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Will the future be ‘Made in China’?

Dan Farber, professor of law | September 20, 2010

Thomas Friedman’s column warns that, while we’re dithering about climate action, the Chinese are forging ahead in the energy field:

What a contrast. In a year that’s on track to be our planet’s hottest on record, America turned “climate change” into a four-letter word that many U.S. politicians won’t even dare utter in public. If this were just some parlor game, it wouldn’t matter. But the totally bogus “discrediting” of climate science has had serious implications. For starters, it helped scuttle Senate passage of the energy-climate bill needed to scale U.S.-made clean technologies, leaving America at a distinct disadvantage in the next great global industry. And that brings me to the contrast: While American Republicans were turning climate change into a wedge issue, the Chinese Communists were turning it into a work issue.

. . . . China’s leaders would never go a year (like we will) without energy legislation mandating new ways to do more with less. It’s a three-for-one shot for them. By becoming more energy efficient per unit of G.D.P., China saves money, takes the lead in the next great global industry and earns credit with the world for mitigating climate change.

America used to be a place where the future happened first.  Now we seem to fight any kind of change, whether the issue is immigration, health care, the financial system, or energy.  I hope it’s not too late for us to once again become a world leader.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet, a Berkeley Law-UCLA Law collaboration.

Comments to “Will the future be ‘Made in China’?

  1. It’s funny how many people say that many Chinese products are very low in quality. What they do not know is that behind the big names of Prada and Burberry and other high class brands, the raw materials and labor are form China.
    James Locke

  2. James Locke:
    If your not the firstest with the mostest when it all comes down to Green energy solutions.America is going to lose its edge and try to hold on to the energy of old by force.

  3. It’s good that China is taking at least some actions to “do more with less.” Energy sources are being depleted and are converted into pollution, which endangers all of us, and makes our home quite hard to live in. China products are very much a part of us now, and it’s good to know that they make some actions.

    James Locke

  4. It seems like the “made in America” has somewhat vanished. You have to look very to see, but it is never the less there. Not as big as it once was. Made in China seems to be everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Sometimes you just can’t get around buying from China. The product for the most part is very good. Quality typically good, so the future will be who wants it more, the “U.S or China”. Time will tell.

  5. Certainly a lot of good things happened first in America during the last couple hundred years, but why? What did freedom, democracy and a chance to succeed bring to America? Does America still stand as the “land of the free,” a democratic society with limitless opportunity to suceed? I think so, look around you and you will see the best and brightest from not only America but all over the world. You will see the foundations of knowledge supporting new discoveries, new structures and new opportunities. “Yes We Can” change, maybe not fast enough for everyone but not so fast that we forego the freedom, democracy and opportunity that symbolized value when the label said, “Made in America.”

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