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View Diary: Apple and Unbridled Capitalism (248 comments)

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  •  Well, we might want to remember one thing here (5+ / 0-)

    The living standard of people in China over the last 30 years has grown enormously. Manufacturing in China has boosted life expectancy, education, infrastructure, and quality of life enormously. There's a reason Chinese peasants fled the rice paddies and went to work in factories, because - no matter how bad they are - factories provide an income higher (if that can be believed) than rural life. I am not saying this as any defense of how these factories are run but the answer is not to slam the door in the face of China. First of all, we can't. Too intertwined and dependent. Ship sailed. Second, we would lose the leverage we have but haven't employed. By bringing US and EU retailers and manufacturers together to enunciate a collective policy, the Chinese factory system would be under enormous pressure to ameliorate conditions, even as it cost us more. But since every manufacturer in China would be subject to the same standard, there would be little danger of being undercut. I don't think the Chinese government would be upset that their workers got a pay raise either if it did not affect their competitive position. The Chinese are worried that labor is going off-shore to other countries. But a worldwide standard would help to soften the impact. Global consensus is the way to go.

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