Humanitarian..... Patriot........ Frugal Shopper.

@nuffsed (1273)
March 20, 2007 4:39pm CST
Which above is the odd one out? Clue: Fact: 70 per cent of all manufactured goods in American stores are Chinese imports. China doesn't have labour laws that we have in the West. So the next garment you buy for a dollar may well have been made by a woman or child, who had to give her body to the factory manager in order to get the job. She may be working 60 hrs per week for just enough to live on, without any health care provision or holiday pay. This is called fair competition nowadays. I ask you to think about what it really means to Western economies if we do not stand up for workers rights around the world and start buying from ethical producers. It's a case of save a dollar, lose a lob, close a factory.
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4 responses
@coffeechat (1961)
• New Zealand
24 Mar 07
Sadly what you say is very true. And the truth does not even begin to scratch the surface of reality. It is not just North America, I have seen this in most of Asia, Africa, Western Europe and South America as well. The unfortunate thing is that China's manufacturing pre-eminence is a direct consequence of US actions during the Cold War years. The foundations for strategy were laid during the years of US President Johnson and executed brilliantly by Kissinger during the Nixon era. China broke away from the COMECON (Soviet influenced trade bloc) and USA provided a bilateral trade agreement in exchange for a number of things. They opened up US markets (duty free) in exchange for some historical monetary claims, exit from the COMECON and "free investments" for American companies. As they say.. the rest is history. I have written much on this in Redyellow..'s post on the subject. China's inexorable march is on! A billion plus people led by a focused - strategy oriented government. Mao once said a "Revolution is not a tea party" and they are proving that through great Leap Forward. It might interest you to know that the competition is rather intense for those jobs that you refer to - the competition is so intense that there are employment syndicates that actually traffic people to fuel the industrial might of China. Anyone who has read Charles Dickens or understands the dehumanising nature of industrialization can see this sad indictment on the process. China today is the factory for the world. We see this in the statistics of energy consumption, in store shelves - and most importantly in the balance of trade. nuffsed, your post could have made a difference in the mid 1970's when it was still possible to contain the process. Today - it is a fait accompli. Policy makers need to figure out how best to retain the competitive advantage - perhaps food is the only way, since China does not appear to be able to feed itself. Cheers!
@nuffsed (1273)
24 Mar 07
Thank you for that... I shall now go and get drunk!! lol
• United States
24 Mar 07
China not being able to feed itself in combination with a tainted pet food scandal here in the USA, provides circumstantial evidence that the Chinese leadership is placing profit ahead of the well being of its people, just like good capitalists. The tainted foodstuff in the pet food is wheat from China!
@Stiletto (4584)
22 Mar 07
I always find this one a little tricky. Of course the labour laws in China fall far short of what we in the West deem acceptable although labour laws do actually exist there - it's the monitoring and enforcement that's a major problem. The big multinationals are keen to avoid associations with sweatshops fearing the backlash of public opinion if they are caught out but it still happens - they are just becoming more adept at covering their tracks. Wherever possible I try to buy fair trade/ethically produced products and I recommend others do the same BUT here's where it gets tricky for me! If we insist on Western working conditions (wages, paid leave, health and safety, etc) being applied to these exporters and the financial incentive for using Chinese labour is removed (which it surely would be) and production is returned to Europe/United States this is of course good news for industry here but what about China? Now I realise what I'm implying by this - better a job that's borderline slavery rather than no job/income at all! That's putting it in very simplistic terms and it pains me to make the suggestion but we need to consider this factor and THAT'S why I find it a tricky issue!
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@nuffsed (1273)
22 Mar 07
And so it is a tricky issue. You are quite right. Many will avoid the dilemma just by going for the quick saving and no thought. My thought is that every working person deserves a minimum standard of return thus avoiding slavery. If we think exporting slavery or near slavery standards is better than seeing those folks without work at all, I am sure we will be proved wrong in the long run. Humanitarian values can be seen as a right for all mankind, whether in an environment of industry or aid, it seems irrelevant. We have to get the bar off the ground, it is in everyone's interest to raise it over time. IMHO.
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@nuffsed (1273)
23 Mar 07
I the words of one who was shot... "You may say I'm a dreamer.... But I'm not the only one..." ;) R.I.P John Lennon. XXX
• New Zealand
24 Mar 07
Sorry to butt in - but China is a communist country. Paradise of the proletariat! Kidding of course. But I think the answer is a lot more complex than that for China. Valid perhaps for Gambia, or the Philippines, Sri Lanka etc. But I submit that the view expressed here is not relevant for China.
@aissar (414)
• Malaysia
21 Mar 07
That's a fact? Wow.. Well then it explains the economic boom China is experiencing. They're well known to be aggressive and calculative, so it's no wonder that they could achieve a significant economy growth in a short time. I think Western economies which are more profit-driven would not take workers' rights into account when committing a trading relationship with countries that is without labour laws. They simply cannot afford it. It is the question of cost-cutting and huge economic potential that could be tapped that makes boycotting Chinese products simply a move that would be foolish.
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@nuffsed (1273)
21 Mar 07
"makes boycotting Chinese products simply a move that would be foolish." It's a tough dilema. But the alternative is to endorse slavery and end up having to compete on terms!! :( Bad Bad Bad!
• United States
22 Mar 07
I agree, but here are the forseeable problems with that: 1. When workers complain, the factories shut down and the jobs move to Mexico and/or China 2. This is all part of B&B's nwo plan to kill the middle class and take us all back to the days of the noble and the serfs, i.e. no more middle class to interfere with the elite's plans