Anything Under the Sun
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Is History repeating itself? - Different nations but same attitude
Oh I know that country, you're thinking to yourself. Its China, of-course! Well, you're wrong. It is the US - not the present day Super power nation, but during its the humble beginning of the late 19th and early 20th century one.
According to a recent article in the Boston Globe by Stephen Mihm, an associate professor of American History at the University of Georgia, Americans had gotten on the nerves of Britain and other European countries by publishing books by their authors - Charles Dickens among others - without paying royalties. Its butter exported to Europe was made of beef fat, cattle stomach and ewe udders. Its pork was contaminated with cholera, its pickles with sulphates and its milk with chalk. America, in other words behaved very much like China today.
Things have slowly changed as America moved up the value ladder and started selling its products on quality rather than quantity. Then it started pointing accusing fingers on other nations as the tables had turned. During the second half of the twentieth century, Japan got the brunt of trade sanctions for perpetuating the sort of practices it (the US) had abandoned.
China is now repeating history with abundant pirating of western movies and products, importing foodstuff that are poisonous etc.
It seems every "Growing" nations has its lot of mistakes, although the people who are affected are more often from other nations. Let us hope China grows up soon and realise "Quality is always better than Quantity". Unless it imposes rules and quality checks on its products and foodstuff, other nations will stop trading with it or impose trade sanctions too.
I personally would prefer to pay a bit more on quality products. An example would be a can opener that I had bought for $1. It lasted a week. Rather than paying $1 for a product that is useful to me for merely a week, it would be better to pay for good quality product even ten times the price, that is $10, if it lasted a year or more.