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Old 11-18-2012, 08:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Who makes our stuff?

Ever wander through any store and wonder who actually made the stuff we buy? I mean, there are threads complaining about unions this companies that and who does what to whom but in the end who is the person doing the stitches, the molding, the cutting, hauling, hammering ect.?

A recent article concerning IKEA admitting it knew it's sub contractors used political prisoners to make crap they sold us got me thinking. Who gets paid for making the crap you and I buy?

There are several articles concerning businesses suing local governments who use prisoners in education programs to build furniture for schools and government offices and at .15 per hour the labor cost precludes private companies from competing.

But, I was thinking more along the lines of my foreign made motorcycles/ parts. You know Triumph builds bikes in Thailand but are the workers prisoners who are working off a sentence? How about my new Daytona675R, built by English criminals in work release or political prisoners from secret concentration camps?

Are Twinkies really gone or are they now going to be made by IKEA sub contractors using prison labor? I am always going to wonder now who built/made the stuff I buy.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Since more than 65% of the junk we by at our local big box stores comes from China, you can rest assured that some of it was made by political prisoners, or people although paid(very little) are not far removed from being prisoners.
People don't care anymore as long as it's cheap and they can get it. Half of the time it something they don't need. Greed runs the world nowadays.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think you would drive yourself mad, or at least into becoming a hermit, disavowing all worldly goods, if you really found out the working conditions of the people who make most of our stuff.

I'm sure just about everyone has heard of the iPad factory in China. They had to string suicide prevention nets throughout the place, ferchrissakes. My job might suck, but I've never thought of walking over to the nearest window and taking a flier (the fact that my office has no windows and is on the ground floor is beside the point).
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Triumphforever View Post
Since more than 65% of the junk we by at our local big box stores comes from China, you can rest assured that some of it was made by political prisoners, or people although paid(very little) are not far removed from being prisoners.
People don't care anymore as long as it's cheap and they can get it. Half of the time it something they don't need. Greed runs the world nowadays.
Chris
I agree,...and I don't care where it comes from and who made it. If I need or want it and can afford, I will buy it.

And it goes back to the buy 'local' thing as well. Why should I buy local when MSRP is saying $200 and the retailer is selling it for $450,...and I can get it shipped online for $300? Screw it,...want to rip me off, go out of business. If the item is in demand someone else will come along and sell it.

And to further that, especially from the point of view that everything comes from China,...I feel no guilt buying stuff from China or anywhere else over (from my country) Canadian made goods,....because I was not the corporation that decided that offshore manufacturing would be better for the company's bottom line (screwing local workers) and,....I wasn't the government who granted permission for such moves to take place.

Looking out for #1 because no one else will.

My .02 cents
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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. . . . . . . . or people although paid(very little) are not far removed from being prisoners.. . . . . . . . .Chris
I don't know what that means.

And I don't know who makes our stuff, and I don't disagree that there is a lot of greed in the world. China is going through a transformation not unlike what happened in the US a century ago or so. There was a migration of people from rural areas into the cities as they industrialized and were willing to work for wages and under conditions that we would now find deplorable. Labor unions helped reverse that trend but that's a discussion for the Twinkie thread.



EDIT: I paid $200 for a Harris Tweed vest this Fall. The label says "Hand Woven in the Outer Hebrides from 100% virgin wool." However, that only applies to the two square feet of wool that makes up the front of the vest. According to the hang tag, the wool was cut and fabricated in China where it was then lined with an acetate fabric and cordoroy back that were made elsewhere.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I find I feel the need to buy crap (wherever it's made) much less when I'm riding.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't know what that means.
I'm talking about the poor souls that work for the big stores factories, that live in the company dorms, that are forced to buy everything they eat or use from that company. People who work for next to nothing, hours on end,day in day out, never see thier wives or husbands, because they are on another shift,unable to have a family cause there's no room for children.
When you sit down for Christmas dinner, and look at all the gifts under the tree, think about these people. And think about this too, when all the unions are gone, our great grandchildren will probably be in the same boat!!
Remember the West Virginia coal miners?
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree,...and I don't care where it comes from and who made it. If I need or want it and can afford, I will buy it.
...
Looking out for #1 because no one else will....
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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HAP - You're not alone in wondering about these things. It's amazing how many of the things we think we have to have can be done without.

Chris - Good for you but I'm willing to bet most of these guys have never heard of Harlan County USA. Many of them don't know what a 'company town' is or what that means is real world terms.

Most of the people in the US don't know enough history to understand that the real estate market we know today is a pretty recent innovation and that before WWII (certainly before WWI) the chance of anyone in their family ever owning their own home was slim to none.

They have no idea that their current standard of living is the result of trades and labor organising for improved conditions, that it's the difference between what we have and what we think of as impoverished third world conditions.
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Last edited by lam@ratf; 11-18-2012 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HAP View Post
There are several articles concerning businesses suing local governments who use prisoners in education programs to build furniture for schools and government offices and at .15 per hour the labor cost precludes private companies from competing.
I have some mixed feelings on this one Hap. I've heard about this issue. On the one hand it saves the government...and taxpayer...money because they can get office equipment and supplies cheaply, and there is probably some benefit to keeping some of the prison population busy, but on the other hand the US could always use more jobs manufacturing these items.
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