Don’t you just love vilifying China?
Growing economy? (Check) Massive trade imbalance? (Check) And Commie to boot? (Check!)
Were you really surprised when they started poisoning our puppies? It’s a vast, Chinese, pink-o commie conspiracy against the American way of life people! Wake up and smell the green tea!
Well, ok, no. It’s not. But when it comes to buying things, why are we so anti-China?
You have books such as A Year Without “Made in China” by Sara Bongiorni and massive fear-induced boycotts of all Chinese goods, so maybe we do think it is a commie plot.
Oh! But Jennie! They all work in sweat shops! And only make 57 cents an hour! And their pet food/toys/toothpaste ARE all being recalled for poison/lead paint/whatever… China’s cutting too many corners! Chinese products are bad!
Well, no. They’re not.
Why are we blaming China for something that is fundamentally the fault of industry? American industry?
Yes, the recalled products all came from China. But, as I once read, don’t blame your maid if she breaks a dish– as the one who handles the dishes, she’ll be the one to break them. China is our second largest importer. She’s going to occasionally break a dish. Or use some lead paint.
And, yes, Chinese labor practices are awful… um, kinda. I mean, there are no laws in China saying you must only have sweatshops. It’s just that you’re allowed to have them. And you aren’t required to be environmentally unsound. And you’re not required by Chinese law to only pay your workers $104/a month. (But, also, let’s consider this is a country where 620ml of Tsing Tao beer in costs, in central, tourist-filled Beijing, a whopping 38 cents.) It’s just that in China you can get away with this stuff.
And then, there’s the recalled products. Toys with lead point. Lethal Dog Food. Yes, it was made in China, but why are we blaming the entire Chinese manufacturing industry for this? Why are we boycotting goods that carry the Made in China label?
I read an editorial in Saturday’s China Daily, the Chinese government’s English-language mouth piece. (It’s not yet online.) It quoted some official stating that most of the recalled products were built on faulty specs provided by the companies, and therefore, not China’s fault.
I’m not buying the spin, but I still say, not China’s fault. Mattel et al. owns these factories, or at least pays them to make their products. They need to have some sort of quality and safety control in place. For all we know, Mattel told their companies to go cheap and use the lead-based paint. But it’s not Mattel’s fault that they hired crappy people to make crappy products and then didn’t make sure they weren’t entirely crappy. Let’s instead blame the location of the factory.
Yes, let’s boycott China because corporations are unscrupulously taking advantage of what China has to offer by ways of crappy labor laws and environmental controls. Who cares if you’re also boycotting the companies that are doing things ‘right.’ Let’s boycott China because certain American corporations are too lazy to ensure their products are safe and up to standard before putting them on the shelves.
Why not, oh, I don’t know… boycott the companies and not China? Why aren’t we boycotting Mattel? Why aren’t we boycotting the companies that allow unsafe products with their label on our shelves? Why aren’t we boycotting the companies that mistreat their workers? Why are we boycotting everything else made in the same country while letting the real offenders off?
Why are we blaming China?
Because it’s easy. And that’s really unsafe.