It occurred to me that with the basic premise of commerce being that specialization and trade yields more better products for both parties. The only reason we trade with countries like China isn’t that they make better items (like for example how Germans make better cars), it isn’t that they have access to resources we don’t have. It is, as we all know, that they make it cheaper, the single reason for which being that they are far enough away that horrible work conditions can happen without us feeling guilty about it.
In short; trade with China is interesting only because we get to exploit their people.
If we got to exploit people at home, we wouldn’t be trading with China. Fortunately if people in our towns worked under the same conditions, we would be up in arms about it. And if China didn’t allow exploitation of its people, we wouldn’t be trading with them.
And so it’s interesting to ponder that the only “trade specialization” China has to offer is being far away enough geographically & culturally from the Western world that we’re cool with their being exploited. Or we can in good conscience say that we are ignorant of it because we have no visibility into the issue.
Globalization has a tendency to create these “out of sight, out of mind” incentives which work heavily against good working conditions and the environment.