An Example of a One-World Economygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I ordered a 50 pound box of barbwire fencing staples from my local lumber yard. When I went to pick them up I was very surprised to see they were manufactured in Lithiania. How can a steel mill and probably a wire company there make fence staples they can export to the U.S. and still underprice U.S. suppliers? Perhaps they were made from junked Soviet warships (a pleasing thought). Perhaps they are no U.S. suppliers left. Think of the complexities: If we go to war with Lithiania we'll be cut off from supplies of fence staples.
-- Ken Scharabok (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 11, 2000
Maybe after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a lot of barbed wire was taken down. Maybe it's recycled?! Did it say 100% VIRGIN barbed wire? If not, I would be suspicious! btw I think Lithuania is pretty peace loving, so don't panic just yet! ;P
-- sheepish (email@example.com), July 11, 2000.
LOL :) :)
-- Lynn Royal (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 12, 2000.
I suspect it was cheaper because the people making the stuff were making 3 cents an hour.
-- Joe Cole (email@example.com), July 12, 2000.
Lithuania has an interesting history. It was conquered several times, but the people over a period of years reclaimed their independence. While they may have been known as a USSR country, from what I read the people have always been Lithuanians at heart, i.e. independent. They were one of the first countries to get out from under the thumb of the USSR I believe. The cost of labor is indeed a big factor in the final cost of a product. Often so much metal is recycled here in the US that the quality goes down, while the source metal in foreign countries is purer and gives a better quality of metal in the finished product. I do try to buy American made goods, but it is not always easy. Ever try to buy a reasonably priced suit made in the USA? I've not found them yet. Thank goodness that I don't wear a lot of suits.
-- Notforprint (Not@thekeyboard.com), July 12, 2000.
In this case I don't think labor is all that large of a factor. Steel mills and nail/staple making is pretty automated, versus something like the apparal, automobile or electronic industries. Trying to track it back, I paid $25.95 for the 50 pound box. I assume the lumber yard made something on the deal, so say they paid $20.00. How much does it cost to ship 50 pounds from Lithiania to the U.S., and then to Waverly, TN with at least one more middleman involved? Whoever made them couldn't have been making much. Perhaps government subsidies rather than labor is a key factor.
-- Ken Scharabok (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 12, 2000.
Almost every retail business marks up a minimum of "keystone", which is doubling the wholesale price. Groceries are an exception -- mark-up is more like 20-30%. When I had one of my first jobs stocking shoes as a retail shoe store, I remember being outraged that they were keystoning...it seemed so exhorbitant to me. But now, as a retailer myself, I know that there are a lot of overhead costs that have to come out of the mark-up. I don't know about hardware, but in all likelihood, the cost-of-goods on a $30 item may have been as low as $15. I think that despite automation, the labour costs are a significant factor, in addition to the fact that the steel factories over there were erected by the Glorious People's Government and so start-up costs were never a factor.
-- snoozy (email@example.com), July 12, 2000.
I work in retailing...you know those glasses you HAVE to have at a cost of several hundred dollars ??? Guess how much they cost...the frames run about 5-12 bucks for average frames and the lenses run from 2 bucks a pair to around 20 bucks...talk about a mark up
-- Doc (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 12, 2000.
If we could cut out all the middle men, especially the bureaucrats and "non-essential" personnel, things might not require such a mark up.
To defend the eyeglass people, $10 for the frames plus how many adjustments and replacement parts??? How many hours of work waiting for people to buy eyeglasses?? There is way more expense in things because of the "perceptions" of our society (location, location, location...bright, shiny, buy me lights) and also the "insurance" premiums, it's flat out crazy. It takes $10 to make $1. Please don't forget your 33% taxes for the federales as well.
-- Doreen (email@example.com), July 12, 2000.
Ken, I have noticed the invasion of our farm supply by foreign manufacturers for seveal years. I learned the hard way to avoid off-shore materials when several thousand feet of chicken wire, which normally last 10-15 years, rusted away to nothing in less than four. Nails of inadequate temper, sheet steel that turns to big rusty flakes in a year, on and on. I have two windmills ande towers that are approaching 100 years in age and still don't have any corrosion to speak of. Of course, they are American-made. My solution to the problem is to make sure that what I buy is made in America and if what I want isn't available new, I'll buy it uses or make my own. Sounds extreme, I know, but I am tired to death of replacing foreign-made garbage when it fails at twice or three times the rate that it should.
-- John and Pat James (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 16, 2000.
Ken, I have been noticing for quite awhile that so many things are made in China. All sorts of things, seems like they have us pegged, I know they don't use most of the stuff they make for us. The prices are so cheep! The temptation is just too great to get that "bargin". But I wonder, Where is all the U.S. made stuff? What will happen to us if we no longer make the stuff we have come to expect? I hate to sound paranoid, but something about this makes me uneasy. Any comments? Tina
-- tina shrout (email@example.com), July 16, 2000.
Tina, you are right to be uneasy. Essential industry and manufacturing is leaving our country to go where they can get labor for practically nothing. Leaves us in a hole possibly too deep to get out of if anything happens that we can't purchase the stuff from overseas. Not to mention that the companies allow conditions in some of their overseas factories that wouldn't be allowed here, and were in fact outlawed a long time ago. It's a shame, but some people just don't seem to have any conscience. I just purchased a violin on eBay for a very good price, something I'd been wanting to have for years (had lessons in sixth grade, MANY moons ago, and have wanted to pursue it ever since) and was horrified to find that the violin was made in China, a very shoddy piece of goods. I'm debating whether to keep it (as I will probably never play well enough to justify a good one) or send it back. It never ocurred to me to ask the seller where the thing was made -- you just don't think of China when you think of violins! But what is going to happen to other instrument manufacturers when they can't compete with China's slave labor? And what will happen to us when there isn't anyplace else to buy our stuff?
-- Kathleen Sanderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 17, 2000.
Another aspect is the lack of employment opportunities for kids who might be classified as 'less than smart'. They could go to work in a factory and between union and social security have a modest, if not completely comfortable, retirement. Where are those jobs for the most part now?
Overseas trade is largely a one-way street with the U.S. buying far, far more than do trading partners, such as Japan, Korea and China.
Sometimes things aren't even marked as being from overseas. One example. Roseville pottery is high collectible. Reproductions from China are flooding the market. They are indicated as made in China on a sticker on the bottom which can be easily removed. At first the difference was fairly obvious, since they didn't use the same clay. However, it has gotten to the point to where even experts cannot tell an original from a reproduction.
-- Ken Scharabok (email@example.com), July 18, 2000.
The Second World War was won and lost, in part, because Detroit production lines could be changed over to produce tanks, US shipyards could be made over to produce Liberty Ships, more than one per day, US factories could also produce workhorse airplanes in quantity, and quality firearms in quantity, and nearly anything in quantity, free from the threat of bombing.
Now you import most of your manufactured goods, in foreign-built and foreign-owned ships, and you're reducing your naval force - sorry, making the most effective use of the taxpayer's dollar.
-- Don Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 18, 2000.
First of all we have to stop teaching oue children to get employment. We need to teach our children to be entrepreneurial. Everybody should learn to have a business. If we make our children settle for employment, we also insure that when businesses start hiring only people from government run schools, our kids won;t be able to get a job. That is what goals two thousand was about. The whole point is that the government will pay(through tax write-offs) businesses to only hire governemnt approved workers. I am teaching my kids to work for themselves. All the benifits of being an employee just aren't worth the cost.
Little Bit Farm
-- Little bit Farm (email@example.com), July 18, 2000.
Don't know the answer to your question, but we have a son living in Japan. U.S. goods are highly prized there and very expensive. The market is there. Why aren't our goods there?
-- Barbara Fischer (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 18, 2000.