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Paying The Price For Our Faustian Bargain With China

Paying The Price For Our Faustian Bargain With China

Faustian bargain, a pact whereby a person trades something of supreme moral or spiritual importance, such as personal values or the soul, for some worldly or material benefit, such as knowledge, power, or riches.”

Roughly forty years ago we and the Chinese entered into a true Faustian bargain.  We agreed to open our markets to Chinese goods, and the Chinese in exchange opened their nation to foreign investment and manufacturing. We were motivated by greed.  Factories in China would have access to seemingly unlimited quantities of low cost workers.  It did not hurt that those factories would be unencumbered by unions, workplace safety laws or environmental regulations.

The Chinese were motivated by a desire to survive.  The Soviet Union was tottering toward extinction, destroyed not by American forces on the battlefield but by rot and inefficiency in its economy.  The Chinese would escape that fate by giving their people a higher standard of living and a more comfortable lifestyle in exchange for the continued acceptance of an oppressive, totalitarian regime.

The bargain was made.  As with all pacts with the devil the bill has come due, this time in the form of the coronavirus.

Well over two months ago the coronavirus began to explode in China.  The Chinese government did what it always does.  It lied.  It covered up the truth.  It attacked those who claimed there was a serious problem and accused them of spreading disinformation and propaganda.  On the internet, the Chinese deployed an army of bots, similar to those it used to bury the truth about protests in Hong Kong last year.

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