Re: Made in China

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 16:04:10 MDT

Brian D Williams wrote:
> >From:
> >Hopefully the fallacy here is clear: the advantage of trade is
> >that it allows people in different areas to specialize in
> >different things. This is more efficient and less wasteful than
> >trying to do everything locally. The wider the range of talents
> >and resources available, the greater are the opportunities for
> >finding the best possible match of people and production. Trade
> >on a worldwide basis maximizes available resources for everyone.
> I never said anything against trade, and the things you said above
> only apply to FAIR trade. Exporting manufacturing offshore to
> places that have little or no effective protection for the average
> citizen is bad for everyone involved.
> Sweatshops are wrong no matter where they are located.

Its funny, when the jobs being exported were resource recovery jobs,
like mining, agriculture, lumber, etc, there was not such a big hew and
cry from the unions, since cheap resources meant more manufacturing jobs
and higher pay for those manufacturing jobs. The unions are stuck now,
because now the third world is developing, and they are developing
manufacturing base that is cutting into their core membership, while the
unions are finding it difficult to migrate into the info-worker market,
since info-workers tend to be far more informed, intelligent, educated,
and independent minded than manufacturing laborers, and the info-labor
market is a sellers market, where manufacturing-labor was a buyer's
market for decades due to high immigration. We don't need unions to make
good money in high-tech. So, consequently, the unions are doing anything
they can to make it more difficult to ship more manufacturing jobs

It's unfortunate for them that manufacturing robots are not intelligent,
otherwise the unions would look to them for membership... ;)

> >The most efficient system is one where you buy the goods that are
> >cheapest, regardless of where they are produced. Anything else is
> >just throwing money away. You're hurting yourself and those
> >around you by boycotting trade opportunities.
> It's not where they are produced, it's HOW they are produced, and
> sweatshop products are harmfull to humanity at any price, no matter
> how low.

Every nation's industry must go through a sweatshop phase to develop,
and frankly, the majority of the charges you hear about 'sweatshops' is
bogus spin doctoring by unions and other labor agitators.

> I have nothing against products from other places, in fact my most
> prized possession is my Swiss army knife, and pocket watch. (okay
> and my gold Waltham 1867 pocket watch and Dunhill lighter)

Mine is my Acer laptop, made in a high-tech southeast asian sweatshop,
refurbed in Boston by immigrants, and which cost me a fraction of

> I am arguing that a country should maintain core competencies in
> the basics of life, it should grow as much of it's own food as
> possible (and economical), it should produce much of it's own
> clothing.

Nah, efficient resource utilization (to prevent malthusian meltdown
prior to the singularity) demands maximizing comparative advantage.
Family run dairy farms in Vermont are cute and fun for the tourists, but
frankly, I don't give a crap where my milk came from, so long as it's
not diseased and it's as cheap as possible.

> Exploiting third world labor to try to maintain our lifestyles is
> inherently bad for us.

Please explain why...

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