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Is the made in the US label becoming extinct?

 
 
au1929
 
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 10:21 am
The other day I received a gift of a knit shirt. In looking at the instructions on care I noticed it was made in Turkey. That prompted me to look at some of my more recent clothing purchases. There were 2 shirts made in Russia, 1 `shirt from China, a pair of pants from the Dominican Republic and a sport jacket from China. Zero from the USA. The made in the US on all items not only articles of clothing would appear to be becoming extinct.
Several days earlier I read an article which was lauding a manufacturing turn around because the manufacturing out put had increased by 0.1%. It did however report that it had been lowered by 0.6% the previous month. Further that manufacturing as part of our GDP is on the decline.
Which leads me to the question what does our manufacturing base consist of?
And how can we hope to see a bright economic future when jobs are disappearing at breakneck speed. Our workforce keeps growing and jobs continue to disappear.
You might give it a try, look at some of your recent purchases and see how many carry the made in the US label. Question
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 10:48 am
I just bought a pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars and found that they were made in China...
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fishin
 
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Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 12:57 pm
"manufacturing" consists or lots of things. Cars, bulldozers, computers, drugs, appliances, paper plates, etc.. Everything that is a tangible product is "manufactured"..

Textiles, as an overall industry, has pretty much died in the US. The industry tends to be labor intensive and as a result, costly so its's cheaper to use foreign sweathops to make then but.. This isn't anything new. Economists have been saying for the last few decades that we are now a "service industry" economy and we have been headed that way since the 1960s. As one industry sector fades another blossoms.
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roger
 
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Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 02:14 pm
I can't believe any country out produces the USA in oat bran.
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Craven de Kere
 
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Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 02:42 pm
fishin' hit the nail on the head about textiles. Additionally small or cheap objects tend to be produced aborad while more expensive items might be produced locally (with components from abroad or assembly done abroad). This can help make it look like more items are manufactured elsewhere because we buy more pens than airplanes.

Another thing is that many times the real money is made here and the manufacturing is done elsewhere, by this I mean things like software where the code is made stateside and the cds pressed elsewhere.
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 03:50 pm
"Becoming extinct?" I think we've past that line a long time ago - like two - three decades ago. The only item I've purchased during the past two - three decades with a "Made in the USA" label is on my Remy leather jacket - I think. I purchased some Hewlet-Packard computer equipment during the past year, but I'm not so sure they're made in the US. c.i.
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roger
 
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Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 03:52 pm
Textiles are still over protected. I am way more in favor of removing tariffs and buying African and Turkish textiles than putting an equivalent amount of currency on a boat. If we can't compete in this area, lets bail out and move on to something better. The disruptions and dislocations are painful, but long term, we benefit as well as the exporters.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 04:01 pm
roger wrote:
The disruptions and dislocations are painful, but long term, we benefit as well as the exporters.


You really think, "exporters" benifit? I'm sure, the most benefit is done by the firms, which let the work done at low wages in the third world and thus prevent local industrial improvement there.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 04:06 pm
Walter,
I think the exporters benefit greatly. Indigenous industry is a great thing but by exporting it's a market that they can tap. And for most countries exporting to the states will make a big difference.

I agree that the greatest benefit is to the firms but foreign capital is what will make 3rd world economies grow. And in the growth further industrialization can take place.

In short I agree 100% with roger's post.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 04:09 pm
In short, I could agree, too, but just about 50% :wink:
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 04:17 pm
Well you do have a good point about what US firms can do to other countries (bannana republics come to mind) but I think that in today's world it's a good thing (when it's not abusive).

Of course it's MUCH better for them to export the finsihed product.

In Brazil there is a lament, they export steel then buy it back in a watch.

They export juice to the US and then Pizza hut takes the juice and imports it back at a markup.

Yes they'd do well to export finsihed products and not just raw materials and labour but it's almost impossible for 3rd world firms to crack the American market so the exportation they get is the next best thing.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 04:19 pm
Walter, That's how developing countries grow into 'developed' economies. The US was at one time a major exporter of textiles. As our economy developed, the textile industry moved offshore to places with cheaper labor costs. It was the same way with Japan. They no longer produce much in the way of textile products. It's the step necessary to grow economically. Today, the most developed nations produce high tech equipment, and they have shifted their textile industries overseas. Those same countries exporting textiles will eventually grow into high tech, automobiles, airplanes, biotech, and pharmaceuticals, and their textile industries will shift to poorer countries. c.i.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 04:22 pm
I know, I know: we are collecting here waste textiles, sending them to third world countries - and thus destroying there the e.g. cotton factories.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 06:04 pm
It is not only the textile industry that is effected I know that has been gone for years. It is all the other industries that continue to leave. Is there a small appliance that you can think of mare in the US I doubt it. Industries both large and small have left and are leaving the US.
The question is where are all the jobs to come from for those displaced workers? The answer I keep hearing is new industries. What new industries? Remember even new industries are not immune from being sucked away. Think of TV,VCR,Semi Conductors they were American inventions. How long did it take to lose much if not all of those industries. I am of the opinion that the American blue collar worker is in dire trouble.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 06:45 pm
au, Good question. It seems there has to be a point at which it would be a disadvantage to export the industries to other countries. The word is "competition." We still have some factories in this country that are competitive in the world markets such as autos, computers, biotech, medical equipment, agricultural products, and airplanes. It will be necessary for US companies to keep up on R&D to remain competitive in the world markets. Many Far East companies are doing the same, so it's a matter of when the consumer begins to have enough faith in the economy to start spending again. A across the board tax cut plan for next year will do wonders. c.i.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 06:51 pm
The semi-conductor industry is far from gone in the US. For example, Micron is the largest maker of memory chips, Intel is the largest producr of CPU chips and Motorola mainatins the lead in operational amplifiers. All 3 of them have the majority of their chip founderies here in the US. Their chips are often shipped to 3rd world countries for inclusion in electronic equipment but the chips themselves are largely made here. (Mostly because 3rd world countries don't have the technology to make those chips.)

But, to address what new industries have developed - start with the Internet. How many people do you know of that worked for an ISP prior to 1990? There are hundreds of thousands of them now. The same is true across the entire computer industry. Back in 1965 there were a handful of computer companies (i.e. IBM, Sperry-Univac, etc..). Today there are thousands of them in every corner of the country.

Financial services has also mushroomed (some might say mushroom clouded after the revelations of the last few years...). Bio-technology and pharmacuticals have also grown enormously. There are also thousands of other businesses that thrive on supporting these industries.

As for the death of the blue collar worker.. yep, to a large extent they are gone. Is that necessarily a bad thing?
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 06:53 pm
The question is well put. The "Made in USA" label.
One thing is to look at the "Made in USA" label; another, to look at the economy.
The fact is that the US, as many other nations in the world, is following Europe's footsteps, and becoming, little by little, export-oriented. This means everyone is looking less at less at labels "Made in my country", and almost everyone is exporting more.
The same cry: "our blue collar worker is in dire straits" is heard everywhere, and rides a call for protectionism -which only leads to more expensive commodities.
It's rather a question of changing production patterns. Mexico is losing textile related jobs to China and Indonesia, the US is losing metal products, machinery and equipment producing jobs to Mexico, and is creating jobs in high-tech industries, exporting civilian aircraft, chemicals, computer components, and lots of services to the rest of the world.
Jobs are lost in some areas, made in other areas. Capital is reallocated. Schumpeter is alive and well.
Of course, big corporations went transnational decades ago. The big shift that started in the late 70s was to make only one global producing process and divide it into many pieces, according to wages, efficiency and adaptability of the work force, infrastructure and so forth.
In the process, the working class of the world got busted, specially in political terms. Unless there is a global workers organization, they cannot collectibly substitute the employer. And a global workers organization sounds like a radical's pipe dream, nowadays.
Globalization is a fact. It's up to each country to make the best of it.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 07:09 pm
I mentioned something about painful dislocations? They sure are. I was a machinist for 18 years. A painful layoff at a power plant, some college, and much frustration later, I'm a bookkeeper. I am going to admit that it doesn't pay as well, but I am working.

Now, total up all the jobs lost in manufactoring and compare the total to the number of unemployed who actually have useful skills and workable attitudes. We seem to be missing a few unemployed.

The US got hurt by steel imports. Yet some of our mini mills are competitive with anything in the world. The question in my mind is not why they are, but why the others are not. I don't have proof of the connection, but it just may be they were protected from real competition by prior tariffs.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 07:37 pm
Roger.
Your situation is something that is never mentioned when unemployment numbers are given. The number of underemployed due to dislocations. That is one of the reasons for the rash of bankruptcies and foreclosures. Is it going to end up as a balancing act. Our wages and standard of living will end up at the same level as those in the competing third world, will theirs will end up at our level or will they will both be somewhere in between. One thing is certain the American worker will not benefit from globalization
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2002 07:51 pm
fishin'
And how long do you think we will be able to hold on to these industries. If it can be manufactured or processed more cheaply oversees the large corporations take it there. IC's and computer chips can be manufactured anywhere in the world.
There was recently an article that described how medical claims for a large insurance company were being processed in India. In today's world there are very few limits to where manufacturing and processing facilities can be set up.
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