Imperial Façade: Shanghai's famous "Bund", where Western and Japanese capitalists rubbed shoulders with what Mao's communists called the "bourgeois comprador class" - the local capitalist intermediaries who built and maintained the crucial links between the Chinese people and the foreign investors, multi-national corporations, bankers and military interests of the imperial powers. Ironically, a reinvigorated China is now cultivating comprador capitalism in the societies of its dependent trading partners.
CHINA’S RAPID RISE to superpower status (at least economically) is producing some delicious political ironies. Eighty years ago, Mao Zedong’s communists wrote scathingly about China’s “bourgeois comprador class”. These were the local Chinese capitalists who acted as intermediaries between the Chinese people and the foreign-controlled enterprises and investors then operating in China under the protection of the major imperialist powers (Great Britain, Japan, France and the USA). The expression eventually entered the broader Marxist lexicon as “comprador bourgeoisie” and is defined as: “A section of an indigenous middle class allied with foreign investors, multi-national corporations, bankers and military interests.” The political irony lies in the fact that today’s comprador bourgeoisie is no longer located in China, but in the societies of her increasingly dependent trading partners.
As New Zealand’s largest trading partner, China is steadily wooing our own bourgeois comprador class away from its traditional friends and allies among the foreign investors, multi-national corporations, bankers and military interests of the UK, the USA and Australia. Already, a number of large Chinese banks have set up shop in New Zealand and have thought it politic to recruit both a former prime-minister, and a former leader of the opposition, to sit on their boards of directors. In light of the on-going furore about offshore investment in Auckland residential property, it is clear that this country’s largest real estate agencies must also be numbered among the more prominent members of our comprador bourgeoisie.
The Chinese surnames controversy has also exposed the role played by what might be called “cultural compradors”. The penetration of foreign capital, and the political leverage that goes with it, is only very occasionally accomplished at the point of an imperial bayonet. By far the most common method of establishing foreign influence is by using religion and/or ideology to recruit a local following to perform the role of domestic friends and allies. Such people constitute an invaluable bulwark against any attempt by the opponents of foreign influence and control to reassert national values and interests.
The extraordinary attacks on the Labour Party: the vicious accusations of “racism” levelled against Andrew Little and Phil Twyford; both provide grim evidence of the cultural compradors’ reckless hatred of the bourgeois compradors’ deadliest foe – the national bourgeoisie.
The word “national” notwithstanding, it is the Labour Party which has always represented New Zealand’s national bourgeoisie most effectively. As one of this country’s foremost public intellectuals, the late Bruce Jesson, shrewdly observed: “National knows how to govern for capitalists; but only Labour knows how to govern for capitalism.” The National Party may be “relaxed” about foreign investors pushing the price of a house beyond all but the wealthiest Kiwi’s reach, but Labour, by promising to restrict the rights of foreigners to purchase land, indicates its willingness to put the interests of New Zealanders first.
Dr Bryce Edwards: "Global Cosmopolitan".
The University of Otago political studies lecturer, Dr Bryce Edwards, frames the struggle of comprador against national capitalists as a contest between what he calls “Economic Nationalists” and “Global Cosmopolitans”. It’s a neat trick. Rather than dealing with the very hard choices New Zealanders are going to face as the economic and cultural power of China and its local facilitators waxes ever greater, Bryce has simply re-cast the drama as an existential confrontation between ageing patriots, clinging stubbornly to the outdated shibboleths of the nation state; and free-wheeling global citizens of the twenty-first century, possessed of an impressive collection of internationally marketable skills – but no country.
Bryce would also like to cloak his cultural comprador allies in the frayed costume of twentieth century socialist internationalism. He is hardly alone in this. All over the world, the Left is engaged in a bitter debate over whether nationalism can ever be turned to progressive purposes; and if it is still (or ever was) possible to construct socialism in one country.
Bryce is, however, wrong to try and smuggle those who would prepare the way for Chinese state capitalism in New Zealand into the honourable precincts of progressive disputation. Cultural compradors, like the comprador bourgeoisie, of which they are part, have no interest in constructing a political space in which the future of New Zealand can be reasonably debated. In their eyes, the future of New Zealand has already been decided – and not by New Zealanders.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Thursday, 23 July 2015.
"Labour, by promising to restrict the rights of foreigners to purchase land, indicates its willingness to put the interests of New Zealanders first".
Doesn't this just show Labour's preference for homegrown (or at least non asian) capitalists and its willingness to lump all foreigners into the " bad for new Zealand" basket- whether they are exploitative speculators or not.
A very good article, the free trade agreement, which Labour negotiated with China effectively gave away to the Chinese their unfettered right to buy land and property in NZ. Unless Articles 138 and 141 can be removed from the agreement by a NZ government, then I believe it is not a matter of "if" but "when" we will see Chinese control over our political destiny. To Labour and its supporters (I am one) stop blaming the Chinese people and start blaming the NZ / Chinese FTA. Stop press: Winston Peters call to-day that we should start trading with Russia for our milk products could help or be a start to any discussions we need with the Chinese to negate Articles 138 and 141.
Hone Tuwhare saw it coming in the 1960s....
I have worked here for fifteen months.
It's too good to last.
Orders will fall off
and there will be a reduction in staff.
More people than we can cope with
will be brought in from other lands:
people who are also looking
for something more real, more lasting,
more permanent maybe, than dying...
I really ought to be looking for another job before the axe falls.
Good article if not a bit wrongheaded in places
There is an important moral distinction. The Western imperialist forced themselves into China at the point of a bayonet, and emptied the till so to speak.
Whereas the Chinese were wooed by Labour (representing the so called national bourgeoisie as Chris would so have it) to sign the FTA
China did not want to sign the unequal treaties. They were forced to at gunpoint.
Western imperialists were exempt from Chinese laws in China. Chinese are not exempt from NZ laws in NZ.
New Zealand went down on all fours begging for the FTA
Sort of the difference between getting mugged or getting an awesome price on your house.
An enormous friggin stretch Chris, to compare Western imperialism in China with Chinese house buyers
many of those global cosmopolitans will be paid by the nations tax-payers?
a bit shocking when it is politicians (left and right) who are dumping the majority in a lower standard of living.
Ref Herman Daly
Fancy words for 'turncoat' or 'sell-out'...seems these types are prevalent throughout human history, but they've had quite a knack for staying well under the radar it also appears. Perhaps a simpler, but stronger, without being crass, label is needed to bring these weasels into the spotlight where they belong.
@ Anonymous (1) the Labour-led FTA with China still gives power to the government to intervene on land and property purchases when it sees fit. Of course, the current govt aren't inclined to interfere despite having the tools to do so. However, the Nats have signed the South Korean FTA which has the ability to neuter government power of the Chinese FTA because the Sth Koreans have gotten unfettered power (so to speak) and the current govt has bent over backwards (to use Anonymous 2 lingo) in the process. And the Chinese FTA allows for the same rights for them that any agreement subsequent to the 2008 Chinese FTA is afforded according to David Parker - Labour Trade spokesperson.
So now, thanks to the current mob, we really could be up shyt creek.
Chris forgets that New Zealand as part of the white commonwealth benefitted directly from the proceeds of British imperialism in China. That's what sustained the halcyon days before Rogernomics - when at last NZ had to face reality and accept the loss of Britain as a financial sponsor.
I read Bryce Edwards Herald article on reaction to the release of real estate data. The mob sure have gone to town (as usual). While concentrating on the racism claim Bryce could have had a disclaimer: "I'm a reckless open borders advocate".
A lot of the comments were of the "it isn't racist to blah, blah!"
The racism debate is framed as either/or (you are or you aren't).
My view is that it is o.k for the citizens to choose who they want to migrate (to be selective). In the case of the U.K many people had grandparent patriality and for Australia there had been an ebb and flow. The evidence is that the real aim of labor's immigration policy was diversity/multiculturalism and to anyone who objected elites have used the racism admonission mercilessly. I see it as a territorial and people swap, so it is o.k provided the migration isn't too much in one direction.
Objections to Asian immigration were based on the scale. I initially thought it was good that their numbers were increasing sufficiently that they would be enough to counter skin heads.
Comprador - thanks Chris, a word I have been looking for for a long time, I assumed it didn't exist even though we are all familiar with the type of person. I'd say there are perhaps 100 - 200,000 such people in NZ, who constitute/overlap if not entirely, then substantially with its elite. They are people whose allegiance ultimately lies elsewhere, or only to themselves - they have options outside of NZ and have exercised them, and will do in future, or would if e.g. an old Labour government came to power. With their power and support, NZ can become the place that means they don't need to exit, or they can exit if it doesn't or tries not to. Meantime ordinary folk have to suck up what comes their way. But next time I hear another apologist, it will be nice to have the word comprador up my sleeve as well. There's no shortage of them.
And of course the failure of NZ politicians to state that China has exserted a major interest in NZ economy since about 1978 a year into Nationals 2nd term,that that interest was going to grow at a rate that allowed the rise of power for disarray of political decision making in this country because of the fact that China just did want a buy and sell arrangement they wanted what we have now because of the money they have invested over the years, INTEREST on their capital which is a crime of economic sovereignty of this nation because in essence that business arrangement should never have allowed this govt to sell our sovereignty which it has
If you can see it any different from the previous years of economic control of this nation by the UK USA or Australia you need to seriously look again
" By far the most common method of establishing foreign influence is by using religion and/or ideology to recruit a local following to perform the role of domestic friends and allies. Such people constitute an invaluable bulwark against any attempt by the opponents of foreign influence and control to reassert national values and interests."
Firstly you have to destroy opponents of immigration (large numbers into a developed country). The reaction to Dr Greg Clydesdales Growing Pains paper was an example of this. He talked about things like the "gentle beach culture" and a real estate economy:
Finally, as the sector gets larger, it gains in lobbying/political strength and can lobby for immigration regardless if it is the best interests of the economy as a whole. This could be seen in Canada where the development industry has lobbied hard for high sustained immigration levels (Ley and Tutchener 2001).
Michael Reddell at Pathways Conference:
In the biblical book of Hebrews, there is a verse that reads “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.
There were around 120 attendees, but not a single member of the media. That surprised me. When I counted up the delegate list. almost 50 per cent were public servants (although I was a little surprised that no one from Treasury was there).
I suspect I may have been the only person present even mildly sceptical about the benefits of New Zealand’s immigration programme.
I found the Minister’s speech rather unimpressive. The organisers described it as a “keynote” but it was anything but. Unfortunately, I can’t quote from it, but suffice to say he appeared unimpressed by anyone – be it the Herald, or perhaps even stray bloggers (with long-outstanding OIA requests in for departmental advice on immigration targets) – suggesting that waves of migrants were putting pressure on resources or infrastructure.
The Construction Sector set for Golden Era
There is a danger that a sector of the economy is being augmented that is totally reliant on a small domestic economy. Not only do these industries have limited potential for per-capita growth but ‘deriving growth via factor inputs such as labour places pressure on infrastructure such as transport and land supply, and ultimately have a further negative impact on growth (ARC 2005). Finally, as the sector gets larger, it gains in lobbying/political strength and can lobby for immigration regardless if it is the best interests of the economy as a whole. This could be seen in Canada where the development industry has lobbied hard for high sustained immigration levels (Ley and Tutchener 2001).
"New Zealands most Racist Academic" - The Standard
Michael Reddell says (somewhere in his blog) that (in his opinion) 2 million was NZ's ideal population. What a contrast to the herd of wildebeest charging wildly in the other direction?
Of course he must be wrong, or why would the Pathways Conference attract 120 attendees (worshipping at the feet of the Messiah Spoonley)?
Oliver Hartwich: Worthy Asians. Kiwiblog
I spent my childhood in Rotorua which is a Maori ™ town with crime rates to match.
I went to uni in Chch and it’s not strictly a white trash town, but it did have huge white trash ghettoes.
I’ve worked in Auckland and Wellington which are both civilised places. Auckland is definitely the richer for its cosmopolitan society.
RRM (11,012 comments) says:
I’m whiter than just about everyone. If African Americans are allowed to say “nigger” then I’m allowed to say “white trash.”
White trash who were prominent in eastside Chch when I lived there included:
Throw white trash under the bus.
Akaroa (1,046 comments) says:
I first came to realise and recognise the diligence, work-ethic and social responsibility behaviour-wise of Chinese people when I first went to live in Hong Kong in 1954.
My Pommy eyes were opened to this predominantly serious, industrious and well-behaved race of people.
I returned to UK in 1957 saying to anyone who cared to listen, ‘The Chinese have FORGOTTEN more about civilisation than we Europeans will ever know”
I still hold that view, having seen nothing to dispute it in the intervening sixty years – during which I have spent much time in South East Asia.
Give me a Chinese neighbour before a European one any day!!
"Oh What-o old boy" (What about the Filipino maids)?
Random T Person (64 comments) says:
Never had an issue with Asians. In my experience, they are quiet, respectful and hard working. And you know how racist us Safas are, eh
They've sold their market gardens in China and here they come?
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