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June 05, 2007

Cut-Throat Capitalism: A Pirate's Paradise

Today, the New York Times again called attention to the dangerous fake and falsified products that are being exported to the U.S. and around the world from China. The most imminent threats have been from products in people food and pet food, but everything from fake car parts, cosmetics, and Philips light bulbs to counterfeit electrical cables and phony Viagra have a history of production in the country.

The insightful question that adds an edge to this article, however, diverts from China-bashing and rather implores us to consider the larger framework in which countries operate in the global economy:

"This is cut-throat market capitalism," said Wenran Jiang, a specialist in China who teaches at the University of Alberta. "But the question has to be asked: is this uniquely Chinese or is there simply a lack of regulation in the market?"

"We have to bear in mind they probably don't think about the consequences at all," said Steve Tsang, a China specialist who teaches at Oxford University. "They're probably only thinking of making a fast buck."

What happens when deregulation runs rampant? This is just a preview. More to come on specific products to avoid that are readily available to the American consumer.

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