Week in Review
Kids coming out of American schools learn that capitalism is unfair. And that greedy businesses will put their customers at great risk to make a buck. For capitalism puts profits before people. Which is why we need a government with expanding regulatory powers. For government puts people before profits. Like they do in China. A favorite of those on the left who urge more government intervention into the private sector economy. Like they do in China. Where they have a booming economy thanks to wise government bureaucrats. And safe and happy people because the government prevents those nasty profit-seeking businesses from ever harming a soul (see China’s Parents Crave Illegally Imported Baby Formula by Liza Lin and Julie Cruz posted 5/2/2013 on Bloomberg Businessweek).
For Hong Kong customs agents, baby formula is the new heroin. On March 1 a law went into effect limiting the amount of powdered milk travelers can carry out of Hong Kong to two 2-pound cans each. Since then, more people have been arrested for smuggling baby formula than were caught all of last year with heroin and cocaine…
Many Chinese parents are desperate to get their hands on foreign-made baby formula after numerous food safety scandals in recent years. In 2008 at least 22 Chinese companies were found to have sold dairy products containing melamine, a toxic chemical that can make diluted milk appear to have a higher protein content. Six babies died as a result. In 2011, China’s largest milk producer, China Mengniu Dairy, said in a statement that moldy cattle feed led to excessive toxin levels in its milk. Last year another large milk producer, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, recalled formula tainted with mercury. “Chinese consumers are so frightened and so sensitive to safety issues with milk powder that they are willing to pay a higher premium than consumers anywhere else,” says James Roy, a Shanghai-based senior analyst at China Market Research Group.
That willingness to pay has led to baby formula shortages in Hong Kong, where food safety standards are higher. The surge in Chinese demand has even hit foreign markets, where baby formula is often cheaper than in China. Over the past year, stores in Germany, the U.K., and New Zealand have put limits on all bulk purchases of formula, such as Danone’s (BN) Aptamil and Mead Johnson Nutrition’s (MJN) Enfamil.
Hong Kong favors free market capitalism. While China prefers state capitalism. Where the state regulates the private sector economy with the heavy hand of the government. So, in Hong Kong you have the economic system that American schools teach students is bad. Because they put profits before people. While China has the economic system that the American schools teach is good. Because they put people before profits. And which one is better? Well, food safety standards are higher in High Kong than in China. Despite putting profits before people.
Or you could say that food safety standards are higher in High Kong BECAUSE they put profits before people. Because if babies start dying after drinking a company’s baby formula people will exercise their free choice and buy another company’s baby formula. A very strong incentive NOT to kill babies. Because it would be bad for business. And bad for profits.
Whereas in the ‘people before profits’ state capitalism of China if a company kills babies with its baby formula it’s no big deal. For the state will just force their people to buy the tainted baby formula by putting import restrictions on safe baby formula. So there is no incentive NOT to kill babies in China.
So which system is better? If you base it on which protects their people better you have to go with Hong Kong. For they’re not killing babies with their baby formula. While the Chinese are. Which is a lesson the American schools should be teaching. Instead of the anti-capitalistic curriculum written by those Sixties’ radicals who actually preferred China the way it was under Chairman Mao. Before state capitalism. A time of true communist collectivism. Where tainted baby formula was the least of their problems. As they were busy setting famine records with their agricultural policies of forced collectivism. Where they really put people before profits. For there were no profits. So things are better in China today. For they do allow some profits. But things aren’t as good as they are in Hong Kong. Where they allow all the profit you can make. And by putting profits before people the people come out ahead. As do their babies.
Tags: baby formula, capitalism, China, Chinese parents, collectivism, food safety standards, free-market capitalism, Hong Kong, incentive, milk powder, people before profits, profits before people, state capitalism