Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Some Of Globalization's Dangers
Ready for some more irony? Here's some in regard to globalization. One objection that supporters of our price-gouging domestic pharmaceutical industry raise against our buying Canadian drugs is that they are not subjected to the rigorous FDA inspections conducted (supposedly) on red-white-and-blue drugs. The article below reminds us that, due to globablization, "about 20 percent of generic and over-the-counter drugs and 40 percent of the active ingredients for pills sold here by the major pharmaceutical companies -- all proclaimed safe by the FDA, all sold at usual American prices -- come from factories in India and China that are more likely to be struck by lightning than inspected by the FDA. Yet the FDA's record shows concern over the safety of drugs not from India and China but from our underdeveloped neighbor to the north." Last year, the FDA conducted only 32 inspections of drug factories in India and just 15 in China. Meanwhile they conducted 1,222 in the United States. Moreover, "the U.S. inspections were surprise visits; in China and India, the FDA phoned ahead in every case." Loath as we are to ruffle the feathers of our free trade partners overseas, we do them the courtesy of warning them before checking out their facilities, giving them plenty of time to clean up whatever lethal mess is on the premises on a daily basis.
Here's something else. Free market enthusiasts are dead set against the U.S. government investing any money in American industry. They fear the horrors of nationalization. They also believe that the U.S. government should not be arbitrarily favoring some industries, or companies, and not others, thereby hand-cuffing the invisible hand of the economic process. Yet at the same time - again as a direct result of globalization - "foreign governments [that] control a cool $5.4 trillion in foreign currency reserves... have begun to invest a chunk of that in American companies." For instance, China - and we mean the government of the People's Republic, not some Chinese corporation - has invested $3 billion in Blackstone, the well-known private equity firm that just went public. Globalization means that foreign governments - including totalitarian states that violate human rights and would constitute "bosses from hell" by any rational definition - have the right to own large portions of the American economy, even as our own government is warned "hands off".
Are you scared yet? I am.
"Globalization's Stir-Fry" from The American Prospect