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From China - With Love

Saturday, October 06, 2007 in My Opinions and Rantings (Views: 2279)
Otto von Bismarck, the first chancellor of the German empire, once smartly compared laws to sausages, observing that anyone fond of either should never see them being made. The same might be said for many consumer products such as clothing, toys, or electronics. Fancy new clothes may look nice, but if you were to drop in unannounced at the factory where they're made, more often than not you would be hard pressed to describe the working conditions as pleasant.

So what in the living hell is going on with products from China, and who's to blame for all the problems that are coming from these products?

As it stands:

* We blame China for producing cheap and dangerous products to our health

* China blames us for not inspecting diligently enough for quality

* We blame china for taking our jobs and moving them overseas

* China blames us for increased pollution

So, basically the typical "finger pointing blame game" begins, and if you think this blog will solve the crisis, I'm guessing it won't...

I see the fact of the matter is simple: We as Americans want cheaper products. Cheaper products don't come from companies who pay top dollar wages, provide competitive benefits, and in some cases provide pensions for long time dedicated employees who would see the company through to their golden years.

Cheaper products do come from companies that look for cheaper labor, and not completely concerned where it comes from. China on the average pays manufacturing employees (this includes any manufactured product) about 57 cents an hour. Although in all honesty this concept means nothing to me, does anyone know what a so-called "sweat shop" looks like (from those who work legally) in the United States? There was the case of the illegal immigrant raid in Rhode Island last year where the illegals were deported while discovering a sweatshop.

Take Apple for example, and the controversy concerning the Ipod. Being involved in the tech industry, I know that Steve Jobs like Bill Gates is a socially responsible type, but you wonder if the bottom line transcends human working conditions. It falls under the concept of "if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound".

Apple did take an investigation to the manufacturing of the Ipod, and in all honesty no matter what the ruling, would not favor Apple. If the ruling showed favorable conditions, a big cloud of doubt would be cast on the investigations or what exactly the minimum acceptable conditions are. If the ruling showed human rights abuse, then Apple would be in some serious trouble within the media.

So, let's get back to the bottom line - we as Americans want cheaper products. I know some do, but exactly how many of us would look at a product and wonder if the people making it are doing it from a sweatshop, as long as it works for us? I can't say that I look at any of the products I buy wondering this - but I will say that I will be looking at labels a lot more carefully, and if it comes from China, I will definately give it second thoughts...

Let's get to the companies, and my rant about them...

First and foremost, if you want to outsource - then the same US rules should apply in a foreign country - this will bring jobs back to the US.

Companies are in business for the money, I have no problem with that - it is how business succeeds and makes a profit. But companies that outsource our workers, leaving us on the streets cares nothing for our American workers, much less our country. We have Americans who can't seem to find work, however, illegals can come into this country and find work that Americans are begging to (oops, I mean won't) do... Maybe these jobs are in sweatshops, and by hiring illegals, they can keep the fear of turning them in over their heads, whereas Americans would turn in the sweatshop...

If you get a crappy outsourced product, complain to the companies, and cut it no slack - because it will cut you none. If these companies want to charge first world prices for a third world product and it is a piece of garbage, then I encourage you to shove it back up the big fat ass of corporate incompetence.

There are people around the world who still want to buy American made products - why? Because they were the finest in the world and the prestigue of owning them transcended the fact they paid more. Perhaps we should look at ourselves and the outsourced crap we buy wondering how much better life would be if we did go back to making the finest products in the world (well, except for GM - they'll suck until they go out of business).


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