Friday, May 18, 2012

China's Princelings Practice Conspicuous Consumption

Lately, I have been studying the characteristics of conspicuous consumption, and what it all means. How it leads to aggression, selfishness, narrow mindedness, and does not bring happiness. It is a complicated subject.

Today, the New York Times published an article written by David Barboza, titled 'Princelings' of China Use Family Ties to Grain Riches.

Mao Zedong is the father of the People's Republic of China. Born into a rural peasant family, he became a teacher, and then moved to Beijing to work in a university library, which is where he began reading Marxist Socialist doctrine. In 1921, he was part of a group that formed the Chinese Communist Party.

China's Communist Party leaders
practice conspicuous consumption
After WW11, civil war broke out. The Communists were victorious, and on October 1, 1949, Mao formed the People's Republic of China, and ruled with an iron fist until his death in 1976.

Socialism is an economic system where workers, who are the producers, control the production and distribution of what they make. They are the holders of wealth, and how that wealth is distributed is decided democratically.  Thorstein Veblen, in the latter part of the 19th Century, coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption." His contention was that the upper classes consume, while the lower classes produce. And the consumers are considered more virtuous than the producers. Think Southern United States cotton plantations, and the slaves that produced the cotton.

Communism is both an economic and political system. A centralized governing body decides production and distribution, and through an autocratic process decisions are made regarding what is needed in the community, and who gets what. Wherever communism took hold, it was because the workers believed that they would receive a fair deal. However, it never happened. Well, perhaps it barely ever happened. Certainly it did not happen in either China or Russia.

By the end of his life, Mao began to realize his ideas did not work. Actually, his ideas were whacky. He began to court wealthy Western countries. As you may recall, Nixon paid him a visit in 1972.

Okay, getting back to the New York Times article. Today China is this huge burgeoning Capitalistic market. Who is profiting the most? Communist party "princes."  It turns out that Communist leaders are money-grubbing opportunists who garner alliances with the likes of DreamWorks and Microsoft. And so it goes.

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