Coffeehouse Thread

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Made in the USA

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  • User profile image
    giovanni

    A little while back, I suggested that it might be an interesting experiment to try to manufacture goods in the US again.

    It looks some else thinks this might be worthwile a try: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/technology/google-and-others-give-manufacturing-in-the-us-a-try.html?_r=1&ref=technology

    Thoughts?

  • User profile image
    cbae

    Nice move, Google, and it shows how ridiculous Apple's:

    "Designed by Apple in California*

     

    *but made in China"

    stickers are.

  • User profile image
    01001001

    It's supply and demand.

    Companies invested a lot in putting the bare minimum expertise and machinery in China and India because they felt that they would be able to exploit the labor market there for X years before a decline.

    They sell to the US because Americans spend more than anyone per capita.

    How could that change if the statistics don't change?

    No corporation is going to do something because it genuinely helps anybody or any country. They are looking out for #1, themselves, and most of them feel no patriotism what so ever.

    Look at Eduardo Savarin. He even renounced his American citizenship to save some money, and he's already a billionaire. That's how deep America runs for these execs at the top. Most of them don't even live here.

    For anything to change, we'd need a law establishing a minimum floor interest in America for executives and get rid of those who don't meet the criteria.

    Is this anti-American? Of course not because anything that comes from America is American by definition and America can change it's spirit of fairness at any time.

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    @cbae: +1

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    Who cares where something is made?  

    I only care to the point of worker exploitation and abuse. Beyond that frankly it doesn't matter to me if it is China, US, Europe, etc.   

    Now there are a lot of things I do care about like build quality, and price, but those aren't as closely related to where it is made in the world as a lot of people like to pretend.    

     

  • User profile image
    01001001

    "Designed by Apple in California*"

    So is it wrong to brand something in America then get other people to do the depressing work?

    At least some designers and managers get to have a good time. If not then nobody gets to have a good time at work.

    Some people have to suffer for others to thrive, and those others only care about #1. Them. That's how the world works. If you are on the bad end of that, then you have to overthrow the ruling party. That's how the world has always worked. Remember the Bastille.

    Apple workplace in Cupertino:

    Generic Forum Image

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    Foxconn factory in China:

    Generic Forum Image

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  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    tbh those external photos of the Foxconn factory look little different to what a factory might look like in, say, the UK (for example, https://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=51.622006,-1.28418&spn=0.001439,0.004128&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=51.622006,-1.28418&panoid=eNqRx78HLcaUpG7Ln8Dr7A&cbp=12,12.48,,0,1.35)

    That said, having worked in a factory in the UK, I wouldn't want to work in a factory outside a few select western European countries that have stringent labour laws (even in these countries factory workers, especially temps, have next to no rights - I dread to think what it's like in other parts of the world).

    EDIT: The linked example of a UK factory is, I would say, a particularly pleasant looking one (certainly above average, for a factory).

  • User profile image
    01001001

    @GoddersUK:

    At least in the UK you get to go home and spend time with your family after work. In China they live in places like these with 3-4 people in a room, and a sh1tty looking air conditioner outside the window of their rusted building. The picture below is actually way better than the dorms of the actual factory complexes in Shenzhen, and they also don't convey the thick smog of pollution either.

    Though I must say comparatively to some places in East LA, this isn't so bad. Definitely living quality above the people on the sides of the freeways, and starbucks employees, but not much above that.

    Generic Forum Image

     

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    @1001001: Yes, it's not what the outside of the factory looks like that's important.

    I've long thought that a Fairtrade like scheme for electronic goods would be a really good idea. In the same way that when you buy Fairtrade bananas you know that the farmer gets a guaranteed minimum price and the community gets investment I'd like to be able to know that when I buy a computer/mobile phone/mouse/etc the worker gets an appropriate wage and working/living standards.

    Sadly, at the moment, about the only thing you can be sure of is that the product you've bought was produced in conditions we probably wouldn't be happy working in, and there's no alternative you can buy that you can be sure has been ethically produced.

     

  • User profile image
    01001001

    Microsoft has an opportunity to show the world it can ethically produce iPads with MS surface.

    Once the bloggers and others explose the Surface supply chain we'll see if they capitalized on it or if they just did the same exact thing as Apple.

    They should treat people who create the parts and assemble the Surface ethically then print something like "this device was made using ethical treatment of people" embossed on the back.

    I bet that would even be a very good marketing tool against the iPad.

     

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    @GoddersUK & @1001001:  I agree -- MS are in a perfect position to start some sort of "Ethical Product" scheme with the Surface.  It could easily be part of the 'quality' PR for the product that would attract the upper end of the market.

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    @1001001People for the Ethical Treatment of People? Who would want to be a member of a club who would have them as a member?

    In all honesty, it sounds like a winning idea.

    -Josh

  • User profile image
    01001001

    @JoshRoss:

    People for the Ethical Treatment of People

    Absolutely.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , giovanni wrote

    A little while back, I suggested that it might be an interesting experiment to try to manufacture goods in the US again.

    It looks some else thinks this might be worthwile a try: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/technology/google-and-others-give-manufacturing-in-the-us-a-try.html?_r=1&ref=technology

    Thoughts?

    Unsurprisingly this turns out to be marketing more than anything else. The case is made in the US, the components etc, well they're from where you would expect them to be from, China, Taiwan etc.

     

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    @blowdart: To be honest that was to be expected. Putting a label "made in *" is actually a difficult thing to do because rarely all components come from the same country.

    I am not particularly anti "made in China," but I feel that we need to find a new balance and I believe that bigger companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc. could accelerate a shift in manufactuing that is already happening (I believe I read recently that Lenovo will manufacture some of its laptops in Japan again).

    Very few countries are able to have a heatlhy economy without any manufacturing.

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    Well,.. Look at the other side of the coin,..

    We in he west came from simular situations as China and Taiwan, when our laborforce was I'll paid. It was still a better life then the alternative, living in the streets and begging.

    Ill paid manifacturing jobs is what got us out of poverty and improved all of our lives to the standard of living we see today. To deny China and Taiwan the oppertunity to evolve to our level is nothing short of protectionism. So it might seem a good idea to go for locally produced goods, but in the long run, it's more efficient to let the Chinese and the Taiwanese come up to speed.

    It's the best foreign aid program in the world, trade!

    Edit; source -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuznets_curve

  • User profile image
    giovanni

    @Maddus Mattus: I agree with most of what you day, but they are indeed "coming up to speed" and they are becoming increasingly expensive. Plus there are lots of medium and small businesses who would benefit from being closer to their suppliers, but who alone don't have the power to shift the balance. I think we need a different balance of things, not an all or nothing kind of solution.

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    @giovanni: that's what the markets are doing, very slowly they bring wealth (and power) to the workingclass. It's not an all or nothing solution at all.

    To try and interfere with these forces is folly, because you will lose in the long haul. I don't think small businesses have to get the short end of the stick. We in Holland have all kinds off small businesses doing very well. I bet they have a lot over there providing some service aswell.

    When the coutries we mentioned are up to speed, the labor moves to a new cheaper area and the process will start over. Maybe then Africa will crawl out of it's shell,.

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