02-14-2013, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cali...the only state that matters
My Ride: 2002 330i
One can look at the american economy and the disparity between the most wealthy and the shrinking of the so-called middle class, and see an interesting curve. Reversing it back over the timeline and looking at it relative to the percentage of goods made and consumed in the US vs those imported. First from Japan, then from China and others. Over the long haul is bringing back mfg to the US good for the economy, yes in many cases. Look at American Apparel, they have had ups and downs. But, they are back to profit ability. Their stock has slowly but steadily increased over that last 18-24 months. They are making it work. Something many people said was not possible. It is not easy and it is not going to happen over night. But it can happen.
Originally Posted by Rhumb
Probably true, at least when looked at solely from the point of view of the initial purchase price. However, that ignores much broader and complex discussions and understanding of what happens to that money post-purchase. Does it get recirculated back into the American economy in the form of domestic corporate earnings and profits, American worker wages and other such things to the ultimate greater benefit of the overall American economy and a wide range of its citizens.
Or, does that a large proportion of that money get siphoned out of the broader domestic economy with the benefits concentrated to large international corporations, foreign companies, workers and economies, and concentrated to a rather narrow sliver of well-placed citizens in the economic elite rather than being disbursed more broadly and equitably across the wide range of participants in our economy.
I might argue that the latter scenario is becoming the dominant one in large sectors of our economy.
So yes, that initial purchase price itself might be somewhat cheaper for the Chinese made gadget, but that may well represent a false, even Faustian, bargain in the long run and in the big picture for the U.S. in general.
The other thing is a cornerstone needs to be about quality. Why did imports cripple the US auto industry in the 70's and 80's. It was more about the fact that Hondas and Datsuns were more reliable and better built than what Detroit was coming out with it. It was better designed and understood the changing marketplace much better. Those reasons had much more to do with it than price.
And the point you make works in the reverse. The "big 3" blew it, and not only did it cost workers jobs, but, jobs of their suppliers and their suppliers suppliers and eventually jobs of the businesses that supported all those workers. The cleaners, grocery stores, and dozens of other business types (most of which used to be local and/or "mom & pop".
And that had further ripple effects. Look at the closure of auto related mfg plants in LA (and unfair housing practices) led to the birth and rapid growth of the crips and the bloods in LA. (The doco "Crips and Bloods: Made In America" by Stacy Peralta does a very good job at exploring this little known fact, worth a look, IMO.)
I concur, there are far reaching impacts, beyond just the the purchase price.
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