Monday, December 27, 2010

The Cost of Manufacturing Overseas

When my father was a kid growing up in Cleveland - everything was made in the USA. In fact, Ohio had a large thriving garment industry. Unfortunately that's not the case anymore and that includes just about every marketable good.

Ohio Knitting Mill

It's not just limited to the textile industry; analysts predict as many as two million U.S. white-collar jobs such as programmers, software engineers and applications designers will shift to low cost centers by 2014.

I know why.

American computer programmers earn about $60,000, while their Indian counterparts only make $6,000.

Take that and apply it to just about every industry.

Overseas locations receive preference because of the low wages they are able to pay for labor. In China they are able to pay .30 cents an hour! The U.S. cannot require foreign governments to impose a minimum wage or safety regulations. Additionally, U.S. companies have no employee benefits to pay - more money in their pockets. Lastly and most concerning is that they are exempt from environmental as well as safety regulations.

Of course in these economic times consumers want to get the highest quality goods at foreign prices. I hate to tell you but that really isn't happening folks. While you may be able to purchase goods at low prices - what is the real cost? Was a child working in a sweatshop for pennies a day to sew your jeans? Are your baby toys full of lead? How about your beauty products - if they are foreign made they aren't subjected to the same health regulations that are required in the USA and Canada.

Sweatshop in India using child labor

I'm not saying all foreign products are suspect - I'm sure there are some fine quality items out there. However, generally speaking, if you go into a Target or WalMart and purchase say a cashmere sweater that you know should cost upwards of $100 for $25-chances are it wasn't made under the best conditions.

Personally, I’ve never had the “buy cheap stuff made overseas” mindset but I know a lot of people have become accustomed to it. I respectfully request that we all boycott foreign made goods. Our jobs, our health and our environment is at stake. I realize that American made products are more costly and there is a very good reason why. Products that are made in the USA and Canada not only follow the health and safety guidelines but adult American citizens who are paid American wages.

*Disclaimer: This is my opinion, please take it for what it's worth.

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