China’s ‘infrastructure grows as the US crumbles.’

So for now the US has no choice but to put all this confounding infrastructure chatter on the back-burner.

We need to sort out the rules before we tackle anything so big.

We’ve got to sort out the rules right now so that later on we can name the winner or the loser. That is how the game is played. You have to play by the rules, you see.

And the infrastructure?

Gosh, that is going to be a tough one, isn’t it. All that money. All those debates. All that… commitment!

No, we will have to talk about how we are going to talk about that. This is such an important issue. We have to make sure we nail this one. Nail it good.

Or as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said when asked about pushing ahead with banking legislation instead of moving to pass gun legislation after the Valentine’s Day shooting .

“We’d love to do that at some point,” McConnell told reporters. “I’m hoping there’s a way forward.”

Yeah, so are we, Mitch. So are we.


16 Comments

  1. Julio Bigtime says

    Off-Guardian is perhaps sleep deprived. This cute little piece completely misses the point of Ellen Brown’s excellent article. “A Brief Non-Explainer” would have sufficed as Porteous’s title.

    Porteous apparently: did not read Ellen Brown’s piece; read it but did not understand it; or is a paid Fed goon — trolling and ‘hit-piecing’ for Bwankers.

    He should send Ellen Brown a bouquet of ‘contrition’ flowers.

    “The guiding principle of ruling elites was, and still is: when change threatens to rule, then rules are changed.” — Michael Parenti




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  2. Porkemon says

    Neither Truthdig nor OG are able to state the overarching reason for why China is “running circles around America”: China overthrew capitalism in 1949!

    Yes, China’s Stalinist bureaucracy imposes “market socialism,” which leaves a lot of Chinese people in poverty, but its collectivized, planned economy is still able to achieve many things that are impossible in a country like the US, which is ruled by the anarchy of the markets. The US cannot build 12,000 miles of high-speed rail, as China just did in only a decade, because doing so would not enrich one individual capitalist fat cat. In fact, if the US even made necessary repairs to one of its already existing low-speed rail networks, I would be pleasantly surprised.

    And compare New York’s crumbling subway system, which has only added four new stations in 70 years, to what is going on with China’s subways: http://shanghaiist.com/2017/05/24/subways-gif.php




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  3. After reading all in this article, somehow it seems obvious that Porteous’ article is a double take, by which I do not mean mockery.
    Mockery is a brutal and destructive activity. Poerteous’ article is like light, cleansing detergent foam, a pollutant as we know.
    Whatever.
    Purposeful or otherwise, the article means get over it quickly ‘America’!, the ‘Leader of the West’. You have made a f*$#ing mess of life a#$@hole! Go away! Go home and do the massively overdue housework you sweet and silly, pretty little fool!
    Ellen Brown means the same thing but is far, far, far too polite.
    The American and Western identity is an embarrassment. equal to that of the pucker British, which Pucker have still not understood this.
    I think it has something to do with the English language.
    After all, in the beginning is the Word.




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  4. Tim Leniston says

    I too was puzzled by the critical-sounding response to Ellen’s enlightening article. Nowhere in it did I perceive a tone of criticism that China’s form of public infrastructure funding was wrong because it doesn’t fit the rules Western governments currently impose on themselves. Certainly our financial elites would make those criticisms if they were forced to face an informed public. But Ellen does not make them here.
    She seems to be saying that we might learn a thing or two from China (as we could from FDR’s New Deal) where finance is made to work for the perceived public good rather than the whole economy being shaped to serve the needs of financial parasites.




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    • Big B says

      @Tim: I’m looking forward to reading Nomi Prins’ Collu$ion: about how the G7 central banks colluded to financially engineer their way out of the GFC of ’07-’09 by “becoming the markets”. I obviously haven’t read the detail yet (release date: May 1st): but I know from the promotional interviews she gave (Greg Hunter; Keiser Report) that the PBOC and the Russian Central Bank were against the QE + ZIRP policy from the start – fearing it would blow asset bubbles (which it did). They were intent on using their capital creation as productive finance capital: as opposed to the unproductive (except for the upper one percent) fictitious capital of the Fed (plus BoE; ECB; BoJ) policy. How far that is reflected in the current geopolitical situation is a moot point: but it amounts to an ideological rift (that Porteous is bitching about) and a shift in the world order. Both Russia and China have chosen to invest in concrete growth instead of fraudulent balance sheet upward adjustment and unlimited QE potential for the benefit of the already obscenely super-rich.

      The problem we all have – including Russia and China, as part of a globalised networked economy – is that now the Fed has led the way with QE + ZIRP: where does it end? The only solution has become more QE + ZIRP (or NIRP). There is no foreseeable return to productiveness: not if the Big 6 US banks can use ‘free money’ to buyback their own stock and increase their shareholders wealth for nothing!

      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-30/nomi-prins-decade-g7-central-bank-collusion-and-counting

      Interestingly, this puts in perspective an ongoing internet conspiracy theory: that Russia and China are conspiring to bring down the dollar. That would be financial suicide: but they do realise the risk of the ongoing currency wars and are ‘expanding their portfolios’ (including buying gold) to spread the risk of another looming crisis. To which Porteous might snark “that’s not fair!”

      What’s not fair is that the opportunity for reverse globalisation (local and national productivity; SME’s; real {as opposed to fictitious} GDP growth; market inclusion {real – not Mc-jobs); real wage growth; MAGA; state-capitalism) recedes with the indefinite extension of QE. As far as money creation is concerned: the G7 central banks are now a supra-sovereign power: funding the upper one percent. What’s fair about that?

      Ellen Brown has proposed the only viable solution: state (or local) depository banks modeled on the Bank of North Dakota; ‘Peoples QE’ – state funding for infrastructure; or a government funded Infrastructure bank (like Labour’s National Investment Bank – but not reliant on borrowing from the capital markets; who may be disinclined to lend?) …all modeled on the PBOC policy. Another day we could consider the merit or demerit of this plan for the environment (and the excluded majority of humanity): but for now, it’s a better plan than handing the future to the upper one percent (who already own most of it anyway)?




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  5. twigger says

    The linked article is an interesting read that makes much sense.

    The rambling nonsense ATL……………..not so much.

    Did OG publish the wrong article?




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  6. I’m with Ouse4msm: I would recommend disregarding this pointless article in favour of the vastly superior Ellen Brown article. I’m not sure why she is being inadvertently trashed in support of the “rules based international order” (where the G7 central banks make the rules – and the US Imperium enforces them). This is THE fundament of imperialism and the discredited “Washington Consensus”. Are we to support Porteus’ rant in favour of financial terrorism, casino economy and full dominance perpetual war: or the productive alternative Ellen proposes?




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  7. 0use4msm says

    I’m sorry, but Porteous’ muddled response seems to be projecting his own attitude of “Infrastructure? Rad ! Finance? Boooorinnnng !” onto Ellen Brown’s original article. Instead of whinging about how things are not fair that China and the US have to play by different financing rules, as Porteous falsely claims, Brown actually suggests that the US adopt some of China’s approaches to infrastructue financing:

    Rather than regarding China as a national security threat and putting our resources into rebuilding our military defenses, we might get further ahead by studying its successful economic policies and adapting them to rebuild our own crumbling roads and bridges before it is too late.” She points towards the famous example of the publicly-owned Bank of North Dakota as an example how the US could finance its own infrastucture instead of depending on the usual Wall Street banks.

    While pretending to critical of the US. Porteous’ puerile snark is actually in defence of the Federal Reserve.




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    • The USA doesn’t need an infrastructure bank to pay for anything. The Congress can create all the money it wishes to spend.
      It just doesn’t want to spend on the things that the people want or need.




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    • writerroddis says

      I agree Ouse4msm. Porteous’ sneering response to Ellen Brown shows he either doesn’t understand her or for reasons unfathomable wilfully misrepresents what she is saying. The most useful words in his entire article are the seven comprising the URL at the top – Why China Is Running Circles Around America.

      Brown’s article may be naive in places …

      “Rather than regarding China as a national security threat and putting our resources into rebuilding our military defenses, we might get further ahead by studying its successful economic policies and adapting them to rebuild our own crumbling roads and bridges before it is too late. The U.S. government could set up a national infrastructure bank that lends just as China’s big public banks do, or the Federal Reserve could do qualitative easing for infrastructure as the People’s Bank of China does.”

      … but it’s the kind of naivete we need more of since it points to really important questions: in this case, why wouldn’t “we” put “our” resources into a national infrastructure bank … ?

      Above all, where Porteous’ piece tells me zilch, Brown’s shows that even state capitalism, for all its many faults, serves the many, as opposed to the few, far better than neoliberalism. That’s a truth Iraqis and Libyans have had to learn the hard way.




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  8. The rules are that when banks and billionaires need to be bailed out, or any weapons system or “foreign intervention” needs to be funded, endless supplies of money can be created instantly without question.

    But if money is needed for schools, health care, food programs, mental health programs, or desperately needed civil infrastructure the answers is, “We can’t afford THAT! We have limited means!”




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  9. Fair dinkum says

    The US has only ONE rule.
    Wealth MUST be $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ucked UP.




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