So I’ve been reading a lot of stories like this one that has me a little worried. We have 25% of the world’s population under an authoritarian regime that’s just on the edge of holding things together. When you’re spending just as much on internal security as you are on defense, in a world economy that’s on the brink of depression, that’s kind of worrisome. When you hold paper on everyone’s debts, and it looks as if that paper might have the long term prospects of a Fanny Mae sub-prime mortgage, that’s more worrisome. Add to that a political culture that’s more concerned about appearances than reality, then we have a problem. If things start going pear-shaped in the Forbidden Kingdom, I doubt that it will be the controlled implosion we saw in the Soviet Union. And if things get nasty, even if the gunfire doesn’t leak across the borders (and that’s a big if) it is going to affect the whole planet.
Just picture a WalMart and remove every item from the shelves that has a label “made in China,” and now picture having to re-tool manufacturing to produce all that crap somewhere else. See, we don’t need a VAT to add 50% to the price of consumer goods.