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Anti-imperialism not racist

Written By: - Date published: 11:15 am, August 8th, 2011 - 39 comments
Categories: overseas investment, racism - Tags: ,

National’s David Carter says that you’re a racist for not wanting to sell our assets to foreigners, particularly Chinese state-owned companies. It’s not racism. It’s about our sovereignty. We are never going to be able to choose our way in the world if we sell everything abroad and we do not want to become a vassal of the world’s newest empire.

Why are people concerned about selling assets to Chinese government companies in particular? Because it’s the new world empire and it’s going around the world buying up the natural resources that it needs to import to sustain their growing economy – vertical integration in management speak – which means that China will always have first call on these resources in a resource-constrained future.

In Australia, it’s trying to buy the coal mines. In the Sudan, it’s buying the oil reserves. In the islands, it’s picking up fishing rights having bought the governments. In New Zealand, our asset is our farmland and the Chinese government is quite open about the intention to buy as much as it can. The companies making these purchases are either directly government owned or heavily government-backed.

There’s nothing ‘evil’ about what China is doing. It’s just good empire building and at least it’s doing it with money – neo-mercantilism – rather than the ‘traditional’ methods, which it lacks the military superiority for. But we would be stupid to sell these increasingly valuable assets just because it wants to buy. It’s not really ‘investing’ in the sense of building something new – it’s just buying our stuff and giving us money for it.

New Zealanders have a proud record of anti-imperialism (ironic given the country was founded as part of one). In the 60s, 70s, and 80s New Zealanders stood against American imperialism. Many of our political leaders cut their teeth opposing Vietnam and nuclear weapons.

The Right’s response is that ‘we’ve got to borrow/get overseas ‘investment’ from somewhere’. Do we? If we’re going to live within our means, shouldn’t we be able to build domestic capital for our investment needs? relying on foreign capital and selling everything to foreigners is for colonies and dying empires.

In this increasingly uncertain world, this country needs to be able to stand on its own feet. And it certainly shouldn’t sell itself into serfdom.

39 comments on “Anti-imperialism not racist ”

  1. vto 1

    David Carter has called the Chinese racist.

    Because they do not allow foreigners to buy their land.

    Carter is a shallow hypocrite over this. He should be called out by some politician. Heat up the debate and bring it all out into the open. Expose the situation.

  2. millsy 2

    Carter is pro-China and anti-New Zealand. In his world, all of New Zealand would be owned by China.

    There is a word for that…

  3. Bill 3

    Why does it matter who owns farms or land in NZ again?

    Whether the commons is snaffled by Chinese or NZers or stateless corporations makes 5/8ths or f.a. difference to the fact that the commons has been snaffled. Why condemn one thief but not another? Thoughtless jingoism?

    If people are going to rail against Chinese acquisitions in NZ, are those same people going to rail against the acquisitions that Fonterra makes in Latin America? Probably not would be my guess, ’cause that’s how jingoism works innit?

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      Ireland never had a great famine, you know. There was always enough food on hand in Ireland to keep everyone fed. It was just that the Anglo-Irish landlords exported it all to England because the starving Irish peasants couldn’t afford to pay the global market price.

      if we sell our land to China, if/when push comes to shove there will always be enough local goons to ensure food shipments from here to China will it make to the wharves.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        Whether or not the land formally considered ‘the commons’ is privately owned by Chinese or anyone else is an utter irrelevancy if it comes to pass that the produce of the land is earmarked for the global market rather than a hungry local populace.

        Hell, we already get the ‘B’ Grade produce while all the ‘A’ Grade produce goes overseas.

        • aerobubble 3.1.1.1

          start simple, GST off food and the first 5,000 income tax exempt and then see if people can afford milk. Maybe after the supermarket will realize there is more money to be made selling better quality, because surely if its hard to sell to consumers who have less money to spend, the the converse is true, it will be easier to sell better quality to consumers with more money.

          Too long have kiwis carried the farm exports by eating the throw offs.

      • Blighty 3.1.2

        What Sanc said.

        If you think we don’t have enough democratic control over our capital now, what about when it’s owned by a foreign superpower? Let alone the profit flows overseas rather than into our economy.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3

        Yeah, as Bill said, no difference to what already happens. We produce enough in NZ to feed everybody and yet people are going hungry.

    • Rich 3.2

      I’d agree.

      How are the Talleys or Crafars better stewards of our assets than a foreigner would be?

      The workers should own the means of production.

      (Anyway, when America runs out of money to buy Chinese consumer goods, China’s going to be screwed and won’t be buying anything much).

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    If we’re going to live within our means, shouldn’t we be able to build domestic capital for our investment needs?

    This

    We have everything we need to develop our society and yet the bankers and politicians want to sell it off to encourage foreign investment which we don’t actually need and have never needed.

    • insider 4.1

      How much of the money for the Chch rebuild is coming from overseas? Spreading the risk beyond NZ borders can have benefits, that goes for investment as well as insurance. Don’t ignore the knowledge transfer and efficiency gains foreign investment can bring. We can’t invent everything here.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        How much of the money for the Chch rebuild is coming from overseas?

        We don’t need the money as it’s not a resource. What we need to do is distribute the resources we already have differently so as to rebuild Chch.

        IE, stop the export of raw construction materials such as logs.

        We can’t invent everything here.

        Still don’t need foreign investment – merely the trade in knowledge which can be done very cheaply over the internet. Throw in good educational and research policies supported through government funding and even that trade would be minimised and our society would develop.

        • insider 4.1.1.1

          I don’t see too many companies lining up to build cement plants that will help rebuild chch but I do see an overseas company.

          We export logs because the growers of the logs make a lot more money selling them that way than processed. We don’t have the scale or the cost structure to absorb the volume of logs we produce to divert them into manufacturing. It;s not an either or situation – there is enough for both.

          Attractive as it might be on the surface, I’m not sure you can really learn many complex processes remotely – having someone right beside you showing and sharing direct experience is a tried and true process, eg installing a gas turbine that provides a significant chunk of our power needs should really be done by people who know how not via internet classrooms. And not everything is for sale, some things are proprietary and you only get the benefit of that technology by welcoming the investment.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1

            We export logs because the growers of the logs make a lot more money selling them that way than processed.

            We export the raw logs and then reimport them as finished products. This is completely irrational and uneconomic.

            It;s not an either or situation – there is enough for both.

            Is there? I’m pretty sure you’ll find that there actually isn’t that’s why it’s called a scarce resource and why selling the raw logs offshore pushes the prices up.

            Attractive as it might be on the surface, I’m not sure you can really learn many complex processes remotely – having someone right beside you showing and sharing direct experience is a tried and true process…

            What’s that got to do with inventing? Oh, that’s right, nothing. We can develop the physical processes ourselves as well. Contrary to what you seem to think we’re not stupid.

            And not everything is for sale, some things are proprietary and you only get the benefit of that technology by welcoming the investment.

            Or we do the R&D and develop it ourselves.

  5. Paying in collapsing dollars for real world assets. I would too if I were them!

  6. jackal 6

    China has also been buying up vast amounts of Natural gas across America as well namely fracking sites. It’s a serious issue being that as resources become scarce and countries continue to expand, conflicts will eventuate. Here’s a good article on the dynamic:

    http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2011/04/fracking-and-chinas-quest-for-natural-gas.html

  7. felix 7

    Notice how righties object so strongly to our own govt owning any of our productive assets but are totally sweet with a much bigger, more powerful, more authoritarian, anti-democratic govt owning them?

    Kinda gives the game away, dunnit?

    • insider 7.1

      key difference being our government spends our money, other governments are spending their citizens’ money. So I am much more interested in the former rather than the latter, just as I’d be more interested in the investments of a company I’m a shareholder in than some other company. More comparable perhaps is our appetite for SOEs investing overseas and the risks that carries.

      • felix 7.1.1

        So you’re not opposed to state ownership of productive assets as a principle?

        Many say they are…

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    This Govt has got to be fraking stupid to sell off real hard assets in exchange for worthless single ply USD that China is absolutely desperate to dump before it becomes less useful than toilet paper. (If you listen carefully you can hear Bernanke turning up the presses right now on QE3).

    The capitalists still don’t get it: this new world is about having and owning STUFF not having and owning DOLLARS.

    Sheeeeeeeesh

    BTW why on earth would we sell our farms – when there may be food riots in Asia within the next 3-4 months.

    Fukushima has contaminated a large proportion of the rice crop in Japan and the Japanese will buy in the food they need from suppliers all around SE Asia at top prices – causing shortages and food poverty in the countries they source it from.

    Bad times.

    Anyone who advocates selling off these assets now is not merely an economic traitor to this country but a TRAITOR full stop.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      The capitalists still don’t get it: this new world is about having and owning STUFF not having and owning DOLLARS.

      The capitalists have always understood that but they’ve managed to persuade everyone that it’s all about money. They’ve been helped over the centuries by the economists.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        I’m thinking that the economics profession needs to be regulated just like lawyers and medical doctors are.

        The harm they have done in the last 40 years is extraordinary.

        • mik e 8.1.1.1

          Bank Economists, Chicago school, Victoria University, just propaganda merchants. They get very well paid for hiding the truth!

        • felix 8.1.1.2

          I think they need to be regulated like car thieves and meth dealers are.

  9. joe90 9

    China’s global investments in pictures.

  10. mik e 10

    We don’t want to be tenants in our own country! John Key!

  11. Judy Haynes` 11

    Better get rid of the traitor who is selling off this country. This will be our last chance as he will sell us put the door if he gets in via his crafty manipulating of the other parties. It does matter who owns & farms NZ. Small additions never hurt anyone, but opening the door as labour did to other countries in mass proportions must never happen again.

  12. drum 12

    As we go forward regarding foreign ownership and particularly discussing Chinese, one will find that they will look to control primary food source. Since they are struggling to supply to their own people this basic need due to their uncontrolled growth their political manipulation can be seen world wide and very much in the Pacific areas and island nations when addressing this issue.
    As their wealth grows they are in need of making sure that their peoples needs are meet to make sure that the powers to be, remain in power.
    As New Zealand allows more foreign ownership into primary and farming industries then foreign companies will come after our water resources and use their legal right as farm and land owners in the country to do so.(present water strategies are flawed in protecting water from international ownership)
    They will use the strength of their dollar to force hostile take overs and then get control of the water and primary sector to feed their own people.
    We need to trade with these countries not allow them in and since we have what they are after then surely it would be wiser to hard nose negotiate as they do to us.
    Finally the world already has a food shortage ,why would we give away our advantage for a few pieces of gold?

  13. In a way, the adidas-AB shirt fiasco is a ‘beautiful’ example of what happens when an overseas corporation takes control of an asset (in this case, the AB brand for shirts) and sells our own iconic treasure back to us, at an overly inflated price.

    New Zealanders seem flabbergasted and outraged that such a thing could happen – but it has been happening, and will continue to happen if we sell of our assets, businesses, farms, etc, to overseas interests.

    The tragedy is that our fellow Kiwis haven’t got a clue about this, and will only wake up when it’s far too late.

    Let’s keep the Adidas situation in mind. It is the best illustration yet, what happens when we prostitute ourselves. (No offence intended to sex-workers.)

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      It is the best illustration yet, what happens when we prostitute ourselves. (No offence intended to sex-workers.)

      Heh I suspect that sex industry workers will know exactly what you mean. And they will be looking to profit from the RWC just as the Rugby Establishment is looking to profit from selling sole rights to Adidas.

      Adidas are just trying to get a Return on Investment for the monies they paid to the Rugby Elite, after all.

      Its a sick, exploitative system. NZ’ers should not expect apologies from any of the corporate perps.

      • Indeed, Viper.

        As a matter of fact, I think we owe Adidas a certain measure of thanks. They have provided a spectacular example of foreign ownership over something which we hold dear.

        • felix 13.1.1.1

          An excellent point, Frank.

          It’s a perfect analogy for explaining the issue to people who aren’t fully engaged with national politics.

          Actually it’s not even an analogy, it’s a textbook example. Hmmm….

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1

            http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2011/08/T082211.jpg

            Posted this in Open Mike but its also scarily perfect here.

          • Frank Macskasy 13.1.1.1.2

            I think so, Felix. And I believe it will get worse as people wake up to our treasures and assets being owned by others.

            Then the finger-pointing and blame-gaming will start, and the inevitable question of “How could this happen?”.

            The answer is also simple: Because we, as a nation, permitted it to happen.

            I wonder how people will feel when, our food exports earn billions more – but the profits don’t come to NZ. How will they feel when cheese is $20, or more, for a 1kg block, because most of it is being exported to a couple of billion consumers overseas.

            “Why aren’t the profits coming back to NZ?”

            Oh yeah, the farms are now owned by China, agri-corps, Americans, etc.

            “How did that happen?” scream the Facebook denizens?!?! Who is responsible???!!!

            Well, we are. We were more interested in stranded penguins, “Wellywood” signs, TV cooking programmes, and other distractions.

            “Why didn’t the government do something!!!?”

            They did. The government let the sales go ahead. The rest of us tried to warn New Zealanders – but you were all wrapped up in World Cup Rugby and the price of milk. We told you what National were intending, but you re-elected them anyway.

            But maybe it’s not too late. None of this has come to pass, yet.

            We just have to stop watching garbage TV and focusing on trivial distractions.

            What are the odds?

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