Saturday, 19 April 2014

Made in China: Penny wise and Pound foolish

My first girlfriend, Maureen, who was born in England, was the one who introduced me to the phrase 'Penny wise and Pound foolish.' I think that the phrase describes, with unwarranted charity, people who I would call 'IDIOTS!' - and I am including myself.

The Economic Policy Institute reports "China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 was touted as a win-win development that would benefit both the U.S. and Chinese economies. Almost a decade later, it is clear that American workers have suffered significant losses. In a new paper, EPI International Economist Robert Scott calculates that 2.4 million American jobs were lost between 2001 and 2008 as a result of increased trade with China."

Michele Nash, writing in the Huffington Post says,"The impact of the trade deficit with China extends beyond U.S. jobs lost or displaced, according to the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Competition with China and countries like it has resulted in lower wages and less bargaining power for U.S. workers in manufacturing and for all workers with less than a four-year college degree."

Now before you jump to the conclusion that US manufacturers are shipping work to China just because Chinese labour costs are lower, I have to tell you a little (actually its a BIG) secret. The Chinese government artificially manipulates their currency (the Yuan) in order to make China more attractive to North American manufacturers. CHEATING! - I can't believe it. It's not enough that China is the largest manufacturer of counterfeit goods. It's not enough that they pollute the earth (and their own people) with impunity. It's not enough that they prop up countless dictatorships throughout the world.... but they also cheat.

How do we return North American jobs to North America thus putting ourselves and our neighbors back to work? That's easy. STOP BUYING GOODS MADE IN CHINA.

Of course, occasionally that is impossible. But what I do in those circumstances is say to the store clerk, or better yet, the manager, "I want to buy this (item) but wonder if you have the same thing that is made in North America and not China."

And one more thing. It is absolute nonsense that North American goods must, by definition, be more expensive. I think that's a scare tactic used by manufacturers to justify their shameful practice of shipping jobs to China (and Bangladesh, and Mexico, and India, and etc.)

So let us remember the next time we shop at Costco, or Walmart, or the Dollar Store, H&M, or Norstrums, or etc. that every 'Made in China' item we buy stabs us and your neighbour in the back. And that's a foolish thing to do.



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