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Only buying American for 1 year


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bosco mctavitch

Eric, we shouldn't, the point is simply that there is a cultural disconnect here...go to any clothing factory in North America, the ones I have been in both in Canada and the US they don't even speak English on the floor becasue the only people who can/will work there are not white/anglo for the most part.  The ethnicity isn't the issue, the issue is that these factory jobs are not all they're cracked up to be and they actually require a very high level of skill sometimes and a lot of hard work, and by and large the people who are screaming about factory jobs going overseas are not the ones being employed in these factories in the first place.  

What's more, in many cases we no longer even have workers in the US who are trained to operate the newer equipment and technology that some of the asian factories are using, so it's immigrant labor that fills those jobs because those are the best-qualified people...in the industry I work in there are even times when China is the ONLY place in the world you can have something produced, because there are only 1 or 2 factories that have the infrastructure to do it (this would be for some of the seam-welding machinery and stuff like that for high-end jackets, etc).  Unless the US military gets on board with something in a big way there simply isn't the demand for stuff like this to make the investment in technology pay off except for a couple production facilities, so even if a company wants to manufacture in one place they can't always do it.  We can blame mechanized production for "stealing" jobs as well.  

(not at Eric)

The "good old days" when everything was made here and laws were more friendly to business also included lots of people working in filthy if not downright dangerous conditions and most of those workers were uneducated, had few other options, lived in poverty in working class slums, there were huge pollution and toxic waste issues, zero healthcare for most workers, no education, no working condition standards, no retirement plan, no disability insurance, no workers comp, no environmental regs ("just dump that in the river") etc.  The "anti-business" rhetoric is fine, but it is a long continuum with no clear dividing line between mandating safe and fair business practices for the public and workers (who can be largely at the mercy of the much more powerful and resource-rich companies they work for, even small ones) not to mention environmental policies so the areas around manufacturing centers aren't causing environmental and health issues for everyone who lives nearby; and actually being "anti-business".  Do we really want a return to those days?  Re-read your Sinclair before you answer... Face it, business is not a charity proposition--there is always going to be some pushing back and forth between what allows a business to make the most profit, and what prevents them from turning into small fiefdoms that use their employees as tools only to make a buck for the owners/stockholders without regard to anything else.  Altruistic business owners don't survive long in that climate.  I don't care what ANYONE says, those elements are present today in any business, and some of the laws that are such a pain are necessary to maintain the higher standard of living we all enjoy in this country.  This is a good conversation to have, because it's clear there isn't an agreed-upon point at which laws/policies become too onerous to business that the collective good suffers (and I agree this definitely happens), but I wish we could do it without the black and white political rhetoric is all.

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Chinese competition is formidable but India is the up-and-comer.   Wonder what annual regulatory cost per unit of production is for Mahindra, vice John Deere (for US content).

I'm wondering what your agenda is here Don. Aside from some adversarial posts on the no tox subject, your contributions seem troll like. JMO

PC,

No, I am not a troll - or dwarf, either :)

The point I was attempting to make is similar to the ones that Bobman and Almost Heaven articulated much  better than I did.  Specifically, that the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, Russians and undocumented future voters  -  in fact, pretty much the entire rest of the world - didn't steal our jobs.  Nor do I much blame the evil corporations that make economic decisions based on - well, economics.  

As Pogo (I think he was a dwarf, too - or maybe a troll) put it - we have met the enemy, and he is us!!  I'd like to see us reverse that, and believe it can be done.  It will involve some un-chic industrial facilities in our backyards, and long hours/  hard work.  

IRT non-tox, I don't recall taking a hard line on the topic, pro or con.   Perhaps you've confused me with some other adversarial troll?

Best regards,

Don

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Not daring to step between PC and Mr Steese,

I thought this was interesting:

-----Original Message-----

From: donotreply@mudriverdogproducts.com

[mailto:donotreply@mudriverdogproducts.com]

Sent: September 22, 2010 9:37 PM

To: sales@boytharness.com

Subject: Mud River Question

Registration Submission

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Name: John Langdell

Email: johnlangdell@rushmore.com

Hometown: Spearfish,SD

Phone:

Questions/Comments: Are all of your products made in America?

buttonName: Question

-----Original Message-----

From: Boyt [mailto:sales@boytharness.com]

Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2010 8:55 AM

To: JOHNLANGDELL@RUSHMORE.COM

Subject: RE: Mud River Question

I do apologize however all of our products are manufactured overseas.

Thanks,

Brandi

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Funny story I guess.

We were in Scagway Alaska last week shopping on Schlock Shops Blvd. This is the end of cruise season so the prices for everything were beyond cheap; t-shirts for less than $5 bucks, everything marked down 20-50%.

So we were in a nicer than normal shop w/Alaskan knick knacks, knives, assorted crafts, jewelry etc. Jo Ann spotted a really nice small porcelain or pottery sculpture of an eagle. Sorta fluid, nice colors and abstract. It was marked 50% off so was only $25 or so. We thought it would be a nice shelf item to remind us of the AK trip. She had the clerk go look for one boxed in back. He was gone a while and came back saying he looked everywhere but that one was the only one left. We said we'll take it if OK and I glanced at the bottom as I handed it to him.

Made In China.

As the clerk walked away to wrap it up I hissed at Jo Ann that I didn't want it--nothing against China persay but I WANTED AN ALASKAN MADE TRINKET.

She always condescends to everyone but me and said "Just buy it"--not wanting to embarrass herself in front of clerk.

I did and now it is on our living room cabinet shelf, price tag on bottom intact, fodder for an Alaskan cruise story...

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Not daring to step between PC and Mr Steese,

Big John,

I'm flattered to be mistaken for Mr. Steese, but in the interest of full disclosure - I'm a different Don S.  I would gladly continue the deception if it would yield an invitation  to a field trip with Mr. Hong and his bird finder.   If Mr. Steese is pudgy, bespectacled and cue ball bald, with a pure white moustache to balance the chrome dome, the ruse might work.    

Best,

The Other Don

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Funny story I guess.

We were in Scagway Alaska last week shopping on Schlock Shops Blvd. This is the end of cruise season so the prices for everything were beyond cheap; t-shirts for less than $5 bucks, everything marked down 20-50%.

So we were in a nicer than normal shop w/Alaskan knick knacks, knives, assorted crafts, jewelry etc. Jo Ann spotted a really nice small porcelain or pottery sculpture of an eagle. Sorta fluid, nice colors and abstract. It was marked 50% off so was only $25 or so. We thought it would be a nice shelf item to remind us of the AK trip. She had the clerk go look for one boxed in back. He was gone a while and came back saying he looked everywhere but that one was the only one left. We said we'll take it if OK and I glanced at the bottom as I handed it to him.

Made In China.

As the clerk walked away to wrap it up I hissed at Jo Ann that I didn't want it--nothing against China persay but I WANTED AN ALASKAN MADE TRINKET.

She always condescends to everyone but me and said "Just buy it"--not wanting to embarrass herself in front of clerk.

I did and now it is on our living room cabinet shelf, price tag on bottom intact, fodder for an Alaskan cruise story...

So Brad - not to pick on you, but this is how that scene looks from someone who has been in the industry and on the manufacturing / design / sales / marketing side my entire life:

1.  You bought when it was marked down 50%.  Most retailers are making a 50 margin on stuff outside of guns, ammo, bows, boats, etc.   So by buying at that price, you are sending a message to the shop owner that he has to get things at a lower cost to protect his margin - just to keep his / her doors open.

Likewise, when I read about guys on this and other boards buying goods at 50% off retail from a discounter - and they feel all good about themselves because it was "Made in America" I have to laugh at how blind & naive they are.   The company sold those widgets at the cost of goods to that liquidator - no margin in there for wages, benefits, maintenance, electric, heat, R&D, etc.  No one is doing any American worker any favors - you are just being greedy and somehow in a state of delusion if you think that you are helping American workers.   If you want to do American workers a favor then buy at full retail, in those company owned stores or web sites.  That way the company gets full margin and can afford to pay line workers a living wage and benefits.   Anything less and you are just kidding yourselves.

Everyone likes a deal, but if you want to support a business and "Made in America" you are going to have to suck it up and get real.

2.  So retail was $50.  At that price the factory, importer, shop owner were all making money.   At $25.00 the shop owner was just able to pay that receivable - nothing more - nothing for electric, rent, wages, etc.   Now take a look at what it would cost to produce that in Alaska, with the lack of infrastructure, the cost of moving goods in Alaska, the cost of labor...  Would you pay $100 for that trinket?   I think not.  

You just established why manufacturing has moved overseas.  Everyone wants a short term deal with no thought to long-term consequences.   It is like heroine - it feels so good when you are doing it.

Once again, not to pick on you - because we all love a deal - but that is the dollars & sense reality of it and why manufacturing has moved overseas.  As consumers we have demanded it and the market has responded.

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You just established why manufacturing has moved overseas.  Everyone wants a short term deal with no thought to long-term consequences.   It is like heroine - it feels so good when you are doing it.

Once again, not to pick on you - because we all love a deal - but that is the dollars & sense reality of it and why manufacturing has moved overseas.  As consumers we have demanded it and the market has responded.

Marty - so your theory as to why manufacturing is dying in the US is that our consumers are greedy, while those in China are not?

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Eric, we shouldn't, the point is simply that there is a cultural disconnect here...

Maybe, but perhaps many see things as me. I don't care if a purple colored giant works in the factories. If they are US citizens or working with a proper visa, producing a product in the USA then it's better than importing. More livelihood is provided when something is made here as opposed to imported.

And I can't speak about clothing manufacturers or the conditions. The plant that I sell for doesn't make clothes. Every man on the floor has the same employee handbook as me. They get the same vacation days, ESOP, health coverage as me. The conditions are no worse than what any working class citizen should expect. It's hot in the summer, it's dirty, it's hard work. It's what made this country. People uniting and working hard.

The good old days you wrote about. Think about that for a moment. Dave, we gave those days to folks overseas. Now their citizens live in working class slums, work in dangerous conditions, their factories spew toxic filth. We just literally passed the buck(megabucks more actual) to another country. Do you think we did better for the environment and worker than what goes on overseas? I do.

But, it is the American consumer that has brought us here as you pointed out. Folks decided a $12 t-shirt from xxxx is better for them than a $22 t-shirt from the US. We can either figure out how to narrow that price difference or decide that the $22 shirt is a better deal.

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Folks decided a $12 t-shirt from xxxx is better for them than a $22 t-shirt from the US. We can either figure out how to narrow that price difference or decide that the $22 shirt is a better deal.

Bullseye.  If we can't figure out how to out compete folks who've not been at this nearly as long as we have, usually with technologies a generation or more behind those at our disposal -  and who foot the substantial  costs of long distance shipping, port off loading, and in many instances prohibitive tariffs (as Mahindra will pay if they ever get their baby diesels here so I can buy one) - then I'd submit the problem might not be limited to greedy consumers.  

Personally, I think we can do it - and will.

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bosco mctavitch

Wyatt, I don't disagree with you for the most part.  I just think it's a 12 dollar t shirt from chinamart or a $50 tshirt from the US that you'll be looking at.  There are already pretty severe quotas and very heavy duties on goods coming from overseas, and yet they are still significantly cheaper than the similar goods built here--I think the cost difference is pretty striking when you see it.  How do you get people who have been trained for generations to buy based only on price to pay more than double for an identical product?  I will tell you first hand, it's pretty hard to get people to pay more even when there are clear quality differences.

The "good old days" remarks were directed at a few that seemed to be blamin the state of american manufacturing on an politically unfriendly business climate in the US--I think that's hooey for the reasons I mentioned earlier.  Yes, I think we have done better than in the past--that's precisely the point, and precisely why I would not want a return to a business-friendly climate.  It's also precisely why many people think international development and international environmental agreements are important, becdasue it starts to raise the rest of the world to the conditions we expect and puts us on a more even playing field int he business world.

DonS, in my experience it is patently false that "they" have technology behind us, or that we have more experience.  In clothing, which is the area I'm most familiar with that pertains to this discussion, the most technologically advanced factories in the world--bar virtually none--are in china.  Maybe one in Canada (employing people that came from chinese factories), maybe one here and there in other places, but none I am aware of in the US are even close.  None.  How many people do you know in the US that have extensive experience in factory garment sewing?  Likely not many...it's not that you coudln't learn, but that is one industry where other countries actually have far more experience than we do right now. That's not to say that we CAN'T do it, just that it isn't economically feasible to do it here.  Remember, the issue is not what we can do the issue is what is economically and logistically feasible for a private company to do.  If you wanted to make clothing in the US, you might choose between a few factories or look into building your own and training your own workers, etc...go to China and you'd have entire cities of factories at your beck and call, all competing to make the stuff you design for you...what kind of an investment do you think it would take to recreate an entire industry int he US from the ground up that could compete with that?

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Wyatt, I don't disagree with you for the most part.  I just think it's a 12 dollar t shirt from chinamart or a $50 tshirt from the US that you'll be looking at.  There are already pretty severe quotas and very heavy duties on goods coming from overseas, and yet they are still significantly cheaper than the similar goods built here--I think the cost difference is pretty striking when you see it.  How do you get people who have been trained for generations to buy based only on price to pay more than double for an identical product?  I will tell you first hand, it's pretty hard to get people to pay more even when there are clear quality differences.

The "good old days" remarks were directed at a few that seemed to be blamin the state of american manufacturing on an politically unfriendly business climate in the US--I think that's hooey for the reasons I mentioned earlier.  Yes, I think we have done better than in the past--that's precisely the point, and precisely why I would not want a return to a business-friendly climate.  It's also precisely why many people think international development and international environmental agreements are important, becdasue it starts to raise the rest of the world to the conditions we expect and puts us on a more even playing field int he business world.

DonS, in my experience it is patently false that "they" have technology behind us, or that we have more experience.  In clothing, which is the area I'm most familiar with that pertains to this discussion, the most technologically advanced factories in the world--bar virtually none--are in china.  Maybe one in Canada (employing people that came from chinese factories), maybe one here and there in other places, but none I am aware of in the US are even close.  None.  How many people do you know in the US that have extensive experience in factory garment sewing?  Likely not many...it's not that you coudln't learn, but that is one industry where other countries actually have far more experience than we do right now. That's not to say that we CAN'T do it, just that it isn't economically feasible to do it here.  Remember, the issue is not what we can do the issue is what is economically and logistically feasible for a private company to do.  If you wanted to make clothing in the US, you might choose between a few factories or look into building your own and training your own workers, etc...go to China and you'd have entire cities of factories at your beck and call, all competing to make the stuff you design for you...what kind of an investment do you think it would take to recreate an entire industry int he US from the ground up that could compete with that?

To echo Bosco's third paragraph, there are far more patent applications in motion in China than in the US.  So much for being technologically advanced.

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bosco mctavitch
One of the more compelling thoughts on this subject woke me up last night.  It strikes me that a good question to ask is "what industries does the US now have that are still largely intact, and how can we foster continued health".  Food strikes me as one area we might look at for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is our own security and bargaining power...after all we can get by without chinese running sneakers, but food?  Not so much.
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