What to Do About China?
Concerned about your business prospects in the domestic market? Well, Providence Journal business-section columnist John Kostrzewa has a suggestion:
With the local and national economies weakening, and perhaps already in recession, small and large businesses are worried about where the growth will come from in 2008.
How about looking overseas, especially to China?
He offers advice, gleaned from a seminar on the topic sponsored by Citizens Bank, the Bank of China and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “Don’t underestimate the language barrier,” says one speaker. However, to complement the growing Chinese urban consumer market:
Business owners… can find lower labor, operating and land costs, a surging demand for foreign products and less competition in other parts of the country.
Ah yes. Lower labor costs:
Officially, 2,375 trafficking cases were reported in China last year, a 7.6 percent decrease from 2006, according to the Public Security Ministry.
But the statistics are based on China’s narrow definition of trafficking, which covers only the kidnapping, purchase or sale of women and children younger than 14, not older teen-agers and men. Activists say the number is grossly understated and that tens of thousands of people are trafficked each year.
Historically, many victims have been women forced to marry lonely farmers, or male babies illegally adopted by couples who wanted a son. But those types of cases are leveling off, while cases of migrants deceived into sexual exploitation and forced labor are increasing, activists say.
I know, I know. I’ve got those libertarian, free-market leanings, as well. But I don’t think we, as a nation, have come up with an adequate solution for dealing with the potential to globalize our economy without globalizing our principles — in part because we’re so divided on what our principles should be. Without some truly visionary innovation on our shores, I’m not confident that either our economy or our moral center will remain strong enough for those invisible hands to crush international iniquity.
Jay Nordlinger puts it inimicably:
Reading a report about China’s latest massacre in Tibet, I was struck by one line in particular: “China is gambling that its crackdown will not bring an international outcry over human rights violations that could lead to boycotts of the Olympics.”
That is a very, very good gamble. Nobody gives a rat’s behind what the Chinese do, to Tibetans or anybody else. It is a curious fact of modern times. If only China’s rulers would embrace the Bush administration: Maybe the world would care!