Thursday, August 13, 2009

The China Daily on The China Price

Much to my surprise, the China Daily has reviewed my book in a favorable light. The review, published in today's China Daily, argues that "Harney's book certainly has plenty of grim material providing grist for the China-critic mills. But Harney has too much integrity and objectivity as a reporter to altogether ignore the positive side of China's export economy." William Daniel Garst, the reviewer, liked the story of the girls of room 817 (pictured on my Twitter page) and agrees with my argument that the China price is unsustainable. He does take a more sanguine view than I do in the book, where I argue that while China is changing and worker expectations are rising, not much will change until Western consumers do. If anything, the financial crisis has deepened Western consumers' appetite for cheap goods. But recent books like Ellen Ruppel Shell's Cheap, which generated good press coverage, suggest that at least coastal American pundits are willing to discuss the question that lies at the heart of The China Price: are we really okay with prices this low, even if they mean unsafe working conditions, unsafe products and the decampment of our entire manufacturing sector to cheaper locales abroad?

1 comment:

sinoafficionado said...

Dear Ms. Harney: This is William Daniel Garst, and I was very happy to see your reaction to my editorial regarding your book on your CHINA PRICE blog. I found your book to be a cracking good read, indeed one of the best works about China's wrenching economic transformation. I currently live in Beijing and started writing editorials for CHINA DAILY and the GLOBAL TIMES this summer. I also was doing a blog, the url is, but of course that site has been blocked since early May and I haven't been able to put any posts up beyond the two I added this week while vacationing in the states. If you have email address, I can put you on my list for my editorials. My email address is (one reason I moved to the middle kingdom was to get away from Bush's America). I have a gmail account as well,, but I normally just use the yahoo account. It would be nice to exchange writing!!