Friday, February 06, 2009
Free Market Ironies
Wouldn't it be great if we could be as advanced as China?
OUR FRIENDLY NEW MARSHAL. Does anybody remember when Barack Obama watched the Olympics on TV and declared the Chinese ahead of the U.S. in infrastructure investment? You know. The government runs the economy there. Like what our new president wants to do with his "stimulus" bill. So he can fix all our free awfulness. Like his dictator friends always do. And the media couldn't be any more happy to help us learn from our betters like Chavez, Castro, and Kim Dum Ill. Yesterday, for example, the Drudge Report was all pleased and everything to report that Chinese motor vehicle sales surpassed U.S. vehicle sales for the first time in history -- even though the linked article pointed out that the comparison was apples to oranges:
”This is the first time in history that China has surpassed the US,” said Michael DiGiovanni, GM’s head of global sales and industry analysis.
However, auto market analysts in China said the figures were not comparable because the Chinese figure included all vehicles produced in China - including heavy commercial vehicles and buses - while the US figure did not. Chinese passenger car production last year was 5.8m.
Even so. Here's a picture of what the Chinese auto industry has been able to produce after starting just a few years ago from a vehicle base of oxcarts:
Cool, huh? The Chinese-built Brilliance BS6.
It's got to be one of the big reasons the Obama stimulus bill -- with all its emphasis on infrastructure and long-term "strategic" investments in the economy of the future -- has to be passed right now lest we sink into a depression from which we never recover. It's imperative that we get more like China, a country properly ruled by an elite political class that knows better how to do everything than the poor schlubs who consistently screw up western capitalist economies. Forget the New Deal. We're in Sputnik territory now. We've got to catch up with the "Great Leap Forward" technology of Red China or wither on the vine. Right?
Well, maybe. A great thing about the worldwide Internet China's government is presently trying to shut down: you can count on the fact that regardless of the subject, somebody somewere is blogging about it. Here's a post I found called Chinese Copycats. (Forgive the semantic errors. Their heart is in the right place and I refuse to insert [sic] in every sentence. So there.)
Piracy in China of any kind has always been rampant and its never easy to control due to the size of this nation. Anything that can be copied will be copied so long there is a market for it. It ranged from pirated copies of Spiderman 3 DVD to watchmaker brands to even automobiles.
The almost look alike between the Mercedes C vs Chinese designed Geely Merrie 300 above are just blatant copies of their more established counterparts. Spot the difference with more pictures below.
Rolls-Royce Phantom vs Hongqi HQD
BMW 7 series vs BYD F6. Uh, Brilliance.
vs BYD. Well, it's more Barack-ish than the German version.
Honda CRV vs Laibao SRV
Toyota Prado vs Dadi Shuttle
Smart vs Chinese Smart
Maybe the Chinese economy isn't quite
as creative as its free-market competitors. So what? They're looking
out for the little people, aren't they? Their copies of capitalist
are just as good even if they're not very original, right?
Uh, no. They're not. Remember that cool luxo-cruiser above called the "Brilliance"? Here's another angle on it:
Ouchie. Do you think the driver's okay?
Unfortunately, he's not okay. He's a fried dumpling.
And here's an excerpt from a European road test report:
Germany's ADAC, a cross
between AAA and the IIHS, has performed a crash test on the
Chinese-built Brilliance BS6 under Euro NCAP guidelines and the results
aren't pretty, to say the least. The car earned just one star for
passenger safety -- Euro NCAP uses a single rating that combines the
results of front offset and side-impact crash tests that are identical
to those performed by the IIHS. As the ADAC puts it, "The midsize sedan
is as far from reaching optimal safety standards as Peking is from
Potsdam." The BS6 thus becomes the second Chinese car to score dismally
in German crash tests, with the first being the infamous Jiangling
You're not familiar with the Jiangling
Landwind crash test? Allow us to bring you, uh, up to speed.
You see, a command economy like the one
Obama thinks we need can
force capitalist-style manufacturing organizations to produce new
products very quickly. But if they're reporting to the government
instead of the consumer market, important things can be forgotten along
the way. For example, it's possible to make a lot of cheap, low-quality
rip-offs of high-quality originals. It's also possible to torpedo the
whole tradition of safety and utility in favor of politically correct
deathtraps like the Smart Car (and, yes, the even deadlier Chinese Smart Car.) That's where
the irony comes in. The oppressive, exploitative free market eventually
optimizes the trade-off between cost and safety in response to consumer
buying decisions, while the much more "people"-oriented
government-controlled economy tends to optimize only its own public
relations targets, whatever they might be. And very very sadly,
authoritarian governments all seem to live by an odd retro code.
better to look good than feel good." Especially when the world's
Funny how that works, ain't it? Soulless capitalism ultimately opts for safety while the dictatorship of the proletariat dictates terms that kill the proletariat. I mean, do you want your daughter driving a Smart Car alongside all those tractor trailers on the Turnpike? Only a socialist would be so heartless as to make you do that to her.
The Chinese Cheetah. Unless it's the Cheet-er.
Sorry if that taints your Obama-Aura or something.
I was sorry.