The MADE IN CHINA™ Megathread

new guy

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Devil’s advocate post here, but does America actually have the industrial capacity and labor to produce all the cheap shit that China currently makes for us? Even if we did have the potential for that capacity, is it the best use of those resources to produce semi-disposable crap? As things stand I can buy a decent USB cable for like $5 and have it placed at my doorstep 2 days later. $5 all in, and it gets produced on the other side of the planet, gets packaged and is handed to me. Some dude in China was paid 1 peanut to make it, and the commie government subsidized the production and stole the profit to redistribute it. Who’s getting screwed on the deal, us or them?
 

number9

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Devil’s advocate post here, but does America actually have the industrial capacity and labor to produce all the cheap shit that China currently makes for us?
As currently configured, no we do not have the capacity.

Even if we did have the potential for that capacity, is it the best use of those resources to produce semi-disposable crap?
No, it is not the best use of our resources, which is why we don't make this stuff in large quantities.

As things stand I can buy a decent USB cable for like $5 and have it placed at my doorstep 2 days later. $5 all in, and it gets produced on the other side of the planet, gets packaged and is handed to me. Some dude in China was paid 1 peanut to make it, and the commie government subsidized the production and stole the profit to redistribute it. Who’s getting screwed on the deal, us or them?
No one is getting screwed; China has comparative advantage to make this stuff cheaply and sell it.
 

FiremanBob

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Tax, HR and EPA regulations made it necessary for many US manufacturers to move operations (and their jobs, and their position in the supply chain) to China. With the prevalence of just-in-time manufacturing management, it made sense for manufacturers and their suppliers to co-locate to shorten component lead times and better coordinate scheduling, capacity, etc. For example, once a high-tech computer manufacturer sets up there, chip makers, screen makers, laptop and phone case makers, connection/power supply makers, all co-locate. So you get a huge concentration and the cost of disengaging operations there is very high.

In low-tech such as clothing, we have seen for several years the shifting of operations to countries where wages and the cost of doing business are lower than in China. China's comparative advantage with respect to wages is narrowing or disappearing especially considering the growing disadvantages of sourcing there.

Recent events have made obvious what I've been saying for years now: You can't trust China. They steal your intellectual property, spy on your people, and they are unreliable as a supplier due to political risk. Whether those jobs will come back to the US is an open question. It's a matter of tax and other regulations which make it hard and expensive to be a manufacturer in the US. Maybe another four years of DJT will change that sufficiently, but it took a long time to destroy America's competitive advantages and I doubt they will return overnight.
 

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I really liked your post except for one thing, bolding mine:

Recent events have made obvious what I've been saying for years now: You can't trust China. They steal your intellectual property, spy on your people, and they are unreliable as a supplier due to political risk. Whether those jobs will come back to the US is an open question. It's a matter of tax and other regulations which make it hard and expensive to be a manufacturer in the US. Maybe another four years of DJT will change that sufficiently, but it took a long time to destroy America's competitive advantages and I doubt they will return overnight.
No one destroyed our competitive advantages; our advantages just changed. We have moved away from a large manufacturing economy to a sophisticated services economy. Our advantages will never stay the same, and neither will China's or anyone else's economy, as long as they continue to develop economically.
 

FiremanBob

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We moved away from manufacturing largely because the government raised the cost of being a manufacturer here to such levels that even our natural advantages in quality and productivity were overcome by cheaper operating overall costs in other countries, China in particular. The deliberate imposition of such policies by the federal government is what I mean when I say "destroy". It did not have to happen that way. The changes were not from any "natural" evolution of economic advantages.
 

number9

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We moved away from manufacturing largely because the government raised the cost of being a manufacturer here to such levels that even our natural advantages in quality and productivity were overcome by cheaper operating overall costs in other countries, China in particular. The deliberate imposition of such policies by the federal government is what I mean when I say "destroy". It did not have to happen that way. The changes were not from any "natural" evolution of economic advantages.
People voting for things like "clean air" and "clean water" is a pretty natural evolution. Comparative advantage includes things like regulation levels; you can't say "well we have comparative advantage except for our regulatory environment".
 

Waher

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Choctaw

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China must have some crazy big prisons. I read yesterday that the teenage protesters arrested in Hong King will probably get life in prison. A million Uyghur's in prison. Of course they may have more 'turn over' than we do in U.S. prisons.
 
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Well if you give someone a life sentence and then don't feed them. their life sentence gets pretty short. I must say while I really hate the chicoms this is an efficient way of keeping the prisons from overcrowding.
 
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