Sunday, December 30, 2007

Global Capitalism Comes to Southeast Asia

Cheap Chinese products, like motorcycles that sell for only $440, are flooding China's southern neighbors and consumers in Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are laying out the welcome mat.

The products are transforming the lives of some of the poorest people in Asia, whose worldly possessions only a few years ago typically consisted of not much more than a set or two of clothes, cooking utensils and a thatch-roofed house built by hand.

As the first introduction to global capitalism, Chinese products are met with deep appreciation.

Read more of the IHT article "Chinese Goods Transform Life in Southeast Asia"
here.

Watch a video "Change Arrives on a Scooter" here.

Note that globalization and trade are disproportionately benefiting the poor people of SE Asia, since the rich politicians and politically-connected elite already had their BMWs. Also, this story counteracts the myth that "globalization exploits the developing nations and their poor." I don't think the mountain villagers of Laos, who can now reach the nearest city in 2 hours on a scooter instead of walking all day, feel too "exploited."

(HT: Sanil Kori)

5 Comments:

At 12/31/2007 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the mountain villagers of Laos, who can now reach the nearest city in 2 hours on a scooter instead of walking all day, feel too "exploited."

If you were a poor, dumb, ignorant villager you wouldn't appreciate the value of tires that won't blow out and kill you at higher speeds, products that are free of chemicals that might give your babies birth defects or stunt your children's brain development.

You wouldn't feel exploited because you're a poor, dumb, ignorant mountain villager being exploited by unscrupulous businesses located in another country who know what they are doing to you, your family and future offspring.

 
At 12/31/2007 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead your wife and child has died because you had no vehicle to fetch the doctor when she had trouble during childbirth.

High levels of safety are a luxury that is attained after development takes place.

 
At 12/31/2007 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"exploited because you're a poor, dumb, ignorant mountain villager being exploited by unscrupulous businesses"

It is interesting to see that someone actually will stand on their head to try to prove that having any improvements in quality of life is exploitation. There is no mention of any of these villagers buying children's toys (chances are pretty good that such purchases would not even interest villagers who live at a substitence level - but why let facts get in the way of a good rant).

I hope that you are planning to walk the walk and throw out your gameboy, TV set, DVD player, lawn furniture, Gillette raser blades, most of your wardrobe, etc. After all, you wouldn't want to be "exploited" by those unscrupulous businesses selling consumer goods from China.

For that matter, you could get rid of every product in your home that is associated with any type of profit seeking entity and handweave your own tent living on root veggies, pemican and boiled treebark to stave off scurvy.

Then again, you could actually consider the radical concept that a consumer purchase is a voluntary exchange. The product must be perceived to have value and satisfy the needs of the consumer for a purchase to occur.

 
At 1/01/2008 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is this bull about no vehicle to fetch the doctor? Safe tires cost a few cents more to produce so instead of $440.00 the cost of the "vehicle" is $441.00--like a buck is going to make all the difference.

 
At 1/01/2008 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article made no mention of problems with tire quality. It referred to engine problems.

The other goods discussed were TV sets, and satellite dishes. I doubt that a TV or a radio can poison your child although there is certainly a case against TV for stunting your child's brain development particularly if one considers the quality of logic exemplified by Anon. 10:37.

 

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