January 01, 2004

Welcome Home

Still adjusting to the time difference. Got up today just in time for the Rose Bowl. Looks like I picked the right day to fly home, as it rained the day before, and today after I got in, but it was perfectly clear when I arrived. Had a window seat on the left side of the plane, and I opened the window 15 minutes before landing, just as we were passing the Marin headlands, and I could see the bridges and the entirety of San Francisco spread out below. The rain had cleared all the crud out of the air, and it was crystal clear. Great view.

Sam sent me this link after he got back to the US after our trip to Shenzhen. I especially like the story about the pharmaceutical factory, which produces drugs clean and pure enough to be sold in US and Europe, but the wastewater is so poisonous that the person who went in to clean the pipe was killed instantly by the chemicals. Even better was when they sent in a second person to clean the same pipe the next day. He died, too. Meanwhile, that same waste water was being dumped directly into the river without treatment. Shows that the factory could be clean if it's profitable, and that people don't cost very much when they die. One would have to be an ignorant moron to not know, or not guess at, the abuses in the factories, which is why this is news to Americans, I guess. Lots of people will see the New York Times article, then they'll go to WalMart to buy more stuff from China because it's so cheap. It's hard to see why anyone here will care, unless you can convince people that these abuses cost them jobs in America. It's just like what the Western world went through during the Industrial Revolution. Things got better through unionization and (violent) labor strikes. Activities that might not be so easy in China.

Posted by mikewang on 07:16 PM