Editor's note: Chriss Street originally published this book review on his blog, Chriss Street and Company.
There has been nothing more cowardly in my lifetime than the American government's dysfunctional response to China's economic imperialism. The Chinese have shown a unique political sophistication in co-opting the elites of corporate America with crony business deals, and politically pacifying Congress with a willingness to fund U.S. deficit spending.
But with the common man's concern rising, two academics at UC Irvine, Peter W. Navarro and Greg Autry, have just published: "Death By China: Confronting the Dragon – A Call to Action," a muckraker's call to confront the dangers of America's dance with the Chinese Dragon in the 21st century.
The first chapter of the book grimly exposes the dangers of Chinese food exports. The reader is taken for a stroll down the modern aisles of America's supermarkets, where Chinese imports increasingly dominate display shelves. Perhaps some nice seafood grown in the raging chemical stew of the Yangtze River would be an attractive offering for your family tonight.
Don't worry about the fish and shrimp dying from the world's most bacteria-infested waters. The Chinese simply pour massive amounts of banned antibiotics in the water to prevent that nasty discolorization of diseases, Navarro and Autry write.
The same quality control mentality often holds for China's market-share dominance in such staples as white meat chicken, apple juice, garlic, canned pears, honey and a myriad of other basic foods.
After feeling a little woozy after considering how much mercury and other poisons you have already accumulated in your body from eating these imported treats, the authors write that drugmakers from the People's Republic of China now produce 70% of the world's penicillin, 50% of its aspirin, and 33% of its Tylenol you may have ingested. The Dragon's drugmakers have also captured much of the world market in antibiotics, enzymes, primary amino acids and vitamins.
China has even cornered the world market for vitamin C — with 90% of market share, Navarro and Autry report.
Oh, by the way: China now plays a dominant role in the production of vitamins A, B12 and E, besides many of the raw ingredients that go into multivitamins.
"These statistics should disturb all of us for one simple reason: Far too much of what China is flooding our grocery stores and drug emporia with is pure poison," the co-authors write. "That's why Chinese foods and drugs always rank No. 1 of those flagged down at the border or recalled by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority."
Having captured the reader with sufficient "yuk factor," the book moves on to illuminate the Dragon's art of using "Weapons of Job Destruction" to eviscerate manufacturing employment here in the United States.
Unlike most talented economists who love to anaesthetize the reader with complicated formulas based on obscure logic and theories, Navarro and Autry illuminate how the Chinese bureaucracy systematically targets industries supporting middle-class wages in America for conquest and transfer to China. The growth of these targeted industries is sponsored by government intervention through access to cheap wages, unlimited low-cost loans, an undervalued currency, and an absolute lack of any environmental consideration.
If these concessions are still not compelling enough for transfer to China, the Dragon can provide an endless stream of prison labor at subsistence cost to close the deal.
The book details how the Chinese Communist Party seeks to achieve economic imperialism through its "eight pillars": 1) An elaborate web of illegal export subsidies; 2) A cleverly manipulated and grossly undervalued currency; 3) The blatant counterfeiting, piracy and outright theft of America's intellectual property treasures; 4. Engaging in massive environmental damage; 5) Ultra-lax worker health and safety standards; 6) Unlawful import tariffs and quotas; 7) Predatory pricing and practices to push foreign rivals out of key resource markets and then gouge consumers with monopoly pricing; and 8) "Great Walls of Protectionism" to keep all foreign competitors from setting up shop in China.
Having defined that most of the challenges America faces in competing in the "Dragon's Century" are self-inflicted, Navarro and Autry outline a clear and achievable path for America to tame the Dragon's onslaught. This highly entertaining book serves as not only a riotous call to arms, but also a road map for Americans to reclaim the 21st century as their own.
Former Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector CHRISS STREET lives in Newport Beach. PETER W. NAVARRO is a professor at UC Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business, and GREG AUTRY is a lecturer at the school.