Marxist Analysis of Modern China

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On January 25 the New York Times published an article entitled: Losing Ground- China's Leaders Manage Class Conflict Carefully. The article begins by comparing the Chinese commercial hub of Guangdong to the 19th century English commercial hub of Manchester, whose poor working conditions and division of labor and capital worked as a prime example for Marx's critique of capitalism. Much like Manchester, Guangdong's (and China's) industrial growth depends on cheap labor that attracts capital, in this case from multinational corporations who want to maximize profits. Demand for cheap labor in Guangdong has caused the population to increase by 10% over the past decade. On average these new workers make $50 to $70 dollars a month. This average wage has not changed since 1993 unless you consider the fact that these wages buy less today than they did ten years ago. Although China has attracted large amounts of foreign investment, become the largest exporter to the U.S. in Asia and developed a middle class, the benefits of this growth have not helped improve the lives of the 800 million Chinese who are farmers and factory or construction workers. This has caused political groups in China to criticize the economic policies of the government, one stating that the Chinese have "colonized their own citizens". Life has become so bad that some Communist Party officials feel that social unrest is inevitable, perhaps even another revolution. In response the Chinese government has said they would increase workers wages and stop their abuse of workers but many believe that nothing will be done. Considering the path that China has followed over the past decade it seems as if this reform is unlikely. With their minds only on growth the government sees workers rights and environmental protection as "threats to investment". Adding to the problem, workers are often not paid for work done for the state, instead the money is just pocketed by management, work sites do not have the proper...
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