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Publisher's Summary

To write The China Price, Alexandra Harney has penetrated further and deeper into China's enormous ecosystem of export-oriented industry than any outsider before her. She uncovers the truth about how China is able to offer such amazingly low prices to the rest of the world. What she has discovered is a brutal, Hobbesian world in which intense pricing pressure from Western companies combines with ubiquitous corruption and a lack of transparency to exact an unseen and unconscionable toll in human misery and environmental damage. The recent scandals about Chinese-made toys, tires, and toothpaste drive home a central tenet of this book: What happens in Chinese factories affects all of us, everywhere. 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.
©2008 Alexandra Harney (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"A vivid portrait of factory life in the country that sells consumer goods for the lowest price possible." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Packed with facts, figures, and sympathetic portraits of Chinese workers and managers, Harney's is a perceptive take on the world's workshop." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Alexandra on 02-07-09

Thoroughly Research, Balanced Account

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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By j.tran on 10-23-14

This book is Garbage Propaganda

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.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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