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August 12, 2003

Racing to the Bottom

Phillip Greenspun's brilliant satire strikes again, this time on the subject of unfair trade policies. Greenspun asks: "Why can't we buy a Chinese house at Walmart?"

How about this for a brilliant business idea:  clearcut a Canadian forest (they love to cut down trees in British Columbia) and ship the lumber to China, build modular houses there and ship the completed houses back to the U.S. in container ships.  Sell them at Walmart (they'll sell anything Chinese-made at Walmart).  The quality won't be quite as good as the best custom homes in the U.S. but it will be good enough and when things start to get creaky in 20 years you can throw the house out and buy a new one at Walmart or Home Depot.

Yeah, why don't we do that? But really, why do we keep messing around? While we're clear-cutting Canadian forests, why don't we just invade Canada, enslave the populace, and force Canadian labor to build us anything we want? Think of what we'd save on shipping!

Posted August 12, 2003 09:24 AM | general politics

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