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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 20, 2007 11:29 AM. The previous post in this blog was Gimme shelter. The next post in this blog is New way to die. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

China syndrome

All the stories about toxic products coming from China have me hopping mad. And you know me -- always wanting to take action and fight back.

O.k., the obvious reaction: Boycott everything that comes from China! But come on. In this day and age, it doesn't seem possible.

I do think I have the right to know if a product is produced in that country or contains material from that country -- especially a food item. Insuring that I get that information would be a nice step for Uncle Sam to take on my behalf.

But as a practical matter, how can we help the situation and still live relatively normal lives?

Comments (10)

I'm as mad at US companies who have outsourced their manufacturing to whichever company will give them the cheapest rates as I am mad at China for selling us poisonous stuff. Whether it's dog food companies, or Mattel, or whoever, the fact is that they long ago abandoned any pretense of caring about the health of their consumers, and instead turned their eye to which country would boost value for their shareholders.

So, rather than boycotting stuff from China--which would be next to impossible--I'm boycotting companies whose outsourced-to-China products end up being harmful. Why buy another toy from Mattel, ever?

It does seem pretty impossible to even know what all is from China, let alone boycott it. But making more effort to buy locally made and grown stuff seems like an obvious step in the right direction.

I'm as mad at US companies who have outsourced their manufacturing to whichever company will give them the cheapest rates as I am mad at China for selling us poisonous stuff.

most US goods that are "outsourced" are made in SE Asia, not China. most good made in China that come to the US are simply repackaged (often at the source) to be "Western" and distributed in the west as "Western."

the answer is what it's always been: support your local community. stop buying consumer goods and food shipped 10,000 miles. absence of human damage doesn't imply absence of environmental damage.

like another poster said use the local farmers market and try to avoid canned goods.

Personally, I have always purchased locally-produced items. I don't shop at IKEA for furnishings, and I don't shop at large grocery stores - I support New Seasons and Market Of Choice. Local products keep my cash in the local market.

Grown in Mexico? Shipped over from China? Forget it.

Hmmm. How to say this nicely. We do it to ourselves. It isn't quite all the corporations fault that they send jobs to China. We tell them, by our shopping habits, that we want lots of stuff (me too) and we want it cheap (me to.) And no we won't work cheap. So they get it from China, or Indonesia (I like Indonesia better) or somewhere else over there. I just bought a new sail for my boat and it was my opportunity to specify, made in USA please. Despite being told that the people who live in Sri Lanka do equal or better quality work than what we do here. This was an easy decision I admit. The price was the same from either place. So when I can, and the price isn't vastly more than from China, I buy stuff from the USA--or at least a better friend like Indonesia or Thailand or South Korea.

Shop Local Buy Local and eat as much locally produced food as possible in season. Keep as many resources in the local economy as possible.
IKEA is just another version of Wal-Mart, ditto Target and ALL the so called 'dollar' stores, Home Depot, etc.
There are really lots of local sustainable alternatives...pay attention or the remaining local businesses will go away. And when the big boxes close their doors (any body remember Montgomery Ward?... see also latest earnigs reports for Wal-Mart and Home Depot) where will you go to buy stuff?
It could take a while to build up viable, local small businesses again.

This article is about a recently-published book written by a woman who tried a year without "Made in China". For most of us who won't go that far, even occasional choices to buy local products from neighborhood businesses can make a difference.

"It isn't quite all the corporations fault that they send jobs to China."

Actually that is all the corporations' fault. They have infiltrated and corrupted government with their influence and laissez faire capitalism promotion. This has caused the abolition of TARIFFS.

"We tell them, by our shopping habits, that we want lots of stuff (me too) and we want it cheap (me to.) And no we won't work cheap."

That is the unchecked market's natural tendency. The people of a nation usually protect themselves from it through TARIFFS, which remove the cost-effectiveness of companies' shipping jobs internationally to exploit cheaper labor.

TARIFFS protect the middle classes of most other industrialized countries, and did in the US too until the last few decades. The ABOLITION OF TARIFFS in the US is why all the rampant outsourcing, layoffs, and shrinkage of the middle class these days.

Thank you for writing about this-I thought I was the only one just not buying stuff from China. When it comes to the well being of me, my family and our community ..nothing makes more sense than BUYING LOCALLY. So read those labels and when you find something (especially food) labeled "Made in China" ask for the manager and explain politely why you won't buy these products. If we all do this it will help to change corporate behavior.


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