China Saved Capitalism

David Harvey’s new book on Marx is really great, folks. Harvey explains how China saved global capitalism after the global economic crisis of 2008-9.

China consumes 60-70% of the world’s mineral resources. The countries that were exporting mineral resources and technology to China almost didn’t suffer from the recession. But why did China all of a sudden started gobbling up so many mineral resources?

China lost close to 30 million jobs in the 2008-9 recession because Americans stopped buying so much cheap crap from China. So the Communist leadership of the country started financing enormous construction projects to keep all those unemployed folks occipied. China ended up consuming gigantic quantities of cement and steel. This allowed world economy to ramp up again.

Of course, the only reason that the Chinese government managed to pull this off is that it’s an authoritarian regime. So authoritarianism saved global capitalism.

It’s of course fascinating that nobody ever mentions China, with its unbreathable air and exploding consumption of minerals, in discussions about the environment.

9 thoughts on “China Saved Capitalism”

  1. Do you refer to the three tomes “Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason”? There is also “A Companion To Marx’s Capital: The Complete Edition.” Unsure whether it’s the same thing.

    Harvey’s “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” wasn’t helpful imo, but do you recommend reading all 3 tomes even if one hasn’t read Marx himself?


    1. ” didn’t know this was never mentioned”

      Well Greta wasn’t yelling at the Chinese…. (or Indians or third world in general).

      Instead people are attacking the much more sustainable agricultural models of Europe (see boerenprotest in the Netherlands or the Brandenburg farmer protests right this minute…)


    2. “Everybody” and “nobody” are doing a lot of work in these discussions.

      Reasonably informed Westerners know that China consumes a lot of minerals and has a lot of pollution and has absolutely shit worker protections. But if we’re talking about political discussions around environmentalism in the US, they don’t focus on getting other countries to do things or not do things. Especially not now.

      I’m personally interested in clean air because I enjoy breathing without an air mask over my face, so I’m not going to go “rah rah coal! Sis boom fracking!”


  2. Understood at last that “Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason” is one book and you discuss it in this post, while there are 3 combined tomes in “A Companion To Marx’s Capital: The Complete Edition.” Initially it wasn’t clear from websites I saw.

    Do you recommend both those books?

    It still is kind of strange that Professors of Literature or “anthropology and geography” analyze Marx’s works and not professors of economics. Why?


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