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FROM THIS EPISODE

More than a year ago, we looked at the health and safety of workers in China, who make so much of the merchandise in American stores.  In the meantime, the summer Olympics gave China's image a shot in the arm, but for millions of working people, nothing has changed.  On this evergreen edition of To the Point, we hear who's paying the real cost of supposedly "cheap" merchandise.   Also, a gloomy outlook for holiday spending, and the facts, the figures -- and the psychology -- of driving in traffic.


Banner image: Workers conduct quality-control checks on tires at the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company factory, 25 July 2007. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

China, Inc

Ted Fishman

Producers:
Karen Radziner

Reporter's Notebook All the Stuff You Don't Know about...Traffic 10 MIN, 9 SEC

You probably think you're a pretty good driver, at least you're better than the guy who just cut in on you or the woman who slowed down without any apparent reason. Think again. "Why you're not as good a driver as you think you are," is Chapter Two of a new book called, Traffic that's full of surprising, often counterintuitive, information. The book is the product of research and direct experience all over the world by Tom Vanderbilt, who writes for Wired, Slate, the New York Times and other publications.

Guests:
Tom Vanderbilt, author, 'Traffic'

Traffic

Tom Vanderbilt

Main Topic Are Chinese Workers Paying the Price for Cheap Goods? 32 MIN, 8 SEC

Late last year, as Congress considered a ban on imports from overseas "sweatshops," we broadcast a program on working conditions in China. Witnesses, backed by journalistic investigators, told of workers exposed to a witches’ brew of cancer-causing chemicals 84 hours a week for 53¢ an hour. This year, if they’re buying at all, Americans are more inclined than ever to be looking for bargains. But in China, nothing has changed. Conditions are still so bad there’s been social unrest in some factory towns. Workers are exposed every day to Benzene, Lead, Cadmium. Toluene, Nickel and Mercury.  Our program is still as relevant as it was a year ago. We re-broadcast our look at the health and safety of human beings 5000 miles away.

Guests:
Loretta Tofani, veteran journalist
Ted Fishman, 'China, Inc'
Robert Kapp, former President, US-China Business Council
Charles Kernaghan, Executive Director, National Labor Committee

Making News Gloomy Outlook for Holiday Season Spending 5 MIN, 54 SEC

The day after Thanksgiving traditionally is the biggest shopping day of the year.  But this time, things could be different. Economics Professor Michael Allison tracks the retail industry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Guests:
Michael Allison, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri St. Louis

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