Monday, August 20, 2007

China Pig Virus

This kind of story really touches a nerve with me for some reason. A bunch of pigs in China have been infected with blue-ear disease. While this disease wasn't always a big deal, it's been spreading like wildfire, killing thousands of pigs, and the worry is that this disease has mutated into something far worse than originally thought. Great. We all know exactly where China lies on the food chain, right? (hint: 4th-largest exporter of live and slaughtered pigs)

China's silence on the matter is typical of the problems they've faced. Due to a fear of price-gouging (internally) and market backlash (externally), China is unwilling to provide tissue samples for international organizations who could help. They are almost willfully refusing to learn the rules of the marketplace, the rules of transparency that even the United States has trouble with (HELLO SUBPRIME MARKET HOW ARE YOU).

Or maybe I'm naive to think this - perhaps they're really learning from our ability to manipulate the marketplace with incorrect information, and are trying it themselves. Are we really as transparent as we claim to be? Of course not - but we've got much more cred than China - imagine a press release by the FDA as opposed to a release by XYZ Chinese regulatory body. Well, okay, I guess I wouldn't believe the FDA either, but they at least SEEM to have our national interest in mind, right? And that's the important thing.

The problem is, the pig disease problem is only going to spread until serious action is taken. Serious action can not be taken by the Chinese government alone until it addresses the full scope of this problem.

Again, I question my own thoughts on the matter - China likely cares less about the impact on the global market than the impact internally - I mean, a single outbreak like this can break illusions (delusions) of power, upon which an entire system of governance is constructed upon. More important to give the illusion of control, or more important to address the problem head-on? I won't even pretend to know the answer...but I know that this affects everyone - pigs know no boundaries!

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