Smart Phone Ethics

Here is David Pogue, an excellent technology reporter but a lousy economist, reviewing the Moto X in the NYTimes:

You get your customized phone within four days, courtesy of Feature 2: it’s assembled right here in these United States. The components are still made in Asia, but they’re put together in Texas — you can lose less sleep worrying about underpaid Chinese workers.

David does not explain how a decrease in the demand for Chinese workers increases Chinese wages. Hint: It doesn’t. Perhaps, however, I have done David a disservice; although his argument fails as economics it succeeds as psychology. People who buy American probably will worry less about underpaid Chinese workers. Out of sight, out of mind.

Addendum: Adam Smith’s thoughts on China and ethics, most notably the importance of using reason not emotion to make ethical decisions, remain relevant.


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