Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Made in China

"A new survey shows that 1 in 5 Americans believe that God steers the economy. Mystery solved: God is Chinese."
 ---Conan O'Brien
 "Chinese President Hu Jintao had dinner at the White House with President Obama and first lady Michelle. They were going to exchange gifts from the two countries, but unfortunately everything in our country is now made in their country, so they couldn't do any exchanging."
Jay Leno
“I want to have a bunch of kids so I can open a factory and have free labor. Beat that, China!”
Jarod Kintz
“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese. ”
Charles de Gaulle 

“Most imports are from outside of the country”

  ― George W. Bush

Just finished cutting my toenails. Started off using a very attractive manicure set in a leather case that has 'Roots' printed on the case. Roots is a very prestigious and successful Canadian company that manufactures clothing products and sells them through over 200 Roots stores scattered throughout the world. Each tool in my manicure set has Roots clearly marked on one side but China discretely marked on the other. The tools proved to be useless. The clippers don't open up properly and the cutting  edges are dull. In short, it is crap and a toe is bleeding as I write this. We had for many years a manicure set made in Germany and everything worked, but I doubt that the Germans make these anymore. The boutiques and the open markets here in France are filled with Chinese goods. Unemployment is high because we helped to improve the profits of French businesses by closing up their factories so that they could buy things more cheaply from China to sell in their stores and now my Chinese made underwear has the seams falling apart. Chinese tourism is up so some good will come from all of this. 

And lets accept the fact that the Chinese are a highly intelligent people with education a top priority and are now producing many high quality products at very competitive prices. After all, they now make high speed trains and can put toy sized vehicles on the moon, just like the Americans do. It is only a matter of time before they make manicure sets that meet German quality standards.

But why in hell is there such a rush in North America and Europe to throw our workers out of a job by scrapping our factories and small workshops to seek a Chinese Nirvana? Who makes these decisions for us? In North America Walmart, the largest retailer in America has made the Waltons the richest family in America by buying most of what they sell from China and paying their American employees poverty level wages. They are leaders in vacuuming manufacturing jobs out of the country. Fortunately Walmart doesn't blight the landscape in Europe because their labour practices are unacceptable, but we do suffer from some of the same disease here. I don't blame the Chinese who are quite reasonable in wanting to sell everything they grow and make; I blame our sappy politicians who pave the way to support our business leaders and bankers in their devout (and very profitable) rush into unregulated Globalization. Let's face it, if we raise our unemployment we do save a few pennies for those who have a job or are clipping coupons, and who cares about our neighbours anyway. 

I guess in all fairness to our stock brokers, business owners and conservative politicians it stuffs their pockets with easy money if companies like Apple join the rush to hand over their businesses ( and the technology that goes with it) to the Chinese. Its like winning the lottery.

I just wonder what the wise Chinese think about us for this Lemming-like behaviour.