Magazine article New Internationalist

Tide of Change Coming

Magazine article New Internationalist

Tide of Change Coming

Article excerpt

In a world battered by debt and speculation crises the Chinese economic miracle remains one of the few bright spots on the horizon of traditional economists. There is a preoccupation in the 'dismal science' (as Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle dubbed economics) with all things Chinese that can add or knock off hundreds of points on global stock markets on any particular day.

The exchange rate of the yuan, the latest Chinese inflation numbers and how they affect interest charges, issues of intellectual property rights or protectionism have become the daily fare of the economic tea-leafreaders. But what has been left out of this calculus until recently is the price of labour.

Now Chinese workers are starting to change all that as they organize against a system that treats them as cheap and expendable commodities. China's workers are announcing the end of the cheap labour model that has fuelled the biggest manufacturing boom in history. …

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