Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chinese Checkers and Double Standards

China’s playing the Protectionism-card as it whines about the rash of product recalls in the US recently. The Chinese believe Mattel has only itself to blame for a huge toy recall that has exacerbated global alarms about Chinese-made goods.

Call me culturally-challenged, but I have a hard time grasping that kind of logic.

Mattel recalled over 18 million Chinese-made toys because they had small magnets that could be easily swallowed by kids. This incident followed a recall of 1.5 million toys that were painted with leaded paint, which followed a string of other product pullbacks, including tainted Chinese-made toothpaste, pet food, tires, eels and seafood, and lethal chemicals in some Chinese-made medicines.
Yeah, we’re protectionist, alright.
Of our health.

People's Daily, the Communist Party's official paper (the only paper you need to read in China), said stories about unsafe Chinese food and products in the Western media were exaggerated, and ignored the good record of nearly all the country's exporters.

Here’s a news flash for you guys: The good record of any company is not news.
It’s expected.
It’s a given.
It’s generally how successful companies stay in business.

You put leaded paint on kids’ toys…poisonous chemicals in pet food and medicine, and put stuff in toothpaste that’s not good for folks—that’s news.
That’s the way it works.

Interestingly, the Chinese sense of honor and remorse runs far deeper than in its Western counterparts. Over here, cheating on stock options or ripping people off is punishable by a few months’ incarceration at Club Fed.
Whereas in China, you let nasty chemicals slip into toothpaste, the local ChiCom Brigade stands you up next to a wall and holds an impromptu target practice.

The owner of the company that painted those Mattel toys with leaded paint committed suicide within weeks of the fiasco. That the competitive environment in China is unforgiving is an understatement.

Meanwhile, from the “Do as I say, not as I do” Dept… Presidential wannabe John Edwards now says you and I should give up our SUV’s, even if he’s not.

Edwards spoke at a forum hosted by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Florida, where he was quoted as saying, “I think Americans are actually willing to sacrifice…”
I must have missed participating in that poll...

In Edwards’ view, among those sacrifices is the adoption of more fuel-efficient modes of transportation. Some wiseacre in the crowd asked whether a President Edwards would ask Americans to give up their SUV’s, to which he responded, “Yes.”

Then he jumped into his Cadillac SRX and roared off into the sunset…at 15mpg.

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