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Old 02-02-2012, 11:21 AM   #861
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I wouldn't blame solely the consumers. Bean counters and Wall Street would no doubt have pushed for offshoring regardless of the level of demand. Consumers demanding lower cost goods/better standard of living made it all possible. If US consumers had simply bought (not just talked about it) US made goods, no offshoring would have happened - no politician or even the 1% could force it. Collectively we wouldn't pay much if any premium for American goods, we would have a lower standard of living as a result, and that's why US consumers willingly forced manufacturers offshore to compete and survive. No where is this clearer than the history of US automakers or consumer electronics. Interesting Apple is getting bashed these days for manufacturing in China - though they were one of the last firms to abandon manufacturing in the US. We love to find someone else to blame.

After 30 years of this behavior, the manufacturing infrastructure is largely gone and the skills required today are diminished. Turning it around now if even possible, would be a monumental task.

Most of the profits from this activity went to the upper tiers (as most of the GDP gains have in the past decade or two). So while it's true that offshoring manufacturing has helped workers in other countries, it's obviously hurt American workers who lost jobs. Except workers helped facilitate it themselves per above. I don't believe for a minute that any American bought their first Toyota, Sony, etc. to spite America - they did it for no other reason than to improve their standard of living - "we took care of #1." We get what we deserve. The profits from the cost-cutting went to shareholders and executives of those firms. As they always have.
We'll have to agree to disagree...
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:28 AM   #862
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If we as consumers collectively decided to pay more to buy goods made in countries that give labor a decent deal, Wall Street would have no choice but to respond to consumer demand. It is primarily our "relentless pursuit of the cheap" which has contributed to this death spiral. And it feeds on itself: the more we are strapped with unemployment, underemployment and wages not keeping up with inflation, the more we have to seek the lowest price *by necessity*. And when that happens, manufacturers respond by sending even more jobs to the lowest bidder -- and making our jobs and our pay even worse, making our need to find the lowest price even more necessary. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Much of the problem is that none of us feel like we can make a difference alone, that if we pay more for "made in USA" instead of "made in China" it won't matter unless everyone else does, too. So we don't do it, no one else does, and all our jobs go to China. There is a "tragedy of the commons" aspect there.

If even a significant minority of consumers were willing to pay 20-30% more for a product made by workers getting a decent deal, there would be options on the shelves to do so.
During the 1960's and 1970's I refused to buy Saran wrap because Dow Chemical made both Saran wrap and napalm. I thought napalm was an unacceptably cruel weapon, and I was such an idealist then! Everyone I knew was also boycotting Saran wrap.

The total and complete result of my Saran wrap boycott was that for 20 years I went without Saran wrap. This was a learning experience....
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:29 AM   #863
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I'm guessing that a foldout screen will be the next big thing. An iPad that fits in your pocket.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:43 AM   #864
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I'm guessing that a foldout screen will be the next big thing. An iPad that fits in your pocket.
My new iPad is wi-fi only and I just use it around the house, since for me they are just too big to lug around. I use my iPhone (which is a tiny iPad that also makes phone calls) when I am away from home.

I use my iPad but after having it for a month or so, I think it has provided me with about $35 worth of pleasure. Almost everything it can do, can also be done by my iPhone AFAIK. The $35 worth of pleasure is because things are larger and easier to see on the iPad. Despite this protestation, my buyer's remorse has abated and I do use it for 2-3 hours/day.

My laptop is still my main device around the house.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:00 PM   #865
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There are some products which emphasize the "Made in the USA." But obviously they're not significant enough to make a difference.

You say pay more but a lot of the consumers are those who had to trade down decent-paying manufacturing jobs for retail, so paying more is not an option for a lot of people.

Plus, low-cost labor isn't limited to manufacturing goods. Would enough Americans pay more for produce which didn't use migrant labor? Would they only patronize restaurants which didn't seem to be using possibly undocumented workers? Same thing with landscaping companies.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:57 PM   #866
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You say pay more but a lot of the consumers are those who had to trade down decent-paying manufacturing jobs for retail, so paying more is not an option for a lot of people.
I'm pretty sure I alluded to this point, and how starting to go down this road puts us in a spiral of lost jobs and lower wages that's difficult (if not impossible) to escape.

Oh, yeah, I did -- I wrote:

Quote:
It is primarily our "relentless pursuit of the cheap" which has contributed to this death spiral. And it feeds on itself: the more we are strapped with unemployment, underemployment and wages not keeping up with inflation, the more we have to seek the lowest price *by necessity*. And when that happens, manufacturers respond by sending even more jobs to the lowest bidder -- and making our jobs and our pay even worse, making our need to find the lowest price even more necessary. Lather, rinse, repeat.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:10 PM   #867
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You say pay more but a lot of the consumers are those who had to trade down decent-paying manufacturing jobs for retail, so paying more is not an option for a lot of people. The sequence of events is important here, the loss of "decent-paying manufacturing jobs" was the result, not the cause.

Aren't you arguing the other side of your earlier assertion here? Doesn't sound like bean counters or Wall St are the cause. Plus, low-cost labor isn't limited to manufacturing goods. Would enough Americans pay more for produce which didn't use migrant labor? Would they only patronize restaurants which didn't seem to be using possibly undocumented workers? Same thing with landscaping companies.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:26 PM   #868
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The quoting of the last several posts is a little confusing.

Americans are less able and willing to pay higher prices. So the Wal Mart effect is at play. Though that means these behemoths are squeezing margins from their suppliers, who in turn may take shortcuts on working conditions.

It's no doubt true that as long as there is strong demand for all products made overseas (regardless of the pricing, because nobody would say Apple prices are bargain-priced), there will be more products made overseas.

But these companies seem more inclined to use overseas supply chains, regardless of the demand. One of these articles claimed that corporations which were founded in the US used to be more "patriotic" if that's the correct word, about using American workers several decades ago.

Now of course, most big companies make a substantial amount of money in foreign markets so they're going to pursue the most cost-efficient operations.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:08 PM   #869
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Americans are less able and willing to pay higher prices. So the Wal Mart effect is at play. Though that means these behemoths are squeezing margins from their suppliers, who in turn may take shortcuts on working conditions.
We have a chicken-and-egg problem here. Which came first, people seeking the lowest price while they still had a good job keeping up with inflation, or people seeking the lowest prices out of absolute economic necessity?
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:28 PM   #870
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At this point, it makes little difference.

Meanwhile, Apple and other companies are salivating at the China market. Even if only a fraction of the population reaches Western standard of living, the market could easily rival the US or Western Europe in size.

And they don't mind contributing to the growth of the standard of living for some workers there.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:26 PM   #871
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Well the date is official, Apple is having some kind of event on 3/7, with the tag line about something for you to see and touch.

Rumors have been hot and heavy and it's driving the stock price to all-time highs the past few weeks.

The anticipated specs. aren't something that would require iPad owners to upgrade, unless they HAVE to have the latest and greatest, though the rumored sharper screen might make for a better reading experience.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:37 PM   #872
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Ah, but the important thing is that DW has been paying more attention to the remarkably high usage I give my iPad2, and has said that she might like to try one. Since her birthday is in April, I feel fairly certain that Apple will have at least one sale for whatever they announce.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:49 PM   #873
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I had decided it was time to buy an Android tablet now I guess I'll wait a few days and see what happens.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:22 PM   #874
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New one will have better video streaming (must be a faster chip), sharper screen (think hd), better camera and that Siri lady that talks to you. Other than that I'm not sure there is a whole lot different than Ipad2. Best Buy supposedly cut price of ipad2's by $50 today. If you don't have one and don't need the new bells I would run to Best Buy.

Me, I'm stickin with the ipad2 I have.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:34 PM   #875
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New one will have better video streaming (must be a faster chip), sharper screen (think hd), better camera and that Siri lady that talks to you. Other than that I'm not sure there is a whole lot different than Ipad2. Best Buy supposedly cut price of ipad2's by $50 today. If you don't have one and don't need the new bells I would run to Best Buy.

Me, I'm stickin with the ipad2 I have.
Interesting...I was at Best Buy this afternoon looking at their $110 b&w laser printer and asked when the next ipad was due out. The guy looked at me as if I just landed from Venus knowing nothing and stating that there is no info available that they are even coming out with a new one . Either I'm the unluckiest gal in the world or BB's sales staff sucks. I learn so much more on the forums/blogs.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:52 PM   #876
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Either I'm the unluckiest gal in the world or BB's sales staff sucks.
BB's sales staff sucks. That's why there are Apple stores!
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:37 PM   #877
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There's no official announcement yet. If the BB guy said anything, he'd just be repeating rumors.

But we should know in a week.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:08 AM   #878
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For those of you interested in a new iPad here is an article on how long you'll have to wait for a "sale"...

To Get the Best Deal on the iPad 3, You'll Have to Wait 6 Months
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File Type: png iPad3_Graphic.png (45.3 KB, 5 views)
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:17 AM   #879
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Soon as they announce you can order online, the servers will be inundated.

Probably will see the queues at the stores.

Though now, there are some rumors that they're raising prices by $80 for each configuration.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:23 AM   #880
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Though now, there are some rumors that they're raising prices by $80 for each configuration.
Perhaps, but Apple's history seems to indicated they keep the price the same and add more features. Of course, that was during the Jobs administration. Who knows what the post-Jobs Apple will do
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