ADVICE for parents of teen-agers, from Dorothy Parker, the...

salmagundi

July 05, 1994

ADVICE for parents of teen-agers, from Dorothy Parker, the celebrated writer of the 1920s and '30s who was known for her wicked wit:

"The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant -- and let the air out of the tires."

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WRITING in the June 9 New York Review of Books, Princeton University professor of East Asian studies Perry Link offered this view of the debate over the U.S. government's granting of "most favored nation" (MFN) status to China:

"Any efforts to find a new approach to the MFN problem are made more difficult by a sustained shrill monotone that issues from the U.S. business lobby, whose position, in effect, is 'All of MFN for all of China all the time, without conditions, ever, because it's entirely good for everybody.' One of the business lobby's favorite arguments . . . is that the presence of U.S. companies in China is good for the Chinese people: they would get more money than they otherwise would, and the U.S. style of doing things has a liberalizing influence on their environments. Both these points are true, but they have nothing to do with the reasons why U.S. business is in China. The business lobby never mentions the actual reasons, but they are plain enough. If labor in Guangdong were suddenly to cost more than it does in California, how many businesses would be heading across the Pacific claiming that MFN will liberalize Chinese society?"

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