The Black Hole of China – Andrew Leonard

From Slate.com, via Howard French’s A Glimpse of the World blog:

One of the most bruising critiques of China’s emerging role in the global economy holds that the nation is not only taking the jobs of workers in rich countries, but is also simultaneously battering the livelihoods of workers in the poorest regions of the world. In this fomulation, China is a kind of black hole, combining cheap labor, economies of scale, and ever-increasing technical sophistication to suck the life force out of everyone else.

If one were to judge by the press coverage of a new report from the United Nations Development Program unveiled in Cambodia last Thursday, “Trade on Human Terms: Transforming Trade for Human Development In and the Pacific.” the worst fears are being realized. “China’s Boom a Threat to Neighbors, UN report says,” blasted the Wall Street Journal. Since the removal of international quotas on two years ago, China’s clothing and industry has boomed, but some of the poorest nations in Asia have seen their once thriving textile sectors decline. Since these same nations are also some of the leading practitioners of trade liberalization in the developing world, the conclusion is hard to avoid: the poor are getting screwed by free trade. [Full text]

Read the full text of the UNDP report, “Trade on Human Terms: Transforming Trade for Human Development In Asia and the Pacific.

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