First Published: The Forge, Vol. 4, No. 3, January 26, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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China has recently stepped up its trade with foreign countries, including the US. But it is the recent agreement with Coke, a well-known symbol of US imperialism, that has created the biggest stir. This deal follows the normalization of relations between the two countries.
The Western press has speculated that this is a sign that China will be “exploited” by foreign capital and that “capitalism is being restored.”
But there is nothing “unsocialist” about buying goods from capitalist countries, whether it’s soft drinks, autos, TVs or other goods. Let’s look at the facts. With the Coke deal China is getting some of the most modern bottling technology in the world. China will be able to adapt and copy the techniques to update its antiquated soft drink industry. For one year, Coke will supply the bottled drink and will then construct a plant in Shanghai and supply the soft drink syrup.
Does this mean Coke will exploit the Chinese workers? Definitely not. The plant will belong entirely to China. Wages, working conditions and all decisions will be determined, as in all other Chinese plants, by the workers themselves and the Chinese government.
The Coke produced will be supplied to the major cities like Shanghai and Beijing (Peking), principally to serve the growing number of foreign tourists who are visiting China. The increasing tourism is allowing many people from all over the world to see first-hand the accomplishments of the Chinese socialist revolution and serves as an important source of funds to help pay for China’s increasing foreign trade.
Coke of course has big ambitions. It will sell the syrup to China and in return dreams of making a fortune. However ambitions are one thing and reality is another.
Despite the big splash about the Coke deal in the bourgeois press, it represents only a minute part of China’s plans to develop a modern socialist economy.
Under the dictatorship of the proletariat China puts technology, no matter where it comes from and what label it bears, at the service of the people to modernize the socialist economy.