Talk by David Feickert

China and the rest of us - from the economic, social, political viewpoints in the context of global sustainable development

David Feickert is a consultant in mine safety, energy, and ergonomics, currently spending much of his time working as an independent consultant in China.

He worked for 10 years as an industrial worker in New Zealand (where he was born), Canada and Britain.  At Bradford University he worked with the Working Environment Research Group on technology and health and safety issues affecting lorry drivers, train drivers, bus workers and miners.  The Group produced a special report for the Executive of the National Union of Mineworkers on the impact of the new technology on the coal mining industry.  This was the basis of the NUM case before the Miners Strike 1984-1985.  He went on to work for the National Union of Mineworkers as their Head of Research for ten years from 1983.   Here he was particularly concerned with energy policy, the British government’s privatisation plans in the electricity and coal industries, the technological revolution taking place in mining and the way the international coal market is operated against the interest of miners in all countries.  In the 1990s, after leaving the NUM, he worked as the European representative of the Trades Union Congress.

David’s talk will start with a snapshot from history, run through the Mao period, on to 1978 and the start of the reform period, bringing us up to the present day.  Now in 2009, China is the third largest economy and on its way to becoming the largest once again - which it was until 200 years ago. He will illustrate recent times from his own experience, not just from working with the government, companies and others but from his own impressions of what the ordinary Chinese people are like and what it is that they want.

May 28, 2009
George Padmore Institute, 76 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3EN, UK