The Beckerian punishment of last year’s execution was not enough to ensure better food safety under restricted competition and bureaucratic state institutions. I suspect the additional oversight of the Ministry of Health that followed in 2007 only lengthened the chain of crisis response. From the first baby to become sick, it took a staggering 3 and a half months before official recognition of contamination; the numbers now stand at least 53,000 sick, 4 dead, and over 100 infants with severe kidney failure. I also doubt the arrests and detainment of 18 others will do anything to solve the systemic problems of the perverse incentives and limited information in an institutional context of collective ownership and highly regulatory bureaucracy. And the prevailing government response is…..official resignation, more regulation, and farm subsidies. Really sad.
So lets take a minute to reflect. While China was executing its food and drug czar last year, America was appointing one. But not even Krugman celebrated. Instead, he blamed Milton Friedman, capitalist ideology, and globalization for causing regulatory inefficiency by not providing federal oversight agencies with enough resources. So, in 2008 after calling the tomatoes and spinach incidents analogous to The Jungle - what did Krugman call for?
"And in the case of food, what we need to do now — for the sake of both our health and our export markets — is to go back to the way it was after Teddy Roosevelt, when the Socialists took over."
So why stop at socialism when communism is going such a wonderful job?