China's manufacturers apparently have reverted to their bad old habits
On April 2, American Thinker published a post in which I suggested that China's culture was responsible for the coronavirus. This post riffed off the fact that, on Sunday, Tucker Carlson had highlighted a study from China holding that the bat responsible for COVID-19 was not one of the bats sold and eaten at Wuhan's infamous wet markets. Instead, the bat was of a type used at two nearby research laboratories.
Carlson said — and this seemed correct — that, to the extent the Chinese government had to have signed off on the study, we would be wrong to assume that China deliberately unleashed the virus on the world. (It could have, but that's not the conclusion one should draw from the study.)
The April 2 post I wrote said the problem could well be that the Chinese just don't do things meticulously. Theirs is not a Japanese culture, one in which everything is done with reverence and obsessive attention to detail. Instead, the Chinese have a slapdash approach to just about everything.
Part of this is because the communist government's mercantilist business model is to dump cheap products on the foreign market, undermining local economies. Meanwhile, Chinese tariffs mean that other countries cannot make up their job losses by bringing unique merchandise to the Chinese market. It's this type of trade depredation that Trump has been fighting since his first day as president.
Another part of this is because, for whatever reason, Chinese manufacturers don't mind producing garbage or even toxic products, so long as they can make a profit. This may be because they're going through the same "robber baron" phase that America had in the post–Civil War era. In many ways, Chinese manufacturing is following that old model of worker exploitation and "anything for a profit" production.
It may be that communism has sapped China's traditional moral cultural markers and left nothing in their place. After all, it was Stalin who allegedly said, "If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that's only statistics." Communism operates on statistics, with little respect for the individual, and this harsh metric may have trickled down to become part of Chinese culture. The Chinese are fiercely loyal to family, but loyalty often ends there.
Or the Chinese disregard for quality and safety may be attributable to something else altogether that hasn't yet occurred to me.
Be that as it may, the point of yesterday's American Thinker post was that the Chinese need to pay the price for their malignant negligence. Sadly, it appears that the Chinese aren't paying the price at all. Instead, according to the Daily Caller, they're back to business as usual, and raking in the money, helped along by (again) cutting corners:
Nearly a fifth of mask manufacturers in the country only jumped into the business after January, the Financial Times reported, citing official data.
"A mask machine is a real cash printer," Shi Xinghui, a sales manager of an N95 mask manufacturer in China, told Agence France-Presse.
"The profit of a mask now is at least several cents compared to less than one in the past," Xinghui added. "Printing 60,000 or 70,000 masks a day is equivalent to printing money."
But defective products remain a serious problem. Several countries have already recalled or stopped using hundreds of thousands of faulty masks and coronavirus tests they received from Chinese manufacturers.
Read the rest here. And if you have a little excess cash still available once this pandemic dies down, think about using that money not to buy cheap Chinese products, but, instead, to buy slightly more expensive American products.