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  • #31
    Re: No Longer Made in the USA

    I too still have a 1950's kelvinator fridge in my camp that runs just fine. Costs twice as much at half the size as the one in my house to run, but it runs just fine. Also the freezer is minuscule and you have to defrost it manually and it doesn't have adjustable shelves, vegetable crisper s, water and ice in the door and you can't access the Internet with it either. Time marches on.
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    • #32
      Re: No Longer Made in the USA

      BHD,

      You are absolutely right, of course. I have no doubt that our perspectives are based on what we each have experienced. You see things, and are correct in that analysis, regarding perhaps your agricultural heritage. You are right in that farming has made a giant leap in making the many processes more efficient and less demanding, while at the same time increasing production to keep up with the demands of a growing population. But I see two sides to the 'farming' progress. One was the need for increased efficiencies, productivity, etc. to produce more and reduce the backbreaksing and often dangerous manual work. But there was also the issue of a declining labor force, as young people left the farm for better jobs in the city. Which came first and why is a discussion all by itself but we've seen a massive reduction of farm workers and privately owned farms in the last half of the 20th Century; and, today the discussion of migrant and foreign workers is a very important issue.

      Likewise, the factory is also a bit of controversy with regard to labor. Surely the automotive industry is a large example of needed automation. People don't appear to handle redundant operations very well, especially those on the assembly line where there is absolutely NO variety of action or steps through a process. People are not 'robotic' for in their work behaviour. And while I've witnessed that in some of the factories for which I've done work, I have generally not seen it in any rampant fashion. The industries that I have seen first hand are fairly well automated with NC-type machinery processes etc., but they still needed qualified machinists to load and monitor, and step through the various machining steps. Even IBM required machinists and material handlers, NC programmers, maintenance, etc.

      At "the Rand" where I spent thirty years, we made what we termed "an engineered product". There was no assembly lines! Each and every compressor order started with choosing from a series of base frame models on which specific components would be added to meet the demands of gas compression, environmental elements, compression pressure and cfm requirments. The criteria was almost always specific to the particular installation and all components of the final compressor package were subject to modification and fitting. To this task were people who had to be experienced and educated to the task. This is what the company was spending so much time and money to try to automate... to eliminate the very people. And to what extent? In the decade that I saw this circus, they were spending more money then they were paying the people they were trying to eliminate! (And it still goes on in the decade since I have left.)

      My point is that the opinions we have are not wrong, but based on what we experience and see. While some of us see the auto-self checkout as a great step in time savings, I don't see it that way. It cost someone their jobs. Already the task is geatly eased and error free because of digital scanning of bar codes (at least with regard to cashier error). But of course we still have to pay a person... and that is the objective of the 'robot'... to eliminate the person!

      My concern of course is at what point do we stop and take value of a situation? Do we automate the farm or the factory or the retail store to a point where we don't need ANY people? Probably not, but how far down the 'personnel required' list are we willing to go? We've already seen the label "Personnel" changed to "Human Resources" (happened in the late 80's), so do we expect that to change to a possible "Required Humans"... and thus have a negative label that we can further try to diminish as if they were quality defects in the process of making profit?

      It is often said that it is the consumer's demand for cheaper goods that has driven us to this point. Perhaps that is right, but I see it more in the light that we have eliminated enough consumers from the job market and diminished their livelihoods to that point where the demand for cheaper goods is a necessity for living. If that were not the case, I would think a lot more executives would be shopping at Walmart in their "cheaper" demands also. The fact is, when people make good money, they don't want cheaper goods, they ignore them, and demand more expensive goods! We don't see the rich buying from the local shops, living in cheaper housing areas, or driving around in cheaper cars. In fact, the rich here don't even visit the local retailers... they go out of town and very often out of the county!

      CWS

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      • #33
        Re: No Longer Made in the USA

        I believe You get what you pay for. In the old days you paid a little more and bought something made locally that would last. Now, you run up to Wallmart to buy cheap imported crap and have to buy its replacement in about a year. We are paying for this cheap crap in the form of local jobs with worse impact on our environment.

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        • #34
          Re: No Longer Made in the USA

          Originally posted by johncameron View Post
          I believe You get what you pay for. In the old days you paid a little more and bought something made locally that would last. Now, you run up to Wallmart to buy cheap imported crap and have to buy its replacement in about a year. We are paying for this cheap crap in the form of local jobs with worse impact on our environment.
          John the problem of chinese/foreign junk is greater than you think. Many consumers are not conscious of the repeated repurchases they must make to replace poorly made products, it becomes an accepted practice. Some folks get a rude awakening when they buy a new major appliance or commit to a home improvement of some sort. The quality of work done by skilled tradesmen cannot make up for the substandard materials they are forced to work with.
          We are also living in a time when not only those products must be repurchased, but we are forced to repurchase laptops, ipods,ipads, tablets, ereaders, cell phones, digital cameras, printer/scanners, gps devices, and all the rest of the electronic devices that must be replaced because batteries cannot be replaced, or they cannot be fixed or upgraded as systems change. The outlay of money toady is many times greater than any time in our past. TV reception used to be free, tack another $100 a month onto your expenses. Our disposable society is going to lead to a collapsed society.

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          • #35
            Re: No Longer Made in the USA

            Lets take a look at a major purchase, the car. They don't rust out in 5 years like they used too. They can easily go a quarter million miles or so too. What do you suppose things would cost if they did last say 25 years or so? It's a balance, a trade off if you will between quality and price. Always has been. Cheaply made is what makes impossible for everyone to have microwave ovns, televisions, cell phones, etc.
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            • #36
              Re: No Longer Made in the USA

              Frank,

              I am with you 100% in spirit. I would like to limit all of my purchases to vendors/stores within 50-miles of my home. However, the reality of the costs to buy locally makes it really hard. This is in part because of the cost to do things in the United States. Things like government regulations, unions, liability insurance, OSHA, Workers Comp, unemployment insurance insurance and so many other things all affect the bottom line. Take some time and walk through your hose and wonder what you would have to do without if the simple things in life cost ten times as much.

              Mark
              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                Mark, the reason goods & services are so much more expensive in the U.S. has less to do with taxes or regulations than you assert.

                On taxes, we impose a 2.5% tariff on Chinese imports, while they tax us at 25%...one might conclude it's the exact opposite problem, we're not taxing them enough and putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage - which benefits the 70% of "Chinese" imports that are U.S. multinationals that account for Chinese imports, reaping cheap labor AND cheap taxes - and happen to write the tax code in D.C. via their well funded lobbyists. ("Corporations are people, my friend")

                Another point is easily summed in comparing an American engineer to a Chinese engineer.

                An educated Chinese engineer makes $250.00 a month, has no tuition bill, healthcare provided by government and lives very comfortably.

                An American engineer needs to make $4500 a month, pays tuition, shares in the $8500 median cost per person for U.S. healthcare that's incorporated into his salary.

                The same scale applies to Foxconn workers who recently received a raise to $0.49 per hour....so in that respect, yeah, regulations are hurting costs because we require a minimum wage.

                As for regulations, maybe you'd heard about bad drywall, pet food that kills pets, or lead in childrens toys that came from China.

                On the bright side, the drywall, pet food, and childrens toys from China were substantially less expensive, saved consumers lots of money


                .
                Last edited by DuckButter; 07-29-2013, 02:03 PM.

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                • #38
                  Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                  Foxconn is a good example. How many people could afford an Apple product without Foxconn.

                  Mark
                  "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                  I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                    Mark, Apple has a +60% profit margin, one of the highest in the industry.

                    How much of the savings in labor costs have been passed on? ...Are I-phones cheaper as a result, say, compared to Android?

                    Apple has $150 billion sitting in offshore tax havens primarily made in the U.S over past years under Bush's tax scheme, how much has the saved taxes benefited the U.S. economy?

                    Granted, even the cheapest labor markets in the world are starting to see a drop in hiring due to automation (robots work 24/7 without wage requirements), a topic for another time, but we need to do an honest and open evaluation of the cost benefits & ROI on some old school theories, namely the concepts of "trickle-down" that asserts Apples gains are coming back to the economy, and the concept of supply side, that asserts Apple's reduced production costs & lower taxes are being passed on to the consumer.

                    All that said, relative to topic, we are never going to see manufacturing the way it once was, only specialized skilled labor will remain, and even those are challenged by advanced robotics that can now recognize shapes, patterns and "think" in terms of skilled level decision making.

                    My Roomba knows to remember the shape of a room, it's not a stretch to imagine robots can spot defects or customize parts based on need.

                    The topic ultimately leads to Keynes prediction of a lower labor demand economy as technology increased, requiring economic, regulatory & tax policy that incorporates this reality...;.or, as certain circles call it - "Socialism", an economy where the benefits of reduced labor and supply costs actually does benefit the whole.

                    What we're now seeing in political circles are the growing pains resulting from this diminishing labor demand, some of us are going to have to accept that the old rules no longer apply here....it's not 1980 anymore.

                    .
                    Last edited by DuckButter; 07-29-2013, 03:12 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                      Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                      Frank,

                      I am with you 100% in spirit. I would like to limit all of my purchases to vendors/stores within 50-miles of my home. However, the reality of the costs to buy locally makes it really hard. This is in part because of the cost to do things in the United States. Things like government regulations, unions, liability insurance, OSHA, Workers Comp, unemployment insurance insurance and so many other things all affect the bottom line. Take some time and walk through your hose and wonder what you would have to do without if the simple things in life cost ten times as much.

                      Mark
                      Mark, I'll give you a few examples and let you decide. I bought a craftsman lawn tractor about 22 years ago and gave it to a buddy about 6 or so years ago. I went from 1/3 to 1/2 acre property and decided to treat myself. My new tractor leaks oil, has a bad voltage regulator, uneven tire wer, I have replaced defective pullies and some other parts. My last car 1990 nissan maxima was still going at 250k while our 1998 ford windstar had a bad cylinder at just over 100k. I don't believe our cars are made to last 300, or 200K. I do not expect appliances to last 25 years but we had a toaster oven 15 and the new one lasted 3 months! All I expect is a tool, machine, appliance that if taken care of will give me 10 or so years of service. My neighbor got 3 months out of his small stihl chainsaw when it seized up, no longer under warranty!

                      The problem is more than frustration at having to replace these things, more than the mounting cost, it is even beyond the cost of hauling away all this junk. We are losing time and productivity. My house was built in 1960, we moved in 1990 and remodeled the kitchen in 1995. The moen kitchen faucet that replaced the original American Standard lasted 5 years, new cartridge did not help, pricepfister 4years, american standard from home depot lasted a few years then the hose that pulled out from the center fell apart and could not be replaced.
                      I replaced the main door gasket on my GE fridge $90.00, it is 15 yrs old and literally falling apart. My neighbor is on his third top of the line GE dishwasher. These appliances do not hold up even 10years. Cheap is not cheap if it costs more over the long run. Problem is you can't get the same kind of quailty and service at ten times the cost. Plastic has it's place, but it has been used to replace parts that need the strength of metal. A couple of years back KitchenAid tried to replace the metal gears in it's stand mixer/food processor with plastic. They were forced to recall and replace them all. How about plastic snow shovels? Snap! Plastic , or fiberglass shovel handles? Snap!
                      I agree that the cost to do business along with lawsuits and gov't reg is killing us. Remember when you could buy a simple gas can? Try getting gas out of one of these new cans, just because some moron didn't know how to pour gas out of a can!!! We had the wealthy morons in Stamford who were remodeling their mansion and were too stupid to put up smoke detectors. They they were too lazy to place hot ashes from the fireplace far away from the home instead of right ourside the door! Now the town wants folks to not only have smoke detectors outside every room, but CO2 detectors as well. I'm all for safety but there is no fixing stupid.
                      Last edited by Frankiarmz; 07-29-2013, 02:56 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                        Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                        Mark, Apple has a +60% profit margin, one of the highest in the industry.

                        How much of the savings in labor costs have been passed on? ...Are I-phones cheaper as a result, say, compared to Android?

                        Apple has $150 billion sitting in offshore tax havens primarily made in the U.S over past years under Bush's tax scheme, how much has the saved taxes benefited the U.S. economy?

                        Granted, even the cheapest labor markets in the world are starting to see a drop in hiring due to automation (robots work 24/7 without wage requirements), a topic for another time, but we need to do an honest and open evaluation of the cost benefits & ROI on some old school theories, namely the concepts of "trickle-down" that asserts Apples gains are coming back to the economy, and the concept of supply side, that asserts Apple's reduced production costs & lower taxes are being passed on to the consumer.

                        All that said, relative to topic, we are never going to see manufacturing the way it once was, only specialized skilled labor will remain, and even those are challenged by advanced robotics that can now recognize shapes, patterns and "think" in te3rms of skilled level decisoion making.

                        My Roomba knows to remember the shape of a room, it's not a stretch to imagine robots can spot defects or customize parts based on need.

                        The topic ultimately leads to Keynes prediction of a lower labor demand economy as technology increased, requiring economic, regulatory & tax policy that incorporates this reality...;.or, as certain circles call it - "Socialism", an economy where the benefits of reduced labor and supply costs actually does benefit the whole.

                        What we're now seeing in political circles are the growing pains resulting from this diminishing labor demand, some of us are going to have to accept that the old rules no longer apply here....it's not 1980 anymore.

                        .
                        What would you imagine your Roomba would have cost if it were manufactured in the USA?

                        Mark
                        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                          Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
                          Mark, I'll give you a few examples and let you decide. I bought a craftsman lawn tractor about 22 years ago and gave it to a buddy about 6 or so years ago. I went from 1/3 to 1/2 acre property and decided to treat myself. My new tractor leaks oil, has a bad voltage regulator, uneven tire wer, I have replaced defective pullies and some other parts. My last car 1990 nissan maxima was still going at 250k while our 1998 ford windstar had a bad cylinder at just over 100k. I don't believe our cars are made to last 300, or 200K. I do not expect appliances to last 25 years but we had a toaster oven 15 and the new one lasted 3 months! All I expect is a tool, machine, appliance that if taken care of will give me 10 or so years of service. My neighbor got 3 months out of his small stihl chainsaw when it seized up, no longer under warranty!

                          The problem is more than frustration at having to replace these things, more than the mounting cost, it is even beyond the cost of hauling away all this junk. We are losing time and productivity. My house was built in 1960, we moved in 1990 and remodeled the kitchen in 1995. The moen kitchen faucet that replaced the original American Standard lasted 5 years, new cartridge did not help, pricepfister 4years, american standard from home depot lasted a few years then the hose that pulled out from the center fell apart and could not be replaced.
                          I replaced the main door gasket on my GE fridge $90.00, it is 15 yrs old and literally falling apart. My neighbor is on his third top of the line GE dishwasher. These appliances do not hold up even 10years. Cheap is not cheap if it costs more over the long run. Problem is you can't get the same kind of quailty and service at ten times the cost. Plastic has it's place, but it has been used to replace parts that need the strength of metal. A couple of years back KitchenAid tried to replace the metal gears in it's stand mixer/food processor with plastic. They were forced to recall and replace them all. How about plastic snow shovels? Snap! Plastic , or fiberglass shovel handles? Snap!
                          I agree that the cost to do business along with lawsuits and gov't reg is killing us. Remember when you could buy a simple gas can? Try getting gas out of one of these new cans, just because some moron didn't know how to pour gas out of a can!!! We had the wealthy morons in Stamford who were remodeling their mansion and were too stupid to put up smoke detectors. They they were too lazy to place hot ashes from the fireplace far away from the home instead of right ourside the door! Now the town wants folks to not only have smoke detectors outside every room, but CO2 detectors as well. I'm all for safety but there is no fixing stupid.
                          I don't have the same bad luck as you as I don't own a car with less than 100,000 miles on it. If my appliance only lasted 3-months I would take/send it back. I don't know the answers but we as a society allowed it to happen.

                          Mark
                          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                            Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                            I don't have the same bad luck as you as I don't own a car with less than 100,000 miles on it. If my appliance only lasted 3-months I would take/send it back. I don't know the answers but we as a society allowed it to happen.

                            Mark
                            Mark I am a tough consumer, and I do return defective items but it is still a uphill battle. Consumer protection agencies are swamped and many times toothless dogs. Just look tat the gov't Do Not Call List fiasco. Instead of handing out harsh penalties they are a laughing stock to telemarketers. My neighbor with the dishwasher problem said it was under warranty for a year or so then was fixed for free due to a recall fire hazard issue. A year or so passed and it broke and was "prorated" and replaced. Neighbor said that cost him a hundred or so, now it's broken again. They get you to the point where it becomes cheaper to buy another one. The folks who live next to him have a beautiful house and are having it fixed up so their pregnant daughter can visit with her soon to be born twins. This guy has constantly crossed the street to complain to me about defective fixtures and materials. The diverter for his bath tub would not work and that had to be sent back and replaced. Funny thing, the guy is chinese and he is seeing first hand how frustrating all this junk can be. My three bathrooms are original to the house and even if I had the money to update, I'm very leary.

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                            • #44
                              Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                              My 96 civic has 342,000 original miles on it, gets 35 mpg with the air running, never put anything but brakes, a battery and cv joints on it
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                              • #45
                                Re: No Longer Made in the USA

                                Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                                What would you imagine your Roomba would have cost if it were manufactured in the USA?

                                Mark
                                Exactly my point, Mark.

                                My wife recently asked me not to buy anything at Walmart after the factory collapse in Bangladesh.

                                I explained it to her in an example, that when it comes to work shirts (pocket tee's) for $4.00, and other items, household goods that I have been cutting back on over recent years in response to a slower economy, we have no choice.

                                From Walmart's perspective, they have no choice in order to be the monopoly in retail, but they pay their workers so little that upwards of 70% of them are on food stamps or Medicaid, costing hundreds of millions to taxpayers.

                                Wal Mart's revenues last year were $470 billion, they have 1.3 million U.S. employees making an avg of $8 an hour.

                                For a $1/hr raise, we could get them off entitlements, and it would amount to 0.5% of Walmart's revenues.

                                Effectively, that means instead of paying $4.00 for my pocket tee's, I'd pay $4.02.

                                Those workers would also then have more money to buy my services, instead of jerry rigging their own plumbing, they might call me - instead of putting off replacing that crusty old vanity, they might finally call me.

                                In economics, the term for that is "velocity" a measure of money exchanging hands, which is at rock bottom right now despite all time highs for the stock market as well as record high's in money supply.

                                I'm not denying the cost benefits of cheaper labor, I'm only citing the fact that Walmart isn't completely offsetting the lack of wages they pay, nor the jobs we lose with the marginal differences in those cost benefits.

                                I also note that massive amounts of taxpayer money used to offset those low wages - we're subsidizing Wal Mart's employees so Walmart can remain a monopoly, is that really a "free market"?

                                I don't mind paying a few cents more for a tee-shirt if that means I have more business coming in..


                                Walmart is just one example of the whole problem, supply-side & trickle-down does work when it's needed, but to continue a sole focus on that portion of economics is like forgetting to mix in some cold water after filling the bath tub 90% of the way with hot water only.

                                The Constitution's commerce clause in the powers of congress was intended to allow congress to tax and regulate commerce for the better of everyone, not just for the benefit of the highest campaign contributors.


                                .
                                Last edited by DuckButter; 07-29-2013, 04:11 PM.

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