Sunday, September 23, 2007

Stop China-bashing

So, it's not China that's secretly sabotaging our toys to kill our babies and take over our country. Apparently our own designers and managers in the US that are not doing their jobs. In a statement issued under cover of darkness (how's Friday afternoon/Saturday morning gonna grab Lou Dobbs' attention?), Mattell admitted what many of us suspected all along: the lead in the toys was the fault of management and design teams (KC Star).In a related story, recalled cribs made in China by Graco are also a result of faulty design-- by good ole American design workers. (Video: here, courtesy of YouTube.) It is interesting how the fact that the cribs were made in China takes the headline over the fact that the design flaw had nothing to do with China, offshoring, globalization, Lou Dobbs' War on the middle class, or the price of tea. Just a plain combination of sloppy or unscrupulous decisions by designers and managers. But, as they say, iiit runs downhill, and China (foreigners generally) are at the bottom of the social hill. I'll be tilting if someone will be my windmill.

Oh well I guess it doesn't sell newspapers to report that thousands of poor people in China did their jobs and your good ole American white-bred neighbor screwed up his and killed a few babies.


  1. JT Alexander27/9/07 21:13

    Sir I could not agree with you more, I have stated this over and over again to people Stop China Bashing! For one every thing that is flawed has to go through a design team that is almost always western owned or operated. Furthermore I love china because they re-make and reproduce many of they products I use for my hobby and their prices are half the prices and similar quality. God bless reverse engineering and China's overlook of international patent law.

  2. I respect whatever opinion people want to put up here. I do think in the cases of the Simplicity cribs and the Mattell toys that were recently recalled, we've been dishonest or at least biased in how the media has reported the relevant facts, in particular the stage of production where the error occurred. Cases of toothpaste or dog food may be separate cases for which Chinese manufacturing facilities own blame, but I think we have been made acutely aware of it. The other side of the coin gets shamefully little publicity, that is to say the retraction never gets as much attention as the initial, sometimes factually-impaired, story.

    I think that intellectual property rights are a tougher issue, and one fundamentally separate from the initial purpose of this thread. The welfare effects of violating them may be a serious concern in theory, but they are hard to measure empirically. In addition, a policy solution with the advantage of being first-best in terms of specificity to the real issue is not enforceable across national boundaries. Second best solutions such as trade sanctions can be detrimental to the sanctioning country's net welfare, and efficacy in combatting the initial problem is ambiguous.