In a country with almost no transparency, where graft is institutionalized and workers have little recourse to the rule of law, incentives to lie about business practices vastly outweigh incentives to tell the truth. Harney reveals that despite a decade of monitoring factories, outsiders all too often have no idea of the conditions under which goods from China are made. She exposes the widespread practice of using a dummy or model factory as a company's false window out to the world, concealing a vast number of illegal factories operating completely off the books.
Some Western companies are better than others about sniffing out such deception, but too many are perfectly happy to embrace plausible deniability as long as the prices remain so low. And in the Gold Rush atmosphere that has infected the country, in which everyone is clamoring to get rich and corruption is rampant, it's almost impossible for the Chinese government's own underfunded regulatory mechanisms to do much good at all. But perhaps the most important revelation in The China Price is how fast change is coming, one way or another.
This book is very thoroughly researched -- unlike many journalists who write about China, it is clear the author both speaks Chinese and has a good understanding of the culture and history. Furthermore, it is a very balanced account - neither demonizing Walmart, the Chinese government, nor factory owners, but provides a good understanding of how each part fits into the big picture. Personally, I found the level of detail just right and the anecdotes very revealing.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Marxists, Socialists, Stupid people
Has The China Price turned you off from other books in this genre?
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment and a little anger that I bought this book. Don't trust the other reviews. They don't know what they are talking about.
Any additional comments?
This book is anti-capitalist propaganda. It's written by a journalist with no economic insight. They blame capitalism and free trade on everything. The focus is on the exploitation of third world workers though. The author blames global warming, job loss, and chinese worker not getting paid enough on capitalism and free trade. It is seriously typical socialist garbage. Get a book that is more centered on economics. Otherwise, you'll just be misinformed by this fear monger.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I thought this book gave a good insight into China's market. my only issue was that the book is a little outdated buy now and would like to know how things are looking these days. The book makes it seem like China is moving towards playing by the book and being more fair, but now we know they steal all their info, just think google and the enforcement still sucks. As a matter of fact it's the government who is hacking these companies to get proprietary information.
In other words, the book may have been to much of an optimistic view on China and it's future.
Examples are from the early 2000's to 2005/6, so almost a decade out of date.
This is a great review of how China has arrived at where it is today. You get a better understanding of how and why China is.
Book seemed a little long in parts, but if you want to understand your competition or are looking to expand into China, this is a must read.
Would you consider the audio edition of The China Price to be better than the print version?
I have not read the print version
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
That there are many human stories behind China's rise in the world. Like elsewhere, China's success was and continues to be built on the backs of the poor.
Which character – as performed by Karen White – was your favorite?
What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?
That China faces the same problems as everywhere else in the world and that and that they face them with the same political mixture of approaches as any other country.
Any additional comments?
I think that western education has given us the impression that China is a one mind totalitarian state. The book makes clear that this is not true.
This is a very good survey of the hidden costs of cheap Chinese manufacturing. The anecdotes are poignant and powerful. The prose is a little dry.
Another reviewer said this could have been shorter. He/she was right. Could have been a magazine lenth article. That being said, worth alisten if you are interested in the other side of outsourcing and want to get an idea of how life is like for the slave laborers that probably made 9/10ths of the consumer good in your house.
Also helps you understand how and why America got screwed in the last two decades
...but not for a book. I would read this in the Sunday Times Magazine or the New Yorker, but as a full-length book the premise gets stretched pretty thin. The author's point is completely valid and the supporting detail is exhaustive, but listening got very tedious for me. I may be betraying my own prejudices more than I am reviewing this book, so if you would love to listen to a detailed analysis of the social and political consequences of China's rise as a world power, then this is a great audiobook to dig into.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful