China and the US are competing for worldwide hegemony. It is a race to disaster.
Both countries are promoting a degenerative economic system that is depleting the resources required for its own long-term survival. The system is based on maximizing short-term materialistic goals, regardless of the environmental and social costs, and it’s consuming and polluting itself into extinction. China and the US are locked in a race to expand a system that’s nothing less than a global Death Economy.
A Race To Disaster
As we step ever closer to the precipice of ecological, economic, and social destruction, it’s essential to understand that we have an alternative to the Death Economy. Instead, we can promote a Life Economy that strives to maximize long-term social and environmental benefits for all life.
It pays people to mine the plastic in the oceans and to take other actions that clean up pollution and regenerate destroyed environments. Life Economy advocates develop businesses that promote non-fossil-fuel energy and innovative renewable and sustainable technologies.
The tendency to be distracted by headline-grabbing events like the fallout around China’s balloon, visits to the Kremlin by top Beijing officials, and the ongoing movements of American and Chinese military operations only feed the “us versus them” mentality of the Death Economy.
However, the future of life on this planet won’t be determined by such events. The survival of humans and other species will instead be determined by decisions made in Washington and Beijing about how to deal with climate change, environmental devastation, income inequality, and the other symptoms of the Death Economy.
The Major Causes Of Climate Change
The US and China combined contribute 43 percent to the world economy. (In 2021, the US provided about 25 percent of global GDP and China 18 percent, with third-place Japan at a mere 5 percent.)
Together, these two countries are the major causes of climate change, contributing nearly 40 percent of global fossil fuel CO2. (In 2019 the US produced 11 percent and China 27 percent, with third-place India at 7 percent; however, China’s per capita contribution was 7 tons of CO2 versus the US’s 14 tons.)
The US and China can disagree on a multitude of issues. Americans can criticize China for its treatment of the Uighurs, human rights abuses, censorship of speech, and its policies toward Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The Chinese can criticize the US for its treatment of immigrants and incarcerated minorities, its record of police brutality and mass shootings, and its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the two can agree that there are no winners on a dead planet.
It’s time to end the narcissistic fable that some people have the right to subjugate others, that humans are supreme over nature, and that military and economic might makes right. It’s time to realize that all of us are living at a critical moment in history. If future generations are to inherit a world that any of us will recognize, both countries must commit to making the transition to a regenerative Life Economy.
Skeptics will proclaim that China and the US can never work together. Yet, history is full of examples of enemies that joined forces to face a common enemy — France, England, Spain, and much of Europe in the 16th to 19th centuries; the Allies and Germany and Japan after World War II. History is written by those who defy probabilities and open themselves to new perceptions and possibilities.
Imagine that a fleet of UFOs suddenly appears and threatens to attack us. The US and China and other countries undoubtedly would join forces to defend against the aliens. By defining ourselves as apart from rather than a part of nature, we’ve characterized ourselves as superior to the rest of our world.
We’ve behaved as if we have the right to exploit it without limitation, and created an economic system that alienates us from all other life forms. It’s time for the two countries that are most responsible for this destructive behavior to commit to ending it.
Competition Between China And The US
China and the US are competitors, not enemies. And it’s important for those who want to vilify China to understand that many countries look at China as a viable model and partner. Afterall, China experienced average annual economic growth of almost 10 percent/year for 30 years and brought more than 700 million people out of dire property.
It’s the leading investor and trading partner in countries on every continent. Its loans to lower-income countries total nearly as much as those of all other governments combined.
Despite what many Western politicians and pundits want us to believe, China is also seen by people in many countries as a leader in the environmental movement. As reported in Bloomberg, China has reduced air pollution nearly as much in seven years as the US did in three decades.
In 2022, China led the world with $546 billion in low carbon investment, more than half the global total; the U.S. was second with $141 billion.
But this isn’t a time to argue about which country is better or which will win the race to global hegemony. This is a time to change the goal line. This is a time to compete not with each other, but to team up to save life as we know it on our planet. By partnering together, we can transform the Death Economy into a Life Economy.
It’s time for all of us to reject “them” and “us” narratives, to recognize that we’re all in this together, and to understand that people everywhere have the same needs of clean air and water, good nutrition, adequate housing, supportive community, and loving compassion.
It’s time to realize that the enemy is not another country, but rather the perceptions, actions, and institutions that support a Death Economy. It’s time to be guided by the knowledge that no one thrives — or even survives — on a dead planet.
Article By John Perkins
About John Perkins
John Perkins was formerly a Chief Economist at a major consulting firm, and advised the World Bank, UN, Fortune 500 corporations, leaders of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and US government agencies.
His 11 books are published in more than 35 languages. His ground-breaking Confessions of an Economic Hit Man spent 72 weeks on the New York Times bestseller and has sold more than 2 million copies.
His latest book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 3rd Edition – China’s EHM Strategy; Ways to Stop the Global Takeover, describes China’s highly effective and dangerous modifications to the EHM strategy, and offers a plan for transforming a failing Death Economy into a regenerative, successful Life Economy. Learn more at johnperkins.org/economichitmanbook, and sign up for his newsletter here.