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  • #16
    In addition to selling the hardware which pays my bills, I moderate a forum elsewhere on the Internet which is large enough to swallow this entire website without noticing the increase. In that capacity, I'm exposed to things which strain my pro-First-Amendment sentiments almost daily. I swallow my feelings about those things because everyone has the Constitutional right to have, and publicly express, their views on any subject, within certain moral limitations. Indeed, part of my duties involve defending such folks.

    Here, though, my capacity for tolerance is sorely strained, because the views expressed are simply uninformed.

    So, I ask all of you, referencing my previous comments: do you buy American-made products like Honda Accords, Toyota trucks, BMW convertibles, and the like, all made in America by American workers? Knowing that the ones who are getting rich from your purchase are of Japanese citizenship? These products fit any definition of "American-Made."

    Or do you purchase products manufactured in foreign lands, by foreign peoples, knowing that the lion's share of the actual economic benefit will accrue to America? The company pocketing the ultimate profit in this case is American. So is the sales associate who sold you the product, as is the ownership of the store for which he works. Chances are, so is the transportation company which got the stuff to your waiting hands.

    I don't mind telling you, I had a little bit of difficulty absorbing the degree of foreign manufacturing sourcing I found when I first came to work for Home Depot. That lasted long enough for me to figure out the actual economic ramifications of what was happening. Yes, the manufacturing was happening overseas. I suppose that meant that Americans might have lost jobs to make that happen.

    Or, maybe not. Lower manufacturing costs mean lower prices at retail, or so I hope. If not, at least they mean higher profit for the owning company, which is in most circumstances American. The profit accrues to America.

    Further, by outsourcing this manufacturing overseas, we are creating an entire new market for the product among the workers who are building them. I don't mean they're going to go out and but a 4-kit today - of course not - but the economic benefit to foreign countries from this manufacturing is undeniable. Their standard of living will inevitably get better - even if their government intends to hold all profits to itself, the people will eventually figure out that there's a helluva lot of money being made somewhere, and demand their share.

    And regardless of who made the product - DeWalt, Porter-Cable, Ridgid, Milwaukee (no, wait - Milwaukee's profit goes to Sweeden - check out Atlas-Copco), whatever - the increased market size means increased sales, increased profits, and those profits are coming to America.

    In the long-term analysis, it's a great disservice to things American to attempt to have some exclusive economic lock on the entire vertical range of processes, from original design to final retail sale. American companies are involved at every level of this process, and will continue to be so for the forseeable future, because we're a big country. We have a huge head start on the business of doing business, on everyone in the world. We already posess the economic might to materially direct the course of things, regardless of whether we're the actual participants in the process or not, by our sheer market size. We're in at the ground level, driving the economic development of Second- and Third-world countries, by letting them help fulfill our own market requirements today. In return, they provide us with greater market size later, when they grow to be able to afford the products we sell them.

    The day will come when China and India are our largest buyers, purchasing tools made in under-developed African countries, thereby generating yet further expanded markets.

    And the profits will be counted in St. Louis. And Golden Vally, MN. And Baltimore, MD. And other places, in America.

    Think about it.

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    • #17
      I try to buy products made in the USA, Japan and most of western Europe because I believe the ability to insure quality control, workmanship,and materials are more probable. Any company should in my opinion source their high end product (drills costing 250 dollars) in the above listed regions. In the end that's why I returned my 18volt x2 drill. Had the drill cost 100 dollars I wouldn't have had a problem, but I couldn't get past the fact that I had a 250 dollar drill made in China (even tho it might be a fine drill)

      [ 10-26-2003, 12:42 AM: Message edited by: steb ]

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      • #18
        The notion that buying a product made in china is good because the money is being sent to a US company is crap. These "American" companies are large international companies that care only about one thing, "profit". There is nothing really special about these tools. They are made in china, so the labor cost is next to nothing, but cost just as much as a drill made in a western democracy.

        My milwaukee lok-tor 14v drill/driver which is 1 year old has more torque on the low end 460 vs 415 and spins faster on the other end 1700 vs 1600
        , is 10 dollars cheaper 189 vs 199. The Milwaukee is made in germany (were people get paid a decent wage) The milwaukee charger is made in the USA (again decent wage) and the batteries are made in Japan (again decent wage), and the ryobi --- I mean ridgid in china (were they make about 16 cents an hour). Both are imported, but the better drill that cost more to produce is cheaper.

        The reason the have a lifetime warranty is because they probly cost about 30$ to make and ship so they have no problem swapping them out a couple of times.

        PS If you make money with your tools you do not have time to run up to home depot every month to get your new ryobi drill or saw.

        I love the line on the TV ads, "professionals use are tools", yea mabey 3 of them.

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        • #19
          I was really pleased to see a few people support some of the Asian manufactured goods in this forum.

          I have spent many years studying Japanese manufacturing both in Japan and the US (yes, many U.S. firms employee Japanese manufacturing methods). Much of the manufacturing in Asia is built around a Japanese model. For instance Ryobi, a Japanese company, will set up a manufacturing plant in China, install Japanese management and Japanese manufacturing methods/standards. The first products may not be perfect, but in a short time the products will be as good as those produced any place in the world. Design will limit the quality, not the manufacturing.

          The Japanese say that production is the job of machines and maintaining the machines is the job of human beings. Unfortunately, there are far fewer jobs in maintenance then there are in production. Manufacturing jobs are being automated out of existence. Old union contacts that try to keep things as they used to be encourage management to move jobs elsewhere. Unions try to protect the rights of the workers and that is a powerful and positive thing, but the result is often that the worker makes more money for the work done, but loses the job a lot faster.

          Many American plants spend less and less money on equipment upgrades and maintenance, since they are in a cost bind or plan to outsource the US production to foreign plants. Made in America is not the stamp of quality it used to be. You have to walk the plant floors and talk to the management to really understand the state of much of U.S. manufacturing.

          Many U.S. manageers are blinded by ill-conceived bonuses and antiquated manufacturing methods. Toyota can build a vehicle in Kentucky for thousands of dollars less than Ford can in Detroit and still pay US wages.

          Some U.S. companies are fantastic and still produce the best products in their market. Many U.S. companies are having a hard time and in order to reduce cost have cut too many corners. Some management teams have lost sight of the purpose of the company and will often make more selling the company out than making good products.

          I think that forums like this one do a much better job of predicting the value a tool will add to you hobby or business than the "made in..." sticker on the box.

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          • #20
            I appreciate all the great posts here, BUT last time I checked China was still under communist rule.

            Child labor is insane there. I have friends that live in China, where freedom is a charade.

            IMHO avoid buying things made in China, unless you support communism.

            Bud

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            • #21
              Having just lost my job of ten years in an American owned Motorola INC. to china I am not in anyway happy about buying a product manufactured or Developed overseas. I am not sure what needs to be done to keep jobs in the USA but something has to give. I understand all the numbers game the bean counters are trying to push down our throat but lets just take a look at the automotive industry. The three major players were in some serious trouble in the 80's. I know that quality from them has improved and still needs to improve but at least they are players on an equel field now that the competition is forced to manufacture here. Lets stick together as Americans and buy what we can from Americans who help Americans.

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              • #22
                I try to buy products made in the USA when they are quality and fairly priced. The problem is that outside of eggs and poultry and some fruit, nearly everything is made in china.
                www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                • #23
                  I hesitate to join this discussion, in part because it is likely a waste of time (there is nothing we can do about the situation) and in part because I'm likely to offend someone. Regretably, I haven't hestitated hard enough.

                  From the national perspective, the massive export of industrial and manufacturing capacity in which the United States is engaged is a disaster. It makes our economy dependent on "soft" industries, such as service and IP, both of which tend to be unstable. And in times of stress, we may find ourselves on our own in terms of the need to acquire military hardware. (From about 1940 to about 1945, more M1 Garands and 1911A1 .45s were made by typewriter companies and vehicular transmission companies than gun companies.) Anyone who has studied the history of World War Two knows that it was really a race to see how quickly the United States, which had become fat and lazy in the 30s, could muster the national collective will to shape up (and sacrifice). The good news is that the Japanese lost the bet. The bad news is that they didn't lose it by much.

                  On the other hand, what is the ultimate cause of the present situation? It is not "corporate greed," as far to many too quickly pronounce. It is, rather, the product of two clear trends: first, it costs more, substantially more, to manufacture anything in the United States than it does elsewhere. In part this is because of the poor living conditions elsewhere, but in equal part it is because manufacturing wages in the United States are too high. Second, while most folks preach economic patriotism in their living rooms, when they go to the store, the buy based on price. Ridgid has efffectively exported the manufacture of its branded products to China because they believe (correctly, in my view) that they will sell more tools at the prices they can afford to charge for Chinese manufactured products than they would for U.S. manufactured products. One cannot without hypocracy blame those who made that decision.

                  However much it might make you cringe.

                  Here is the sad truth: United States wages are too high because United States consumers aren't willing to pay them.

                  Sorry for the offense.

                  [ 10-29-2003, 11:29 PM: Message edited by: RGad ]

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                  • #24
                    Oh, goodie, this again.

                    Most of the major tool manufacturers are publicly owned. As in, owned by shareholders. People who have stocks.

                    If you have a mutual fund, a 401k, or a union pension, YOU are a shareholder in a bunch of companies, and you probably don't know more than 2-3 of their names. YOU probably own Motorola, and Bosch, and Makita, and even RIDGID, on any given day, which is up to any good fund manager.

                    Whenever publicly-traded companies do legitimately well, you and I do well (that would be the evil "profits" mentioned elsewhere).

                    If the last 50 years of economic evolution have passed you by, you may as well let the next 10 go, too. You are simply not going to turn the clock back to 1950. We the peoples is the owners, and people and institutions all over the world own "American" companies and vice versa.

                    China is falling, slowly and irrevocably, into our camp because of capitalism. We were supposed to sell them the rope to hang us, and instead they now depend on our rope business for badly-needed capital. I have been there and toured the "sweat shops" and I can tell you that you are choosing to believe BS.

                    Take world capital and global business away from China, and what you get is a giant nuclear North Korea. See recent headlines for the success of that geopolitical experiment.

                    The better off the average Chinese gets through gainful employment, the more stable this glacial superpower stays. Good. Their pendulum is swinging "our" way.

                    And Motorola! [rant deleted, but a darned good one]... if you think they are a model for American corporate behavior, I think I'll invest more in China right away.

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                    • #25
                      Agreed with most of what you said(Rgad) till the end. The Bosch 18volt drill I just bought is made in Switzerland, the batteries in Japan, and the charger in China. This drill should clearly be more expensive than the Ridgid 18 volt x2, but instead it's cheaper (and includes a third battery and 3 year warranty 239.00)I'm sure the Swiss and Japanese manufacturing this drill get paid substantially more than the Chinese manufacturing the Ridgid(249.00). Is Ridgid passing on the savings in low pay(Chinese worker) to the consumer buying the Ridgid drill in the U.S. Apparently not. BTW, I do like the appearance and many features of the Ridgid drill. I just believe considering the cheaper costs associated with the drill, should put it's price point at about 150.00 and I would buy without hesistation.

                      [ 10-30-2003, 12:34 AM: Message edited by: steb ]

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                      • #26
                        Steb,
                        The price dif between the bosch and ridgid is the cost of the lifetime warranty. Ridgid is not giving away the lifetime warranty for free.
                        Also, manufacturing in switzerland is subsidized by the government there, which is why bosch has some production there
                        www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                        • #27
                          Rafael, I don't believe that the temporary offer of lifetime sevice figures into their pricepoint, because if it did I would expect that after Dec 31 there would be a price reduction(when the offer ends) in their product. As far as government subsidies, I believe that's a common practice in all countries. The fact is, China is a maunufacturers dream, 2.00 dollar an hour workers, unbeatable tax haven, no EPA standards to conform to, no OSHA. The only downside is the perception that your product might not quite measure up to other high end products manufactured in a more controlled environment.

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                          • #28
                            ...and that $2.00 an hour, steb, is a dream to the Chinese workers. That's solid middle-class territory for them. It'll raise their standard of living. Allow them access to a lifestyle they couldn't imagine before. Expose them to the simple fact that there's stuff available which is beyond their wildest dreams.

                            They'll be able to buy appliances. Tools. Computers. Access to the Internet. There, they'll be exposed to yet more information concerning what their society lacks, which we in the more-developed countries expect as a matter of course.

                            In the presence of this information, the Chinese will see the shortcomings of their form of government all the more clearly. Now, you have to understand, theirs is an ancient society, one which, in ways, functions entirely differently than we in the West are accustomed to. For that reason, one can't expect the course of change in China to follow the same pattern as was demonstrated recently in eastern Europe and the USSR.

                            But there will be change. It's absolutely inevitable. The more you give the people, the more they'll want. If you refuse it to them, they'll take it. There's a critical point past which the process is inevitable, and China is headed there. That behavior cuts across all human societies. Furthermore, the next revolution in China won't be the first.

                            A more homogenous global society is obviously the only way the human race can continue developing and improving. Anyone willing to look at a picture of the future not bounded by the dimensions of their own nose can see that. So, in the larger sense, Ridgid and all the other countries making investments in Chinese industry and unfrastructure are furthering the course of human development.

                            In the smaller sense, they're improving their profit margins through lower manufacturing costs, as well as expanding their customer base by creating more people who can afford their products. It's a win-win situation, and the only losers are those who cannot see the big picture.

                            [ 10-30-2003, 02:31 PM: Message edited by: SuperDave ]

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                            • #29
                              Hmm... I didn't realize that Ridgid's purpose in manufacturing in China was to to improve the development of that society. I thought they were just trying to save some dollars. You should probably redirect more of your concern to the homefront by taking a hard look at what American companies are willing to do to increase their profit margins.

                              [ 10-31-2003, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: steb ]

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                              • #30
                                I don't want to improve the conditions of the chinese, let them do it themselves, I want to improve the conditions in the US. If more manufacturing and decent middle class jobs stayed here, then more people could afford to buy products made here. Eventually nothing will be made here except porn.
                                www.TheWoodCellar.com

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