Now what, on earth do pork bellies and bacon have to do with an essay website devoted primarily to financial and fiscal responsibility? To financial and fiscal discipline? To living within ones means?
Please read on.
Why are the Chinese buying America’s largest pork producer – Smithfield Foods? Well the Chinese are several things for certain – they are numerically huge – over one billion of them and they are growing. Two, they are forward planners, something Americans have never developed the patience for – it was once upon a time called long range planning. For the Chinese a thirty or forty or even fifty year time period has the same relative time and attention span that an American teenager will assign to a long awaited social event occurring this coming weekend. The Chinese know that things unfold over years – over decades – over centuries.
Oh, and one more thing about the Chinese – they love pork – the belly, the loin and even the parts closer to the ground. They eat more pounds of pork per person – a lot more – today that we Americans eat of our rooting, snouty four legged friends.
So when the Chinese do something involving a group of people that they do not particularly admire and envy one could sit back, observe, think about it and maybe learn something. We prefer to do that “sit back, observe and think about it” activity in the form of essays – and asking some questions.
So, here goes with our questions:
1. How would you like to be Japanese today? You disarmed 70 years ago – were forced to accept the occupation of American troops. They became your protector. They wrote your constitution – established their form of governance on your island(s) nation and they have insulated you from external threats from those who may harbor ill will or ill something toward you and your past imperial designs and behavior. One of those who may harbor ill toward you is that looming giant – that massive mountain of humanity with their insatiable appetite for pork and with the long view toward everything. In the past you did not treat them well. They remember.
2. How would you like to be an Israeli today? Again, your protector has just been designated to be the official pork producer and pork droppings processor for the growing Asian and world force seeking power, perhaps even domination in its rather large sphere of influence. You, of course, don’t inhabit this sphere – you inhabit a sphere dominated by the world’s second largest growing and very angry group of tangling religious dominated zealots who just happen to envision you in the same ultimate destination as that of the billions of pounds of pork consumed by the Chinese. You too look to America for support – America is busy feeding the Chinese and cleaning up the mess left behind.
3. How would you like to be Canadian or Australian or a New Zealander or, for that matter, a Brit – a citizen of the mother country, today? What does history have in store for these long standing allies of China’s designated pork producer and porcine waste disposal unit? Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in the high halls of government power in these countries that watch America take on tasks like becoming China’s feedlot and contemplate just what this means for you in 30, 40 or 50 years from now?
4. How would you like to be a citizen of China’s pork producer/waste disposer and be looking forward to a country side of flowing, smelly, difficult to dispose of pork droppings (fecal matter)? On the other hand, who knows, that could well be the least of your problems, huh?
The Chinese today annually consume about 85 pounds of pork per person – they love the stuff. Their vision goes out 30, 40, even 50 years from now. They see America as a good place to grow pork – and leave the droppings behind. Americans eat about 50 pounds of pork today – per capita consumption for Americans has actually declined a bit – your government attributes the decline to the growing Latino population which is a bit less pork inclined.
Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/326138/ldpm13001_1_.pdf (everything you ever wanted to know about American pork consumption, and more...)
For those of you who like to read between the lines, you will detect that this essay is not about bacon, or pork bellies or even pig droppings although all those events do raise the question about just who in America has the foresight, the planning interest to match that of the patient but focused folk in the far east and the middle east. This is an essay about time – about trends – about relativity – about long memories and short sighted people lacking the patience gene – about friends and allies and the future – and the knowledge that those thousand mile trips do indeed get accomplished one small step at a time. Or one not-so-small dropping at a time.