|Visual Reviews | New This Week | Out Now | New This Week | Coming Soon | The Buzz | Index | Archive A-Z|
Death By China (2012)
Friday, August 17, 2012
In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization with the strong support of a Democratic President and Republican Congress. Before the ink was dry on this free trade agreement, China began flooding U.S. markets with illegally subsidized exports while the big multinational companies that had lobbied heavily for the agreement rapidly accelerated the off shoring of American jobs to China. Today, as a result of the biggest shell game in American history, China has stolen millions of our jobs, corporate profits are soaring, and we now owe over $3 trillion to the world's largest totalitarian nation. This film is about how that happened... and why the best jobs program for America is trade reform with China.
Death By China (2012) | Review
Is China Winning the Trade War?
The film makes the case for paying more attention to our trade imbalance with China at a number of different levels. Throughout we are told that China has policies that make it nearly impossible for American companies to compete. China manipulates its currency in such a way that it provides a serious economic advantage to Chinese companies. China does not have to follow environmental or workers' safety regulations. China allows slave labor to be used. If you need evidence of how pervasive Chinese products are, pick a store, any store (clothing, hardware, electronics, appliances), and look to see how many products are made in China.
The film is very careful to make it clear that no single political party is to blame for this situation. Democrats and Republicans alike have supported the policies that have led to this situation. As the film sketches out the history of China's growth since joining the WTO, it demonstrates over and over that China is taking advantage of the free trade to take over much of the world's manufacturing. In so doing, it has, according to the film, destroyed the manufacturing sector of the American economy.
Of course, it isn't just politics that has led to this situation. Large multinational corporations have also been taking advantage of the economic advantages of making products in China. Many have outsourced what used to be American jobs to China in order to make products less expensively. And we can't forget consumers. When we go to the store, we want things as cheap as we can get them. The film opens with consumers waiting in line for midnight openings for Black Friday sales. They want a big screen TV for a few hundred dollars. It cost so little because&ellips; it's made in China.
While Navarro does a good job of making his case, I was left with many questions. For example, he doesn't mention the steady decline in American manufacturing that was well under way for many years before China gained entry to the WTO. It also doesn't mention any of the other economic troubles that have dragged down our economy, such as the banking and real estate bubbles of recent years. While it mentions some of the culpability of multinationals, it doesn't really get into the way the corporations, through their political funding, have influenced the policies that have led to the situation.
The biggest lack of the film is specificity as to remedies. It calls on us to write to Congress, but never really tells us what we should be asking Congress to do. (Nor does it suggest how citizens can compete with the huge sums of money that corporations pour into the political process.) Should we boycott Chinese products? Is it even possible to boycott China given the omnipresence of Chinese goods? Without suggestions as to how to undo the conditions he shows us so well, the film comes across as alarmist, but little help otherwise.
Certainly, China should be a concern as we strive for better economic policies. Navarro needs to be heard for the alarm he sounds, but throughout I felt as though there was far more that needed to be brought into the conversation.
Copyright © 2012 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
Home | Movies | DVDs | Music | Books | Comix | TV | Games | Sports | HJ Live! | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Contact Us | Subscribe | Donate