Why this capitalism neoliberal globalisation thing is so pro-poor

News in from China:

At the recently built head office of Zhejiang Hongyu Medical Commodity Co.Ltd – the medical supplies firm which also sells to the UK\’s 99p Stores and Castleford-based firm OTL – factory workers said they put in 10-hour days, with two days off each month. For that, they are paid around £320.

Still, they say, the work is good. \”I\’m quite content with my job otherwise I wouldn\’t have stayed here for so long,\” said Wang Jinfang, a 42-year-old who has worked at the factory for 10 years.

\”There have been big changes in recent decades,\” she added, without pausing from her packing duties on the production line. \”The city is getting better year after year. The most important change for me is that more factories are bringing more job opportunities.\”

£320 a month is, close enough, around $6,000 a year. Back just 13 years, in 2000, the average wage in Chinese manufacturing was more like $1,000 a year. That\’s almost certainly the largest sustained rise in wages for the average bloke on the Chonquing Omnibus that the world has ever seen. Certainly better than what the UK achieved in the industrial revolution (they\’ve compressed our experience of 1600 AD to 1948 into the period from 1979 to 2013 by GDP per capita). Beats Japan in the 50s and 60s. There simply has not been any other system, place or time that has led to a greater reduction in poverty.

But the party may not last for ever. Local factory owners said overheads were rising and complained that it was increasingly hard to find staff.

And that\’s what has done it. It really is just as Marx said it would be. The capitalists, as long as you don\’t let them become a monopoly employer (monopsonist, but this word invented after his death), will compete among themselves for the profits that can be made by exploiting the workers. This competition will drive up the workers\’ wages. As those wages have indeed been driven up.

It really is as Madsen Pirie has pointed out. If you want to reduce poverty then go buy things made by poor people in poor countries. And this is also why everyone who is even vaguely lefty in outlook, even a tiny bit concerned about improving the lot of the poor, should be pro-trade, pro-globalisation, in short, should be neoliberal capitalist running pig dogs intent on exploiting the labour of the poor.

Because it fucking works, see?

9 thoughts on “Why this capitalism neoliberal globalisation thing is so pro-poor”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    That’s almost certainly the largest sustained rise in wages for the average bloke on the Chonquing Omnibus that the world has ever seen.

    That is probably the Chongqing omnibus. Perhaps even the Chungking Express.

    But otherwise, yes. Except I doubt the people who object to globalisation really want the poor to be not poor. They want a more photogenic type of poverty, sure, but not actually to see the end of Third World squalor. As they repeatedly make clear.

  2. I don’t see how China’s experience vindicates your position anymore than it vindicates somebody like Ha Joon-Chang.

    China has liberalised a lot but also still has a huge array of industrial strategies and state directed investment in place.

    You can tell any story you want.

  3. The next leftist point will be that these foreign workers are stealing western jobs by working for what are still (to us) poverty wages, which is hardly comradely of them and means more megaprofits for the neoliberal capitalist running dogs. Thus doth socialism become the national variant thereof.

  4. Left Outside – they’ve had five year plans and whatnot since Mao. It did them no good. The part of the Chinese economy that makes money and lifts all boats in the process is the capitalist part, same as in every other country where markets are allowed to function.

  5. “Because it fucking works, see?”

    But that’s precisely why the left are against it. Nothing arouses leftist hatred so much as some inconvenient facts getting in the way of a dramatic and inspiring narrative.

  6. each time a country goes through an industrial revolution – Shropshire, England, Germany, Japan, S Korea – they do it faster than the last one.

    It’s almost like they had the blueprint and the ready made market.

    Just wait for Burma to get its act together, they’ll make the Chinese growth rate look pedestrian.

  7. Taking a leaf from UKIP’s book and also the above, the position would appear to be: poor people of the world come over here , take jobs and contribute more than they take from the system=very bad; poor stay abroad take low pay jobs exported by British industrialists and provide cheap goods to be sold in expensiveBritish market= very good and a veritable benefaction. Looks like this way you can be a UKIP”,Loony fruit cake and closet racist” (Cameron’s words) while claiming to alleviate world poverty aka Having your fruit cake and eating it. (Rather a good one I thought)

  8. Reed:
    The poor come here–some work/some work the system of socialist thieving/some find crime and violence more to their liking/some look to outbreed us in our own country/some travel around/some patrol our streets telling us how its gonna be/–the horseshit about their “contribution” is disproved–when the handouts are set against it, the benefit is peanuts.Stop the handouts–then we’ll see who wants to come here and what they contribute.

    As for Cameron–his gob expels more malodourous shite than the arse of a bull elephant that has eaten 2 tons of onions and garlic washed down with a 3 dustbns full of Newcastle Brown and a skip of baked beans.That Eton mess would know all about fruit and closets.

    As for UKIP–when they have murdered and ruined as many millions as the socialist scum you support, ride back into town on your moral high horse. Until then hang your head in shame.

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