The Tao of Junk – Daniel Gross

With the focus on exports arriving in the U.S. from China, Slate Magazine looks at what exactly the U.S. is exporting to China:

Economists make a big deal out of all the junk we import from China: tainted pet food, lead-laced toys, and enough cheap plastic tchotchkes to load up a landfill the size of Montana. And American industries are clearly being drenched by the rising tide of Chinese imports, which totaled $288 billion in 2006. But as imports from China loudly rise, American exports to China are quietly rising at an even more rapid pace. Would it surprise you to learn that a lot of those exports are … junk?

In an act of macroeconomic karma, materials thrown out by Americans”broken-down auto bodies, old screws and nails, paper”accounted for $6.7 billion in exports to China in 2006, second only to aerospace products. [Full text]

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