In the Arena

Business Bozos

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I don’t often agree with Harold Meyerson on trade matters, but he’s dead right here. I’ve always believed that the growing Chinese middle class would demand, and eventually receive, basic human rights–the rule of law, a strong social safety net and, yes, the right to organize. That American businesses are lobbying against a modest increase in Chinese workers rights is astonishing–because the democratization of Chinese society is in the long-term interests of U.S. business–and reprehensible.

Patrons Patronizing: I love these sorts of comments from Tom T and Maynard…

TomT: “More and more as I read your posts, I’m drawn to the following conclusion: you’re an intelligent, well-meaning man who lives an parallel universe, one where hippies are powerful, businessmen are motivated by morality, and loyal Bushies are fundamentally decent.”

Maynard, to Tom T: It’s almost like you are talking with a 16 year old. They may mean well, but have no life experiences and lack an understanding of how the world works (as apposed to how the world should work).

Oh please. I’ve been to China multiple times, spent weeks (and, at one point, a month) there. I’ve traveled across the country, visited villages, sweatshops and urban workers. And the point stands: It is in the interests of the U.S. business community–especially those who provide high value-added products, like financial services–to see the creation of a massive Chinese middle class that will have some use for their products, to say nothing of the importance of stability in a country long-known for its paroxyms of lunatic violence.

So, commentators, can we make a deal? Can you please assume that when I express an opinion it’s on the basis of extensive reporting–not just reading, but actually talking to people–and travel? I know there are columnists who just sit back and opine. I’m not one of them.