"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

University of Missouri's Version of Aerotropolis: Exporting Human Capital to China. UPDATED

It has been a wild week in Missouri legislatively speaking. A special session was called to take up some bills, including "Aerotropolis" aka "The China Hub" renamed "Made in Missouri Jobs Package" then renamed "Missouri Jobs Act".

The governor and some legislators have been insistent the state needed to provide $360 Million in tax credits to establish a hub that could import Chinese goods into Missouri and export Missouri beef to China. Citizens questioned:
  • why we couldn't use the 18 million feet of current vacant warehouse space-- the plan called for new construction in specific zones designated by the county executive and mayors of municipalities--instead of picking where new warehouses would be built and by whom;
  • and that beef exports to China are not currently allowed by China so why was this was listed as a selling point for the bill.
The plan is reported to be on its last legs as of this writing , as the Mamtek issue has taken center stage in the state. This is a tax credit deal signed off on by the state and the city of Moberly in 2010 for the construction of a Moberly factory owned by a Chinese company to produce artificial sweetener. Governor Jay Nixon boasted last year the deal would create over 600 jobs. The agreement was signed in 73 days, ground was broken, and the company subsequently defaulted on its bond payments.

The finger pointing has started and we have our own mini-Solyndra scandal in Missouri! But it is important, apparently, to keep Missouri's partnership with China for the future. Here's a link describing how two colleges in the Missouri public system are offering courses in new campuses in China:

KSDK-TV reported that Thomas George, chancellor of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, announced the undertaking in a speech Wednesday to faculty and staff.

The new campus is under construction in Sichuan Province, in southwestern China. George said it's about half-built, and approval from the Chinese Ministry of Education is expected later this fall.

UMSL is partnering with Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla to offer courses in business, nursing, social work and engineering.

We have a few questions:

  • Is the University of Missouri providing any of the building costs of this campus in China?
  • Will our social work students learn the Chinese imposed law of one child per family?
  • Will our social work students learn that religion has little place in a person's life and religious practices outside of governmental approval is frowned upon and in some cases result in imprisonment?
  • Will social work students learn a child's primary attachment is to the state vs his/her parents?
  • Will our business students learn that governmental managed economies are preferable to free market capitalistic models?
  • Will the nursing students learn that female babies in utero are not valued and abortions are encouraged and mandated if an urban family already has one child?
  • Will the engineering students learn they might as well study in China and live there when they graduate because the manufacturing jobs are practically extinct in the US?
  • Will all these students learn political viewpoints different from the government are frowned upon and not allowed without punishment?
(Here's a list of Chinese human rights violations).

Just a thought. Could the move for the China Hub have to do with exporting product from the US and it's not beef? Could it be for our university students? We don't need warehouses; we need more passenger terminals to send our students overseas for an education they apparently can't find in Columbia or Rolla, Missouri.

Why are we sending our students to a communist country for study? Why is it so important to be globally competitive and globally indoctrinated? Do we need an airport for human capital instead of cattle to ship to China? It seems rather silly to write that last question, but maybe there's some validity in asking about the exportation of our citizens. How will this push to send our "best and brightest" to China for study improve our US educational institutions and students, goals of Arne Duncan and the Department of Education?

UPDATE. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the courses are being offered to Chinese students who will then transfer after two years of study. American professors will be sent to China and apparently, the costs will be borne by the Chinese government.

The professors will work on curriculum and it will be interesting to see how free market capitalism (if it is still a theory that is taught) will be received in China. I wonder if the social science curriculum will raise any alarm bells in the Chinese government regarding some of the differences between the two cultures. I'm glad American students won't have to study the cultural and legal practice of forced abortions, but I wonder how that subject can or will be handled from an American viewpoint to a Chinese student.

With all the talk about American students not keeping up with the Chinese students, why are we investing in educating their students? I thought this big push for global competitiveness was primarily for American students, not focused on the students we are allegedly falling behind in test scores and performance. According to the article:

The Missouri universities also would split a consulting fee of at least $1,000 for each enrolled student, and could get up to $4 million annually through the partnership.

"This is a money maker for us," George said.


  1. "...it will be interesting to see how free market capitalism (if it is still a theory that is taught) will be received in China."

    Was the irony of this statement intentional - China is getting to be more of a laissez-faire capitalism dynamo (even pre-Upton Sinclair days). These folks are cut-throat businesspeople. It seems like their government builds the factories and lets the new owners do their thing. Only when the tires explode, someone finds plasticizers in the milk or lead paint on the toys does the government step in and even then only a handful of executives are executed: the company continues to operate.
    - Catdaddio42

  2. In America, we should push that power to the states to regulate, if the residents of the states want the regulation. If they don't, then the free market should put the company out of business by boycotting the substandard or dangerous business practices of the company. China just doesn't have the entire grasp of Free Market, and it would seem that the USA has also lost its grasp there as well. Lazy electorate gets the government it deserves and lead paint in their toys.


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