Every once in a while a book comes along that puts all the pieces into a complete picture. The well-written, easy-to-read book, Death by China, is one such book, and the picture it portrays is both revolting and frightening. For too long, our business and political leaders have kowtowed to China, and the consequences have been disastrous. The response of most American economists and government leaders' to the economic imperialism of China has been either navet, cowardice, or sheer stupidity. As a result, we Americans now face the risk of losing our national sovereignty, freedom, and way of life. But the whole world is in danger, both from a political and environmental viewpoint.
In the first chapter, "It's Not China Bashing if It's True," co-authors Peter Navarro and Greg Autry portray the grim picture of the many tactics China uses to conduct unrestricted economic war against the United States in order to achieve its written goal of becoming the world's super power of the 21st Century.
Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California, Irvine and Greg Autry is an instructor and doctoral student at the university.
They write, "Even as thousands literally die from this onslaught of Chinese junk and poison, the American economy and its workers are suffering a no-less-painful 'death to the American manufacturing base.'" They corroborate the shrinking of the manufacturing industry that I wrote about in my book: "America's apparel, textile, and wood furniture industries have shrunk to half their size - with textile jobs alone beaten down by 70%." And, "other critical industries like chemicals, paper, steel, and tires are under similar siege."
Navarro and Autry point out that as a consequence of China's becoming the world's "'factory floor,' it must consume half of the world's cement, nearly half of its steel, one-third of its copper, and a third of its aluminum." Even more alarming is the fact that "by the year 2035, China's oil demand alone will exceed that of total oil production today for the entire world."
To feed its voracious appetite for the world's natural resources, China is practicing its own brand of colonialism that beings with a "Mephistophelean bargain: lavish, low-interest loans to build up the country's infrastructure in exchange for raw materials and access to local markets."
The second chapter goes into detail on "death by Chinese poison." I've been careful in avoiding "made in China" products in the grocery store, but was horrified to find out that Chinese farmers produce 60% of our apple juice concentrate, 50% of our garlic, and a significant amount of "everything from canned pears and preserved mushrooms to honey and royal bee jelly."
If that doesn't make you sick enough thinking about how much mercury and other poisons you are accumulating in your body from eating these products, consider the fact that China now "produces 70% of the world's penicillin, 50% of its aspirin, and 33% of its Tylenol. Chinese drug companies have also captured much of the world market you in antibiotics, enzymes, primary amino acids, and vitamins. China has even cornered the world market for vitamin C -- with 90% of market share - even as it plays a dominant role in the production of vitamins A, B12, and E, besides many of the raw ingredients that go into multivitamins."
While some of the poisons are accidental results of shoddy production methods, unsanitary processing, or soil toxicity due to a polluted environment, others are simply a way to boost profits by Chinese "'black hearts' -- a term used by their own countrymen" -- to purposely increase their profits. Their retelling of stories you've read in the news will make you sick: Melamine added to human and pet food products to increase protein levels, the adulteration of the life-saving anticoagulant drug Heparin, and lead and cadmium used in making toys and jewelry.
In addition, China is now "the world's leading source of farm-raised fish and dominates the markets for catfish, tilapia, shrimp, and eel." It was horrifying to learn that China's fish ponds are filled with water so polluted that it would be equivalent to sewer water in the U. S. and the Chinese put poultry cages over the ponds so that the fish can feed on poultry droppings.
This is why "Chinese foods and drugs always rank #1 of those flagged down at the border or recalled by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority." The authors point out that the "U. S. Food and Drug Administration is so grossly understaffed that although it regulates 80% of America's food supply, it only inspects less than 1% of food imports."
In the third chapter, the authors go on to "regale you with tale after tale of the myriad Chinese products that can sicken, maim, or kill you" so that you will be become motivated to "call, write, or e-mail your Congressional representatives." They urge "all of us to stand up just like Peter Finch did in the movie Network and shout, "We're mad as hell, and we won't buy your 'Chinese junk' anymore."
The book moves on in chapter four to explain how China uses "Weapons of Job Destruction" to gut the manufacturing industries in the United States. Navarro and Autry specifically illustrate how the Chinese bureaucracy systematically targets American industries to take over market share and destroy their competition. They explain how the Chinese Communist Party seeks to achieve economic imperialism through its "eight pillars":
1. An elaborate web of illegal export subsidies;
2. A cleverly manipulated and grossly undervalued currency;
3. The blatant counterfeiting, piracy, and outright theft of America's intellectual property 4. Engaging in massive environmental damage;
5. Ultra-lax worker health and safety standards;
6. Unlawful tariffs, quotas, and other export restrictions;
7. Predatory pricing and practices to push foreign rivals out of key resource markets and then gouge consumers with monopoly pricing;
8. "Great Walls of Protectionism" -- to keep all foreign competitors from setting up shop in China.
The next chapter provides an explanation of how China uses the second pillar of currency manipulation, followed by the chapter, "Death by American Corporate Turncoat: When Greenbacks Trump the Red, White, and Blue" describing how corporations offshored their manufacturing to reduce costs and increase profits. I agree with their sentiment that there seems to be "no patriotism among American corporations" as judged by the examples of General Electric, Caterpillar, Apple, and many, many others. Their original motives may have been fear of losing market share, greed or following "herd mentality." However, the loss of our manufacturing base is now compounded by China's new demand mandating "forced technology transfer" wherein "American companies must surrender their intellectual property to their Chinese partners as a condition of market entry."
The authors point out this facilitates "the dissemination of various technologies not just to the Chinese partner directly involved but also to the Chinese government and other potential Chinese competitors"... so that "Western companies, in effect, create their own Chinese competitors virtually overnight."
If you aren't outraged and concerned enough by the previous chapters, chapter 8 will do the trick. In chapter eight, "Death by Blue Water Navy," the authors document what China has been doing with the wealth they've accumulated from more than a decade of huge trade deficits - building up their military might. Consider this: China's army of 2.3 million "outnumbers the combined forces of Canada, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom." China's 6,700 tanks "dwarf Taiwan's 1,100, South Korea's 2,300, and Vietnam's 1,000 or so," and even the U. S. only has "about 5,000 tanks." Navarro and Autry label China's Air Force as the "best that the Chinese can buy with our 'Walmart dollars' or that its spies can steal." For example, the Shenyang J-11B "is a carbon copy knockoff of the Russion Sukhoi Su-27 and the J-15 "is the equally counterfeit twin of the Russian Su-33."
China's build up of its Navy to challenge the U. S. Navy is even more disturbing. The dominance of the U. S. Navy in the Pacific has been the only thing keeping Taiwan safe from being subjugated by mainland China. Navarro and Autry write that China's "first goal is to push U. S. aircraft carrier fleets out of the Western Pacific - and perhaps finally take Taiwan - and then to ultimately project hard power across the globe." The Chinese even have a new missile, the Dongfeng-21D, capable of hitting "a powerfully defended moving target with pinpoint precision," meaning that it could destroy an American aircraft carrier.
The American manufacturing industry was responsible for producing the goods and equipment that enabled the U. S. to win WWII and defeat the Soviet Empire in the Cold War. But, now the "factory floor" of the world is in China, and the U. S. no longer has the capacity to ramp up to produce enough of the goods and equipment that would be needed to defend our country in a war against China.
After defining the challenges America faces in competing in the "Century of the Dragon," Navarro and Autry conclude with an outline of a clear and achievable path for America to tame the Dragon's onslaught. There are recommendations for everyone from government and business leaders down to individual Americans.
In my meeting with Autry after reading his book, he told me that he believes boycotting 10% or more of Chinese products may be enough to destabilize the economy enough to topple the Communist regime. Autry also serves as Senior Economist for the American Jobs Alliance, a non-partisan, non-profit organization formed in 2011 to create and support American jobs
The mission of AJA is:
- To encourage and facilitate an educational curriculum that cultivates and maximizes the innate creativity that resides within every human being to ensure the United States of America perpetuates its traditional "Innovative Spirit."
- To encourage and facilitate a better understanding of the history and functioning of the American or National System of free enterprise and the activities necessary for its preservation
- To, once again, MAKE, GROW and INVENT all items that are vital for the survival of this and future generations. American firms, individuals and our government must renew our dedication to investing in, as well as, protecting our "Engine of Innovation." We must boldly reclaim the title of "shop floor of the world" so that all Americans can share in our increased national wealth and have better paying jobs for generations to come.