Ceding capitalism to the communists

November 12, 2014

Should Americans be distressed that the Chinese are winning at consumerism?

Normally  a source of national pride or chagrin (depending on whom you ask), the U.S. propensity to procure has been set upon by Chinese Internet behemoth Alibaba, which enjoyed record sales during yesterday’s Singles’ Day holiday. Traditionally a national holiday similar to Valentine’s Day, Alibaba co-opted Singles’ Day as an online shopping day just five years ago—with startling success.

As this Reuters graphic shows, Alibaba’s astonishing $9.3 billion take—an order of magnitude larger than the GDP of two dozen countries—represents a 60 percent increase over last year’s tally, and is five times as large as 2013 Cyber Monday sales. By midnight, 278 million orders had been placed through Alibaba’s 27,000 vendors, with 42 percent of sales made on mobile devices.

These numbers will be difficult to beat, though if there’s a Sisyphean task at which Americans gleefully excel, it is consumption; Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers will do their best to push the $9 billion boulder. We can only hope that Alibaba’s news unleashes a patriotic purchasing frenzy, lest the U.S. cede capitalism to the communists.

C

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