We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

This “trade and cheap labour for manufacturing is the rich world exploiting the poor” argument is not precisely new to my ears. When I was a kid in the 1970s I heard the same thing about how we were taking advantage of poor world sweatshops. The only thing that has changed since then is the location of the sweatshops. In those days people talked about Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, those kinds of places. And what do these places have in common? Well, today they are the rich world. Ten years ago we started seeing “Made in China” on our cheap imports. A lot of this stuff then came from Shenzhen, just over the border from Hong Kong. Well, today Shenzhen is for practical purposes a developed world city. The manufacturing has now moved inland. The process is getting faster, and the more of the world is rich, then it gets faster still for the rest.

Michael Jennings, getting enraged at Christian Aid yesterday evening.

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Did what Mr Jennings have to say have any postitive effect on any of the “fair trade” people?

    Or were all of them closed minded types?

  • I second Paul’s question! C’mon, give us an after-action report.

    Also, I did find it interesting that Michael mentioned what he heard in the seventies, when, judging from his apparent age, he was a young teenager just as I was.

    The arguments and examples putting the case against free trade (the only case I remember hearing) that I was exposed to when I was a teenager acted like a very slow-burning fuse in turning me into an enthusiastic free trader.

    My geography textbook was enthusiastic about African agricultural marketing boards in places like Tanzania. I genuinely and enthusiastically expected socialist African countries to make great strides. At the same time I was sorry for the poor exploited people in Taiwan etc. Yet I couldn’t help noticing that my textbook was already old, and it hadn’t happened yet…

  • zmollusc

    ……………..so what happens when there is nobody left to ‘exploit’?

  • ……………..so what happens when there is nobody left to ‘exploit’?

    Nobody left as in “boom, you’re all dead” or nobody left as in “they’re all rich now”?

    The first is needlessly alarmist, the second is everybody’s goal. Isn’t it?

  • Oh dear. I wonder what Natalie thinks my “apparent age” is. I was born in 1968, so I was a young teenager in the early 1980s. Slightly scarily, I am now 36.

    And I am presently in France, and a more detailed report on the evening is a bit beyond me right now. I might manage something later in the week. (I was not the only Samizdatista in the audience though).

  • Cheer up, Michael. I only meant that I thought, correctly, you were within a few years of my own age. My off the cuff mental addition may have been a bit ropey too.

    Actually I tend to assume everyone is within a few years of my own age unless I have definite info to the contrary.

  • Ah, I see Sean Gabb has written of his experience.

  • zmollusc

    …….erm, I meant ‘when there are no more serfs to make all the consumer goods for 1 pebble an hour, who will make our western consumer items?’
    Do we all start again with the ‘least rich’?
    Will there be global inflation?

  • I should think that anyone who wishes to turn a profit would produce consumer goods, serf or no.
    Naturally, inflation is an attendent evil.