A reader in China wrote just now to ask: Do Americans even think about the connection? Relentless price pressure on Chinese suppliers, all the more so now that, largely in response to U.S. government demands, the RMB is rising again? Relentless expectation of falling prices in U.S. stores? The Foxconn-suicide story is ambiguous, with many hypotheses about the cause. But the price pressure on these suppliers is unmistakable.
Barnes and Noble and Amazon each have an incentive to lower prices --- in hopes of attracting customers and establishing their rival e-reader formats as the standard. This makes sense, but is worth remembering when you read the next story about the unbearable pressures of Chinese factory life. Today is a day when the connections, and contradictions, of the global economy become unusually clear.