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Thread: Ever wonder who is assembling all our gadgets that we are so attatched to?

  1. Droid Ninja
    SallyC's Avatar
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jungle King 76 View Post
    Doesn't bother me.

    Survival of the fittest.

    Dog eat dog.

    Seriously, who cares what happens in China?

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using DroidForums
    I care. And I don't think it has to be a competitive economy with us against them.

    Wikipedia defines free trade as "Free trade is a policy by which a government does not discriminate against imports or interfere with exports by applying tariffs (to imports) or subsidies (to exports)." We don't have free trade, what we have is government managed trade where favored groups get favored treatment. That's why our FTAs are thousands of pages long. They are written to benefit transnational companies who finance reelection campaigns and provide other incentives to those in power. Under that kind of FT it's very difficult for us to compete with other nations.

    True FT allows for individuals to specialize in providing goods and services based on what they have to offer and exchange it for goods and services they can't produce as competitively as others. In some countries what they excel in might be cheap labor, in others it might be highly creative products, in another highly trained workers and skilled services. This allows goods/services to be produced and offered in the most efficient and cost effective manner. Global competition will likely cause a shift in job types, but does not necessarily cause a loss of jobs.

    The statistics do show a change in jobs since FT agreements like NAFTA have been implemented, but they do not show a job loss. Notice the graph below realizing NAFTA went into effect in January of 1994. The shaded areas are recessions. The line going from 1980 to the present is basically unchanged in its upward trend until we hit the current recession. Looking at it, you would not ask, "What happened in 1994?" There continued to be job growth after NAFTA.
    Ever wonder who is assembling all our gadgets that we are so attatched to?-labor.jpg
    One of the problems with FT as it's currently implemented is it utilizes "treaties" which erode our national sovereignty as well as costing us jobs. For example, British Columbia began growing cannabis hemp crops in 1996. President Clinton banned ALL Cannabis, when he signed NAFTA. In 2003, Bush AG Ashcroft banned cannabis hemp sales in the USA. Canada sued over loss of income in NAFTA, and won. So today, the USA farmers cannot grow cannabis hemp. The mills do not produce hemp paper, rope, board, fuel, fiber, instead, Americans buy billions of dollars worth of hemp annually from Canada. True FT would remove these regulations and British Columbia would have to compete with our farmers and see who could produce best hemp for the best price.


    The problem in the scenario above isn't that FT took away these jobs, it's that government managed trade took away these jobs instead of letting us compete for them. It's true that the US cannot compete with cheap labor, as available in many underdeveloped countries. But our educational system can equip people to be prepared for more highly skilled jobs or to come up with creative ideas and ways of manufacturing. We will then benefit from the cheap labor being done elsewhere - as those countries will also benefit from having new jobs and possibilities open up for them.


    Yes, the working conditions in many of these countries is horrible by our standards. So are the living conditions. But FT is not the cause of this - it is bringing them jobs which is offering them a way out of these conditions. Which is why workers line up to get them. Consider what happened after Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa complained about sweatshops in Bangladesh. Some shops closed. Then Oxfam discovered that kids who were laid off often turned to prostitution to support themselves. As David R. Henderson, an economist at the Hoover Institution said, ""In fact, they're better off taking those jobs. ... The mistake Americans make is they think they would never work in a sweatshop and therefore they say these people shouldn't. Well, no one's offering those people green cards. Those people are stuck in those countries. They're choosing their best of a bunch of bad options. And when you take away someone's best of a bad option, they're worse off." This doesn't mean it's okay they are in "sweat shops" - I hate that. But it doesn't mean FT is the problem either. If anything, true FT would result in an improvement in their conditions and opportunities.


    I've heard it said many times that "everything we buy is made in China" but that is another FT myth. A recent publication (8/8/2011) by Galina Hale and Bart Hobijn, two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, titled “The U.S. Content of ‘Made in China’” looked at this very issue. One of the several questions they ask is: What is the fraction of U.S. consumer spending for goods made in China? Their data sources are the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. They found that the vast majority of goods and services sold in the United States are produced here. In 2010, total imports were about 16 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, and of that, 2.5 percent came from China. A total of 88.5 percent of U.S. consumer spending is on items made in the United States, the bulk of which are domestically produced services — such as medical care, housing, transportation, etc. — which make up about two-thirds of spending.

    Chinese goods account for 2.7 percent of U.S. personal consumption expenditures, about one-quarter of the 11.5 percent foreign share. Chinese imported goods consist mainly of furniture and household equipment; other durables; and clothing and shoes. The authors point out that most of the price of these products goes for transportation in the U.S., rent for the store where they are sold, profits for shareholders of the U.S. retailer, and marketing costs, which include the salaries, wages and benefits paid to the U.S. workers and managers responsible for getting sneakers to consumers. On average, 55 cents of every dollar spent on goods made in China goes for marketing services produced in the U.S.

    It is not a perfect world and FT is not a perfect system. Even if what we had going on was FT, which it isn't. But neither is it the cause of all our troubles.
    FoxKat likes this.
  2. Junior Droid
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    #22
    Good job Chinese! *high five!* ya did good!

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  3. Master Droid
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    #23
    Wow Sally, that is a super long answer to just basically say....God Bless America!!

    I know it is not about competition..... I was joking about the survival of fittest, dog eat dog comments.

    I am a economics major so I understand how it works......I just could care less what happens in other parts of the world as far as living/ working conditions.

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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Einsteindks View Post
    Always suspected China was like this. Yep, they are totally screwing themselves over and don't care knowing about it. China will, in the not too distant future, either colapse as a society or have a very messy revolution. Either way, the land itself will be woefully toxic to habitation. Should be interesting.

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    I concur, it's going to be very interesting indeed. It's NOT our fault at all that this goes on. It's the good old government of China. Hunker in!

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    #25
    Thread cleaned and moved to off topic. Let's keep the discussion civil.

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    #26
    the sad thing about the whole situation is that Foxconn is one of the best manufacturing companies in china to work for since the conditions at most all other factories are so bad it makes working at foxconn look like a vacation.
  7. Master Droid
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    #27
    The problem with topics like this is it if completely subjective. People look at the working conditions there and are outraged because they are comparing it to what we know. But we are not the world police and do not set standards. The bottom line is that every country has their own standards and way of life and government and it is not our place to tell them they are wrong. Instead of getting upset about another culture or countries work environment, just be thankful we have the opportunities that we have.

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  8. Droid Ninja
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    #28
    Yes. I agree. If we self-righteously close these factories down, as my earlier post illustrates, we are often condemning them to a worse alternative.

    In true FT, it can benefit all parties.
  9. Droid Ninja
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    #29
    Livemint.com published an interesting article today, How US lost out on iPhone work, that brings another perspective to all this. It isn't just that workers are cheaper according to Apple executives, it's that the flexibility, diligence and skills of foreign workers have outpaced their US counterparts.

    It tells the story that starts with:

    In 2007, a little more than a month before the iPhone was scheduled to appear in stores, Jobs beckoned a handful of lieutenants into an office. For weeks, he had been carrying a prototype of the device in his pocket.


    Jobs angrily held up his iPhone, angling it so everyone could see the dozens of tiny scratches marring its plastic screen, according to someone who attended the meeting. He then pulled his keys from his jeans.


    People will carry this phone in their pocket, he said. People also carry their keys in their pocket. “I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.”


    As the execs hurriedly assessed their options, their path became clear:

    For years, cellphone makers had avoided using glass because it required precision in cutting and grinding that was extremely difficult to achieve. Apple had already selected a US company, Corning Inc., to manufacture large panes of strengthened glass. But figuring out how to cut those panes into millions of iPhone screens required finding an empty cutting plant, hundreds of pieces of glass to use in experiments and an army of mid-level engineers. It would cost a fortune simply to prepare.

    Then a bid for the work arrived from a Chinese factory.


    When an Apple team visited, the Chinese plant’s owners were already constructing a new wing. “This is in case you give us the contract,” the manager said, according to a former Apple executive. The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory. It had a warehouse filled with glass samples available to Apple, free of charge. The owners made engineers available at almost no cost. They had built on-site dormitories so employees would be available 24 hours a day.


    The Chinese plant got the job.


    It's an interesting article. The bottom line is "Apple executives believe there simply aren’t enough US workers with the skills the company needs or factories with sufficient speed and flexibility. Other companies that work with Apple, like Corning, also say they must go abroad."
  10. Senior Droid
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    #30
    I saw a documentary about this concerning Wal Mart. There are even cases where these buildings have nets on the outside of the windows to catch people who try to commit suicide by jumping.


    "Supercharge this"
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