[postcards] A Facebook Squabble


[postcards] A Facebook Squabble

October 2016

A fellow named John Doe who I met in my travels in China posted the following status:

“Almost 40 years after reform and opening, the way many people make investments in China demonstrates complete financial illiteracy and a lack of knowledge about basic economic principles. And with current government policy preventing any shocks to the economic system (i.e. banning stock sales during last year’s stock market crash, propping up housing bubbles, etc) people may continue to believe that the government will solve everything and that money, for all intents and purposes, grows on trees. This is all well and good in the short term, but I can’t shake the feeling that in the long run, China is heading for economic catastrophe. The Party, as powerful as it is, ultimately cannot prevent economic realities from catching up with China.”

My response:

“I note that there are many similarities between American and China in regards to the financial illiteracy of its general populace. The phenomenon you speak of is in no way a Chinese thing. You don’t explicitly say this I know, but it is implied. I’d suggest to you that financial illiteracy is indicative of socio-economic position as opposed to national characteristics, or something due to their “Chinese-ness”. i suppose this is not what you intended to mean, but this is the most immediate interpretation by a general reader.  You seem to have a penchant for making unbalanced and unqualified statements. Considering the horrible historical record in regards to Representation, I hope you’ll be more sensitive to not repeating the Western tradition of making China some strange weird place with people that think so incredibly differently. America is equally on the brink of yet another financial crisis as global financialization spirals on unrestrained. (Observe how I locate economic difficulty and political economic struggles within the structures of a larger capitalistic phenomenon, as opposed to simply settling for the “nation-state” as my unit of analysis. This is my primary critique.) “