A Communist cure for poverty 4

The Dear Leaders who run a centrally planned economy have no way of knowing what consumers want, how much of anything they will buy, at what price. In the absence of a free market, which provides that information to producers continuously, a socialist government decides arbitrarily how much of anything it will order to be produced, whom it will order to buy the thing, how much the consumer must pay for it. It is a guessing game giving birth to stories such as those that came out of Communist Russia: the nail factory that produced only one nail five miles long; the shoe factory that produced only left-foot shoes.

Below we quote a true story from China recently reported by the Financial Times (a newspaper that is pink not only physically but ideologically, so not sternly against communist regimes), that reminds the aged among us of a joke that was popular when the transformation of nations into communist hellholes had only just begun:

A Communist addressing a crowd promises, “Come the revolution you’ll all be eating strawberries and cream.” Someone in the crowd shouts out, “But I don’t like strawberries and cream!” To which the speaker replies, “Come the revolution you’ll damn well have to like strawberries and cream!”

In today’s Communist China, it is not strawberries but potatoes and oranges that the people damn well have to like. (Although Communist China relented under the pressure of necessity to a mixed economy in 1978, such private enterprise as it allows is always subject to government approval.)

China is discovering that poverty alleviation can mean too much of a good thing.

Universities that bought crops from designated poor areas as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s drive to eliminate poverty by 2020 are struggling to deal with a flood of produce, in a sign of how even the best-intentioned state planning can lead to a cascade of distortions.

Beijing tasked state-owned enterprises, city governments and even universities with helping to jump-start GDP growth in the nation’s poorest areas. …

For universities, buying crops from designated poor areas seemed like an easy way to support Mr Xi’s mandate. Now they are wondering what to do with them all.  Beijing has promoted potatoes as an alternative crop for areas such as Meigu county in Sichuan province where land has been degraded, even though there is little market demand for the crop in a country where rice is the staple

Pity the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, which joined other institutions in Chengdu in a deal to buy five tonnes of potatoes every few days from mountainous Meigu county, 400km south-west of the city. The contract runs until the end of 2020. 

That has left the cooks at Southwestern University with too many tubers on their hands. Their solution was to hold a week-long potato-eating campaign in November. The cafeteria churned out spicy fries, stir-fried beef and potato, and even potato vermicelli. Cooks managed to get through 6.5 tonnes of potatoes in five days.

“It felt like the whole place had been taken over by potatoes,” one student told the Financial Times. “I ate potatoes almost every day that week.” 

The Chengdu universities also agreed to buy the potatoes at a higher-than-market [so to speak] price, according to Zhang Xue at Longtou Company, an agricultural products dealer in Meigu.

“Our company buys potatoes from the farmers at Rmb1.6 (23 cents) per kilogramme. Meigu used to have several potato-processing factories and those factories bought potatoes at Rmb0.8 per kilogramme,” he said. “Now those factories have gone bankrupt because they can’t get cheap potatoes from the farmers any more.”  

Meigu and nearby counties — all of which are badly deforested because of excessive logging in the 1990s — have applied for World Bank assistance for industrial-scale agriculture, including more potato production, with nary a mention of how they plan to sell the increased output.

A Meigu official credited the potato policy with increasing agricultural yields. “In the past, the villagers usually sold agricultural products themselves at the local market,” he said, and used the rest to fatten their pigs. But the poverty-alleviation drive has led to the setting up of large-scale pig plants in the region, crowding out small breeders.

Meigu is not the only potato-producing region that has managed to find a buyer in a nation that rarely eats them. One state-owned enterprise in Beijing required every employee to purchase at least 20kg of potatoes from a village on the border with Mongolia.

A similar problem has cropped up for teachers in a district of Jinan, the capital of the eastern province of Shandong. They are each required to buy at least two boxes of oranges produced in Hunan, about 1,000km away. 

“How can we protest? The salary I get is just enough to make ends meet,” one teacher complained. “And now the government wants me to buy oranges for poverty alleviation.”

The poverty-alleviation drive involves more than selling crops. State-owned and private enterprises have ploughed billions of renminbi into local projects — and made sure they received tax breaks when they did so. Some are more inventive than others: for instance, property conglomerate Wanda built a tourism village in Guizhou where foreigners can apply to be mayor for a week

A week of play-play power in a town in China anyone?

Posted under China, communism, Economics by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tagged with ,

This post has 4 comments.

Permalink

Chinese rot 3

If you can endure the racket in the beginning of this video, it is worth sticking with it – right through to the end.

It is about China rotting, falling into rubble.

.

.

(Hat-tip to our FaceBook commenter, Bob Goyette)

Posted under China, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, January 7, 2019

Tagged with

This post has 3 comments.

Permalink

A sevenfold enemy of America 0

A compliment is due to Linda Sarsour, one of the four chief organizers of the Women’s March on Washington, held on January 21, 2017, to protest the election of President Trump. Also executive director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY), board member of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York (MDCNY), member of the Justice League NYC.

We pay her the compliment: She is one of the most dangerous people in America. The Left has made her powerful. And she is America’s enemy. A multiplicity of enemies rolled into one: Leftist, Feminist, Muslim, ISIS-supporting, terrorist-abetting, sharia-advocating, and vocally anti-American.

The following information about her comes from Discover the Networks.

Anti-American:

When American troops took … Saddam Hussein into custody in December 2003, Sarsour lamented the capture of the Iraqi president because he was viewed as a hero by so many Palestinians. “I think he’s done a lot of things he shouldn’t have done,” said Sarsour, “but I was hurt. My Arab pride was hurt.”

Sarsour also scoffed at the notion of Muslim integration into American society: “We can’t change who we are. This is how we look [with Muslim attire]. We can’t integrate and assimilate.” [She was born in New York.]

[She said in a speech:] “We have to get to the root of the problem when it comes to terrorism. The root of the problem doesn’t come from within the Muslim community – it comes from a politicized foreign policy of war on our people.”

Whose foreign policy? That of the USA. Who, then, does she mean by “our people”? Arabs, Muslims.

Terrorist-abetting:

Sarsour supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that uses various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

Sharia-advocating:

More than once, Sarsour has expressed her support for Sharia Law.

ISIS-supporting:

On January 24, 2017, a photograph of Sarsour making what was interpreted by some observers as the one-finger ISIS salute, began to appear on various Internet websites. In anticipation of those who would claim that Sarsour’s gesture was something other than an ISIS salute, Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer wrote the following: “Linda Sarsour … is clearly making the sign of allegiance to the Islamic State in this photo: the upraised index finger. … This signal has been known to be a sign of allegiance to the Islamic State for almost as long as there has been an Islamic State. It has been described as the group’s ubiquitous hand signal. … In making this gesture, she had to know what she was implying, and how Muslims the world over would understand it. She also could count on the credulity and willful ignorance of her Leftist allies to make sure that she would suffer no damage to her role as a civil rights heroine.”

She lies, as Islam permits, to propagandize her faith, absurdly describing Muhammad, known to all the world as a ruthless warlord mass-murderer and enslaver, in terms that commend him as a hero to her Leftist allies:  

During a May 2016 panel discussion at New York City’s Union Theological seminary, Sarsour described of Islam’s founder, the Prophet Mohammad, in a manner that bore virtually no resemblance to reality: “Our prophet was a racial justice activist, a human rights activist, a feminist in his own right. He was a man that cared about the environment. He cared about animal rights. … He was also the first victim of Islamophobia.”

She condemns American Jews for having, she says, “dual loyalty”, in that they care about what happens to Israel. Isn’t she guilty of “dual loyalty” herself? Well, no – her loyalty is manifestly to Islam, Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular. Not to America.

In November 2016, Sarsour spoke at the annual conference of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), where, as the Investigative Project on Terrorism puts it, she: “(a) lashed out at Jews who extended a hand of friendship and solidarity over concerns that increasing hostility toward Muslims in America might lead to draconian government action; and (b) lashed out at fellow Muslims who accepted the gesture and joined in a new inter-faith dialogue.”

Plainly she rejected the overtures of friendship made by Leftist Jews. The Jews were foolish to make them, of course, in the light of all that Linda Sarsour is and stands for. But then, they are foolish to the point of insanity to support the Left at all, since it is vehemently against them and the Jewish state.

Jewish feminists persist in their folly. Here, from The Tablet, is part of an open letter signed Carly Hope Pildis, and addressed to the four organizers of the Women’s March, after Jewish feminists had been aggressively and contemptuously rejected by the movement that claimed to be for love, inclusion, justice, and equality. The writer in one of those gently raised, highly advantaged, consistently indulged, luxuriously accommodated American Jewish middle-class women who insist that they are “oppressed”, and frivolously exploit the martyrdom of millions of genuinely victimized Jews at other times in other places in order to claim victimhood for themselves.

Dear Tamika, Linda, Bob, and Carmen,

It’s a new year: A chance to move beyond the mistakes of the past and to build a new beginning. The Third Women’s March is just a few weeks away, and you’re likely working round the clock to prepare. I have the date circled on my calendar, too—but I am not quite ready to put on my sneakers yet. I have seen both tremendous progress and heartbreaking callousness from you in 2018. Before we can move forward, I’d like to talk about where we’ve been and where I think we could go next in 2019.

I believe that if this movement breaks or if you four are forced out of its leadership, as some …  have called for, it will be catastrophic for American Jewish women, for the resistance, for progressives—for all Americans seeking justice and equity. The angry wounds of such a deep cut could set us back decades and all of the problems we need to fix will worsen as a result.

Instead, I want to see us become a model for dialogue. Let’s do what previous movement leaders couldn’t, and build a truly inclusive movement for all women from historically oppressed communities. As one of your most vocal critics, my fate is tied with yours now—and so I want you to succeed. As women who face white supremacy, my fate is tied with yours—and so I need you to succeed. …

2018 started off badly, at least for Jewish women hoping to hold the Women’s March accountable on Jewish issues. I had been pushing this movement to codify anti-semitism, Jewish women and our needs and our oppression and our pain since before the original March, in 2017. …

Members of your leadership attended The Nation of Islam’s Saviour’s Day, an event where Minister Farrakhan referred to Jews as Satanic, claimed Jews control the government, and that marijuana peddled by Jews was a plot to “chemically program” black men to have gay sex. I would have walked out of any space that spoke about your people–any people—this way. In contrast, your leadership posted Instagram posts saying the Minister “speaks the Truth” and was the “GOAT”.  As criticism mounted, on March 1st Tamika Mallory wrote “If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader!”  then claimed not to understand the phrase was an anti-semitic dog whistle, calling the interpretation “funny” and saying “ that’s your own stuff.” …

On October 26, 11 Jews were murdered in a hate crime against their synagogue. As the White nationalist threat had been building against us, I felt you had left us behind. You had forgotten us. You had helped marginalize and erase our voices from justice movements by denying our voice and denying us a proper place codified as an oppressed people. It’s not that I thought that we should focus on you in lieu of the White nationalists and the far right threat—it’s that I felt your decision to allow anti-semitism was making it stronger nationally. Indeed, Minister Farrakhan has drawn praise from White Supremacists for his anti-semitism. …

On December 10th, Tablet published a 10,000-word investigation into the Women’s March … Your response was to try to suppress the story.  It seemed that any chance of reconciliation between Jewish Women and the Women’s March was over. A bad end to a bad year of relationship-breaking between Women’s March and the Jewish Community. …

It gets worse. Self-pitying, pleading. And persistently blind to the realities of life in America.

Then despite all that the writer has bitterly complained of, she says:

Thank you. I need to take this moment and say THANK YOU. Thank you for finally accepting that excluding us from Unity Principles was wrong, and for correcting it. Thank you for giving me a moment of hope in these dark times that try our souls. Thank you for acknowledging that we, as progressives, as fighters for a more just world, need to codify the status of Jews as oppressed people—not just to support the Jews, but to deny white supremacist one of their most powerful weapons … As President Trump engages in White Supremacist conspiracy theories he strengthens and emboldens the White Nationalists who endanger our lives. …

Of course President Trump does nothing of the kind. Furthermore, he is the most pro-Semitic, pro-Israel president in US history.

In return, the American Jewish community must work to strengthen the movements for justice with which we have been historically and culturally aligned. I have spent two years refusing to be kicked out of justice movements as anti-semitism rose within every political corner of this country. Imagine a world where the Women’s March is helping spread that message and helping ensure that never happens. If we fail at this task, we will raise a generation of American Jeremy Corbyns–people incapable of understanding what anti-semitism is and why it matters, because they are blinded by ignorance and hate. …

That to Linda Sarsour!

What a triumph for the anti-semitic executive director of the Arab American Association of New York! What a gloat she and her anti-semitic pal Farrakhan can enjoy!

Bouyed up with success, on she will go from victory to victory – ever more powerful, ever more dangerous Linda Sarsour.

On human nature 2

Human beings are not “fundamentally good” or even “generally decent”. To say they are is to mouth Hallmark card sentiments, not express conclusions of observation and thought.

There is a small minority who are naturally fair-minded and humane. If you live long enough, chances are you will come upon a few.

Others, also a minority but much more numerous, commit atrocities.

The rest of us are standard rogues.

Most of us restrain ourselves from doing our worst most of the time. That much we can fairly claim for ourselves in the way of virtue.

Laws are the best bridle, though far from infallible.

Does nothing else hold us in check? Yes –

Fear that they might do unto us what we would like to do unto them. 

.

Jillian Becker

January 3, 2019

Posted under Articles, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 3, 2019

Tagged with

This post has 2 comments.

Permalink

The anti-American dream 4

Pat Condell reminds us, the heirs to the Enlightenment, what so many among us have forgotten: that all liberty depends on freedom of speech, and all progress depends on liberty. That is why, he says, “the 45 words of the First Amendment to the US Constitution are among the most important ever written in the English language”.

Generations are growing up – even in America itself – not knowing this. They are taught to hate and despise free speech by “teachers who think they know best because they don’t know any better”. Watching such deluded people protest against freedom of speech is like watching people digging their own grave.

Posted under liberty, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Tagged with ,

This post has 4 comments.

Permalink
« Newer Posts