THE CHINA SYNDROME:
POISON PIG HEPARIN IS JUST AN EARLY WARNING
Without any cynicism about “progress” in the PRC, we can reasonably predict that the exportation of contaminated products to the US will continue unless we choose to stop it.
The public record so far:
Contaminated pet food. 2007:
Lead contaminated children’s toys. 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/business/worldbusiness/19toys.html .
Bio-contaminated blood thinners. 2008: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/ushealthmedicinechina .
With the exception of some of the toys marketed in the US, none of these products were sold with the “made in China” label because 3rd world ingredients included in products assembled or mixed or processed in the first world – outsourced because of lower cost – are not routinely disclosed to our consumers.
This is a case of un-policed contaminant smuggling driven by state sanctioned communist greed. The sale to the West of contaminated goods by Chinese manufacturers is a deeply systemic problem that will go unchecked as long as it continues to reap the expected economic results for the mainland Chinese government.
China’s politically totalitarian system typically responds to these scandals by executing a prominent CEO, then continuing business as usual with substandard health inspections, falsified records or both.
Why is the problem systemic? Having unleashed state sanctioned market forces, the communist regime has little incentive (or ability, for that matter) to police its own capitalists as long as they continue to reap the foreign hard currency needed to fuel the PRC’s capital hungry military infrastructure.
THE “NUCLEAR” REMEDY:
UNLEASH AMERICAN TRIAL LAWYERS?
In a perfect world, the errant companies (here Chinese state-owned and controlled foreign entities pretending to be stand-alone capitalist businesses) could be sued for damages and brought to heel by the trial lawyers, just as American manufacturers have.
But this is not a perfect world. Instead, trial lawyers for the victims can only sue our own companies, the distributors, assemblers and local pharmaceutical companies that incorporated, used or otherwise sold the tainted Chinese ingredients — leaving the real culprit, the mainline communist Chinese government, essentially untouched.
A few executions of a few CEO’s will change little in that country. Our current remedy is a form of legal cannibalism, in effect little victims suing larger victims.
But we have a unique opportunity to change the dynamic in a dramatic way. All three of the current presidential candidates are open to taking on the problem of the “China syndrome’ in a dramatically effective way.
Here is the solution. It would take an act of Congress and a tough president willing to weather the economic and political firestorm that would follow. But – I promise you – there is a solution: It would work like a magic charm; even the threat of its implementation, if taken seriously, would produce sincere, palliative changes in Chinese behavior.
WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?
Via appropriate federal legislation, the US could take the following steps:
First: All Chinese mainland businesses and their subsidiaries would be legally identified as agents of the Chinese government for all purposes, and held strictly accountable for all acts and omissions that do any harm or pose any unacceptable risk to American nationals.
Second: All Chinese assets in the US or elsewhere within the reach of American jurisprudential jurisdiction, including especially monetary instruments of indebtedness (like all US Treasury Bills) held directly or indirectly by the Chinese government shall immediately become subject to seizure and transfer of ownership by American federal courts to satisfy any judgment.
In effect that great big “Chinese credit card” (as Senator Obama has put it) by which the PRC has funded the US-Sino trade deficit and helped the US to fund its giant fiscal deficit can be treated as an appropriable asset to fund contamination lawsuits against Chinese business entities whose products damage or pose risks to Americans.
Third: Appropriate implementing changes in federal tort claims law, judgments and collection procedures and related technical changes would be simultaneously enacted, including the power to freeze Chinese assets to secure a likely judgment.
Turn loose our trial lawyers on the Chinese government, I say. All we have to lose is our “wimp image” on the world commercial stage.
Which of the three U. S. senators running to be POTUS 09 will summon the courage to propose this “modest solution”?