We should look to China as a harsh and toxic example of what can happen in a society where industrialization is left unchecked. “Man must conquer nature” was a popular slogan of Chairman Mao and the carryover of such an attitude and the consequences of such values are quite evident today. The air in the country is so polluted that in many cities it is unwise to go outside without some form of respirator on to clean the air you breathe. Recent photographs of China are tinted in a strange yellowish haze attesting to the huge amounts of particulate matter that is in the atmosphere there as a direct result of coal fired generators powering their factories. Eventually the dust of all the extensive heavy industry settles and now much of the rice in China is tainted with very dangerous amounts of heavy metals. One metal in particular, cadmium, is quite toxic to the liver and kidneys as well as being a carcinogen that is also proven to weaken bones. The government, as is typical in China, is of course denying there is any problem but the public result has been for consumers to switch to rice grown in Thailand when available.
Quality control in China suffers as well as is evident in the proliferation of failing solar panels. Today the New York Times reported on such defective panels that are failing after only two years of operation when their reported durability is twenty five years. It was several years ago that they flooded the market with cheap panels and drove many of their competitors, particularly those based in the United States out of business. One can only conjecture if those panels had a higher trade tariff imposed and perhaps were not subsidized by the Chinese government that a better quality, made in the U.S.A. product would have emerged as a longer lasting reliable product! This is what happens when corners are cut and deregulation runs rampant. It is also a clear illustration of ways that government can impose safety regulations and minimum production standards in a manner that is beneficial to the environment and the consumer as well. Cheaper is almost never better in the long run!
Now a Chinese company, Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. has made a bid on a United States company for the acquisition of Smithfield Foods Inc. for 4.7 billion dollars. This deal, the largest purchase to date of a U.S. company would take the worlds largest pork producer private. Let’s hope that the food contamination issues as well as the incredible lack of quality control issues that are mentioned above don’t carry over to taint the food supply in the United States. At this point in the purchase it is up to the regulators to examine this deal and make sure that the food supply remains safe. As consumers we should look at this deal with a skeptical eye. We have seen what happens when regulations are overlooked and business is allowed to run rampant. Suddenly that ham on rye doesn’t sound so appetizing!
“Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let’s not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources.” — Ronald Reagan
“Ronald Reagan really said that. No wonder he is the figure head of the Republican Party. Remarks like that are quite frightening and damn ignorant in their lack of scientific fact.” — Jake Shween
Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween