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Smart Comfort from China

by name Thu Jan 5th, 2006 at 04:11:09 PM EST

While everybody here was busy censoring and hating me for my last very opinionated posting I went to the city. My GF had summoned me to the city, where she bought me a pair of boots. She paid EUR 160,- for the boots, which are made by Timberland, a company I remember as of US origin. The name of the shoe model is "Smart Comfort".

I told my GF that for various reasons I'd prefer the more expensive product of a local manufacturer. I even told my GF I would make up the difference, but she insisted I needed exactly these shoes. So OK. I checked them, curious to know what it was with these  boots in the beautiful box in a chic store in the city.

scan of timberland box missing since you see this.

That idyllic landscape is printed on the box of my new shos, it is probably somewhere in the northwestern U.S.A. Thee are halfboots which go a bit over the ankles. They are very comfortable and warm. They have the Timberland logo with the stylized tree on the side. It probably symbolizes something exalted about the rugged nature-loving American.

Discreetly placed inside the boots you read "MADE IN CHINA". Aha, I told myself. The money of my GF will be split between some chinese apparatchiks managing an island in their labor gulag and some fat-cat globalizing managers from the U.S., plus some U.S. laborer will instead go to bed hungry today, all because of our conspicuous consumption.

Above I said that I normally buy far more expensive shows. First, they are almost indestructible under normal use conditions, second I know (or think to know) that my money will pay real salaries for real people with families here in Austria or in either the Czech Republic or Hungary, and not the huge bonuses of the globalisation nomenklatura who throw pittances at the inmates of labour gulags in China.

Thinking about this further, one thing I find exceedingly interesting is that I own almost nothing genuinely "Made in USA". What makes this even more interesting is that half or more of the ca. 500 books behind me are written by authors from the USA. Even if I take away all the books around computing, perhaps half of the shelf, still a considerable part of the books is from american authors: Hofstadter, Ellis, Bierce, Bukowski, Chandler just to name a few of them. The US has immense influence, but they are not able to make even shoes ?

What perplexes me most about their concept is how do "they" expect this to continue, because somehow it should dawn on "them" (globalizers, vulture capitalists, whatever) that people without an income will eventually stop buying even cheap products, and that forcing people with real education, jobs and responsibilities to compete against the inmates of labor gulags who work literally for the food (probably even bad food) will only help to accelerate the demise of the very markets where they expect to sell their products.

To return to my new boots: what long-term benefit do the people who shipped the manufacture of the Timberland shoes to China expect to reap ? How does making more money (when you already make a lot) compensate against shoving (say) 500 people out of their jobs ? What do I not understand here ? Or also: how does it help your country to subsist when you send not only the manufacture itself, but the know-how and even the machinery to China, when it should be clear that the chinese will copy everything and kick you out of the deal as soon as they can do the stuff themselves ? What kind of viability does it have to make business with people who you know will shove you out sooner rather than later ?

Case in point, I wonder what DaimlerBenz expects from their China ventures after the chinese have copied everything: do they think the chinese will continue paying them once they become useless ? I think another german company (refrigeration, don't remember the name now) already had that experience.

What do I not understand about the logic of the grasshopper capitalists ? Am I too stupid to understand their exquisit logic, or are they behaving like the average parasite, who will suck the life out of their host without ever understanding that food's over when the host is dead ?

Do you avoid "Made in Gulag" stuff ?
. Yes 50%
. No 0%
. I would, but it is futile 50%
. I don't care 0%

Votes: 2
Results | Other Polls
They are not capitalists: they're managers. They don't own the companies they run and they don't give a crap about them. All they care about is next quarter.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2006 at 04:26:53 PM EST
and some people are asshats...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Jan 5th, 2006 at 06:11:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a shame! Hiking boots are made by the French company 'Mephisto'in Strasbourg. They give you a life long guarantee on repairing them with the original parts. As a matter of fact you need to buy just once in your life two pairs of Mephisto shoes, a pair of Mephisto boots and sandals and occasionally the some odd additional pair of Italian shoes for formal events to be forever properly foot dressed.

And contrary to what most people think washing machines should under no circumstances be bought from any other manufacturer than MIELE. They cannot be outsourced to China or Slovakia because they have to be made in sito, which is in Bielefeld (of course). You need to buy a new one every 25 years. And they too come with a life long guarantee on spare parts, which are made, you guessed it, in Bielefeld too. For over 100 years now.

And we all know that a Pizza Napoli can only be eaten in Naples/Italy. The same goes for Scotch whisky, Cognac, prosciutto di Parma, or such simple things like Kaiser rolls, which at Walmart taste like saw dust. American Cheddar!? Indian mopeds!? Chinese tooth brushes!? WTF?

And with this I declare the globalisation debate closed. Buon appetito!


"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Thu Jan 5th, 2006 at 06:43:06 PM EST

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