There’s a lot of commotion about dangerous products coming out of China lately, and now everyone’s in an uproar. Why is everyone so surprised?
We’ve been dealing with it in the IT industry for a while. Bad capacitors on motherboards, bad laptop batteries, and more. This is what happens when you go to the lowest bidder. This is also a country known for polluting their skies and rivers for the sake of progress (Beijing makes LA’s smog look like a clear summer night), and to hell with what it does to the people.
There’s also a great writeup on this on Tim’s blog, attributed to Bill Maher. It’s like dealing with lowest bids from contractors: they’re going to cut corners to make up the difference. Yeah, those model homes are gorgeous with their oak and mahogany and brass, but your house is going to end up with veneer and electroplating because nobody’s going to pay what it would cost to do it right.
Now there’s finger pointing, the accusations that the Chinese are doing it on purpose to kill us all. Never mind that the Chinese government took a drug official out back and (most likely) shot him in the back of the head. (Conversely, if he would have been an American, we would have dragged that trial on for years, and if we even managed to find him guilty he’d be in a country club prison.) The Chinese are happy to take our money, and if we pull all our stuff back home it doesn’t do them any good.
And the real bitch of it is if we all started buying only American-made products, we’d all gripe about how much everything costs.
Behold, the wonders of capitalism. Like most systems of government and economics, it all looks great on paper.
Then people get involved and royally fuck things up.