Should We Ban Imports from Countries that Violate Human Rights?

As jobs continue to disappear in the industrialized world, many blame technology. They are partially right. However, there is another culprit: delocalization. Most of our products are now manufactured in developing countries, where human resources are substantially cheaper. This allows us to have greater purchasing power, since we can acquire goods that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive, were they made at home. That’s the story they tell us, anyway.

However, all this talk of cheap products being beneficial for the working class is deluded at best and an outright, deliberate lie at worst. The working class is disappearing precisely because of this: all of those jobs have left and been turned into precarious, nefarious ones in countries that would allow this. The people who relied on these jobs have gone on to unemployment or a lower-quality, lower-pay position. How do I know it is lower pay? The answer is straightforward: as jobs get outsourced to developing countries, there is less demand for workers, whereas offer stays the same. Hence, less pay. Also, the data shows I’m right (see below).MiddleClassGraphs_web_21

So yes, we can afford an iPhone, but not because it is made in China. If it wasn’t made in China but in the US and every single manufacturing job that’s been outsourced had stayed in the US, you would be paying more for your phone, but you’d have a considerably higher salary. Don’t be fooled: outsourcing only has one beneficiary. I’ll give you a clue:  it is not the working class.

There’s something baffling about the whole outsourcing conundrum. If I have a company in, say, Spain, and I offer salaries under the minimum wage, with no social security, I will go to jail. The reason I’ll go to jail is what I’ll be doing is against the law; it’s against the law because it’s considered immoral. However, I can start a subsidiary of my company in China and do exactly that, but to Chinese people. In fact, I can be even more brutal and, if I’m lucky and have friends within the Party, get away with polluting, exploiting and pretty much whatever tickles my fancy. Why do the laws of my country allow me to do this? Beats me. I thought human beings were the same everywhere; apparently, I was wrong. Spanish people don’t want to be exploited? Never mind! I’ll go to China and find someone who does.

The fact that a Spanish company (or a Chinese company that exports to the West) can do this puts companies who do the right thing at a disadvantage. Now, before we go into why good companies are at a disadvantage, let’s focus on what I mean when I say “the right thing.” To me, it is a combination of:

  1. Offering decent wages.
  2. Having reasonable working hours.
  3. Providing social security coverage and/or insurance.
  4. Not abusing their workers verbally or physically.
  5. Other common-sensical stuff I’m sure I don’t need to add here, like maternity leaves, etc.

    English: Wind power plants in Xinjiang, China ...

    English: Wind power plants in Xinjiang, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now to why good companies are at a disadvantage. Let’s see: if I have a company that makes some product and wants to compete with the rest, I have a choice. I can either act immorally (exploiting workers in developing countries with working conditions that would be inadmissible in the West) and have a competitive edge; I can also act morally and lose it, since my products will be more expensive than those of the competition.

But careful! This does not happen because companies are evil: this happens because our laws are made in such a way that they pretty much enforce this behavior.

(Of course, let’s not be naïve. If we have the laws we have, it’s because they’ve been lobbied for by companies. So probably they didn’t have a drive to not be evil in the first place. Like Eric Schmidt said when confronted with his Google’s questionable tax-evasion practices: “we are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this.” Apparently, for Schmidt “capitalism” means not paying the taxes that allow roads, hospitals and schools to be built.)

English: Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of G...

Way to go, Eric. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This situation was, until now, quite beneficial for Western companies. Only now they’re starting to realize it may not have been such a great idea. The Chinese, apparently, weren’t content with being exploited: they started creating their own businesses, using every single tactic from their Western counterparts and harboring the good will of their government, which enables them compete in even more favorable circumstances. This has resulted in the almost complete control of the telecommunication infrastructure market by Huawei, for example, which has strong ties to the Chinese government. Suddenly, Western companies are losing the edge.

This situation could be easily averted, though. It would be as simple as banning imports from countries which do not respect human rights or, at least, taxing them severely, so that employing people in sub-human conditions would stop being a good business decision. This way, manufacturing would go back to the West and jobs would be recovered. At this time of economic uncertainty, they’re sorely needed.

What would be reasonable conditions for lifting the ban/taxes and establishing a free market zone? Equal labor laws. It makes sense to have toll-free circulation of goods between countries with the same standard of living which treat their workers similarly. It doesn’t make sense to give the countries which do the wrong thing an unfair advantage. The recent attack against social welfare in Europe can be seen as the logical consequence of this: if countries like China do better, precisely because their workers are less protected, it seems logical to follow their steps in order to grow as fast as the Asian giant.

But this is a terrible idea: it aims to level the playing field to the lowest possible conditions. Shouldn’t be doing the opposite? Shouldn’t we be leveling the playing field so that all workers, Chinese included, had better conditions? Aren’t we going backwards? Who, exactly, benefits from this? I would argue not even the Chinese do. If China was not allowed to export to Europe unless it had better labor laws (and human rights, since we’re at it) the pressure on the government to make some changes would be huge, especially with the growing middle class and the amount of companies which depend on exports to the West in order to survive. This law would not only benefit workers in the West, but workers everywhere, by forcing their countries to treat them right or be left out of the free market zone.

Someone may question the economic viability of this. I would reply that this is not an economic argument: this is a moral argument. Companies should not be allowed to treat their workers unfairly. If they do, they shouldn’t be allowed to sell their goods, regardless of the benefits this may have for the economy. The economy, let’s not forget, is the people. And if the people cannot lead a dignified life, then the stock market can rise as high as it wants to. It won’t make a lick of a difference.

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36 thoughts on “Should We Ban Imports from Countries that Violate Human Rights?

  1. MrJohnson

    The idea works in theory I think but for this to work every public corporation and government would have to be for this. It seems as likely as world peace, oil free living, and selfless CEO’s.

    I suppose if the people boycotted buying stuff it would send a message but that’s pretty unlikely. It’s a shame too since we the people give power to these corporations by giving them our money but at the same time we complain about the injustice.

    Who knows though. Anything is possible. If changes like the one you are talking about do not happen then the world will probably go to shits a lot sooner than anyone wants to believe.

    1. David Yerle Post author

      I guess so. But we could start with the European Union, for example. The main problem is I don’t think a single government will ever be for this. Now, when unemployment rises to historical highs and even the big fish start to crumble, they may change their minds, but it will be too late.

  2. elkement

    Wow – you are really covering many different issues here! I agree with you on principle, and just want to add one random thought:

    I don’t know much about manufacturing (of consumer products) but from superficially reading newspapers. But I do know from experience that it is not only manufacturing that gets outsourced. I had been baffled by the outsourcing of departments and subsidiary companies offering all kinds of “services” to a company to Asia – such as accounting, purchasing, IT services etc.
    Actually I have seen those departments “travelling”: from taxpayer-friendly countries in the EU to Eastern Europe and further to the East over the years. My impression was (and I believe I have read an article about that as well) that China starts getting “expensive” so corporations turn to Vietnam etc.

    How would we “ban” the imports of those services? Usually they are “imported” via a global corporation’s networking infrastructure (this is over-simplified as several companies are involved – it is a federated trust infrastructure…). Due to other concepts on privacy and freedom that I hold high I would not want anybody to sniff this networking traffic and ban this import at a technical level.

    But frankly I have no idea about the numbers – such as revenue made with manufacturing in Asia versus revenue in services.

    1. David Yerle Post author

      Well, I was thinking about manufacturing, but you make a good point. The idea here is not so much country-based but company-based (I should have made that clearer I guess). What I’m saying is:
      -Companies should not be able to hire people in unfair conditions, whether it is in the US or in Afghanistan.
      Since companies are, in principle, forced to tell the government who they hire and their salaries (else their employees wouldn’t pay taxes) all we need for them is to declare their workers and their working conditions and see if they meet our standards, which should be upheld in any country. That is, European companies should be using European standards even outside of Europe. If a foreign company wants to provide services to Europe, it must prove that its workers are treated according to European standards, that is:
      -Receiving fair compensation as per the cost of living of that country.
      -Showing the working conditions are safe
      -Providing social security or insurance (if the mother country has no social security) for their employees.
      This is a way to ensure that the whole planet treats their workers properly, no matter where they’re from.
      In the case of countries like China, though, I think further restrictions should apply. For example, China has an unfair advantage since it can censor things like Facebook or Google, therefore eliminating competition for national products. In this case, we should do the same (banning Chinese Internet companies from having a presence) until the Chinese government lifted the ban on Western companies. Free market means equal rules: if rules are different, we’re just being scammed.

      1. elkement

        Thanks for the detailed reply (and your tireless efforts in this discussion in general ;-)) – all your points make perfect sense to me.
        Actually, many global corporations have sort of a “business ethics charta” that should make sure that workers in different countries are treated according to reasonable “European” standards.

        I admit I often make fun of corporate CSR lingo on my blog (and some of it is justified as the lawyers and marketing departments sometimes create an artificial parallel universe of their own) – but overall this is a good thing.

        1. David Yerle Post author

          I agree. I’ve actually been considering a different approach: have an independent entity (government or even private and non-profit) examine the workers’ conditions for each company that sells products in your market. Then give them a label with how high they score and make them put it in their products: then the public can choose what to buy, knowing how well that company treats its employees and without having to do the research for themselves.

  3. schn00dles

    Well, I disagree on principle and in many other ways. But in just one area: from what I can see of your argument, purchasing of goods from foreign countries has allowed them to bootstrap their industries so that they have been able to become more competitive in the industries which formerly Western economies had controlled. Now, all of a sudden, trading with them is immoral because we losing jobs to them. To my thinking, everyone should have a right to compete in the marketplace. What you’re really asking for when you would dictate levels of worker benefits are entitlements, and not earned rewards.

    1. David Yerle Post author

      Hi Schn00dles,
      I think you misunderstood my point. I’m not saying purchasing goods from these countries (not foreign ones: abusive ones) is immoral now, but it has always been. Also, I’m not saying it’s immoral because we lose jobs to them: it’s immoral to do wrong things, whether in your country or theirs. The fact that doing wrong things is allowed in their country doesn’t make it less wrong. Here’s an example:
      1. Is it OK to buy some diamonds from a guy who killed 10 people to get them?
      2. Is it OK to buy these diamonds, as long as the guy killed those people in Congo?
      Surprisingly, 2. is what we’ve been doing for the past 50 years. I’ll leave it to you to judge the morality of that.

      1. schn00dles

        Well, you changed the conversation from one of safety and health benefits (which will vary depending upon a society’s wealth and ability to supply these things) to a question of theft and murder. Theft and murder are crimes even in the poorest countries I would guess. And purchasing of stolen goods is illegal (if not always enforced) – so how would another law prevent that?

        1. David Yerle Post author

          How about clitoris ablation? That is illegal in the West and legal in many countries. Is it moral to buy goods from a company that performs clitoris ablation on its employees?

          1. schn00dles

            What you are arguing for are laws and entitlement benefits which equal those of the wealthy nations, or you would cease trade. Basically, it is demanding the impossible in order to limit competition.

            This is not a new stratagem used by the Left to feather their own nest. When I began as an artist I searched for a job that would pay my bills while allowing me to time to ‘create’. I became a part-time bus driver. Since a large number of people use the bus at both ends of the day, this is a natural fit for the part-time employee.
            Unfortunately, I was forced to join a Union, whose full- time employees did not like losing their overtime to part-time workers. They claimed that a person couldn’t live satisfactorily working in the part-time jobs. They claimed that I was being ‘exploited’. Their cure was to eliminate my job.
            So here i am paying dues to a Union which is using my monies to eliminate my employment. All the while, they are claiming to be doing me a ‘favor’.

            As to the ‘clitoral ablation’ question. Are these people slaves, or can they quit? If they work there because the alternative is starving, then how does refusing to buy their products change this dynamic except to watch them starve… clitoris intact? This smacks of the same technique of searching out ‘moral’ imperatives for the purpose of limiting competition.

          2. David Yerle Post author

            Not at all. I am not demanding the impossible. I am demanding for dignified salaries, which means salaries that allow for a decent living, given that country’s cost of living. This would still allow companies to save millions on dollars on labor costs. However, this is no excuse to have improper facilities which are unsafe for working, hiring children and having inhuman working hours. This is not impossible to achieve: companies are unwilling, just because this way they can make an extra buck. They are unwilling and we let them get away with it. We shouldn’t.
            Your problem with the union stems from a certain view of things from people in that union and has nothing to do with the topic discussed. Lest we forget, unions have had a great role in securing the benefits that we enjoy today. So they may do some things wrong, but they sure have done a lot of things right. Or would you rather go back to the 1910s? I certainly wouldn’t.
            Finally, your last question is not as straightforward as it looks. When all choice those people have is either working in a company which forces them to do that or not work at all and starve (something that happens often) they will of course choose to suffer and work, but survive. Does this mean we shouldn’t pressure this companies into not mistreating their workers? How about we apply the same deregulation to the US? Let’s just get rid of any laws or protection and let companies dictate their terms. Then, you either work for them or starve. They would certainly love that. Would you?

          3. schn00dles

            Embargoes make no sense. They remove the income from the people you are trying to help. Profitable businesses are not easy to create, especially in poorer countries where they tend to be very cobbled together affairs. Even weeds look good where nothing grows.

            Wouldn’t it make more sense to start an identical factory, where women are not required to have clitorectomies to work, steal the labor of the former factory, and then steal their market? It’s hard to imagine that having a clitorectomy increases worker productivity.

          4. David Yerle Post author

            I agree. Marco convinced me that an import ban makes no sense: however, taxing does.
            Let’s take your example of the factory. Now, ablation is a bit extreme, but imagine there’s a factory that has their workers in inhuman conditions, working inadmissible hours. If I make another company that makes the same product but treats its workers better, it will be at a disadvantage: it won’t be able to compete with the first one in price. That’s why I say that, the way things are now, we are pretty much fostering doing the wrong thing. How to avoid it? Tax the company that mistreats is workers so much that treating your workers badly stops being a good business decision. That is: link the amount of import tax to the workers’ conditions. This way, you create an incentive for companies to treat their workers right, instead of the opposite.

    2. David Yerle Post author

      Oh, and levels of worker benefits are definitely entitlements and not earned rewards. Read the declaration of human rights. Having a job should allow you to at least cover your basic needs: if it doesn’t, it’s called slavery.

      1. schn00dles

        Well, having a job is not slavery. A person can’t quit slavery. And what would reading the declaration of human rights tell me, other that this is what some people think, because they like to think it? The state of man is to be born into abject poverty, and to raise oneself by creating value. To believe we’re due entitlements simply because we’re here, is to descend to the level of a squalling infant.

        1. David Yerle Post author

          Let’s see if I got this right: you are suggesting that ignoring human rights is perfectly OK. Did I understand this correctly?
          We’re not due entitlements simply because we’re here. We’re due them because millions of our forebears died to ensure we enjoyed these rights. Not fighting for them is descending to the middle ages.

          1. schn00dles

            People had been fighting and dying long before the Middle Ages, without any appreciable gain in entitlements. What our ancestors did was to work to create value which in turn would support entitlements.

            And I like human rights as much as the next person, but saying a person has a ‘right’ to shelter is the silliest sort of religion around. Shelter is a real thing. It takes wealth to create one.

            P.S. How do you find the time to answer all of these people? (Including me, thnx.)

          2. David Yerle Post author

            I’m afraid I disagree. Value was not created by work but by innovation. Also, entitlements have been there since the dawn of ages. Even animals are born with a place to stay. The notion of private property didn’t even exist a million years ago. People living as “savages” in the middle of the jungle have shorter working hours than us and a house. They don’t live in conditions of slavery. They probably have better living standards than many people in the modern world, with all of our created value. I’m not saying I’d rather go back there: I’m saying that the access to the basic means for survival has been there for quite a long time.
            I am using the word “right” as in “human rights.” I don’t think there are such things as “rights” in the universe, just as I don’t think there’s such things as good, evil or chairs. That does not preclude me from using those words in my everyday conversations, since their meaning is agreed upon us all. A “right” is simply something that has been decided by a substantial amount of the population (the UN) that every person should have just by being born. Most people agree having rights is a good thing. I do too and I don’t like corporations or countries that don’t respect these rights.
            I find time to answer all of these people because I am extremely good at multitasking 🙂

          3. Marco

            Not at all. I am not demanding the impossible. I am demanding for dignified salaries, which means salaries that allow for a decent living, given that country’s cost of living.

            There is a disconnect between what you are demanding, and the title of this blog entry, which suggested import bans, among other things, could achieve that. What is impossible is the imposition of regulation and the enforcement of it to achieve the stated demands without making it significantly worse for the people we are trying to extend rights to first. The UN would be better off limiting themselves to a smaller set of human rights which could be reasonably centrally enforced given their resources and authority. Given that they have little authority to even demand information about working conditions, let alone enforce particular standards, company boycotts tend to happen reactively and disproportionately when information does happen to come out. I don’t know if there is a way to help people that are in a foreign country and have human rights violated by their employer, but trade sanctions are not.

          4. David Yerle Post author

            Well, that is why I generally recommend reading the full article instead of drawing conclusions from the title alone. What can I say, I’m weird like that.

          5. Marco

            Yes. I read the whole article, and nowhere did you write “No, we should not ban imports!” And I thought you should have, just to clear things up :-).

            The take home message from the article was the “Among other things”. I figure if you didn’t refute the title in the entry, you still think it should happen, with the other ideas you had.

          6. David Yerle Post author

            “It would be as simple as banning imports from countries which do not respect human rights or, at least, taxing them severely, so that employing people in sub-human conditions would stop being a good business decision.”
            Throughout the article I keep referring to both banning/taxing, implying that I am considering both options. Yes, I didn’t write “we shouldn’t ban imports” because I was not convinced it was a bad idea, but I did suggest alternatives based on the fact that banning may not be feasible. That is, I tried to offer a range of options which could stop or at least reduce the exploitation of workers by companies in developing countries.
            Also, bear in mind this article (like everything I write, pretty much) was meant as an idea that I throw out there, suggesting different options and waiting for the dialog in the comments to bring forward the best ones. That’s why the title is a question and not a statement.

  4. holly

    we ARE doing it backwards…because for many the profit is more important than human rights…
    is any gadget…worth using slaves?
    are we willing to care? to go without to make a difference?

  5. Humans Are Weird

    Sweet article Dave. I remember in one of my politics units, reading an article about the conditions of a factory… I think it might have been Nike or something, a fairly large brand, and the conditions the workers were afforded. It was essentially on par with common notions of slavery. And worse still, as soon as the company found a cheaper place to utilise their factory’s manufacturing, the workers (slaves) were left with absolutely nothing. Tolstoy had the right idea, I reckon. Live a life free from any outside input. Live outside of capitalism, generally. Cleanse the soul.

  6. Marco

    I disagree completely. If we are too cowardly to assassinate the leaders of abusive regimes, banning imports will, in general , hurt the innocent 10 times more than the guilty. For every “blood” diamond peddler we inconvenience (most bans will find an inconvenient workaround) thousands of poor but innocent diamond dealers will lose their chance for income. That’s how blunt import (or any trade) bans are. While the leaders of the countries concerned (or warlords in a lot of cases)continue to be allowed to be the leaders, they will control the information to the innocent citizens and make sure the evil foreigners are blamed for their plight.

    1. David Yerle Post author

      I don’t think we are too cowardly to assassinate those leaders. I think these leaders are just too hard to assassinate. Also, if you try and fail, you can expect some kind of retaliation.
      Also, before there were “poor diamond dealers” people in Africa were doing quite OK, in the sense that they were not dying by the scores of starvation and wars. It was precisely the West (and the trade with the West) that completely screwed them up (where do they get their weapons from?). If there are no diamonds to fight for, maybe they’ll start planting crops, for example.
      Now take China: most of the country’s trade is with the West. If you ban the imports they may blame everything on the West (which they do already, by the way, take it from someone who lives there) but it is doubtful that they will find some other way to sneak all of those volumes into our countries. It would be a lot of sneaking.
      By the way, I recently read 58% of the products that represent a health hazard in the EU are imported from China. This happens because the government has a total disregard for the health of its citizens and allows extremely poor working environments. This does their safety very few favors and, apparently, it does ours even less.

  7. livelysceptic

    I have been thinking about this one. My main problem is what I remember from Iceland going bankrupt: at the time, the banks were good for an amount of debts that were 13 times the size of the national economy of Iceland. Small wonder that the government had not done anything about it. It would be like tying an elephant down with hemp and a bamboo stick: works very well until the elephant realises how big it really is. And that is exactly what is happening now, I think. These companies know how powerful they are and feel the are ‘above’ paying taxes. It will not be easy to change their minds…

  8. Marco

    Also, before there were “poor diamond dealers” people in Africa were doing quite OK, in the sense that they were not dying by the scores of starvation and warsI did live my early life in Zambia, and most of the issues are complicated, and independence from colonialism and its poorly handled aftermath is a big problem. Trade in any form is a force for good. A population explosion means that subsistence is no longer a possibility, and all other possibilities require trade. Warlordism with guns was already widespread in sub saharan Africa back in the sixties and seventies. The hoarding of produce for whatever reason causes more starvation than deaths attributable to trade.

    it is doubtful that they will find some other way to sneak all of those volumes into our countries.
    The problem is that is doubtful to the point of impossibility to halt trade in toto, or to even make credible threats to that effect when it comes to the practical logistics. Even while halting trade to Iraq just before wartime, the country leaked oil like a sieve to somewhere, and those who lost the most were innocent civilians, not the leaders. The leaders only lost their lives after practically the whole country lost its livelihood.

    1. David Yerle Post author

      Fair enough. Honestly, I wasn’t considering countries such as Zambia, but more like China, where I live. China would be perfectly capable of sustaining itself without trade. I will consider this further and see if I can arrive at some other kind of solution. The idea, though, is simple: Western companies should be legally forced to treat their workers well, both in the West and in developing countries. This means other companies from developing countries would have an unfair advantage if they didn’t conform to standard: in this case, they should be taxed to cancel that advantage.
      I’m thinking this may be better enforced on companies than on countries. (I think I may have hinted at that during the article but I’m not sure).
      On the second objection: yes, if there’s a ban. If we decide to just tax them instead, imports would continue.
      Also, any thoughts you have on remedying the situation (the exploitation of workers in developing countries by Western and local companies) would be welcome.

  9. Marco

    China under Mao had very little trade with the outside world. Sure, it was capable of sustaining itself, but The Chinese economy only started seriously growing when it engaged via trade with the rest of the world, pulling its poor away from subsistence and into an emerging better educated, hard working class with incentives to work harder to make a better future for their children, regardless of current working conditions. As far as “legal enforcement” goes, the World system of independent countries virtually implies moral relativism, where telling entities in China what standards of treating employees should be is actually interfering with their internal affairs. And that is before enforcement even comes into play.
    As far as exploitation goes, the trick is to empower workers in developing countries with the possibility of unions, options of competing companies vying for the best employees with ever better conditions. Even though some situations appear to be exploitation, a lot of the time it is the absolute best opportunity those workers and even children have ever had to pull themselves out of hopeless poverty. The more important is to separate those indentured by unreasonable debt or by locking workers in compounds with those that are in a better position if they have the opportunity to work night and day.

    1. David Yerle Post author

      Well, then I’m afraid I disagree completely. First, moral relativism makes me reach for my gun. Second, basically what you’re saying is that it’s OK to employ children and exploit adults by making them work day and night: we’re giving them an opportunity. They should be thanking us for it, I guess.
      What companies are doing is taking advantage of desperate people to get an extra buck that they don’t actually need. This is immoral from any point of view, no matter how morally relativistic you get. These companies don’t do it for the love of humankind, but because they can get away with things that wouldn’t be tolerated in their country. They could just as well offer dignified salaries and working conditions, adjusting for the cost of life. They don’t, because they don’t have to. They should have to.
      Now, how exactly do you empower workers in a country like China to have unions, when those are systematically culled? You can either pressure the government or the companies. Encouraging the workers won’t do anything, because the workers are just pawns to be thrown away without a thought.
      Flawed as it be, I prefer my solution to this one, which seems tantamount to leaving things as they are.

  10. Marco

    I’m not saying that moral relativism is good, quite the opposite, but that the system of world government implies it making legislation, let alone enforcement of what you are suggesting impossible to implement. One can only use blunt instruments like sanctions and boycotts, levers that can be adjusted from inside the country that is supposedly taking the moral high ground.
    Yes, I think picking our battles to ones which attack the most egregious cases of slavery, intimidation etcetera, with veiled threats against the masterminds of the operations is better.
    Other than that, letting market forces dictate on reputation, quality and stewardship works marvellously. Happy, willing, workers make better products, pure and simple, so leaving things as they are when in doubt is both prudent and pro- active via normal commerce.

    1. David Yerle Post author

      Then I think we agree on the fundamental, except maybe on the last paragraphs. I am not so sure about market forces being always a force of good. In fact, I have serious doubts about all of this “self-regulation” talk. It is precisely the lack of regulation which has brought us to the current situation.

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