It’s a small matter. Every two weeks we try to figure out what’s going to go on the cover– what piece, what art. Photos make it easier– if you have good one, it can work as well as a drawing, and is less expensive. So, not to give away any editorial secrets, we were looking at photos of Chinese Olympic athletes on our usual photo archive site (where photos typically cost us between $200 and $700). Lo and behold, all the Chinese sports photos are controlled by one agency, and they all cost $1200.
Let’s not draw any alarmist conclusions. I’m sure, really sure, that if the day comes when the Chinese can exert monopoly pricing over all the other things they sell us– auto parts, telecommunications equipment, electrical machinery, medical equipment–they would never raise the price the way they have with sports photos. The reason they sell us all that stuff at prices that seem so affordable and inexpensive at Wal-Mart is because they really, really like us.