made-in-china-american-flag_web.jpgUnsuspecting consumers across the United States are being bilked out of billions of dollars in an import explosion of sub-standard manufactured goods from the People's Republic of China that negates the fundamental economic principle of value for money.

The principal beneficiaries are Chinese mass-production factories with low-wage labor and big American corporations that buy cheap and sell at prodigious profits. Indeed, one of the more popular U.S. chain giants may be expecting this year to hit around $20 billion in imports from China, perhaps grossing twice as much from the eventual turnaround in its outlets spread across the country and abroad.

It may well be that the governments of the U.S.A. and China, big business and influential investors believe burgeoning trade to be the principal lubricant in tenuous U.S.-Sino relations and the best means of weaning domestic warmongers away from the possibility of a 21st century battlefield, which, given today's known and covert military capabilities, would have no borders.

However, it is the poorer classes who bear the burden, by paying heavily for inferior products of all descriptions – such a wide array that it at times staggers the imagination to walk through some of the big retail outlets in Boston and New York City and having to wonder whether anything is still being “made in USA.”

As a fix-it person, I have had my challenges to effect repairs on some made-in-China household products (chairs, bookstands, clothes closets, cupboards, etc).

The big attraction to consumers always is that these products are cheap, plentiful and wide-ranging, including just about anything one may be looking for in the area of electronics.

Because black people are at or near the bottom of the American social-economic ladder, a great proportion of them are low-wage earners and, essentially, bargain-hunters. So they most likely fall prey in this Chinese “invasion” of consumer goods – both through price attraction and, to some extent, being misguidedly color empathetic, meaning they would rather buy goods from non-white countries: The Chinese are “our brothers.”

It does not seem that prominent civil-rights campaigners such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton have as yet woken up to what an outrageous abrogation of their people's economic rights this deluge of “cheap” made-in-China goods represents.

As I labored to repair some of the collapsing Chinese put-togethers, my thoughts ranged back to my mid-20th century teenage years in Guyana – then British Guiana – when Japanese products were similarly cheap and unreliable, as a dishonored nation sought to claw its way back onto the world's economic and financial stage from the near atomic obliteration in 1945 of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and defeat in the Pacific arena of the Second World War.

Now look at Japan! Look at its work ethic, its technology and its goods, despite its perpetual difficulties with earthquake activity.

China is not in the position of immediate post-war Japan. It is a massive country, with the people, the history, the skills, the ethos and the capacity to produce goods of extraordinary quality, beauty, strength and durability. Just look at the brilliance of its Olympic Games three summers ago.

China, in my view a superpower, as is Russia, despite the United Nations’ myopic classification of China as a developing country, has no right to expect the type of tolerance accorded the Japan of the 1950s and ’60s nor to expect that the burden of its current global economic surge should be carried on the backs of the essentially global have-nots.

It is the world's biggest creditor to the United States, with government investments conservatively estimated at more than $1.5 trillion, most of it in Treasury Bills.

China is a huge power, a nuclear power, a giant of the space age and the question therefore is:  If China knows better, does better and has better, why does it appear to be flooding foreign markets with cheap and inferior quality goods? Why should a great country with such remarkable competences be throwing punches so far below the belt?

And this phenomenon of inferior quality Chinese goods is not alone with regard to the U.S. market. Increasingly, Chinese goods are gaining prominence in the retail outlets of small countries such as Guyana, Barbados, their Caribbean Community (CARICOM) partners – and, generally all across the Third World.

This Chinese initiative for an increasing share of the global market for manufactures is creating considerable problems for long-struggling domestic producers in small countries such as those in the Caribbean, where some similar locally manufactured products are of superior quality but much higher priced.

So, back to the question: Why is China deluging markets with comparatively inexpensive but generally inferior quality goods?  One possible answer is that, with the stakes for market share and global economic penetration and dominance so substantial, China is challenging the hegemony of the U.S., the bulwark of Western capitalism, by subordinating Communist theory and, in part, embracing critical elements of the free market system.

In other words, the Communist Chinese are increasingly becoming more capitalist in order to meet, match and eventually overwhelm capitalism.