The Real Trickledown

The Wall Street Journal reports on the scandal about tainted Chinese ginger that found its way into U.S. stores. In part, the story reads ” The path of this batch of ginger, some 8,000 miles around the world, shows how global supply chains have grown so long that some U.S. companies can’t be sure where the products they’re buying are made or grown — and without knowing the source of the product, it’s difficult to solve the problem.”

The story here sounds strangely familiar, like the financial assets concocted from the subprime mortgage system. In fact, the whole capitalist system seems to be set up to avoid responsibility. Subcontractors, shell companies, and legal ruses allow people with power to avoid responsibility. This is the real trickle down.

Zamiska, Nicholas and David Kesmodel. 2007. “Tainted Ginger’s Long Trip from China to U.S. Stores Supply Chains Make Finding Source Tough.” Wall Street Journal (19 November): p. A 1.

“In July, two dozen Albertson’s grocery stores in California received a shipment of fresh ginger and put it on shelves.  Several days later, state inspectors discovered that the ginger, which had been imported from China, contained a dangerous pesticide. State health officials warned Californians to avoid ginger grown in China. But while the tainted ginger’s country of origin was clear, the actual supplier — let alone the farm where it grew — was anything but. The path of this batch of ginger, some 8,000 miles around the world, shows how global supply chains have grown so long that some U.S. companies can’t be sure where the products they’re buying are made or grown — and without knowing the source of the product, it’s difficult to solve the problem.”

1 comment so far

  1. Roy Combs on

    The long chain spun around the globe picking up the economic cheaply produced by bidding down the maker and shipping to market but the detection is where some of the profits could and should go into quality assurance and this kind of liability could save insurance costs as brand recognition does not come cheaply.

    The demand in the supply drives the chain to produce below market value, but some one pays somewhere.


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