There are no economic tigers
The 82nd Letter of an Autonomous Thinker

Bangkok, February 6 2007

Dear reader, 

China, Vietnam, Thailand etceteras make economic jumps but more like fleas than like tigers.
With last years' growth of more than 10 percent the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of China (about $ 1750) jumped nearly $ 200.
A real jump occurred f.e. in Germany where the per capita GDP (about $ 35000) grew in 2006 with 2.5 %, nearly $ 900. That is more like a tiger.
By proceeding on the present way China will never close the gap with Germany. They need something more powerful than tigers.

By the way, many millions of very low earning Third World people make very cheap clothes. Our machines cannot compete with these low wages. But when the wages should increase - so the workers get a more decent life - our machines will again become competitive. All these poor people will lose their jobs and again they will have to live on nearly nothing, again they will die from curable diseases, hunger or sheer poverty.
Fleas do jump but they have a short life.

But something is indeed happening in the Third World.
Some people over there make big jumps and become very rich (on the back of hard-working masspeople).
These people are becoming accepted in the worlds' topelite that really becomes a globalised elite. It is a fact that the existence of elites, that live on the safe and prosperous eliteworld, prevents that all masspeople will acquire the same status as elitepeople.

An elite must always renovate itself. Now there is a rapid change from many localised elites to one globalised elite.
In the past the highest elite ruled the Third World from its bases in the West. Products and commodities from the Third World were transported to the West that grew rich. But the former colonies became politically independent and became ruled by local elites.

The highest elite decided to integrate the top of these local elites to get a better grip on the toiling masses in the Third World.
The top is changing but at the bottom the masses are still working for very low wages to make goods that are mostly transported to rich Western countries. That is illustrated by the export surplus of China.
The masses are now directly ruled by local elites that have become part of the topelite, the contradiction between foreign colonising elites and indigenous masses has been solved.

This change has some consequences in Western countries. In the last thirty years the incomes of the rich have increased immensely (see Letter 69 "Oligarchy versus Middleclass"). The incomes of masspeople often decreased. In the United States f.e. parts of masses, mostly the coloured ones, begin to resemble the masses in the Third World.

Masspeople should realise that fundamental changes only occur when the power relations are changed.
All actions for better living conditions in the present system are futile. The elitist power can always turn around any improvement reached in long struggles.
So masspeople should strive for a world without any elite, as New World in which all people should have equal status.

Yours truly, Joost van Steenis


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83. Why do Empires fail?
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