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Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007 07:24 am

Made in America

Labor woes in China can be blamed on greed here

Untitled Document Goodness gracious, China — clean up your act! The news is filled with horror stories of China’s nasty exports that are coming to our shores — toy ovens that burn our children, seafood laden with toxics and antibiotics, tires that come apart on the highways, pet food that kills pets, and the list goes on. China must stop the exportation of these horrors, scream our corporate, political, and media leaders. But who are the real culprits here? You can’t have an exporter without an importer. Chinese businesses are not shipping billions of dollars worth of products to our shores uninvited. U.S. manufacturers and retailers are the ones importing this stuff and selling it to us. It’s Wal-Mart, Hasbro, Black & Decker, Red Lobster, Toys R Us, Target, and other big brand names that have built this dependency on Chinese imports and are profiting phenomenally from it. These special interests are the ones that abandoned American producers and communities, transferring their investment capital to China. They jumped at the chance to exploit Chinese labor that could be had for pennies an hour and made to toil in brutal sweatshop conditions that are legally and morally abominable to our people. These importers also cynically wink at the vile environmental contamination caused by Chinese factories. Let’s be honest. China’s trillion-dollar-a-year export economy is based squarely on the country’s deliberate lack of humane standards. That’s precisely why our CEOs rushed over there — every corner cut, every penny taken from workers and the environment, every product made on the cheap is pure profit for importers sitting so comfortably in their executive suites. If you’re outraged by shoddy, dangerous, and deadly products from China, don’t point at the Chinese — point at America’s corporate elite. 

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author.
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