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Old 08-06-2011, 06:19 AM   #21
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FWIW, I just retired from a manufacturing position after 35 years, and the company has plants all over the world. At my plant base hourly wages ranged from $25-$30/hr, non-union but highly automated and technical. Our domestic business fell about 40% with the recession and it's coming back very slowly and I seriously doubt they'll ever reach their pre-recession volumes again (unless other plants are closed).

The base hourly wages at our plant in Mexico started at $2/hr - yes, you read that right. They have fewer benefits too. They make much the same products and the had almost no loss of business during the "global" recession and they are still running strong.

That kind of differential is simply too much to overcome, customers can't eat that kind of premium and stay in business.

And again, we have no domestic consumer electronics manufacturing that I can think of...
That is part of the cause of our suffering... loss of high paying jobs.

Not you or me (on average)... but blue collar Americans... and increasingly white clean room technicians too.

It is working its way up into many many services also... not just goods. The internet... has made it economically feasible!

Unfortunately (or fortunately... which ever way one looks at it), there is little we can do about it... except try to innovate, create and move into new industries, and improve productivity in existing industries. However productivity increases domestically have the same affect often (fewer people needed).

we have comparative advantages (economically speaking) in a number of areas.

We also, unlike many other countries, are willing to change (creative destruction)... a Drucker or Schumpeter term... even when it is painful.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:00 PM   #22
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My children were made in the United States and they are very high quality.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:08 PM   #23
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Any thoughts on a "List" of American Made items and stores where they can be purchased? My bigger non-service or food expenses are typically electronics, computers and gadgets in general.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:57 PM   #24
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My children were made in the United States and they are very high quality.
I hope your children know how fortunate they are. My children were born/raised in America too and have it nice. But they also realize why and don't take anything for granted.

Like I said, we have what we have because our parents/grandparents made our country the way it 'was' and we are destroying it more evey day. They proudly purchased "made in America" products just like todays boomers proudly purchase Toyota's, Sony's, eat at Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean restaurants.

They helped build America and us spoiled boomers are destroying it.

Korea won't even give us a chance to sell our automobiles over there. Obama is talking to their gov. now, we will see how they respond.
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Old 08-06-2011, 06:28 PM   #25
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Any thoughts on a "List" of American Made items and stores where they can be purchased? My bigger non-service or food expenses are typically electronics, computers and gadgets in general.
Plug in genuine U.S.-made electronics


I was surprised to read that there are home computers made in the US.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:39 PM   #26
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Any thoughts on a "List" of American Made items and stores where they can be purchased? My bigger non-service or food expenses are typically electronics, computers and gadgets in general.
LMGTFY...

American Made Products and/or Services Made in USA
Still Made in USA.com - American-Made Products for Home and Family
Made in the USA Products Directory

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I hope your children know how fortunate they are. My children were born/raised in America too and have it nice. But they also realize why and don't take anything for granted.

Like I said, we have what we have because our parents/grandparents made our country the way it 'was' and we are destroying it more evey day. They proudly purchased "made in America" products just like todays boomers proudly purchase Toyota's, Sony's, eat at Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean restaurants.

They helped build America and us spoiled boomers are destroying it.

Korea won't even give us a chance to sell our automobiles over there. Obama is talking to their gov. now, we will see how they respond.
Unless those Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean restaurants are actuallu IN China, Vietnam, and Korea, then they're supporting workers and small business owners in the USA...

Not to say the Chinese aren't stealing our secrets, counterfeiting our products, and manipulating their currency...
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:05 AM   #27
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. They proudly purchased "made in America" products just like todays boomers proudly purchase Toyota's, Sony's, eat at Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean restaurants.

They helped build America and us spoiled boomers are destroying it.
America had such great economic growth in the past is that foreign nations bought what we produced. They bought our cars, our electronics, our farm products--because they were the best value in the world. If folk in these other countries had decided to only buy stuff made in their own country, our parents wouldn't have been nearly as prosperous.
We can't tariff our way to prosperity, we can't grow economically by hunkering down and "buying American" even if the products aren't the best value. We'll grow more prosperous by producing the goods the market wants at the best price. That's how we won before, and we can't change the rules now.

Anybody remember the '80s when folks were urged to buy American cars and eschew Japanese imports as the patriotic thing to do? As it turns out, the most patriotic thing we could have done at the time is bought those great Japanese cars and help GM, Chrysler, Ford, and the UAW understand in an immediate and shocking way that quality and costs were important and that customers weren't to be taken for granted. Instead, the protective legislation and folks "buying American" helped Detroit stick their head in the sand for 30 years. Anybody been to Detroit lately?
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:54 PM   #28
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America had such great economic growth in the past is that foreign nations bought what we produced. They bought our cars, our electronics, our farm products--because they were the best value in the world. If folk in these other countries had decided to only buy stuff made in their own country, our parents wouldn't have been nearly as prosperous.
We can't tariff our way to prosperity, we can't grow economically by hunkering down and "buying American" even if the products aren't the best value. We'll grow more prosperous by producing the goods the market wants at the best price. That's how we won before, and we can't change the rules now.

Anybody remember the '80s when folks were urged to buy American cars and eschew Japanese imports as the patriotic thing to do? As it turns out, the most patriotic thing we could have done at the time is bought those great Japanese cars and help GM, Chrysler, Ford, and the UAW understand in an immediate and shocking way that quality and costs were important and that customers weren't to be taken for granted. Instead, the protective legislation and folks "buying American" helped Detroit stick their head in the sand for 30 years. Anybody been to Detroit lately?
This is true in many respects, but frankly, even the Chinese are surprised at the cheap crap we buy from them...
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:01 PM   #29
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These numbers at the beginning of the bar codes identify country of origin.

690-692 MADE IN CHINA
00 - 09 USA & CANADA
30 – 37 FRANCE
40 - 44 GERMANY
471 TAIWAN
49 JAPAN
50 UK
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Old 08-08-2011, 05:36 AM   #30
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These numbers at the beginning of the bar codes identify country of origin.

690-692 MADE IN CHINA
00 - 09 USA & CANADA
30 – 37 FRANCE
40 - 44 GERMANY
471 TAIWAN
49 JAPAN
50 UK
Very useful information. Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:36 AM   #31
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All other things being roughly equal I'll buy the American-made product. For example, when looking for a backpack sprayer for weeds I bought the "Made in USA" one even though the price was $5 higher.

But I bought a Suzuki motorcycle in part because the price was nearly half that of a Harley and the performance/reliability is, as far as I could tell, just as good if not better. We own three cameras, all Nikons, in part because I haven't seen an American-made camera in decades. We bought GM cars because we believe they have "gotten the message" that quality counts and so far have not been disappointed. But when replacement time comes we'll certainly consider Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc.

So if the American-made product can compete in the world marketplace I'll exhibit a preference for it but I'm not fanatic about it.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:56 AM   #32
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So if the American-made product can compete in the world marketplace I'll exhibit a preference for it but I'm not fanatic about it.
+1, as it should be. That's how most people are, and exactly how we ended up uncompetitive in many markets/industries. I doubt there are any Americans who set out to buy Toyotas, Hondas, etc. to spite their own country, the Japanese products were just too compelling to overlook vs our products, with our families standard of living/quality of life in the balance.

If we can't make decent products, we can't expect to prosper. If they are even roughly equal I will buy American. But if our products are clearly more costly and less reliable, I can't afford to throw my money away...
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:57 AM   #33
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These numbers at the beginning of the bar codes identify country of origin.
It's more complicated than that.

snopes.com: Determining Product Origins by Bar Code
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:57 AM   #34
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Anybody remember the '80s when folks were urged to buy American cars and eschew Japanese imports as the patriotic thing to do? As it turns out, the most patriotic thing we could have done at the time is bought those great Japanese cars and help GM, Chrysler, Ford, and the UAW understand in an immediate and shocking way that quality and costs were important and that customers weren't to be taken for granted. Instead, the protective legislation and folks "buying American" helped Detroit stick their head in the sand for 30 years. Anybody been to Detroit lately?
I have to agree with samclem. "Buying American" may help some current employee someplace, but subsidizing higher prices and or lower quality by "buying American" isn't really helping in the long run. It only perpetuates those things that make our products less attractive world wide. The sooner we bite the bullet and realize we are in a global market (whether we like it or not), the sooner we will be able to stop worrying about "buying American". The goal should be to make the rest of the world want to "buy American".
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:07 PM   #35
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I wish more American companies would opt to go for good ole american labor vs outsourcing so many functions off shore or hiring contingent foreign workers that are here on visas.

When I am able to buy american made products, it does make me feel better, although its hard to find them.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:16 PM   #36
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I have to agree with samclem. "Buying American" may help some current employee someplace, but subsidizing higher prices and or lower quality by "buying American" isn't really helping in the long run. It only perpetuates those things that make our products less attractive world wide. The sooner we bite the bullet and realize we are in a global market (whether we like it or not), the sooner we will be able to stop worrying about "buying American". The goal should be to make the rest of the world want to "buy American".
"Buying American" is an interesting idea. The thing is, what makes an American car? Is it where the corporate headquarters is located, or is it something more along the lines of where the car is built, and what portion of the parts are sourced domestically?

The Cars.com American-Made Index - Cars.com

What Are the Top American-Made Cars? Cars.com's American-Made Index rates vehicles built and bought in the U.S. Factors include sales, where the car's parts come from and whether the car is assembled in the U.S. We disqualify models with a domestic parts content rating below 75 percent, models built exclusively outside the U.S. or models soon to be discontinued without a U.S.-built successor.

Rank Make/Model U.S. Assembly Location Last Rank
1. Toyota Camry Georgetown, Ky.; Lafayette, Ind. 1
2. Honda Accord Marysville, Ohio; Lincoln, Ala. 2
3. Chevrolet Malibu Kansas City, Kan. 5
4. Ford Explorer Chicago —
5. Honda Odyssey Lincoln, Ala. 6
6. Toyota Sienna Princeton, Ind. 10
7. Jeep Wrangler Toledo, Ohio 9
8. Chevrolet Traverse Lansing, Mich. —
9. Toyota Tundra San Antonio 8
10. GMC Acadia Lansing, Mich. —
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:47 PM   #37
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I wish more American companies would opt to go for good ole american labor vs outsourcing so many functions off shore or hiring contingent foreign workers that are here on visas.

When I am able to buy american made products, it does make me feel better, although its hard to find them.
You would not buy American if the cost was 10 times as much, that's beyond patriotic, seriously altering your standard of living.

It's not at all unusual for foreign labor to cost one-tenth or less, guaranteed. I cited a first hand example with manufacturing labor at $2/hr vs more than $25/hr in the company I retired from doing the same work - FACT.

Another, we put in a major enterprise software. Implementation with a US firm was quoted at $10 million. A reputable IT firm from India did it for less than $2 million using the same US software, successfully. You simply cannot be "patriotic" faced with those options and stay in business. Good thing freight, perishability and other factors keep us in some industries...
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:28 PM   #38
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You would not buy American if the cost was 10 times as much, that's beyond patriotic, seriously altering your standard of living.

It's not at all unusual for foreign labor to cost one-tenth or less, guaranteed. I cited a first hand example with manufacturing labor at $2/hr vs more than $25/hr in the company I retired from doing the same work - FACT.

Another, we put in a major enterprise software. Implementation with a US firm was quoted at $10 million. A reputable IT firm from India did it for less than $2 million using the same US software, successfully. You simply cannot be "patriotic" faced with those options and stay in business. Good thing freight, perishability and other factors keep us in some industries...
Midpack,

My "when I am able" comment did not state anything with respect to cost considerations, but absolutely I would not pay a premium for comparable function/quality/delivery. However, if its close, I certainly would.

Regarding your IT story, I am well aware of the pluses and minuses of IT outsourcing since I used to oversee this activity for a major Fortune 500 firm, and I understand very well the economics of a firm to remain globally competitive. Nevertheless, I don't like the fact that this happened to our labor force, nor that companies get tax breaks when the lay folks off here and replace them with contingent workers or move the work offshore. I understand it, but I still don't like it.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:37 PM   #39
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I would also love to buy American and also do so when I can, whenever American made products are even close to the best value (not necessarily cheapest). But I also realize that 'when I am able' is a lot less often than any of us would like, and we've lost some industry forever most likely. I'm 57 and I remember the days when America was competitive in virtually every industry and most foreign goods were a curiosity.

And if we lose our competitiveness on leading edge industries, I'd hate to see what might happen...
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:41 PM   #40
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Regarding your IT story, I am well aware of the pluses and minuses of IT outsourcing since I used to oversee this activity for a major Fortune 500 firm, and I understand very well the economics of a firm to remain globally competitive. Nevertheless, I don't like the fact that this happened to our labor force, nor that companies get tax breaks when the lay folks off here and replace them with contingent workers or move the work offshore. I understand it, but I still don't like it.
ITA. As one who was ordered to replace IT resources with those in 'low cost geographies', I HATED IT.
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