Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not funny

A Year Without "Made in China" One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy even includes a chapter titled "A Modest Proposal". And I thought that this was Jonathan Swift brought up to date. But I was wrong. I was fooled.

Author Sara Bongiorni is apparently serious. She is a mercantilist-protectionist, not some clever writer who is able to present David Ricardo in modern and Swiftian terms. Yes, she really wants to protect Chinese workers from those awful manufacturing jobs -- and send them where she does not say or know.

Her family goes through great pains to avoid Chinese goods (OK to buy Taiwanese, German, etc.). And this is all presented with some humor. And I thought that this was the point. But silly me. The author kind of comes clean towards the end.

But is a lifelong boycott what I really want? I'm not at all sure that it is. On the one hand, it's been satisfying to know learn firsthand that China really hasn't taken over the planet, or our lives, at least not entirely, although sometimes it looked that way, especially in the toy and electronics aisles and in the shoe store. Of course, we're not out of the woods yet. I have a feeling China is just getting started when it comes to world domination.

Francisco Rodriguez's review in the Dec 2008 Journal of Economic Literature had me hoping that this book could be a neat teching device. But I kept looking for wink-wink-nod-nod and it's not there.