I hate china crap

Sure it is Christmas light related, and sure I have trouble going to any store and finding anything that was not made in china. OK 3 more strings of lights crapped out after 1 use last year, like I have the right box and receipt for return, not. I was looking at Hobby Lobby for anything not made in China. Then I see Union bashing and million dollar bonuses to execs for cutting worker pay and outsourcing to other countries. Hey WAKE UP Unions fought bloody battles to make a living wage and reasonable wage, Now unions are evil and multimillion dollar bonuses for cutting wages and outsourcing is good! Unfortunately all the money spent on outsourcing is another american out of work with a loss of ability to spend money and support the economy. It is like the king bees are stealing all the honey leaving the workers to starve to death, and they don’t care because they still get their cut and are not hungry.

At one time we hated Japanese crap. Now Toyota has motors made in China. So it’s not just us who have to deal with millions of people in a position to undercut our and everyone else labor force.
The elephant in the room is education and adaptability. The only thing in life you can depend upon, is change. The old days won’t return and the best thing we can tell our kids is to prepare with that in mind.
The rest of the world for many years was where we are…completely dependent upon us for much of their high tech goods and our manufacturing. It’s a flat earth now.
Don’t get mad, get educated.

“The elephant in the room is education and adaptability.”

The elephant in the room is economic globalization driven by transnational corporations run amok while everyone is convinced that its the only way - driven by some kind of inevitable laws of nature or something.

The earth is not flat.

TNC globalized capitalism is not inevitable. Its not even that old. Its just something that currently rules the world. It will change b/c it can’t last

“Education” has many levels.

So the question is how do we turn this around? I don’t know the answer, but I feel confident in saying that it is NOT in our government creating more entitlement programs, more bailouts, and more buying stock of bankrupt companies that cannot successfully compete on their own, and then funding all this by selling bonds to China.

I feel like we’re in a boat that’s leaking badly and our government is drilling holes in the hull to try to let the water out.

When you spend some time at universities and their graduate schools you get a feeling for the number of advanced studies opportunities given to foreign students at the expense of their countries. That’s our competition.

Transnational corps. are here to stay. Deal with it. I’ve had students who are working now abroad in the same vein we used to move out of state for job opportunities. Are you denying the right to practice capitalism in other counties ? There are no certainties in life anymore. The playing field is being leveled, and our standard of living is feeling the pinch.

Extend the school year, day and opportunity to learn to all. If our kids are not ready, like them, it’s easy for us just to blame someone else.

China is guilty of unfair labor practices as many big US bound corps. (Walmart) are to a lesser degree. The people have spoken ! They want $69 computer printers and free satellite receivers for the price of a contract, all unavailable at our labor costs.
No one is ever going back to $300 cd/dvd players and the like for an uncountable number of goods.

Money/wealth/profit considerations have always played a major role in almost every political and business decision ever made.

The world is flat and getting flatter every day.

Eliminate employer sponsored health care, get it off their backs and watch small businesses grow ! Let non profits handle it; not the govt. and all American companies become more solvent over night…except for the drug companies and doctors. Doctors will have to give up an extra round of golf per week.

You can’t stop the world to let yourself off. Many years ago I was in a German camera store, and put my Japanese camera on the counter. The clerk picked it up the way you pick up a dead rat and told me; “zees camera is chunk!!”. I told her it was made by competent people who “almost won the war, just like yourself.” Germany basically lost the camera business to the Japanese.

My aunt always complained about crappy Japanese made goods. During her last days on earth she watched the news on a Sony TV. About 10 years ago our electric kettle broke down, and my wife replaced it with one of the last ones made locally. It lasted only 9 months. Our Chinese made Sunbeam seems to last forever.

The Christmas lighting business as become a commodity business. We still had the locally made (GE) strings with conventional bulbs, requiring climbing on the roof every so often to replace them. The LED strings last about 4 winters, after which you either return them if you have kept the receipt, or replace them at a lower cost than it would if with paying for all the incandescent bulbs.

Modern manufacturing countries are having problems competing with low cost developing countries. Germany has the world’s highest wage costs, but is also (until last year) the world’s largest exporter. Their focus is on high end industrial and consumer goods. Braun, a good example, makes great appliances, but has shifted much of its manufacturing for kitchen stuff to Mexico and Spain. Bosch has done likewise. The Germans are smart enough not to bother making Chistmas decorations.

The world may not be totally flat, but the laws of comparative advantage (first expounded by the British econmist Ricardo over 100 years ago)on which world trade is based, will force us to buy our mass produced lightweight items from those countries.

In 1978 I bought my first coffee maker (US made) for $35, a Mr. Cofffee, pitched by Joe Demaggio. It lasted 3 years. The next one was a Norelco/Philips made in Holland at that time for $40. It lasted 10 years. Philips has since gone out of that product. The next two were “American Crap”, {Proctor Silex machines) for $25, that lasted just longer than the warranty.

We now have a Black & Decker, one of the last ones made in the US which has stood up well because of its simple design and tolerance for hard water. Nearly all current B & D product are now foreign made. Their China made coffee makers are now selling at Walmart for $19.95 or less.

I spend most of my time on university campuses. And I know that people believe such things as:

“Transnational corps. are here to stay. Deal with it.”
“The playing field is being leveled,”
"Money/wealth/profit considerations have always played a major role in almost every
political and business decision ever made. "

“The world is flat and getting flatter every day.”

And many of those people are the ones on university campuses and off.

And what people are forgetting is that most of this makes sense only within the context of the current global political economy. And that the current global political economy is only about 500 years old - though its current TNC capitalist form is only more like 200 years old. Meanwhile, humans have been around for 150-200K years.

And then what people don’t pay attention to is that many of those “facts” about “the way it is” (and “deal with it”) are basically self-fulfilling prophecies.

It is not the only way. It is not inevitable. It is not written into laws of nature. It will end b/c it cannot persist.

What most people need is an education that doesn’t assume that the last 150 years in the west somehow represents immutable “truths” about human existence.

Well said. The other big surprise is that,this isn’t a new trend. John deere, that great American success story ? It’s been going on for many years. Because technology grows exponentially we think it’s a recent phenom.
By 1986 Yanmar had shipped over 100,000 tractors to John Deere alone. Yanmar is now one of the world leaders in the diesel engine market. Look under the hood next time you are in one of the other tractor dealerships and you will likely find a Yanmar diesel engine under the hood. If that’s not an example of a “transnational corporation” that’s been good for us, what is ?

What most people need is an education that doesn’t assume that the last 150 years in the west somehow represents immutable “truths” about human existence.
That, I 100% agree with.

Thanks; a real revelation is visiting a sewing machine store that sells Pfaff, a top German maker. The top end machines (selling for as much as $9000) are all made in Germany, as you go down the price range and sophistication, you get Spain, Taiwan, and finally China.

The good thing is that these machines, like the Swedish Husqvarna, are engineered in Europe and made overseas to the same quality standards. It’s just that you cannot make a $200 sewing machine using high priced German or for that matter, US labor.

Something funny, to me…my first “cheaper” Husqvarna chain saw was American made. My later, larger with better features and for more money, a higher quality foreign made one. My head is spinning.

There are good and bad things about unions. As they become stronger, they tend to raise wages and benefits. This makes the goods they manufacture cost more, becoming less competitive with many foreign made products. Not that UAW health benefits are so good, that they qualify as an elite plan, and would be taxed if the union had not strong-armed the administration into looking the other way. Should we be forced to pay for their exceptional benefits? I think not. That is one example of how unions price themselves out of the market. There are several others.

There was a time when the Swedish Kroner was a very strong currency compared to the US dollar. It made sense in the large US market to assemble them there. In sporting goods, the source of supply changes constantly with fluctuating currencies. My wife and I have Raichle hiking boots. The first pair was made in Switserland, their home country. The next set I bought came from Hungary. The next pair she bought were made in Romania and were poorly made and did not fit well.

I’m sure Raichle could get better price and quality if the boots were made in China. Count Dracula is no match for the Chinese Dragon.

My experience with a union wasn’t all that great, so I’m a little biased against them. I’m sure they were needed 100 years ago, but I don’t believe they’re needed today

I figure they’re needed wherever there are big businesses. In fact, it was big business that gave birth to both big labor and big government. The problem is that big organizations breed each other and are just bad for people. It doesn’t matter what kind. So big labor has real problems, not question there. But as jt notes its not all bad. In fact every non-union employees indirectly benefits from unions being around. You might not like a world with unions. But a world without them would be worse for normal working folks. (I’m not in a union, btw).

I’d be really glad to see labor unions go away…right after big businesses go away.

Long post here folks, sorry, but this is an issue I feel strongly about.

If you were to come to work where I do (large distribution & warehousing facility) it would quickly become apparent why Unions are still relevant today. (Full disclosure: I am a Teamster working in a Union shop)

The fact is, when you work for one of these mega corporations, you are not a human being, you are a number on a spreadsheet. I am struggling for a way to keep this short and to the point, but in many aspects working Union is about job security and ?respect?. Management may have no respect for me or my hard work, but they will respect my Union contract. A few examples,

In any large facility, some jobs / shifts are more desirable than others. In a Union shop these jobs are determined by seniority, as opposed to the favoritism / brownnosing system. My boss can?t remove me from my position because he wants to give my job to his favorite nephew or because I don?t worship the same football team as he does. (I don?t worship any football team, btw).

The company can?t eliminate health benefits and/or post a memo saying, ?X-mas is not going to be a paid holiday this year because the company did not meet its profit target last month? as I have seen happen at non-union jobs. We have a contract which states what our benefits and holidays are.

We work under ?engineered standards? which determine how much work we are ?supposed? to be able to do. Of course, the company adds things you are supposed to do without adding time to the standards. Without a Union, it is your word against theirs, and you just have to keep working ever faster until you slip a disk and get fired. With a Union, there are grievance procedures to protect the workers from a headstrong young boss trying to ?make a name for himself? on the backs of the workers.

I have done this work both Union and non-union, and I can say I came into this business thinking the Union was holding me back. (i.e. without the Union, I could be paid more for doing more work) On paper that holds true, but in reality, without the Union, everyone gets paid less, and the moment you get injured, you get fired, regardless of how many years you have invested with the company.

In ?physical labor? type jobs, the Company?s goal is to pay you ?piecework?, work you for 5 - 7 years until your bones begin to wear out, then find an excuse to fire you, so now you?re crippled AND unemployed. The union throws a monkeywrench in that plan. Because we have good health benefits and a real pension, people hang around for 25 - 35 years and the company HATES that, and by extension, HATES the Union.

That being said, there are negatives to the Union. They will fight, and fight hard, for lazy people who deserve to be fired. This is VERY FRUSTRATING to those of us who work, and work hard. But few things in life are 100%. You have to take the good with the bad. Sometimes good people with many years invested with the company get caught in the ?corporate crosshairs?, and the Union fights hard for them too.

I have personally wrangled with the Union health fund on occasion. They try to ?shuck and jive? their way out of paying claims just like any other insurance.

But overall my attitude is: If the company had treated and paid its employees fairly, the workers never would have unionized in the first place.

P.S.- From reading these boards and learning how mechanics are paid and the conditions they work under, makes me think a lot of mechanics could use Union representation.

For some reason, I keep thinking of the story ok4450 posted a while back about the mechanic who dropped a car off a lift, a lift he had been telling management for months was defective, and 10 minutes later he was fired. With union representation, he would either not have been fired, or he would have gotten his job back with full back pay. In fact, with a good union, he could have refused to work with unsafe equipment in the first place.

I hear you;
As a life long (teaching life) teacher’s union member, I can echo your sentiments. Working for an non union private school for a while was a nightmare benefit wise. There were none.
We didn’t have to deal with the union dues, but we couldn’t say no to anything they wanted you to do. Even janitorial work. I respect janitorial service, but I didn’t get an advanced degree in math to make it my life’s ambition. Thanks to my education, we moved on and worked anywhere I wanted, but always in schools with unions.

Eliminate employer sponsored health care

I’ve worked for many companies that have employer sponsored health care…and they had no problem what-so-ever making HUGE profits every year.

China is guilty of unfair labor practices as many big US bound corps. (Walmart) are to a lesser degree. The people have spoken ! They want $69 computer printers and free satellite receivers for the price of a contract, all unavailable at our labor costs.
No one is ever going back to $300 cd/dvd players and the like for an uncountable number of goods.

It’s probably because they don’t understand the consequences of outsourcing. Sorry, but our economy can NOT survive on service jobs alone. If we completely loose our manufacturing base here in the US…you’ll see a depression far far worse then anything we’ve seen before. We’ll become the third world country. There was a program on PBS just the other day about this company hiring people in India to do internet trend tracking…They were paying a college educated 20 something in India $5/day instead of hiring someone here in the US…In order for those type of jobs to start coming BACK to the US our wages will have to drop well below minimum wage or their wages will have to rise 1000%. Now based on current inflation (which governments like to keep in check)…it’ll take 100 years for that to happen…Just imagine what our economy will be like by then.