Before leaving Zhengzhou at the beginning of the week there was a mad dash to my bank to transfer money back to Germany. Well, it wasn’t exactly a “dash”, more of a crawl, as the taxi struggled to negotiate some five kilometres. In the end it was decided to run what was probably about half the distance and there was me turning up, soaked, and in very much of a hurry to transfer the money quickly, so that I could get back home and then on to the airport on time for my flight to Beijing.
The traffic is a major problem in Zhengzhou and experiencing it makes us all too aware of why the laws of thermodynamics dictate that we are living on a planet with finite resources and that that planet cannot support itself indefinitely. The Chinese don’t appear to get it but there can be no Chinese road to socialism. For as Marx himself said, “human economies are in the last analysis dependent for survival on the existence of material conditions of production.” In a world of finite resources any economy predicted on growth must ultimately fail. The choking, the starting and stuttering, the crawling and the coughing in the traffic in Zhengzhou demonstrate the nature of that failure. If it doesn’t explode, it is going to implode.
Of course, people are not entirely stupid and with the Chinese locking up long term oil deliveries from countries such as Brazil, Russia and Venuzuela there is some evidence to suggest that Beijing is thinking about the problem. However, there can be no doubt that, China, is not going to be immune to the shortages and rocketing prices that will accompany world oil production peaking. Moreover, along with those global shortages and rapidly increasing prices we are going to have ever increasing conflict and it is a conflict which will ultimately be global and open. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, might say that China’s ever increasing demand for natural resources can be resolved peacefully, but not only does this contradict what is already happening, it also flies in the face of a very fundamental Marxist precept. Hello, Mr Liu, “resources are finite, resources are finite.”
The recent post in this blog “The South China Sea and learning to play the “Great Game“highlights one area in particular where this conflict has already started. Of course, there are others; for instance, Central Asia, Latin America and Africa! Moreover, it is a conflict that has been produced by what Naomi Klein refers to as “disaster capitalism”. However, the essential contradictions of capitalism. as understood by Marx himself, demonstrate all too clearly that capitalism itself is a disaster. We might be left not only wondering what part of this the Chinese “Capitalist” Party either forgot or chose to ignore and as we prepare to enter another capitalist war.