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Leveling the International Playing Field: A Proposal

In these days of withering global competition, we hear lots of proposals aimed at leveling the international playing field. These include various tariffs, duties, taxes, etc, all intended to put us on par with our trading partners. Typically, they seek some kind of parity of costs or expenses, to make sure everyone is operating under the same rules, and that no one has an unfair advantage.

In that spirit, we thought we'd toss an idea into the mix in the hopes of maybe getting a conversation started.

Recent estimates are that China has approximately one lawyer for every 12,745 people. By contrast, the US has one lawyer for every 274 people. Put differently, according to this chart, we have 281 lawyers per 100,000 people while Japan has 7 lawyers per 100,000. No wonder they're a more peaceful society.

And so we figure it might be time to level this particular part of the playing field. How about for starters we send enough lawyers to China to bring this equation more into balance? Maybe we could never hope to achieve outright parity, but it's certainly a laudable goal. And, we should start, and start today. This way, we can kinda put a bit of a thumb on China's economic scales, tip them a little bit in our favor. After all, why should they get off so easy? They are living in a fairy tale dream world of life without lawyers. We're not doing them any favors if we expect them to compete in the world -- and especially in the US.

So how about the "Leveling the Legal Playing Field Act of 2006"? It's only fair.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.