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Old 11-08-2011, 06:58 PM   #21
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I try to buy "Made in USA" whenever I can.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:51 AM   #22
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Don't doubt your story in the least. But remember a few decades back when everyone said exactly the same about Japan, before they decimated our auto industry, essentially killed off all US consumer electronics manufacturers, etc...
I'm trying hard to detect the analogy between recent outsourcing to China and the Japanese quality initiatives of the 1980s. You might have to fill in the blanks on that one for us readers.

I think Apple said it best-- "Assembled in China from an American design"...
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:34 AM   #23
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I'm trying hard to detect the analogy between recent outsourcing to China and the Japanese quality initiatives of the 1980s. You might have to fill in the blanks on that one for us readers.
Believe me, I like to buy American like everyone else. Americans buy foreign goods because the price and quality is compelling, not to spite other Americans.

Whether outsourcing is voluntary (your China example) or involuntary (my Japan examples), it's because the price is attractive and the quality and operability is perceived as acceptable or better. What prevented either type of outsourcing to Japan before the 80's was their poor quality. They steadily improved their quality such that arguably the cars and consumer electronics they manufactured became equivalent and then superior to domestic products.

I may be mistaken, but it seems the quality of goods from China have improved in general, though not world class yet. Assuming they won't continue to improve quality just like Japan did and become even more compelling isn't out of the question.

Having said that, there are factors that will make US goods more competitive and indeed many industries have increased their foreign sales dramatically (check out bourbon, who knew). We will have to compete globally, relying on other countries to have inferior quality may not pan out.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:14 AM   #24
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If history repeats itself, perhaps Aesop’s fable of the aunt and grasshopper and the fable relating to the Swiss drilling a hole in wire that America had proudly drawn so fine will refocus American priorities, work ethic (żand arrogance?)?
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:31 AM   #25
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Would be nice if the LL Beans and such would try opening 'Made In USA' sections. Even if they had lower margins on such a section it still might be worth their while as a marketing / advertising strategy.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:36 AM   #26
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If history repeats itself, perhaps Aesop’s fable of the aunt and grasshopper and the fable relating to the Swiss drilling a hole in wire that America had proudly drawn so fine will refocus American priorities, work ethic (żand arrogance?)?
Maybe it's early, but I don't get your point.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:41 AM   #27
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I guess the latest gigantic outsourcing of American dollars including labor and material is evident in the new Oakland bay bridge in CA. Set to open in 2013, California decided to give this construction project to China because they could deliver on schedule and cheaper. Estimated to cost $6B, the state says they saved $400M by going to China. Said to take a million man hours to build, we certainly could have used those jobs in this country and the unions are really upset. Somewhere on TV I heard that not only is the fabrication being done in China with their steel, but the installation as well.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:47 AM   #28
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The point was about some of the causes and perhaps solutions to why 'Buy American' is even a topic for discussion.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:50 AM   #29
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Not to overlook Korea. Their earlier cars reminded of early Japanese offerings, as in, low quality. Much better today along with some impressive electronic products from the likes of LG and others.
Considering most foreign manufacturers now build in the US, it is obvious it can be done here when post WWII methods are tossed out.

Given the economy of today, it is hardly the time to ask cash strapped consumers to pay up for "made in USA" if it also happens to be inferior.
Once again it is simply the old adage--Build a better mouse trap and customers will beat a path to your door. Offer a substandard mouse trap and you'd better have a hot blonde as your sales rep.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:58 AM   #30
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Back in '03, my 9 year old Camry got rear ended by a Hyundai. The Camry was hardly scratched but the Hyundai's front was a mess. I'm not anxious to repeat that experience with the new Hyundais.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:08 AM   #31
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Back in '03, my 9 year old Camry got rear ended by a Hyundai. The Camry was hardly scratched but the Hyundai's front was a mess. I'm not anxious to repeat that experience with the new Hyundais.
I don't own a Hyundai, but if you check the record you will find their offerings are much more impressive this day and age.
Too bad that Camry gas pedal wasn't sticking--you could have outrun the Hyundai..
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:29 AM   #32
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I guess the latest gigantic outsourcing of American dollars including labor and material is evident in the new Oakland bay bridge in CA. Set to open in 2013, California decided to give this construction project to China because they could deliver on schedule and cheaper. Estimated to cost $6B, the state says they saved $400M by going to China. Said to take a million man hours to build, we certainly could have used those jobs in this country and the unions are really upset. Somewhere on TV I heard that not only is the fabrication being done in China with their steel, but the installation as well.
I feel foolish having employees my wife and kids over the past 20 years in my office, paying them rather well. I wish I would have outsourced those jobs like California. I could have improved the bottom line of my business.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:38 AM   #33
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I feel foolish having employees my wife and kids over the past 20 years in my office, paying them rather well. I wish I would have outsourced those jobs like California. I could have improved the bottom line of my business.
The CA bridge probably isn't an example, but unfortunately some companies/industries haven't had a choice. I am sure GM, Ford, RCA, Zenith and scores of others wish they could have kept more jobs in the US - they just couldn't compete at the time. That can/will change, but it may take much longer than we'd like. The sooner the better...

The US routinely ran a trade surplus with the world in the mid 70's and before, foreigners bought more "Made in USA" than we did foreign products.
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Old 11-09-2011, 08:44 AM   #34
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Back in '03, my 9 year old Camry got rear ended by a Hyundai. The Camry was hardly scratched but the Hyundai's front was a mess. I'm not anxious to repeat that experience with the new Hyundais.

You could probably substitute almost any brand names here and get the same results... the front of the car is designed to take most of the energy in such a crash...
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:09 AM   #35
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The US routinely ran a trade surplus with the world in the mid 70's and before, foreigners bought more "Made in USA" than we did foreign products.
I don't think the trade-surplus calculation accommodates the change from a manufacturing economy to a service & knowledge economy.

For example an American engineer invents a chip. He e-mails the designs to the Taiwan chip foundry, where they manufacture the hardware and ship it to the U.S. The chip "export" is assessed as "zero" while the value of the imported chips is counted against the U.S. trade deficit.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:24 AM   #36
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I think he is spot on about the "certified fair trade" goods too. Take coffee for example. I can't remember the number, but I think it is something like 10 cents per pound of fair trade coffee actually gets to the farmer. But the mark up on fair trade coffee in stores is typically 3000-4000% of this 10 cents. Poor people in developing nations would be far better off if I as a consumer strive to buy the highest value coffee for my dollar, and then take the savings and donate some portion to charity that benefits poor people in developing nations.
Green markup aside, doesn't the charitable giving encourage dependence while the "fair trade" coffee encourages working for a living?
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:28 AM   #37
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I don't think the trade-surplus calculation accommodates the change from a manufacturing economy to a service & knowledge economy.

For example an American engineer invents a chip. He e-mails the designs to the Taiwan chip foundry, where they manufacture the hardware and ship it to the U.S. The chip "export" is assessed as "zero" while the value of the imported chips is counted against the U.S. trade deficit.
Good point! I wonder how trade is counted for Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans, etc. made in the US?
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:31 AM   #38
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Certainly, if wringing every last ounce of inefficiency out of the system, eliminating the job of anyone who isn't like a robot, and/or maximizing "shareholder" value while reducing the pay of the "worker" are the goals, I guess we've been "successful"...
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:34 AM   #39
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.......... Somewhere on TV I heard that not only is the fabrication being done in China with their steel, but the installation as well.
Do you mean that they are installing the bridge in China?

Next thing you know they will be allowing Chinese laborers to build our railroads.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:35 AM   #40
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Do you mean that they are installing the bridge in China?

Next thing you know they will be allowing Chinese laborers to build our railroads.
But no Irish...
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