Chinese Workers Are Not the Enemy
Posted on Jan 19, 2011
By Moshe Adler
Led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., members of Congress are demanding that China reverse its pro-labor policies or ... the U.S. will do the same. If the Chinese don’t revalue their currency, we will slap tariffs on their goods. Of course Congress should help American workers, but curbing the appetites of our own executives would be a far better place to start. Hurting Chinese workers, however, is not what American workers need.
American workers need jobs and access to the Chinese market, and Chinese workers need jobs and technology. Volvo provides a model of how we can make both sides happy. Under its new Chinese ownership, product development and production for Volvo’s European and American markets take place in Sweden, while production for the Chinese market, with the same technology, takes place in China.
China is not the problem, it’s just Congress’ latest excuse for abandoning the American worker.
Moshe Adler teaches economics at Columbia University and at the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies at Empire State College. He is the author of “Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal” (The New Press, 2010).
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