RSS FEED Subscribe in iTunes Title: The China Price

The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage


Author: Alexandra Harney

Host: Clyde Warden

The China Price

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Popular books by journalists rarely have anything of value to offer beyond stereotypes and reinforcing fear, and that is why I avoid them. This time, however, I could not resist. Too many thumbs up books make the site boring, so here goes a a shot at a book I expected to be very bad.

Alexandra Harney was not in Asia especially long when she wrote this book, under ten years, but at least she was in the region. She reports to be fluent in Japanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin, so I assume she has the ability to speak directly to the people in the book, yet it is never really clear that this is the case. Rarely do her own words appear in the book. There is nothing of the give and take of a conversation, simply a detached reporting of what others were saying, thinking, doing. This makes it very difficult to tell when information in the book is actually a second hand account from a person telling a story, or when the story is being observed directly by Harney. Reflexiveness is what is totally missing from this book, so there just is no real thick description of any situation or any of the people. In this way, the book is very similar to a 60 Minutes (the television show) report. It pulls on your strings, you come away angry at a moral level, but then wonder where is the beef?  The real information is missing, the complexity is just missing in action.

Economic issues are treated with overly simplistic assumptions. The book infers more government action is required to stop those out of control Chinese factory owners, and their crazy employees for that matter. Western consumers are not paying enough for products, so that needs to be changed somehow. What exactly is to be done? Well, I guess that is not the scope of this book.

The Show:

Length: 26 minutes 58 seconds. Download MP3 12.65MB (Right click->Save As).

Category: Marketing Reads

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