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Blame China 3

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for China; I call it “growing pains”. Such is the inevitable effect of a rapidly developing and industrializing nation. I’m sure European and North American countries experienced similar difficulties during the industrial revolution.

The recent pet food contamination has been traced back to suppliers in China. More recently, I came across a Toronto Star article about a woman who purchased a couch with an apparent racist label attached to it. The furniture store and supplier have also put the blame on the supplier in China. Most people have already jumped to the conclusion that this was an intentional racist remark. But since I am fortunate enough to see a different perspective from my Chinese girlfriend Han, she is certain that it is a simple translation error.

I can just picture a Chinese guy working in the factory with a little English/Chinese translation dictionary from 50 years ago; he’s trying to translate the colour “brown” and he comes across a word that he probably has no idea is racist (If you read the article). Anyway, I hope people can see that there are always two sides to the story.

On a related note, my Father manages an auto parts assembly plant in the United States which is being closed down later this year because they are moving the operations over to China. It’s easy to blame the Chinese for taking away jobs from North America (Although I’ve never heard my father do this). But the Chinese and other developing nations have also had a huge hand in making the G8 nations extremely prosperous. People love to shop at Wal Mart, where the “lowest price is the law”. Most small towns in the U.S. do all of their shopping at Wal Mart; from their groceries to their undergarments to their hunting gear. Why do you think Wal Mart’s prices are such a bargain? Basically it comes down to Wal Mart’s efficient Supply Chain Management processes and the fact that most of the goods come from China. Do you think we would be as wealthy if we had to pay $600 for a pair of pants, or $350 for a pair of shoes? Developing nations make the products that the rich nations don’t want to make.

I am personally excited and at the same time worried about China and India’s growth. I’m excited about the balance of power with the world’s superpower the United States, but at the same time worried about a showdown with the United States. The overpopulation problem in those nations is also troublesome, as the world’s limited natural resources will be ever more in high demand. More dirty wars will be fought over these resources and our wasteful lifestyles will need to change for the world to accommodate everyone.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00544902387552158209 Ron West

    For me, the lack of freedoms in China is a huge negative. There are basically zero worker rights; they use prison labor.

    Am I to be detached about this, despite their tremendous economic progress?

    –Ron

    http://revolttoday.blogspot.com/

  • Han

    It’s interesting to see the media and the news has never paid any attention to worker rights for urban residents; which they receive housing, health and pension benefits, etc. The media wouldn’t care much about the working conditions for urban resident because that’s not the Chinese society system they wanted to present.

    Here just a few thought about the factory labor in China:

    There’s one basic thing I wanted to mention about the wages for factory labor. The media in North America always states that Chinese workers receive only a couple dollars per day, which is the truth; however, it leads people in the western world to question how people can survive on only a couple dollars a day. They ignore the facts about the currency exchange rate, standards of living, and most of the factories provide free accommodation and meals to their workers. So basically, the benefits received on top of the wage makes a difference, but this is never presented in the media. Most factory workers were from the rural areas, and they earn a lot more money than they would earn from farming in the village; and after saving for couple years, they can go back home and start a small business.

    Most of the Western industrial countries now have a relatively complete labor rights system, and the factories are unionized. And obviously Chinese industry’s working conditions don’t qualify for the “western standards” It’s biased to simply compare the working rights in both a developing country and developed country because of historical facts. Trace back to more than 200 years ago, in the late 18th century, and early 19th century when the western countries experienced the industrial revolution; while on other side of the continent, China was under the last emperor, Qing Dynasty. It took western countries more than 200 years to create and develop its union system, while China on the other hand had only opened up itself for an economic reform in 1979. “Deng’s policies opened-up the economy to foreign investment and market allocation within a socialist framework, and put into practice a daring system that allowed free enterprise and capitalist ideas to grow under a single-party system”. Of course there are some downfalls of the Chinese labor right system. However, Rome didn’t take one day to build, and China’s undergoing a hardship to enforcing the worker’s rights will be an evolving process.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China_(1989%E2%80%932002)#Restoring_economic_stability_and_growth

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17948774650181520591 Crankyputz

    When I was india earlier this year, the economic buzz startled me, these guys are doing everything from R&D to manufacturing, to producing the engineers of tomorrow.

    Here in the west we are slacking. Kids coming out of school can’t speak coherent sentances, can’t write long hand properly and know very little about their world besides what they see on MTV.

    Sure China and India have a long way to go in terms of human rights etc…but has anyone noticed that fewer and fewer people are coming to this side of the world to get their post high school educations?

    I think we all need to be concerned…