Sunday, September 23, 2007

Imported goods and the US economy

Here is an article I found about the effects of importation on the US economy. It says in part:
"I spent the last few decades wrestling with the question was an information economy as viable as a manufacturing one. It doesn’t really matter. A Chinaman can make and sell a stainless steel knife for about a buck in bulk purchase pricing and walk away with a nice profit. The company in this country can buy it for a buck and sell it for five, the four buck profit having as much buying power as the Chinese profit. Everybody wins, including the consumer. If the item was made in America, it would retail for five to ten times as much, the company would make no extra profit due to sales volumes falling and the consumer would get screwed. The only winner would be Union workers. That wouldn’t be bad if we were all Union and all made their wages, but as it stands now only a small minority of workers get those benefits. My supporting them does nothing to strengthen this country as a whole."
This is one of the most thoughtful comments I have seen on this subject, and it is most refreshing in a time when almost everytime I interact with people out in public, I hear the same overworked complaints about "our economy is going down the tubes because of China-Mart". In fact, most people should have a string sticking out of their backs; pull it and you get a random, pre-recorded comment from a list of five subjects. Enough about that; back to the subject at hand. I personally wish the writer had chosen a different example, because knives are one of the things I don't buy as a Chinese product. Not from a buy-American standpoint, but from a quality standpoint. Practically all knives nowadays are made of crappy stainless steel; the only stainless knives I have found to be worth buying are all made in Switzerland, Sweden or Finland. As far as I am concerned, Buck's stainless steel knives (which is everything they make), as one example I am unfortunate enough to be familiar with, is no better than the typical Chinese knife. A subject for another time.
Bottom line: Buy what suits your needs, at the best price you can get. Don't fall into the trap of mixing politics with necessity.

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