On p. 536 of Christopher Hodges’ important new book, Law and Corporate Behaviour (2015), there is an arresting fact from the European Commission’s pan-EU Rapid Alert System for non-food product safety (RAPEX).

China was the country of origin for 1459 product safety alerts in 2013. The second most common source was “Unknown” with 243, then Turkey 82, Germany 55, the United States 47. China accounts for the overwhelming majority of all product safety alerts.

When it comes to the regulatory challenge of consumer product safety, it is neither the liberal market economies such as the US and UK and their neoliberal philosophies that are the main challenge, nor is it the coordinated market economies of Northern European states like Germany. It is the authoritarian capitalism of China and very secondarily of Turkey. In the future we can expect the recently burgeoning authoritarian capitalism of Bangladesh to also be a growing problem.

Of course there is a link to liberal market economies in the sense that their firms from the heartland of capitalism these days much prefer to manufacture their brands in authoritarian capitalist economies where trade unions are tamed and environmental and product safety standards can be corrupted by the dollar.