Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Made in China

The image above is Shanghai in 1990; the image below is Shanghai in 2010 (via) as photographed from the same location. I think this sort of transformation used to happen in the United States, but over the twenty years between 1990-2010, the only thing in the USA that grew at that kind of rate is, well, the prevalence of "Made in China" markers on goods sold in stores. And, it must be said, web-based pornography and average portion sizes.

The 'free trade' enthusiasts insist this is a good thing for all concerned -- not the portion sizes or porn, I mean, but China's explosive growth by way of producing goods for consumption in the USA and beyond. (Never mind that China's growth has come with a push from a rather visible and authoritarian hand -- this, like so many facts and facets of reality, is powerless against 'free market' boosterism). The change has obviously been a good thing for many people and institutions in China and the USA. How, whether, and when that translates to "good for all" -- here, there, and beyond -- is very much in question.

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