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The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 27. März 2008

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Pressestimmen

"This gripping, beautifully reported book lays bare the tumult of hope, fear and skullduggery that exists behind the ubiquitous "Made in China" label. It should spur manufacturers, investors and consumers to worry a lot more about where everyday products come from."
-James Kynge, author of China Shakes the World

"Harney has given us an almost forensic field guide to the strikingly low cost of labor intensive goods manufacturing in China. By systematically sifting through the factors that cheapen the production process, she has denied us the luxury of uncertainty. Some may find the ethics and inevitability of Chinese production conditions debatable, but no business person involved in global sourcing will be credible claiming ignorance of the basic facts in light of Harney's work."
-Daniel Rosen, Principal, China Strategic Advisory, and Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

"The gritty, corrupt reality of the Chinese economic miracle is the great business story of our time and Alexandra Harney has got it. She has explored the factories, dormitories and urban slums to reveal the devastating cost-to the planet, to American workers, and to Chinese citizens-of the China Price."
-Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of China Syndrome: The True Story of the 21st Century's First Great Epidemic "With unusual insight and reportorial perseverance Alexandra Harney presents the inconvenient truths about China and globalization that flat worlders have overlooked. This book is very important and is a must read for those who want to understand how today's world really works."
--Clyde Prestowitz, President of the Economic Strategy Institute and the author of Three Billion New Capitalists.

Synopsis

An expos e of the human and environmental costs being exacted by China's factory economy reveals the role of corruption in the country's competition against western business, in an account that also describes growing grassroots activism for better regulation.

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FOR TWO WEEKS twice a year, trains and planes to the Chinese city of Guangzhou swell to capacity with crowds of foreign men and women. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Karsten Ranger am 10. Januar 2010
Format: Taschenbuch
Alexandra Harney beschreibt in für Nicht-Muttersprachler leicht lesbarem Englisch verschiedene Faktoren, die auf den sogenannten "Chinapreis", welcher weltweit in veränderten Konkurrenzsituationen zu spüren ist, einwirken. Sie fokussiert sich dabei auf die Boom-Provinz Guangdong und der Stadt Shenzhen, die in sehr kurzer Zeit eine Entwicklung vom Fischerdorf zur Boom-Metropole durchlief. Sehr vorteilhaft an diesem Buch ist die Fülle von persönlichen Geschichten und Interviews mit persönlich Betroffenen wie bspw. den Wanderarbeitern und den Unternehmern selbst. Man erhält hierdurch einen guten Einblick in die Mentalität und den Arbeitsethos vieler Chinesen. Vor allem die extreme Flexibilität und Risikobereitschaft vieler Chinesen kommt hier im wieder ins Gespräch.

In den letzten Jahren stehen mittlerweile auch viele chinesische Unternehmen selbst unter enormen Kostendruck, da einerseits es für eine Produktvariante bis zu 200 einheimische Konkurrenten in geografischer Nähe geben kann, andererseits die Anforderungen hinsichtlich weiterer Reduzierungen der Verkaufspreise seitens der Einkaufsabteilungen ausländischer Unternehmen nicht aufhören, gestellt zu werden. Können die Anforderungen seitens der chinesischen Unternehmen nicht erfüllt werden, wird gem. der passiven Lohnveredelung in Ländern wie Vietnam, Pakistan, Kambodscha, etc. "gesourced". Diese Entwicklung muss auf die naive Kurzsichtigkeit vieler Einkäufer zurückgeführt werden. Ein weiterer, teilweise sehr gefährlicher, Faktor dieser Entwicklung ist das absichtliche Verringern der Qualität, z.B. durch Einsatz verminderten Materials, etc., um letztendlich als chin.
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Amazon.com: 33 Rezensionen
27 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good contribution to the China debate 6. Mai 2008
Von Paul Allaer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
It's simply impossible to keep track of all the China-related books that come out these days. I mean, they're all over the place. I have a strong interest, both personally and professionally, and I try and read what I can, but quite a few of the recently released books seem to rehash the by now well-known theme of China as a manufacturing powerhouse and the correlating threat China may (or may not) pose internationally. This book, however, takes a slightly different take on things.

In "The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage" (336 pages), former Finantical Times journalist Alexandra Harney delves into the ramifications, primarily for the Chinese, of the ever-growing demand for cheaper products. Harney focuses her research primarily on Shenshen (a city that has grown from half a million to about 12 million in a matter of 2 decades) and the surrounding Guangdong province. Harney demonstrates how a lot of Chinese companies escape the "social audits" many American companies nowadays insist on simply by keeping parallel/fake records on hours worked by/wages paid to Chinese employees. Indeed, the plight of many Chinese workers is deplorable, and not helped by the weak (if that) enforcement of Chinese labor laws by the Chinese government, and the absence of a strong labor union in China. How ironic is that, China being a (so-called) Communist country. Harney spices the book with lots and lots of personal stories of Chinese individuals she interviewed for the book, and that makes it for even more interesting reading.

Harney ends her book with this great observation: "In the end, as much as the responsability seems to lie with Beijing, it also lies with the global consumer. Our appetite for the $30 DVD player and the $3 T-shirt helps keep jewelry factories filled with dust, illegal mines open and 16-year olds working past midnight." How true! And doesn't it strike you that the people who shop at, say, Wal-Mart every day are the very same people who tend to lament the fact that US manufacturing jobs are off-shored to China every day. We all make a choice, every single day.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Interesting and Objective! 29. April 2008
Von Loyd E. Eskildson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
China's share of the world's manufacturing output by value-added was 2.4% in 1990, and 12.1% in 2006. In 2006 its biggest exports to the U.S. were electronic machines and equipment; that year the U.S. imported $288 billion from China, vs. $55 billion exported. The Economic Policy Institute estimates a loss of 1.8 million job opportunities since 1981 as a result of this trade deficit with China. Meanwhile, direct foreign investment in China from 2002-2005 totaled almost another $250 billion that didn't go to the U.S. either.

In 1980, American manufacturers produced 70% of apparel purchased in the U.S.; by 1990 it was down to 50%, and only 9% by 2006. America now only produces 1% of its citizens shoes; etc. for numerous other products.

"The China Price" points out that there is intense competition within China - its coastal export regions have over 1,000 clusters producing specific products such as ties, socks, microwaves, etc., and within those clusters manufacturers have hundreds of direct competitors. This is due to ease of entry - available start-up funds and assistance from Chinese officials eager to increase employment.

Chinese law limits overtime hours, requires a number of worker protections. Unfortunately, inspectors are typically overloaded, often corrupt, and frequently deceived by managers hiding factories that don't adhere to the rules. (These managers have also learned to deceive inspectors from American companies seeking to verify compliance with humane employment conditions.) At the same time, many workers will not stay if they don't get enough overtime to make the incomes they desire ("I didn't come here to sit!"), and fear of investing in government-mandated pension plans due to restrictions on their coverage.

And then there is the obvious pollution, especially from coal (producing a greater proportion of electricity than in the U.S.), and liquid effluents.

China's government is under enormous pressure from its citizens to provide jobs, particularly after the state-supplied sinecures have largely been eliminated. This, combined with even lower costs available in other nations (eg. Vietnam, India) do not bode well for America's "China problem" going away easily. (Common sens, plus Economic 101 tell us that it will continue until wage costs in China etc. roughly equal those in the U.S. In turn, that means we can look forward to eg. workers sleeping 12 to a room in factory-provided housing, and much reduced access to pensions and health-care - unless trade restrictions are imposed.)

The "bad news" about "The China Price" is that it often offers questionable or impossible statistics - eg. ". . . saved 80% to 100% . . ." (impossible to cut costs 100% - unless the product is delivered scot-free), "nearly one-third of the air over L.A. and S.F. can be linked to Asia" (what does that mean?) that damage the credibility of the book.

Bottom Line: "The China Price" explains why they are so price-conscious, and warns us that they're next move is likely to be into R&D, branding, and U.S. marketing (the "soft three" dollars of every four dollars spent in the U.S. for Chinese-manufactured products).
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The China price and the Walmart price 15. August 2008
Von John C. Landon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Discussions of free trade sing its virtues, while the reality is something different: the unequal terms of that trade, especially vis a vis China and the United States, where two sets of rules are at work. One result is the 'China price' and the growing imbalance in trade relationships. The larger picture shows the other side to globalizaton: the exploitation of cheap labor, disregard of environmental law, and the generally totalitarian nature of this mutant form of capitalism. This book usefully presents the information absent from most public media discussions of the issues of free trade and is an eye-opener. However, the portrait given is of an unstable situation that can't last forever, whatever new mutation lies down the road. Residents of the United States have been caught up in an ambiguous contradiction, the destruction of domestic industry, and the addictive temptations of Walmartization. As the wheel turns from this unstable new development in global capitalism to the next combination, some awareness of the disinformation created by 'economics' discussions in the United States is needed to correct the long-term destructive character of this confused, yet to some very profitable, constellation of capitalist trickeries.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
More than just another China book 16. Mai 2009
Von Corbett Wall - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
There's so many China books out there. I used to try to keep up, picking up a copy between flights in and out of HK, but after the Olympics it just became impossible. Everyone is a China "expert" these days. Pretty soon there will be a book out called "Everything I Needed to Learn About China I Learned From My Cat." Sad will be that day.

Still, this is a different book, and highly readable. It was recommended by a friend in manufacturing who knows Harney well. The book touches on a common theme, but takes a different approach. Harney dives into only a digestible handful of angles to tell her story and get her point across. It should satisfy scholars, investors, politicians, and anyone wanting a deeper understanding of what makes the economic machine of China tick.

I liked the book overall. There are a few sections where things seem to get repeated over and over, and the balance between statistical reporting and telling a good story seesaws a bit, but Harney manages to be intelligent without getting preachy, and brings enough characters into it to avoid becoming one long newspaper article.

Living in China all these years, you become selective about what you read, and I can say that I definitely learned something from this book, and think that you will too.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A necessary but overly long book on China 8. Februar 2011
Von Christian Kober - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
The trickle of books on China has changed into a flood and it is becoming difficult to discern the real gems. This book, though not a star, is also something of a jewel.
Ms. Harney sets out to explore not only what the low price for common goods in western countries implies for the Chinese worker. But she stop not there. Without being judgmental she continues to explore several avenues. Why is the Western insistence on social standards and the accompanying audit so deeply hypocritical? What is happening to the Chinese workforce? Why are owners not implementing better workplace conditions? What is the government doing about it? A picture emerges of many good intentions yet these may not carry the day. How can one expect the Chinese factory owner to on the one hand sell at the lowest of prices and on the other hand meet safety standards? Yes, safety and good work conditions cost money. On the other hand, without a sound regulatory framework, how will the factory owner ever prefer safety to profit? And what to do when workers leave for another factory because there they can work longer hours than the legal limit and therefore earn more?
The author explains in depth the role of the Chinese government and the increasing self awareness of the Chinese worker, which together will bring bigger changes than all social audits etc. She is not dismissive about what the Chinese government is doing but also seems to accept that big changes cannot be done overnight, that what were are seeing is a process.
Thus she is painting a picture with many shades of grey. So much different from the China picture seen so often in the western media.
What is lacking is a discussion of why Western companies are forced to do compliance audits of third parties. How much can it be the role of a company to enforce local laws when the government itself is not only lax in enforcement but is actively supporting non-enforcing companies?
Furthermore, is it a law that each step in the distribution step is taking a share of the proceeds rather than a fixum? In other words, does an increase of 50% on the manufactured price really have to result in a 50% markup for the consumer?
In summary a valuable and authoritative book. Not as lively written as Leslie Changs 'Factory Girls' but with more statistical detail, discussions with different actors etc. Yet the whole book could have been written snappier and without the many redundancies, which the editor should have weeded out.
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