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Dreaded by competitors, the China price has become the lowest price possible, the hallmark of China's incredibly cheap, ubiquitous manufacturers. Financial Times editor 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 hukou system 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)
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"Presents the inconvenient truths about China and globalization that flat worlders have overlooked."
-Clyde Prestowitz, author of Three Billion New Capitalists
"Anyone running a company that outsources manufacturing to China, or is thinking of doing so, needs to read this book."
"The gritty, corrupt reality of the Chinese economic miracle is the great business story of our time and Alexandra Harney has got it."
-Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of China Syndrome
I think that this book does a really nice job focusing on the reality of doing business in China. Alexandra's methodology of collecting information as a freelance writer to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Patrick
"How China's factory economy gains a competitive edge by selling out its workers, environment, and future"
Bravo! Read more
The book looks like a stretch documentary highlighting the same problems more extensively than required. Read morePublished on January 30, 2013 by Jeyner Arango
I have read this for one of my political science classes. It gives a more in-depth look at the conditions and story behind the industrial revolution in china. Read morePublished on November 25, 2011 by RancidSeoul
...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. Read morePublished on October 6, 2011 by T. C. Pile
Alot of good data is cited, but because the book was published a few years ago, much of the data is now 5, 6 years old. One must look beyond the data and recognize the trends. Read morePublished on June 10, 2011 by Mr. China
Shoppers know that the ubiquitous "Made in China" labels on everything from basic food and clothing to high-end electronics usually mean low prices. Read morePublished on May 31, 2011 by Rolf Dobelli