Once Upon a Time, people in the WEST manufactured all the Good Stuff and packed it off to sell to people in the EAST (for instance, like Opium… see my earlier post ). In return, wealthier Europeans bought a few luxuries like spices, silk, tea, etc which the European winter deemed un-growable. The Empire proudly labelled this process "Colonialism" – that is, until the word acquired nasty overtones and was quietly dumped.
Now the West is at it again, trying to repeat that favourable balance of payments by cunningly re-labelling Colonialism as "Globalisation". The irony is that it’s all beginning to backfire badly, and now the East is winning. In recent years, the focus on global manufacturing has shifted from Europe and the United States to China, ie., Frankenstein is turning on its Master. Figures show Britain exported only £2.8 billion of goods to China in 2005, but imported nearly £16 billion - a 30-fold increase since 1980.
As if in a metaphorical microcosm of this reversal of fortunes, the world’s biggest Christmas sleigh arrived in Europe yesterday to unload 11,000 containers of "presents" - mostly items which Westerners themselves once manufactured. Coal to Newcastle, etc. Even though the Emma Maersk is Danish-flagged, the big winners are Chinese and Malaysian manufacturers. The ship is, in effect, merely a hired means of transport. And soon enough, if there’s money in it, the East will build more super-ships like the Emma Maersk for themselves... or perhaps simply buy out the companies. Santa Claus is now Chinese.
Here’s a sample of the goods unloaded yesterday in England: Two million Xmas decorations... 12,800 MP3 players... 33,000 cocktail shakers... 150 tons of New Zealand lamb... thousands of frozen chickens... electronic dinosaurs... radio-controlled cars... pinball machines... computers............. and 138,000 tins of CAT FOOD... ouch... I’m too embarrassed to continue…
The real cost of the goods that the Emma Maersk is bringing in should include the Environment, the markets destroyed in ‘developing’ countries and the millions of jobs lost. Hey, why not cancel Christmas in the interests of Humanity?
FunkyPix2 encourages the UN to invoke its new-found fondness for pre-emptive force by boarding the ship, filling it with food, then diverting it to Africa… minus the hypocritical Santa hat... which might otherwise prove useful as a refugee tent in the still-desperately-needy Pakistani earthquake zone.