Tags: neal | asbury | Morphine | Economics

The Dangers of Morphine Economics

By Neal Asbury
Thursday, 12 May 2011 08:20 AM Current | Bio | Archive

It was a rare opportunity for a glimpse inside the inner thoughts of China’s leadership when President Hu Jintao declared “the dollar is the past and the yuan is the future.”

It went largely underreported in the U.S. media despite its tectonic implications. With a weakened and abandoned dollar, American economic leadership will vanish. In a world of Chinese economic supremacy, there will be no American job creation and whatever jobs are created will be at Chinese wages.

At one time, Western nations treated China like a poor stepchild even going to the point of illicitly supplying opium to its citizens, enabling a terrible addiction.

Today China treats the United States as the poor stepchild, often scolding our economic policies of endless debt which has become our addiction. In an incredible twist of fate, it is China supplying the drug that is making us weaker every day. Could this be their way to make right an historic wrong?

At the height of the Chinese empire in the closing years of the 18th century, low demand for British goods in China and high demand for Chinese goods such as silk and tea in Britain forced British traders to purchase these products with silver and gold, the only currency accepted by the Chinese. The British quickly began accumulating large trade deficits that it could not sustain. They needed to find an economic substitute for the silver and gold that would come with greatly reduced prices. The solution, although illegal, was to begin smuggling opium into China from the plentiful poppy fields of the Indo-Gangetic plain.

Despite Emperor Qing’s prohibiting the import of opium into China, it wasn’t long before the Chinese people, including government officials, became addicted to the opium.

Raw opium contains some 20 different alkaloids, of which morphine is one. Morphine affects the central nervous system. It also impairs mental and physical performance, relieves fear and anxiety, and produces euphoria. Morphine’s euphoric effect is highly addictive. Tolerance (the need for higher and higher doses to maintain the same effect) and physical and physiological dependence develop quickly. The malevolent outcome of morphine addiction is that it masks any underlying health problems, so although the user may actually be dying, the euphoria deadens the pain until the person succumbs to the disease.

China’s addiction to opium ultimately led to two Opium Wars with the British Empire from 1839 to 1842 and from 1856 to 1860. China was routed and disgraced both times. Britain forced the Treaty of Nanjing and the Treaty of Tianjin on the now feeble China. Together, these are more commonly known to as “The Unequal Treaties.” The British gained extraterritorial rights including its settlement in Shanghai and the cession of Hong Kong Island from which they could freely operate trading activities, including the unrestricted importation of opium.

Several other countries including France, Germany, Russia and Japan demanded and received similar arrangements from China. The humiliation of The Unequal Treaties eventually led to the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 and ultimately the end of dynastic rule. In just forty years China had fallen from one of the greatest empires every assembled to lying prostrate before hated foreigners. It is one of the most rapid declines of any empire in the history of the world and can be largely attributed to the opium that caused China to sacrifice its dignity and pride.

China’s addiction erased centuries of glory and unleashed a 30 year revolution. It allowed for events such as the Rape of Nanjing, the communist takeover in 1949 and purges of the Cultural Revolution. It created conditions in which China’s citizens lived under foreign sovereignty in their own country.

You could say China’s downfall can be attributed to “Morphine Economics.” If you study China’s sad history throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, you can certainly understand its distrust of the West. China has passed through decades that no great nation should ever have to tolerate.

China’s addiction should have served as a cold, stark warning. Imagine if we ever became addicted to something as devastating as opium. What would America’s fate be if we lay helpless and paralyzed before the world? Would the outcome be any less wicked than The Unequal Treaties?

Although Morphine Economics ended in China, another nation fell under its deadly spell: The United States of America. As its economy eroded, the United States began accumulating mountains of debt. The debt became our morphine. We borrow money to pay debts today, unfazed by the legacy of the debt that we will face down the road. The euphoria of appearing to have the economy under control masks the worthless “vapor paper” currency that is being printed to stave off economic collapse.

There are those among us who believe that out-of-control spending will make us healthy. They will look at any glimmer of improvement and shout out that the trillions we are spending (money we don’t have, by the way) are having a positive impact. Do not be fooled. We are becoming weaker. Any euphoria anyone is feeling is only the work of a sinister drug.

The ultimate irony, of course, is that whereas the United States is being crushed by its runaway debt, this debt is being bought up by China — a nation that innately understands the perils of Morphine Economics.

We must learn from history and reverse our dependence on Morphine Economics before it causes irreparable damage to the economic health of our country and that of our future generations.

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It was a rare opportunity for a glimpse inside the inner thoughts of China s leadership when President Hu Jintao declared the dollar is the past and the yuan is the future. It went largely underreported in the U.S. media despite its tectonic implications. With a...
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