Server and Cashier @ Boston Market, Operation: Prom

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What to do about Market Minorities.

Author and professor Amy Chua coined this term and it got me thinking about demographics and the economy. A market minority is a foreigner who generates more income than the indigenous people. An example Chua uses are the Chinese people in southern Asia such as the Philippines. The Foreign Chinese own more than half of the land and use the natives as slaves. This problem "breeds ethnic hatred." However the country needs the foreigners to generate the nation's GDP. If it is helping the economy why not leave the Chinese (in this case) alone? Why go up in arms if the nation as a whole rises?

  • Aug 24 2011: With China it's more complicated than simply 'foreigners' taking advantage of "our" land. The issues runs deeper with this example, namely COMMUNISM.

    It's not the Chinese per se that countries like this are becoming disgruntled at -- it's the systems and work practices which they are employed that causes the problems. The endemic corruption; the ultra-cheap, local workforce undermining labour; the oftentimes substandard quality of work; the safety standards (or lack thereof, rather); the sometimes to-close-for-comfort dealings many Chinese private companies have with the less than forthcoming Chinese government, and so on.

    I could cite a hundred examples. I'll use two:

    - In Africa there's a growing anti-Chinese sentiment because the influx of Chinese workers / companies are driving local companies out of business due to the fact Chinese workers will do the same work (and more) as the locals for below-minimum wage. The sub-standard quality of the work conducted by said immigrant workers is also a major issue.

    - In Australia there are concerns relating to 'fine print' contained in the contracts greedy mining companies are entering into with Chinese iron-ore dealers that contain competition-stifling clauses like having to buy Chinese-manufactured steel as distinct from locally produced equivalents. Just the other day, a generation-old steel mill was announced to be shutting down, with reasoning not dissimilar to the aforementioned, among others.

    Now, I used China only as an example because the country was mentioned. This obviously applies to any country whose situation qualifies. Though, my Spidey senses tell me the question likely stems from Sino origins ^_-
    • Aug 24 2011: If the Chinese are benefiting Africa with infrastructure why should they be upset? African companies are being driven out but can't they see the Chinese ones are obviously more efficient?
      • Aug 24 2011: The infrastructure WAS great -- cheap and easy, as with most 'Made In China' products. But now after the floods washed the roads away and the cracks started appearing in the hospital walls, resulting in their summary closures, Africans are starting to wonder if they've been making deals with the devil!

        As I alluded to, the Communist system weaves a rich tapestry of corruption and sub-par work ethics; you can verify this by asking any ex-pat Chinese business person. Ever heard of injecting meat products, eggs and the like with water to boost product weight / price? Welcome to China!

        The real problem, however, actually lies with those who enter into business with companies / workers they deep down know that what they're selling is 'on the cheap' for very good reason -- i.e., what they're selling is shit! The lust for acquiring products and services cheaper and cheaper is what gives license to shonky work practices, like those exampled. Why improve if the world buys the crap anyway?

        And this is saying nothing of the 'no speaky ingrish' stance the Chinese government has with respect to virtually anything they deem doesn't suit their own bent...!
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          Aug 24 2011: A valuable lesson in "you get what you pay for".

          Melamine in the milk, DEHP in your juice, lead in your paint - the list goes on.

          There are people committing suicide at the iPad factories because conditions are so bad and still we want cheap! cheap! cheap!
      • Aug 29 2011: "If the Chinese are benefiting Africa with infrastructure why should they be upset?"

        I suppose this is because they value what they are losing (national/local/ethnic sovereignty) as more valuable than what they are gaining. That you value infrastructure as more valuable than THEIR autonomy is to be presumed, but do you actually expect them to feel the same way?

        "The land my family has farmed for generations has been confiscated by the corrupt regional magistrate and been given to a Chinese conglomerate for internal infrastructure upgrades. It made the Chinese firm $100 million, and the magistrate a $100,000. I am now homeless and unskilled with an entire family to support, but think - a SUPERHIGHWAY!"

  • Aug 28 2011: Taxe them heavily if they have huge pockets, and have more than they need to survive. Everyone should get taxed and/or punished in margin with their income.
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    Aug 27 2011: It's the same the world over and through all history. The Romans made it into an art.
    First when the young cuckoo grows out of the nest the foster parents will realize their future to be finished.

    No third world country need the Chinese or any other foreigner to build factories, they need schools. The benefit is otherwise only for the few that rule.
  • Aug 25 2011: As long as you're only a couple of degrees of separation from the government you're A-OK. It's those that see the corruption and decide what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and who have no govt connections, that are the ones that suffer and made 'token' examples of.

    Nothing particularly baffling about this. Talk to anyone who's lived under Communist rule and you find a similar theme is consistent.

    Look up 'Laogai prison camps' that house somewhere around 20 million political prisoners, were abuse, summary execution and even cannibalism is rife. Some are there for "crimes" as venial as merely being related to those who've perhaps blogged or voiced their opinions on democracy and human rights!

    One of the main differences between China and North Korea is China sneaked its nukes in while the US and co. were busy with other matters. They two countries are not as far removed from one another as it seems on the surface.
  • Aug 24 2011: Suicide in the Chinese workforce (presuming you're referring to China specifically) is a day-to-day occurrence. I remember reading there was a spate of construction workers who took to jumping off of the scaffolding of the construction sites they were working on because of the conditions, pay and sheer workload (16 hours per diem, 7 days per week is the norm) was at such Dickensian levels...!

    The thing is, when this goes on behind the veil of the Communist curtain and those rapacious Western companies who do deal with China directly have eyes only for Yuan (not to mention that China's most abundant AND expendable resource is human beings!), then it's little wonder we don't hear about such a pressing human rights issue; that, if it were taking place in any other country, would be worldwide headline news.

    If one appreciates the fundamental goal of any Communist regime is to stay in power - irrespective of the impression they may give to the uninitiated with their 'Capitalism OUR way' economic practices - then the true nature of who one is dealing with in respect to the Chinese government will immediately become clear.

    The USSR were sent broke by the US in their famed 'arms race'. That's not going to happen this time around. Food for thought?
    • Aug 25 2011: Well if they don't do the dirty work who will?
      • Aug 25 2011: lol! Who indeed.

        It's the very reason why China has risen to the economic prominence it has, after being a virtual Third World state a mere three decades ago.

        That is, Westerners are spoiled and lazy (comparatively) and China have seized on this fact.

        Having said that, the economic strength of China today is built on the backs (and corpses) of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of mostly exploited Chinese people -- the country's most abundant commodity. So it's come at a very high price; a price that may not yet be fully settled.
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          Aug 25 2011: What has baffled me is that they clearly condone this behaviour on one hand, and then execute people who get caught being involved in it. A bit schizophrenic, no?

          From the Wikipedia posting on the 2008 scandal:

          Criminal prosecutions
          Criminal prosecutions led to two people being executed, another given a suspended death penalty, three others receiving life imprisonment, two receiving 15-year jail terms—and 13 others receiving varying sentences.
          Zhang Yujun, for producing and selling 776 tons of melamine-laced "protein powder", death.
          Geng Jinping, for adding melamine-laced powder to fresh milk and selling to Sanlu and other companies, death.
          Gao Junjie, making and supplying melamine-laced "protein powder", suspended death sentence.
          Tian Wenhua, former chairwoman of Sanlu Group, life imprisonment.
          Zhang Yanzhang, a middleman, life.
          Xue Jianzhong, owner of an industrial chemical shop, life.
          Wang Yuliang, former executive of Sanlu, 15 years.
          Xiao Yu, helping her husband Gao Junjie, five years.