Dreaded by competitors, "the China price" has become "the lowest price possible," the hallmark of China's incredibly cheap, ubiquitous manufacturers. Financial Timeseditor Harney explores the hidden price tag for China's economic juggernaut. It's a familiar but engrossing tale of Dickensian industrialization. Chinese factory hands work endless hours for miserable wages in dusty, sweltering workshops, slowly succumbing to occupational ailments or suddenly losing a limb to a machine. Coal-fired power plants spew pollutants into nearly unbreathable air. Migrants from the countryside, harassed by China's hukousystem of internal passports, form a readily exploitable labor pool with few legal protections. The system is fueled by Western investment and, Harney observes, hypocrisy. Retailers like Wal-Mart impose social responsibility codes on their Chinese suppliers, but refuse to pay the costs of raising labor standards; the result is a pervasive system of cheating through fake employment records and secret uninspected factories, to which Western companies turn a blind eye. But Harney also finds stirrings of change; aided by regional labor shortages, rising wages and intrepid activists. Chinese workers are demanding-and gradually winning-more rights. Packed with facts, figures and sympathetic portraits of Chinese workers and managers, Harney's is a perceptive take on the world's workshop. (Mar. 31)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantageby Alexandra Harney
In this landmark work of investigative reporting, former Financial Times correspondent Alexandra Harney uncovers a story of immense significance to us all: how China's factory economy gains a competitive edge by selling out its workers, environment, and future. Harney's firsthand reporting brings us face-to-face with a world in which intense pricing pressure from Western companies combines with ubiquitous corruption and a lack of transparency to exact a staggering toll in human misery and environmental damage. This eye-opening expose offers, for the first time, an intimate look at the defining business story of our time.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
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- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Alexandra Harney, a former reporter for the Financial Times, has been writing about Asia for a decade.
Karen White has been narrating audiobooks since 1999, with more than two hundred to her credit. Honored to be included in AudioFile's Best Voices and Speaking of Audiobooks's Best Romance Audio 2012 and 2013, she is also an Audie Award finalist and has earned multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards.
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This book starts out with quite a bit of enthusiasm and luster but it starts to fade about halfway through. It seems as if some of the chapters could have been consolidated as they were covering much of the same ground. There were also too many small characters that were developed in one portion of the book, then left behind, never to be revisited; they became confusing and detracted from the overall voice of the work. Many great points were brought to light but the proposed fixes were too general and lacked an individual viewpoint and intellectual ingenuity.
Shoppers know that the ubiquitous "Made in China" labels on everything from basic food and clothing to high-end electronics usually mean low prices. But most consumers don't realize the full extent of the repercussions that the "China price" extracts from the Chinese and the rest of world. Journalist Alexandra Harney undertakes an in-depth investigation into what Chinese workers must endure to save the average American family $500 a year: low wages, crushingly long work days and brutal - sometimes deadly - working conditions. But she also reveals the hidden costs the world pays for the China price, including climate change, air pollution, unemployment and unsafe products. Harney gained unprecedented access to secret factories, workers' homes and government offices to hear the personal, often chilling stories of what China's economic boom has meant for millions of people. Although Harney's argument ignores some mitigating factors, such as China's right to industrialize and the good that growth in China has achieved, getAbstract strongly recommends reading this book before your next shopping trip: Reflect on what that "$3 T-shirt or $30 DVD" player really costs the world.