Monday, April 6, 2009
So, recently I was reading a blog that asked the question who's to blame, when it comes to the product issues that have been experienced recently with goods coming out of China: China, The U.S. or both. To me it's both & more. China has been making cheep goods for the U.S. (& other countries), for a long time, because there's a demand for them. This is where it is our fault. Our current economic problems are linked to this issue. Companies, like Walmart, for instance, go to manufacturers & say we want you to make/sell this product to us, for sale in our stores, so far so good. The problem comes in where they say 'this is what we'll pay, if you don't agree, we'll go elsewhere & your products won't be sold in our (major retailer with a huge consumer following) stores. In order to meet the cost demands, manufacturers go outside the country, where they do not have to pay as much for supplies, equipment & workers. We lose jobs in our countries (& the economy tanks) & in the countries where the jobs (raw goods suppliers...) end up, workers are paid less than subsistence wages (& their economy tanks) & goods are not made to the same quality or standards (to cut costs). Other countries, like China, do not really help themselves by accepting these manufacturers into their country. This is where it is their fault, however well intentioned the act might be. The companies themselves do not take the money & put it back into the country. They buy their equipment elsewhere. Those that run the companies have been known to take their money to other countries. Their workers are not paid a subsistence wage & so have no money to put back into their economy. It's a no win situation & the global economy reflects this. It becomes a downward spiral when, we don't have jobs or the jobs we do have pay less (because employers can't afford to pay as much to the workers that they haven't laid off), offer fewer hours (another cost cutting measure) or are in lower paying fields (because we've be laid off & fewer jobs are available). We can't afford homes, cars (even the repair of the ones we already have), doctors, dentists, etc. & the providers of these things go out of business. We have to make the most of the money we do have coming in, so we shop where the prices are lower, the retailer who has outsourced the jobs that we have lost. Do you see how this is leading 'down the rabbit hole?' It starts here, at least a portion of the problem, starts here & echoes outward, in a never ending spiral. We need to halt the spiral & head on a different path, get out of the rabbit hole. Some of our world leaders are heading in the right direction. Sometimes we 'can't see the forest for the trees' when we look at their plans, it's that complex, the plans have multiple layers or steps. We can't just look at one step & dismiss the whole plan. It's truly a global issue, something we have to solve together, on many levels before it will be over. We can, on an individual level, buy local, buy handmade & live simpler lives (as most of us have been forced to do, want to or not). The happy side effect is that these measures help the environment, in the long run! What kinds of things do you think that we can do to help ourselves, our economy & since it's all interconnected, ultimately help our world?