Documentary to check out: “Death By China”

Though the subjects in Peter Navarro‘s patriotic lament for American industry occasionally lapse into fear-mongering doomsday proclamations, this lean, mean documentary nevertheless loosely sketches the growing and troubling issues developing in the US as it exports its manufacturing base on a one-way street. Unabashedly one-sided and hopelessly short of solutions, it nonetheless makes a compelling case for the argument that trade reform with China is vital for a prosperous American future (which obviously has a large impact on Canada as well). If nothing else, would-be filmmakers would do well to watch it as an exercise in creating a compelling evocation of dread. Agitprop cinema rarely has me so fired up. The narrow picture it presents suggests more widely available information on this issue is needed (if anyone knows of any such material I would be grateful to learn of it). I admit I may be taken in by the pathos of this documentary, yet it nonetheless seems an issue worth investigating.

Most importantly, I must reiterate Navarro’s own insistence throughout the documentary about avoiding any conflation between the people of China and the unscrupulous structures of power which have promulgated this dire economic situation. The documentary is not anti-Chinese (though I don’t doubt it could be accused of xenophobia), but rather anti-corporation, especially when the interests of these corporations are divorced from and even antagonistic towards the nations which host them (as in the case of certain “American” corporations).

For those interested, the documentary is available on Netflix.

I admittedly know very little about this issue, so I want to try a new approach on this site (though I promise it won’t become the norm), which is to openly invite those interested in commenting on the documentary and its content to do so in lieu of my commentary (I wouldn’t have much of value to offer at any rate). I would welcome any discussion on this issue, and I’ll be sure to do my damnedest to keep up with it–and if this conversation fails, I’ll abandon this line of inquiry and move on with my life.


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