The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, April 05, 2007

The World Backwards

The nice thing about "the free market" is that even though there's no such thing, it's omniscient, omnibenevolent, and infallible. All you have to do is open up your markets, and health, wealth and happiness are inevitable. Awesome.

[In China], since March of last year, the government has been considering a labor law that promises a smidgen of increase in workers' rights. And since March of last year, the American businesses so mightily invested in China have mightily fought it. . . .

As documented by Global Labor Strategies, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization headed by longtime labor activists, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the U.S.-China Business Council embarked on a major campaign to kill these tepid reforms. Last April, one month after the legislation was first floated, the chamber sent a 42-page document to the Chinese government on behalf of its 1,300 members -- including General Electric, Microsoft, Dell, Ford, and dozens of other household brand names -- objecting to these minimal increases in worker power. In its public comments on the proposed law, GE declared that it strongly preferred "consultation" with workers to "securing worker representative approval" on a range of its labor practices.

Remember all those ferocious debates over renewing favored-nation trade status with China over their lousy human rights record? Well, the right finally got what it wanted-- access to the markets, and a perpetual crappy human rights record. Because that way, you're sure to get more.... money.