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Sunday, January 3, 2010

“Made In Canada” & “Made In The U.S.A.”…Are These Phrases Extinct Like Dinosaurs?

 Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 1 World War II was the start of our manufacturing power. Our two countries pumped out the majority of the arsenal needed to win that war and our two countries benefitted from that material and financial might. Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 2

And somewhere between 1939 and now, the U.S. and Canada gave up this manufacturing might by way of a slow, imperceptible trickle called job “outsourcing”.

We effectively exported our manufacturing power to the developing 3rd world countries all because we, being monstrous consumers, refused to pay the price for domestically made products.

Our per hour wages became so astronomically unrealistic that we ended up not being able to afford ourselves. We demanded the champagne pay but refused to pay the champagne prices for the objects we produced on our own soil. And with this trade off, we also relinquished the quality of our consumed goods. We are paying exactly for what we are receiving and our continent is nothing but one gigantic flea market of foreign made goods, the quality of which is as low as on would find in a Marrakesh market or a Bangladesh back street shop.

Back in the day, we could purchase a Canon or Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 3Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 4 Martex towel, of some predictable pastel yellow, pink or blue colour or a banal stripped version in those years, that when bought for a reasonable amount, would last as long as you chose to keep it around. You may tire of the colour but the look and feel and quality of the American cotton never faded, never wore out, never, ever diminished.

The same could be said of American cars.

One could purchase a Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 5 Buick Wildcat or a Pontiac Parisienne Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 6back then that would rust out before the engine would fail. Sure, they may have gone 0-60 in three days, guzzle gas like nobody’s business and have an interior anything but flashy but the damn steel was steel and in their refusal to die, have now become sought-after collector’s items.

 

But when I consider American or Canadian made products now, I end up talking in the past tense, of a time before we allowed foreigners to fill the jobs we filled for ourselves, before we let our factory might dissolve before our very eyes.

Now we export our raw materials, send them overseas to countries which employ people at slave labour wages and buy back the finished product crafted in a far inferior way than we would have made it for ourselves, all in the name of saving a few pennies on the dollar.

I’m exaggerating, of course, when I say that all we have left domestically manufactured in Canada is the Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 7 Hudson’s Bay blanket in Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 8 every shape and form imaginable and the cotton and car manufacturing in the States is a meagre shadow of its former self. 

Nowadays, if you want to peruse and consume North American made products in one location, you’re more than likely relegated to websites, online boutiques of a sort, whose titles say it all, “Made In Canada” and “American Made Products”.

And while all the mills and factories in all the towns and cities of our two countries are closed or closing, those same dilapidated buildings are now a ghostly reminder of what we were after we won WWII.

I personally HATE shopping at what I call “China-Mart” Canada-DomesticManufacturing-UnitedStates 9  but do we offer our citizens any other comparable option, (K-Mart pulled out of Canada years ago and Zellers is a joke) and if we did, would our insistence at achieving union-level wages make purchasing those products from those other retailers virtually impossible?

If we, the grand-children of the men and women who fought that war and gave birth to our manufacturing force, Mr. & Mrs. Middle America Consumer, spent more time looking at the manufacturing labels and less time counting pennies, maybe we’d have a few of those factories re-populated in towns that would then have a future. As it stands now, at least in the U.S., for every man, woman and child, the country is in debt to China for finished goods bought from them to the tune of $6,000.00 per person.

Will we ever be able to pay off this debt or will we become complete consumer puppets of a 3rd world work force?

It’s really up to each and every one of us and we will make that decision, one label and one purchase at a time.

Canada, Domestic Manufacturing, United States

11 comments:

Sarah said...

the other side of the coin is the big corp of america need to show big profits, so the ceos can get their big bonuses. the lower the price the higher the profit and the bigger the bonus. even high tech jobs are being outsourced to cheaper countries, who would care about the factory workers?

MsBurb said...

Sarah, I agree with you that our countries' leaders place a very low priority on the acquisition of blue collar jobs compared to white collar jobs and so when we allow manufacturing companies to outsource their labour, we basically know those jobs will not return.

Aine Butler-Smith said...

It's a fact that supporting other countries and allowing them the opportunity for economic development helps to stem the tide of war. Unfortunately, too much trust in allowing the market to 'play out naturally and it will take care of itself' as touted by lazze faire capitalism ideology, has caused mass corruption on all levels, and yes, slave labor with substandard and even dangerous products as a result.
The dust has yet to settle from recent economic developments; pull up your kercheifs cowgirls and cowboys, the air's gonna get thick.

Aine
theevolvingspirit.blogspot.com

MsBurb said...

Quite true, Aine...

I sadly envision North America as a white-collar/high tech ONLY continent in the future will all manual labour positions located in the developing countries.

Do I like this vision I have? No, certainly not. But this is how we're going to end up in 50 to 100 years time if we don't stem the tide....

Ally said...

Wow, this is so true, I never really thought about it that way.

Ally
Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing

MsBurb said...

Scary proposition, huh Ally?
Hope you enjoyed the post?!

MsBurb (The Bearer of Bad News!) (wink, wink)

Leah said...

Hello dear, I must say speaking from a third world country the situation is just the same here in Sri Lanka too. Our markets are flooded with below par goods made in China and Taiwan leaving our own industries to sink deeper in to the pit of bankrupcy. This ofcourse leads to the fact that we get stuck in the vicious cycle where we are left unable to develop local manufacturing because we are in debt for our foreign imports which in turn means that we have to import products to fill the void that is made when local industries fail.

But on the other hand I think its also a matter of national pride too. Because we usually choose to save a few pennies and cripple our nations economy with debt than pay a little extra (within reason) and stregthen local industry. Thankfully slowly but surely I think in SL the tide is turning with the younger ones looking to buy more local and thereby compeling the powers to develop local industries to make better quality products at affordable prices.

P.S. Sorry for hijacking your comments. I think you brought up a very crucial topic, and I just couldnt stop my self :$

Ciao. Leah :-)

MsBurb said...

No Leah, I'm THRILLED you let me know of your experience as well!

It seems like the green monster (China) is gobbling up many countries' manufacturing might because many countries are LETTING THEM!

Well, I agree with you, the secret is out and places like Wal-Mart are slowly, finally getting a bad rap because of their getting into bed with Chinese manufacturers.

We ALL need to put a stop to this rape and restore and augment our domestic manufacturers because I for one, and obvious you too, are sick and tired of being consumers of inferior products for no good reason.

Leah, IF you ever decide to continue this conversation at YOUR blog, all you have to do is put a link into your post of this post of mine and I'll send you An Official Burbie Badge for your efforts, as it's my goal to change public opinion, one community post at a time!

Leah said...

Thanks dear, shall most definitely do so - hopefully in the near future.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Leah :-)

MsBurb said...

To LEAH - Anytime Leah, anytime! Have a great weekend too!

MsBurb

Bladerunner said...

When I'm not blogging the hell out of the Apocalypse, I build stuff in a factory. We may be endangered but we're not extinct yet;)

 
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