Will the real Emperors of Greed please Stand

March 16, 2016

From several pieces I’ve read in the U.S. media and a few comments I’ve received on this Blog, it appears that some people think the Chinese are the emperors of greed, but they aren’t.

In fact, greed is everywhere — even, GASP, in the United States.

For example, ABC’s Good Morning America reported, “Phantom Debt Collectors from India Harass Americans, Demand Money.”

GMA reported, “Hundreds of thousands of cash-strapped Americans have been targeted by abusive debt collectors operating out of overseas call centers suspected of links to organized crime in India, law enforcement officials told ABC News.”

Working through call centers in India, the commission estimates that the criminals have dialed at least 2.5 million calls, persuading already cash-strapped victims to send them more than $5 million.

Another example is A New Crime Wave of Identity Theft: Is Your Child in Danger.

“It’s undetected and undetectable. They’ll use your child’s Social Security number with a different name and a different birth date.” In fact, over several years, 57,000 cases of child identity theft was reported to the Federal Trade Commission. A new report from All Clear ID estimates that one in 10 U.S. children are victims.

“Olivia McNamara was starting her freshman year at Vanderbilt University when she applied for her first credit card. After being rejected twice, she did some digging and found that someone had stolen her identity and had run up massive debt – to the tune of $1.5 million. When she was 9, someone had stolen her Social Security number and set up false identities and more than 42 accounts. All of them had defaulted.”

Then in June 2012, the AARP Bulletin reported (on page 20), Locked out of Luck by Sid Kirchheimer. The piece said, “The overwhelming majority of locksmiths with an 800 phone number are not legitimate … In reality, the pro arrives in a van with no fixed address and a scam in mind. … The work is faulty plus expensive—often $1,000 or more, and demanded in cash.”

AARP even has a book out by fraud expert Doug Shadel, Outsmarting the Scam Artist. Shadel and a team of scientists interviewed thousands of victims and dozens of scam artists who revealed their trade secrets.

The Federal Trade Commission warns, “Consumer frauds pose a threat to consumers and the economy. Even the most wary and sophisticated consumers may fall victim to fraudulent offers – in the mail, in the media, and on the Internet.”

The FTC report stated that in the year prior to the survey the number of victims of the most common types of consumer fraud reached almost 36 million with 53 million incidents.

In fact, in 2010, the Better Business Bureau reported, “$2.9 trillion is lost to fraud annually.” In a decade that adds up to $29 trillion or almost twice the National Federal debt.

So, next time you read in the media or in a Blog that China, or any other country, is filled with crooks and corruption, remember that China is not alone. Don’t stereotype anyone. After all, the Chinese were not behind the 2008 financial crisis that cost the U.S. economy more than $22 Trillion in addition to nine-million jobs, and that does not  count what the rest of the world lost. – U.S. Government Accountability Office

One last thought. The 2008 financial crises caused nine-million working Americans to lose their jobs in a few months, but the Economic Policy Institute reports that the U.S. trade deficit with China cost only 3.2 million American jobs between 2001 and 2013 (12 years or about 258 thousand jobs a year).  In addition, a recent report from PBS.org and the BBC says that one in three jobs today will be lost to software, robots and smart machines by 2025—not to China.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Greedy Buyers Beware

June 8, 2010

The China Law Blog posted a piece about China Product Beyond Your Worst Nightmare and pointed out that in China there are levels of quality five levels below anything you would think possible and for Chinese manufacturers those levels are normal.

For that reason, Dan, who posted the piece, blames US companies that have problems with the quality of Chinese manufactured products for failing to be specific in the contract’s language.

drywall disaster

One example used in the piece was about the tainted Chinese drywall that has been in the US news.  When the defect was discovered, the Chinese drywall manufacturer urged the U.S. customer, Banner Supply, to sell the drywall in other countries—not in the US.  Depositions unsealed Friday by a Florida court judge in Miami-Dade County shows that the US company refused the offer.

US companies that sign these flawed contracts are probably drooling at the low prices and imagined profits and stagger off giggling in a daze at all the money to be made. Greed for flawed products is the blinding motive. I understand because we had a problem with a greedy US contractor over an addition to our California house that had nothing to do with China. We ended up firing him and no addition was built.

Learn more—see China’s Labor Laws

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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No Political Machine

March 5, 2010

This post is a response to a politically conservative American, who also sounds like a Christian fundamentalist. He made an ignorant comment about China in an on-line discussion at LinkedIn.  He said that China’s government was a corrupt, political machine.

My response follows.

You do not know what you are talking about when it comes to China. Prove that the central government in China is a corrupt, political machine. Throwing out blanket statements that stereotype serves no purpose but to rile ignorant people (and America has plenty of those) who are too lazy to learn.

China's central government in debate

The government in China has seventy million voting members in one political party, and it is far from a machine.  Take all of America’s political factions and shove them in one political party and you do not have a machine—what you have are different points of view that often do not agree. Chinese cities and provinces are controlled by different political factions just like the blue and red political map that we see on TV/Internet during national elections in the United States. If the Maoists return to power, God help the capitalists in China like GM, Ford, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Wal-Mart, etc.

Corruption exists in China just as it does in America, but there are also honest, hard working, moral people in China’s government. But the market economy coupled with good old-fashioned capitalist greed is difficult to control. Does America’s government control greed in America?

Contrary to popular, public “opinion” in America, the Chinese central government does not control every aspect of life in China. The Chinese people are very independent and when the government isn’t watching, most people do what they want to do in their personal lives and in business even if what they are doing is against the law.

Most of the power in China is decentralized as it has been for millennia.  The provinces and major cities do what they want even when the central government in Beijing wants something different.

If you want to understand the role of China’s government start by reading this piece:  China shifts gears with smaller defense increase. And remember, anything published in the Western media may not get the story right but there is something to learn here. China’s central government must respond to the needs of most people—not to individuals but to families and communities. If unrest spreads, the government could fall.

There’s an old Western saying, “The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.” 

If a national-political machine exists, it is the American Republican Party. Where is my evidence for making such a bold claim?  Since President Obama moved into the White House, the Republican Party has voted as if they were one person directed by one brain.

It may also help to read Deng Xiaoping’s 20/20 Vision  to understand what happened after Mao died.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Greed, the Beast that Escaped the Bag

March 4, 2010

Greed is universal the world over. Greed drove the likes of Bernie Madoff and other billion dollar rip-offs on Wall St.  Greed also motivates citizens in China to cut corners. If the United States government can’t stop people like Madoff, why should China’s central government be able to do any better?

Shanghai's Growth Pains

Then we have people like Zou Tao, who show us that the citizens of China are not afraid to speak out against injustices. Zou is evidence that the Chinese have a voice and use it. His is a David and Goliath story, and the Chinese Blog (http://wp.me/pN4pY-at) more than Americans.

If you are a skeptic that still believes China is a totalitarian state and everyone wears the same drab olive green uniform and marches in step, you would be surprised to discover how wrong you are, because local governments are defying Beijing.  The Chinese central government is learning the hard way how difficult it is to control a greed driven, capitalist, market economy.