TIME names “The Chinese Worker” third runner-up for person of the year; now, all I want for Christmas is a Chinese worker

December 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

Just wanted to share something silly I came across in TIME’s end-of-the-year issue… It is not silly that “The Chinese Worker” was in the running for TIME’s person of the year. That just makes sense. China’s rapid economic growth has made it into an impossible-to-ignore-nation when it comes to any world matter—economic, military, environmental, etc. And as TIME so astutely points out, that economic growth would not be possible if not for those spirited Chinese factory workers.

What’s silly is that TIME’s gushingly romantic portrayal of “The Chinese Worker” is considered professional reporting when it reads like a product of China’s state-controlled media; or closer to home, it follows an American tendency to over glorify the average ol’ American worker (recall Joe the Plumber?) in a way that makes invisible the true struggles faced by workers, and takes attention off of the governmental and economic system that creates and sustains social and economic immobility, low wages, and poor working conditions. It reads like a pat on the back to Chinese workers: keep on doing what you are doing because you are among “the people leading the the world to economic recovery”.

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