Saturday, September 22, 2007

Even in China, market forces are stronger than...gravity

My friend JK linked to Pillage Idiot's post on the first Hooters in Beijing, which is the fourth in China (ABC News article here). China is still not free, but I'm always pleased to see further evidence that, being at that crossroads between central planning and free markets, it often moves in the right direction. Some might say it's "the right direction" because of this particular type of restaurant, but I say it because it's toward free markets. After all, why would someone open up a Hooters except in response to anticipated consumer demand?

I've written before and before about uplifting things, but this will be my most uplifting post ever. What really caught my attention (not for that reason, but the economics behind it) was Pillage Idiot's link to this China Daily article. It seems that Chinese bra makers have been shifting, for years in fact, toward larger sizes. There's a serious lesson in this, because it shows that no amount of central planning, whether the type of 1984 or China today or Mao's or Lenin's, could respond effectively to Chinese women's increasingly larger busts. Only the free market can, and only the free market can, ahem, defeat the forces of gravity.

The article says that "The growth trend is credited to women eating more nutritiously and taking part in more sports." This is correct only superficially. The growth trend is fundamentally because of China's increasing prosperity, through which more women can eat protein and develop more muscles, and more significantly, they can eat more excess calories (which are stored as fat, including in the chest).

And how is China becoming so prosperous? Certainly not by producing things for themselves, but producing things for us. Meanwhile, the United States becomes more prosperous because all these inexpensive Chinese goods increase our buying power. What's not to like?

In looking through some of my older posts, I left replies here and here to protectionists (who had left their comments long after my post, so I didn't see them until today). There are things protectionists say that sound right, but they aren't valid when you look at the real economics, and they certainly aren't valid when you consider them from a perspective of freedom.

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