Friday, October 3, 2008

Thoughts on Made in China

This post mainly inspired by this documentary I saw on Discovery channel:
Koppel: The People's Republic of Capitalism
I do not like posting controversial thoughts, and I am not sure if this is going to upset anybody, but I have had some thoughts rambling around in my brain and I feel like I want to think it out via blogging. So, this might ramble a bit.
I have been trying to support the shop local concept. I like the concept of supporting local businesses. I switched my prescriptions from Rite Aid to the local pharmacy, owned and operated by one of our local guys. I have been anti-buying mass produced items from foreign countries.
Then I saw a documentary on China and the economy in that country. That really tore me up, seeing how poorly that country lives and how much some of those girls depend on the meager income (and I am talking meager as in $20 a week). So, I was feeling bad thinking I should only buy local when they rely so heavily on their factory jobs.
But now I am getting upset. My thought is this.... all this talk about raising the minimum wage here in the US and other things, like the vast amounts of Made in China items lining the shelves... are we not as a country condoning the mistreatment of chinese citizens and other cultures who are similarily underpaid by importing from them. If I go and take advantage of that super low priced electronic gadget at WalMart, am I just as responsible for the way those individuals are having to live? I feel like we are taking advantage of every one of those people working their tails off, making next to nothing and here we are, as a country demanding more money for jobs that are exactly the same. Which means employers will continue to move their companies to other countries to take advantage of a Government that does not give its citizens much protection from being taken advantage of. I get the feeling that as long as we are doing OK (which I do realize, our country has plenty of problems, I just mean relatively), then we are fine with taking advantage of the cheap prices produced at the expense of other humans.
Isn't there a middle ground?
What are your thoughts on all of this? Any thoughts on a solution? Are you for a rise in minimum wage? I just want to think this through with you guys.


FabricsNQuilts said...

You have raised so many good points.

I also try to only shop local, but in a small rural community that means we have to shop WalMart.

Also, in my business, though I buy from US companies, fabric is imported by them from Japan, Korea, etc. That's just where the top of the line fabric is made. So my local quilters are supporting my business, and I am supporting US business, but that business is importing the fabric that is in demand.

I feel for the workers in developing/undeveloped countries, but I also have sympathy for US workers too. It is an impossible decision on whom should have the greater importance to individual consumers.

Taking your thoughts further, if Americans slow the purchase of imported goods, it could cost US jobs for the guys working the docks, for the importers, shipping carriers (land & sea), etc.

In my opinion, all you can do is follow your heart...and your budget.

FabricsNQuilts said...

sorry I wrote such a novel :) you brought up such a thought provoking topic!

twiddlestix said...

It puts us all in a tough spot doesn't it? I also try to shop local, but like fabricnquilts, I live in a rural area, and Walmart is necessary at times!

I also feel that we have to be good stewards of our money. I really like what she has to say about "follow your heart and your budget."

I also wanted to tell you backwoods, thanks for the tag! I got it done already.