Thomas Friedman, a thoroughly honorable man of the left, champions China from the pages of the New York Times in the same way his predecessor Walter Duranty did of Stalinist Russia from the pages of the same newspaper. Duranty denied Stalin’s atrocities; Friedman ignores China’s lack of human rights. Friedman argues that we could solve our economic problems if only we would do as China does.
Here is a glimpse of how China does.
In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad New York Times Jan 26, 2012
The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening last May, an eruption of fire and noise that twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws….Two people were killed immediately, and over a dozen others hurt. As the injured were rushed into ambulances, one in particular stood out. His features had been smeared by the blast, scrubbed by heat and violence until a mat of red and black had replaced his mouth and nose.
[Workers must submit to] onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.
Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste…
More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77.
There is a Laffer curve for regulation. No one has ever drawn one but one surely does exist. Total regulation would stifle an economy and there would be no prosperity. No regulation would be destructive to humanity and there would be no prosperity. Somewhere in between, the curve peaks. We are on the right side of the slope (over-regulation) and trending down. If you want to know where China is, ask Tom Friedman. But be prepared; he may not know. He may not have thought about it.