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Davek0974
03-22-2008, 06:36 AM
Hi all, i'm looking for an explanation, here is my scenario...

Ornate ironwork - brackets etc. I make these and sell them (or try to at least) Say i use £1.50 worth of steel to make a bracket, materials cost only, no labour, profit, paint, welding etc) I would possibly market it at £6 to £8.

Now can someone explain how i could go and buy a similar item for 99p?

And before everyone shouts "because they make lots in one go", even if i made 5000, the steel would still cost me over a pound each, thats not including runnng the machine that makes the 5000, the paint, profit......

Obviously they are not made in the UK. So can someone explain how this is possible, taking into consideration the following..

Steel costs,
Paint or coating,
Labour,
Packaging,
Crating,
Shipping,
Import tax/duty,
Distribution in UK,
Manufacturers profit,
Sellers profit,
The list goes on.

This is the sort of crap that is killing this country, it just should not be possible to achieve. I have no possibility of competing.

Another example that happened recently to the company i work for as a main job:- We make and sell greetings cards and craft products, including polypropylene bags which we get custom made in the UK in bulk. Two weeks ago we discovered someone importing and selling to the public for less than we pay at trade cost to get made. This has obviously affected the company that makes them for us and he is now worried about closure, we have lost sales and cant buy as many from him and so on.

How is it possible to get something into this country for less than what it could be made here for, no way can it be labour costs as the jobs are all low pay. It should no be allowed to happen and should be blocked or heavily taxed at import to make the cost the same as home products to give us a fair chance. Something stinks.

Sorry for the rant but i would like to know the answer.

Dave

interiorpainter
03-22-2008, 06:45 AM
Most recent thing i have heard from a Big builder is that steel prices are unreal.
China is already exporting steel and other raw materials back to Europe and it should be a matter of time before these prices drop because of laws of economics.
A small piece of the answer.

John Stevenson
03-22-2008, 07:00 AM
Most recent thing i have heard from a Big builder is that steel prices are unreal.
China is already exporting steel and other raw materials back to Europe and it should be a matter of time before these prices drop because of laws of economics.
A small piece of the answer.

Sorry not going to happen.

China has just had a 60% increase on castings, yup 60 %
This will now be passed on and so our steel imports will cost more as will imported goods.

It's just part of the leveling process.

I posted a while ago in a thread called "We have never had it so good"

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=27777

Originally written in September 2007

Last month our steel suppliers told us they were putting on 27% and in two months time they are going to put on another 32%

It happened before with Taiwan, cheap goods and then as their standard of living and infrastructure advanced they had to farm out to China, now the same is happening with China.

There is no answer as it's part of a global leveling process and propping up dead or unproductive companies will cause more harm.

.

Peter N
03-22-2008, 07:02 AM
Dave, as you know I have a small plastics business, and we see exactly the same thing here. Finished product comes in here, landed from China, for a tiny fraction more than we can make the raw plastic parts for.

And before anyone says 'don't generalise', this is a specific case.
This product here: http://www.bottlelox.co.uk/ is a product that I spent 3-4 years developing with my customer. The key ideas that make it work and form the basis of the patents are mine, although these ideas were 'given' to their designer who put it into CAD, and whose name is on the patent (sore point, and I may be contesting this..).

We initially quoted this job, with 7 moulded parts, based on their projection of 1million pa. Costs were extremely tight, with a 5% net margin, and based on getting price breaks for buying large volumes of materials.
We've never yet done more than 100K pa, yet they were still buying at the 1million price break. After 3 years, we had no choice to put a price increase in - Oil, and naphta/benzene derivatives for plastics had shot up, transport had shot up, cardboard packaging costs had shot up. We passed on these costs alone, and nothing for overhead, margin, or labout increase.
We put in an 11% overall price incease, which actually only brought it to 2% over the original price break cost for the volumes they were taking.

So within 3 months of this increase they then went to China for a fully assembled product. This part also has 3 different size stainless coil springs, a torsion spring, a turned stud, a zinc passivated pressing, and EM or AM or an RFID coil, a 40mm long stainless rivet, and needs hand assembly and ultrasonic welding.

Product from China is landed here for £0.05 more than I can sell the plastic mouldings alone to them, never mind their costs on the other parts and the assembly.

I don't know how it works either, but yes, it *really* pisses me off too.

Peter

J Tiers
03-22-2008, 10:35 AM
The way it works has several components.

First: the chinese currency is "pegged" against certain currencies (notably the dollar) in such a way that it is artificially distorted in value. If it were NOT "pegged" , economic factors as they are now would naturally cause it to "float up" and assume a value considerably higher relative to dollars for instance, than it has now. That would drastically change your pricing.

Second: wages in china have been stupidly low. That affects ALL levels of production. Labor has been so low that it has essentially been "free".

Remember, a small change in cost at an early stage of production tends to have a much larger effect many levels onwards, as each level generally bases their "profit" on a percentage. So changes tend to be "raised to a power" instead of being merely added on.

Because the wage rate WAS so small, the cost "at the mine" was low, and every stage after that benefits.

Third:costs WITHIN a country are almost irrelevant if the country is still communist enough to "direct" activities. it really doesn't cost the state anything to run a train full of coal somewhere, or to dig more coal, or to grow crops. The money hasn't any external reference at that point, and more can be printed if needed. Since there are few "demanding consumers" inflation isn't an issue.

Fourth: china has had a policy of making it very difficult to buy components of a product externally. You really HAVE to make everything there. In that way, the product has very little 'external cost reference" until it leaves the country. So pricing can be held artificially low ON AN EXTERNAL REFERENCE BASIS. If many components were bought, those costs would be rolled-in and produce an "external reference" for costing at a much earlier point in production.


In the case of china, they have had such an odd mix of communist and capitalist that they have up to recently not had any proper accounting of many costs.

Now, wages are going up, affecting all levels, transport costs are going up, and the more recent silly prices paid for steel etc are washing through the system. The wild-eyed capitalists are seeing reality a little better....

If the system were stable, there would be no way to have sudden 60% price differences. Those reflect the fact that costs have simply never been properly accounted, and that since they are now higher, a proper accounting produces nasty surprises.

Larry Swearingen
03-22-2008, 10:53 AM
Hello J Tiers,
So what you are saying is that Communism is beating Capitalism at it's
own game ?

Larry S

Evan
03-22-2008, 11:09 AM
So what you are saying is that Communism is beating Capitalism at it's
own game ?

No, not at all. What is happening is rampant capitalism completely unregulated as it is in the US and most other countries. The Chinese are engaged in some very serious internal price wars and that is largely responsible for the bargain prices seen. They have a long history (before communism) of using price wars as an economic weapon against competitors and have taken up that strategy again. The government is communist in name but the economy is now purely capitalist. Without such restraints as fair trading rules and anti competitive practices or anti-monopoly legislation anything goes.

Davek0974
03-22-2008, 11:34 AM
Hi all, thanks so far. I'm now going to say something, probably stupid, and get shot down for it but here goes.

As far as i can see, allowing cheap imports does nothing for our businesses and therefor can surely only harm our economy. Why then is it allowed to occur? Can the govt. not tax imports to the level that prices are equal and therefore of no point importing?

Ok, for something that we are not geared up to produce economically etc then we obviously need to import, but for mundane items that we are more than capable of producing, why does the govt. allow the rug to be ripped from under our feet?

We used to be a nation of engineers, shipbuilders and so on, our hi-fi equipment was world beating, still can be if you can afford it! but now we are just a warehouse for cheap junk.

I'm getting in way overhead on my knowledge of this subject but it just rubs me up the wrong way when there are still people who are trying to support the economy by running a business and they just get shafted all the time.

Dave

Pete H
03-22-2008, 11:43 AM
JTiers has the right of it.

In a "command" economy, the government controls prices and wages, with the net result that wages are impossibly low, compared with a "free" economy like we have (at least nominally) in the West.

This may seem a silly example, but I think it's illustrative: Last year, I was in South Carolina, and stopped in one of the multitude of "Fireworks" stores. Now the little firecrackers, as far as I know, are still hand-rolled. Here's a shop, about 5,000 miles from where these things are made, selling 500 of them for $1.99 - and at least half of that has to be retailer markup. Then there's shipping, distributor markup, and ultimately, the worker's pay. So you have some poor kid (probably literally, they put them to work early), rolling 500 of these things for a few pence. Machine? Why build a machine? Peasants are cheap, and there's always more of them.

Their government doesn't particularly care if the workers are hungry, or that they don't have healthcare. It controls supply and pricing of food to keep them barely alive, but that's all.

It's not possible to compete effectively with that kind of system. The only hope is that the Chinese people will become sufficiently capitalised to change their own government. And then Wal-Mart will have to go bankrupt.

There IS a second possibility, but I don't think we'll ever see it: Simply stop buying inferior goods from China.

Davek0974
03-22-2008, 12:13 PM
Thanks Pete, all,

But why is it allowed to happen? The people that *run* our country[govt] could easily turn round and say, "due to the fact that the product you are trying to import can easily be made in our country, we will have to apply an import tax to ensure that there is no advantage to you importing it and therefore damaging our own busineses"

A lot of people over here will not stop buying this junk using the excuse that they cant afford not to, but if it was not allowed in, then they would still have jobs etc and could afford the normal price, i think they are shooting themselves in the foot by supporting the supply of imported rubbish.

Some people think i'm an idiot when i tell them that i try quite hard to buy things that are still made here. I am quite proud of the fact when i state that my products are made in England, even to the point of checking where the steel i buy comes from.

Dave

ptjw7uk
03-22-2008, 03:08 PM
Dave,
Where do you end steel may have been made in england but the iron ore has long since stopped being dug here.
I long ago gave up on trying to understand so called economics all dictated by accountants as in my opinion if you look at anything in enough detail its just not worth making!

Now a little story on the mad economics by accountants, the company I worked in research for was a major consumer of copper and over the years had bought companies that dealt in scrap reclaimation and one in particular recycled old electric motors. The entire facility was run by 8 workers and only consumed gas for 2 days a year when they restarted the furnaces after summer and Christmas shutdowns plus electricity to keep the blowers running.
Once the furnace was up to heat simply dropping the motors into the furnace and keeping the air running there was enough exothermic heat from the iron to keep it all upto temperature all they had to do then was add sand to produce a nice flux on the surface. The copper was tapped from the bottom and the slag was run off higher up the side. This slag was also sold as a superb grit blast grit so apart from some fumes up the chimney a very clean form of recycling yet they shut it down because there was no growth in the plant, how short sighted. Now the company is no more.

Peter

tony ennis
03-22-2008, 03:55 PM
So what you are saying is that Communism is beating Capitalism at it's own game ?

Not at all. Manipulation of currency and monopoly is anti-capitalist. (Monopoly is every capitalist's goal - as long as it is done in the right way I have no problem with this.) However, the Chinese are cheating. One way the prices can stay low is for the government to be subsidizing companies. They sell for below cost and the government gives them enough to 'make a profit.' When all the Western competitors are destroyed, they can stop subsidizing. Japan did this with the power-tools market in the 80s.


Simply stop buying inferior goods from China.

Their goods aren't inferior for the price. In fact, the quality-to-cost ratio tends to be insane. And there-in lies the problem.

Why do we permit China to do this to us? Because we're addicted to inexpensive goods.

One way to combat this would be to charge a tariff equal to how much their currency is undervalued. Of course, consumers would be in an uproar when rubber doggie doo costs double.

lazlo
03-22-2008, 03:57 PM
Last month our steel suppliers told us they were putting on 27% and in two months time they are going to put on another 32%

I've been steadily stock-piling steel, stainless and cast iron stock in my shop. Sounds like I'd better keep stocking up!

lazlo
03-22-2008, 04:00 PM
the Chinese are cheating. They sell for below cost and the government gives them enough to 'make a profit.' When all the Western competitors are destroyed, they can stop subsidizing.

Stop making sense Tony -- you're going to get Tiffie started on another long-winded rant, double-spaced, interspersed with a bunch of random Wikipedia links :D

oldtiffie
03-22-2008, 08:09 PM
the Chinese are cheating. They sell for below cost and the government gives them enough to 'make a profit.' When all the Western competitors are destroyed, they can stop subsidizing.


Stop making sense Tony -- you're going to get Tiffie started on another long-winded rant, double-spaced, interspersed with a bunch of random Wikipedia links :D

Thanks for the nice compliment and "invite" - both of which I accept with alacrity and in the spirit in which they were given.

As a start, Australia (OZ) has a booming economy where our Central Bank (Reserve Bank) has increased its rates 12 times in succession (it is now 7%+) with the threat/promise of several more in the offing if we don't pull our heads in and stop the level of Consumer/discretionary spending and get back to a sensible level of expenditure and inflation. The Reserve's target inflation "band" is 2 - 3% and the level here at present is 4+% and slowing. We have chronic shortages of housing and skilled labor and our skilled immigration is sky-high. We have larger tax cuts coming in July - and have had for several years.

Not bad huh?

And what is it based on?

You guessed it - exports of commodities to China, India and Japan, Taiwan, Korea etc. - coal (coking and steaming), iron ore, aluminium ore, copper, natural gas etc. etc. Our main problem is that we can't get it out of the ground, the ports and the country fast enough!!.

And as John Stevenson said the price of coal and iron is to go up by 30 to 60% as OZ has the "whip-hand" here and China - quite understandably - is "not happy".

That has been going on for years so its not new.

Also, our steel made here and sold to the "Trade" and "Retail" is sky-high due to demand and the fact that the main/only steel producer has a monopoly.

Forget about import taxes, tariffs and "protection" etc. It nearly sent us broke here as lazy an inefficient manufacturers and producers hid behind those artificial barrier/walls and grew fat and lazy on Government "hand-outs" and "assistance". They "went under" or got "lean and mean" to survive when the tariffs were progressively reduced.

Even if China is subsidising its producers, it like any other Government, can only pay that subsidy etc. through revenue/income ie taxation. Same everywhere/anywhere.

China's internal costs and standards of living are accelerating as well and the China Stock Exchanges are among the highest (and most volatile) in the world. India is much the same.

In spite of all of this we have had a lot of our manufacturing "go under" or "to the wall" and we have "rust-belts" as well.

I suspect that the US is going through what much of Europe and the UK and OZ and NZ have gone or are going through.

The raw materials etc. for much of the stuff made in both China and locally is produced right here. It can be exported to, manufactured in and imported from China cheaper than our industry can (or will??) sell it here too.

So we all have the same problem.

In one of many classic cases here, one of our suppliers to the local motor/vehicle industry "went under" because its main customers (2 USA-owned, 2 Japan-owned) could buy the finished articles (right up to the companies Quality Standards) cheaper than the local manufacturer could buy locally made steel from a local steel producer.

The newly-elected Government here is looking very seriously at cutting expenditure even though it has very high surpluses - as do most local and State Governments here.

OZ and the US have similarities as well:
- huge Trade Deficits - mainly with China;
- huge levels of personal and corporate debt;
- threat of an economic "contraction/recession" (and hopefully not - "depression".

China, India, Japan etc. house-hold(ers) are net savers and have huge "nest eggs" "squirreled away" for a "rainy day" - its just part of their culture.

China has huge cash reserves in US$ terms and they like the oil-rich states/governments can and does use them to effect as witness the activities of those reserves by China, Russia etc. recently.

This sort of corporate action is possibly no worse than those of Hedge Funds etc.

Perhaps more should take lessons from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and the "Orientals" etc. et. al.

We wish.

Thanks for the invite the lovely party you are having here as I did enjoy it.

Sorry, I must go - the "witching hour" is near and my carriage may (re?)turn into a pumpkin and my horses into mice (again) before I get home and get back into my rags and hovel.

(Me???!! - as "Cinderella"?? - WOW!!).

I can't see any handsome Prince (here????) coming to kiss my foot - but the rest of the world can kiss my ar*e!!!!

PS.


the Chinese are cheating. They sell for below cost and the government gives them enough to 'make a profit.' When all the Western competitors are destroyed, they can stop subsidizing.

You will have a hard time convincing me at least that the US and Europe don't subsidize and/or "protect" or "assist" their own "producers" and use their diplomatic/political leverage" to "lean" on "others" to their own advantage. Of course, its in their "national interest" isn't it? And that makes it OK?? Yeah - we do it here too - same reasons too I'd guess.

Tony, that is exactly what capitalism and corporations are all about. They (thought they) invented "predatory commercial practices". The "orientals", "Arabs", most of Europe and the Middle-East - and others - have had it down to a fine art for centuries as well. If you want to keep your shirt (and virginity??) - stay out of their Bazaars!!!

Thanks for the lovely party.

lazlo
03-22-2008, 09:49 PM
Tiffie, I don't have time to read all that, but you need to spruce it up a bit with some Wikipedia links ;)

oldtiffie
03-22-2008, 10:23 PM
Tiffie, I don't have time to read all that, but you need to spruce it up a bit with some Wikipedia links ;)

As you wish lazlo.

Your wish is my command.

Try these wiki links 'coz this is where the money REALLY is and where a lot of it has come from to "bail out" some - shall we say "nameless" Commercial/Financial institutions (and Governments?) of late - with more (much more??) to come??.

And do you seriously think that they'd use them for other than their own advantage?

It's a sort of "play" on "chickens coming home to roost".

And do you REALLY know who your Bank or Financial institution's etc. beneficial and controlling interest is or where?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_wealth_funds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_sovereign_wealth_funds

And just so that it isn't "OT" and has a distinct "metal/s" content, I must say that there is a huge irony here. But how and where the iron(y??) gets "worked" and how "uncomfortable" it may be and whether there is any "issue" forth-coming is mind-boggling!!

Happy now?

I do hope so.

J Tiers
03-22-2008, 10:38 PM
You will have a hard time convincing me at least that the US and Europe don't subsidize and/or "protect" or "assist" their own "producers" and use their diplomatic/political leverage" to "lean" on "others" to their own advantage. Of course, its in their "national interest" isn't it? And that makes it OK?? Yeah - we do it here too - same reasons too I'd guess.


That's like pointing to the bilges and claiming a ship does not float because "look at all that water in here, if the hull really kept it out it would be dry"...

it's all a matter of degree.

The chinese regulate their currency deliberately and in an obvious, heavy-handed way to maintain their prices (externally) the lowest.

Internally, the prices may be anything, because only the external prices matter.

And, Tiffie is only proving the status of Australia as effectively a chinese colonial state.

Such states typically export ONLY raw materials. Typically they MUST IMPORT most finished goods, and essentially NEVER export them.

This may be either because of laws imposed by the master state, or because conditions of skilled workers, etc (economics may count here), mean that there is little or no domestic industry capable of exporting suitable finished goods.

That condition GUARANTEES an economic disparity, because finished goods are higher priced than raw materials.

So any colonial state is gradually impoverished by the master state which exploits it.

In this case, china is exploiting the rest of the world, by importing only raw materials at relatively low cost, and exporting finished goods. The tiny amount of importing of tools etc cannot be expected to offset the huge flood of finished goods exported. And obviously the raw materials are not equal in value to finished goods, unless processing and transport have negative value.

Therefore, the conditions Tiffie expounds are essentially a money pump, transferring wealth to china with every cargo of ore etc.

This will continue until the chinese allow their currency to float. So essentially, they have the whip hand, and can do exactly as they please for as long as the world is price-driven, AND the chinese can maintain their factory status.

The whole system is based on the fact that china has NOT needed goods internally. Most production has been exported, generating an income in foreign currencies at the government-set exchange rate.

it's a huge factory, buying materials cheap, and selling finished goods at a higher price. Every purchase of raw materials means several times MORE value exported as finished goods.

When people are paid a subsistence wage, there is no internal demand, it is merely substituting factory for farm, the labor is the same. But this works only for bulk labor, unskilled.

The inevitable fact is that skilled labor is needed. Therefore, since skilled labor is in demand, it commands a higher pay in order to draw qualified people from the limited pool of skilled workers to a particular company. That causes wages to rise, starting with skilled workers, and then those who are needed to replace them, finally to the unskilled workers, to get the "better" ones. Eventually ALL wages rise, due to what is needed to get decent workers.

The system as per now may not last so long, since the internal economy of china is booming. Someone has to make the goods for internal consumption.

Someone ALSO has to pay for the materials to make those goods.

That means that external purchases of materials will be made that are NOT reimbursed several times over by the external sale of finished goods, as has been the rule up to now. Then the entire premise of the economy is changed, from a mere huge factory, to an actual economy.

The exchange of goods and currency, both internally and externally, will then have to be balanced, with proper values placed on goods and labor.

That will certainly be a change, and the chinese may not like it.

Michael Edwards
03-22-2008, 11:03 PM
[QUOTE=J Tiers]The way it works has several components.

First: the chinese currency is "pegged" against certain currencies (notably the dollar) in such a way that it is artificially distorted in value. If it were NOT "pegged" , economic factors as they are now would naturally cause it to "float up" and assume a value considerably higher relative to dollars for instance, than it has now. That would drastically change your pricing.



FWIW the yuan was "depegged" in July 2005

ME

J Tiers
03-22-2008, 11:11 PM
[QUOTE=J Tiers]The way it works has several components.

First: the chinese currency is "pegged" against certain currencies (notably the dollar) in such a way that it is artificially distorted in value. If it were NOT "pegged" , economic factors as they are now would naturally cause it to "float up" and assume a value considerably higher relative to dollars for instance, than it has now. That would drastically change your pricing.



FWIW the yuan was "depegged" in July 2005

ME

Nope, not so.

It was "slightly de-pegged".

it now has a small 'tolerance zone", which is at the pleasure of the chinese.....it is NOT based on market forces.

andy_b
03-22-2008, 11:57 PM
...then they would still have jobs etc and could afford the normal price...

Dave

so what is the "normal price"? if imports were taxed/tariffed to the point that they cost the same as goods manufactured domestically, there would be no incentive to keep domestic prices low. and as you mentioned, no one is forced to shop at wal-mart, but tons of people still do because it is cheap (in every respect of the word).

i also try to only buy domestically-manufactured goods, but that is getting harder and harder, and even impossible for some items.

andy b.

oldtiffie
03-23-2008, 12:36 AM
The materials we use in our shops, the home and where-ever are largely commodities in various forms. Oil and coffee are commodities as well.

Most commodities are bought, sold, traded and "hedged" where required in US $ irrespective of the Yuan (and most other currencies) versus $US relativities. So that in effect commodity producing/consuming countries have their currencies (and dependence or survival)largely based/dependant upon the vagaries of the US $.

Many countries including and especially of late use their Central Banks to set trading interest rates and to effectively "guarantee" otherwise failed institutions or "special interest" groups who cannot "make" it in a competitive market-place. The losses are guaranteed by the Tax Payer. The US, France, Switzerland and the UK at least have had this happen lately.

If I were a total cynic I would surmise that the Government (Central Banks ARE Government agencies) "got in" before those Financial Institutions (and there are others) - in desperation ??? - went to those international "Sovereign Funds" (again???).

If that isn't nationalisation by stealth I'd like an explanation of what it is. And nationalisation of the banks is a classic Socialist endeavour/aim.

Its surprising to what extent so-called "Free-market" countries/economies "subsidise" or "assist" or put tariffs and barriers in place. Makes them look VERY "Socialist" to me.

But of course - silly me - its "all in the national interest" ain't it. Of course!!. So all is OK.

I wouldn't know any better as in this country of ours with its past (and now present??) state and history of colonisation it follows that everybody (else) is/are our "betters".

The whole world sucks!!

Just as well too as us folk in the Southern hemisphere would just drop off and float off into space.

Must get back to my tasks - too much "socialising" here.

oldtiffie
03-23-2008, 12:56 AM
Hi JT.

I jusr re-read your post at #18:
http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showpost.php?p=344269&postcount=18

It seemed to be a manifesto of a Corportations Paradise - a commendabe effort - a "Capitalist Manifesto" no less.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Marx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Manifesto

Your treatise in post #18 is pretty well what Corporations have done - as they must.

None of our comment or deliberations are going to change anything.

If you don't want it - don't buy it.

If you don't like what you see or read - ignore it.

If you don't like it - tough.

Davek0974
03-23-2008, 05:04 AM
Oh boy!

Just as i thought, i'm in way over my head, walking on thin ice, swimming out of my depth:D on this one.

It gives me an uncomfortable feeling when the size and scale of global economies are rammed down my throat, it makes you realise just how unimportant you really are on the scale of things.

There are some seriously clever people on here.

I realise that buying local is not really 100% local, i cant think of many things that are wholly produced in the UK, if any which is very sad.

My brother[who i work for] built his company up over the last 18 years to be [in 2004] the largest craft oriented product manufacturer in the UK. We had 105 staff at its peak. Over the last four years, cheap imported stuff has knocked us down by killing the market, they bring stuff in and flood the market at cost price, all the customers follow like sheep where they were quite happily paying a reasonable cost before, the small traders close down (currently our small outlets are closing at about one or two every week) as they have no customers. He has always based his business on being a manufacturer and refuses to be a box-mover which i admire him for, as there is so litle profit, its just not worth it.

This is what we dont get, why can they not import and compete at a reasonable level instead of the "import and destroy" method. They could sell at UK prices and make 10 times the profit and we could still have jobs. This indicates to me that it is not just about money but undermining economies and everyone just lets them get on with it?

The whole world really has gone nuts, i'm putting my name down for the first station on mars i think;)

Dave

oldtiffie
03-23-2008, 05:47 AM
Thanks Dave.

What you describe is an every-day occurrence with local businesses as well. It is in two separate but not unrelated parts.

The first is "loss-leading" which is selling below the point where they make profit. This can be just to unload surplus stock or it can be just to get people in to have a look and then the "Psychology" is applied to very good effect once people are "in the mood". Its about the best, cheapest and most prevalent method to either steal the oppositions clients or to establish a new market - or both. They can afford it and the less well endowed just "cave in" and the predator "swoops" and buys out the opposition at fire-sale prices - and gets all its client records and staff at very low rates if there is no similar employment available.

The other is predatory pricing. A big organisation screws its suppliers due to its buying power and then screws its staff/employees. It then screws the opposition by capturing its suppliers etc. It sells stuff to consumers for prices often just lower but often much lower than the opposition can afford. The opposition either "caves in" and sells out to the predator at fire-sale rates or else the predator buys sufficient shares of the target at very depressed values and then gets the majority or control of the target board and then its "all over Red Rover".

Now that the predator has control of the whole chain from supplier to product and outlet the prices go back up and it makes a killing.

Once there are only one, two or perhaps three big "players" left there is a potential control of the market and perhaps even a cartel.

Not pretty.

Goes on all the time with corporations - they don't just "compete" with their opposition - they destroy or "eat" them.

And if they can get their value high enough, they have no hesitation in selling out to a good enough offer and staff etc. are left floundering. This end sale is all too often the ultimate goal.

I won't go into "asset stripping" and "private venture-capital" practices.

I am NOT a socialist as there is a lot to be admired by the way we are - but it happens.

And its not new - at all - its been going on for many hundreds of years.

Hard-ware, super-markets, auto-spares etc. all do it. And most times they are local markets.

And once they are in a favorable position, up go the prices.

There is nothing I can do whether I like it or notl. I just try to insulate myself as best I can and get on with life.

Despite all the doom and gloom most of us are doing pretty well considering.

Getting all upset about something I don't like only creates another problem and I don'y need one problem let alone two - or more - that I can do nothing about.

I just adjust to it and get on with my life and my jobs in my shop.

boslab
03-23-2008, 06:02 AM
the Chinese are increasing steel production[ and have been the last 7 years] at a rate of 5 Mt/pa, which is roughly 2 blast furnaces and the same number of Basic Oxygen converters along with three twin strand casters to cast slabs for sheet steel, billot casters for section rolling, thats 35 Mt above what they could already process [an undisclosed figure, but lots], i have not had the pleasure of seeing any slab or billot samples as yet, i am reliably informed that the newer casters made by concast and Davey Distington and such like are some of the best in the world, ive seen some russian stuff but the quality was lacking.
the Chinese have access to raw ore etc and seem to operate on a conversion policy, they dont realy like selling raw slab, only converted value added steel, they are however still buying steel at a frantic rate so capacity has not met demand yet, it seems that the demand comes from the west.
the figures dont work for me, the $300/ton, comes back at $100 ton finished?
somthing is gonna give sooner or later
mark

Ries
03-23-2008, 09:57 AM
Last fall, the chinese government slapped a 25% tariff on exporting steel.
That means chinese steel mills have to pay the government 25% tax on every shipment they export.
The Chinese are trying to cut down on shipping of cheap steel over here, because they want it for internal use.
Between the tariff, and the rising prices of shipping, which, of course, takes oil, you are gonna see, in the longer term, less dumping of chinese steel.

But we still get below market price Brazilian Billets (and by billet, I mean chunks of steel 4' x 4' x 12' or so, ready to be rerolled into sheet or bar)
Thyssen Krupp is building a new $3.5 Billion dollar mill in Alabama that will finish mill the cheap Brazilian steel, which is cheap because the Brazilian government sells them power at bargain basement prices.

One of the big problems with steel is that its a patriotic and national prestige issue- you are not a Big Dog, as a Country, unless you have steel mills. So many governments, around the world, have subsidised steel mills even though it doesnt always make economic sense to do so.
There are steel mills in Indonesia and Korea, the Phillipines and Brazil, Argentina and South Africa, Romania and India, Japan and China and Taiwan, France and Germany, and so on- in many cases, there are two mills just a few miles away, making the same stuff, but one is in France, and one is in Germany.

I buy a fair amount of steel, and stainless, and even some nonferrous. Very little of what I get is chinese- they are not a huge force in the US in terms of raw steel- but I get stuff from all kinds of wacky countries- you never know where its gonna come from. If I get Aluminum from France, or stainless from Russia or India, or rebar from Indonesia, its not because the chinese are trying to take over the world- its because ALL of those countries decided steel was so important to their national ego that they gave steel mills all kinds of tax cuts and government loans, and so on.

The chinese definitely give various companies all kinds of sweetheart deals to build factories, but that is changing, as the chinese people start complaining about corruption and pollution.
But often, even if the Chinese Federal policy says one thing, the guys at the provincial level will break the rules and allow a factory, as they get a cut of the action.

As for predatory pricing- its slowly changing. A guy I know goes to china regularly to oversee the production of injection molds for US companies- computer printers, stuff like that. And he says in the last year or two, the chinese prices have gotten to the point where they are bidding at 75% to 85% or US tool and die prices- just cheap enough to get the job, not so cheap as to leave a lot of money on the table. He is sourcing more tooling to eastern europe these days, as he says the prices of someplace like Romania or Bulgaria are almost at a par with China.

But many chinese companies run on VERY low margins, as well. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal last year about the town in China that makes something like 75% of the worlds bicycles- and they said it was common for a chinese factory to make a $1 profit on a hundred dollar (wholesale) bike. So if the market fluctuates just a bit, or materials or shipping goes up, the profit goes away.
Chinese businesses do go bankrupt- and, with rising chinese real estate prices, rising chinese wages, and rising commodity and energy costs, you are gonna see this happening more and more.
Many chinese companies are predicting a 30% rise in costs, and therefore prices, this year. 30% in one year is a BIG jump.

Lots of chinese factories use teenage girls as labor- after a couple, or 5 years, they quit and get married. They live in dorms, work 6 days a week, and get paid very little. This works fine for things like painting the facial features on action figure toys- but as the Chinese economy tries to move upmarket to things like earthmoving equipment (Caterpillar has 11 factories there right now) or CNC press brakes, you have to start hiring adults, with training and experience- and the wages and work condition demands go up. My friend who deals with the tool and die shops there says they are paying $500 a month and up for skilled guys, and having a hard time keeping em. Versus a hundred bucks a month for a teenage girl to blister pack a toy, or make disposable cigarette lighters.


The cheapo chinese product era will not last forever- we are gonna look back on it 20 years from now as a strange anomaly- but that doesnt mean much to the domestic factories it drives out of business, does it.

Swarf&Sparks
03-23-2008, 10:18 AM
Cmon Tiff!
Competition amongst (Australian) banks?
Puleeze!

J Tiers
03-23-2008, 10:23 AM
Hi JT.

I jusr re-read your post at #18:

It seemed to be a manifesto of a Corportations Paradise - a commendabe effort - a "Capitalist Manifesto" no less.


You may take it however it boxes your ear................

But as opposed to something such as you suggested, or anything particularly Marxian, it is simply a statement of current conditions, suggesting how the chinese are operating, and the problems they will soon face.

I neglected to mention the rapid aging of the chinese population, and the resulting drought of workers that is looming on their horizon, even in such a populous country.

"How" they operate now may be summarized as several steps:

1) buy raw materials as needed

2) add labor content, valued at an "internal" rate, to convert the materials to products.

3) sell these products at whatever price will discourage external competition

4) use the profits from this operation to bid up the external price of raw materials so as to increase the costs for external manufacturers (your own costs are internal, and so are "cloaked" or "shielded" from the variations)

5) repeat as needed


Whether these steps are actually a carefully thought-out strategy, or whether they are simply something which has evolved, is open to debate.

A corporation, as opposed to a "corporate state", has not the power to control the internal vs external valuations in a way that allows the system to work.

Such experiments HAVE been made, at least partially, and possibly inadvertently, by George Pullman, coal mining companies (I owe my soul to the company store), and others, but have generally failed whenever the corporation existed inside of a larger state .

On the state level, as with china, the sticking point is when the internal valuation eventually has to be merged with external valuations. I expect that to come when the chinese become "consumers" as well as "factory tools".

torker
03-23-2008, 10:33 AM
This is a very interesting read. I'm also shaking my head...wondering how they can manufacture, ship and distribute so many items that are below the cost of the raw materials I would pay for to build the same thing.
As a small (new) shop, I'm always looking at ideas to make a buck.
Trailers...small flat decks etc. were always a decent go for a small shop.
Not anymore.
Home Depot, Canadian Tire and a new trailer sales place in town are selling them "turn key" for less than I can buy the steel for..never mind the axles etc.
The trailer sales place is selling trailers that are made in Mexico.
The workmanship is horrid. The welding is a joke. I've rewelded a couple of them so far.
But people don't care. They save some money so that's their bottom line.
"They" almost make you play their game. In order to stay afloat I have to buy some of their cheap tooling etc.
And I will probably buy more of their machinery as well. I can't afford not to.
Chinese steel?? I have to use it now. That's all the local steel dealers sell.
I don't much like the stuff.
I built my new press out of it. The 6" channel has a big bow across the face of it. Worst I've ever seen. I even picked the best stuff out. Some of it was almost unusable for what I needed.
What I want to know...when will the bubble burst?
The rising gas prices, insane real estate prices, the young kids driving $50,000 pickups with the $14,000 quad in the back during summer then winter hits and they load on the $3500 aluminum deck...loaded down with a couple of $16,000 snowmobiles.
The kid is in debt for near $100,000 and doesn't even own a house yet.
A 10 year old house trailer on a very small lot is $200,000 right now.
So you know that anything that kid buys after the fact will be the cheapest Chinese crap he can find. He has no choice.
What happened here?
When I was a kid the banks wouldn't lend me a nickel. To secure my first loan, I took $300 into the bank...talked the manager into "lending" me $300 with my $300 for collateral. Sounds stupid but it worked.
The banks just throw money at these people now. There's going to be big trouble down the road.
Russ

aboard_epsilon
03-23-2008, 11:19 AM
Oh boy!

Just as i thought, i'm in way over my head, walking on thin ice, swimming out of my depth:D on this one.

It gives me an uncomfortable feeling when the size and scale of global economies are rammed down my throat, it makes you realise just how unimportant you really are on the scale of things.

There are some seriously clever people on here.

I realise that buying local is not really 100% local, i cant think of many things that are wholly produced in the UK, if any which is very sad.

My brother[who i work for] built his company up over the last 18 years to be [in 2004] the largest craft oriented product manufacturer in the UK. We had 105 staff at its peak. Over the last four years, cheap imported stuff has knocked us down by killing the market, they bring stuff in and flood the market at cost price, all the customers follow like sheep where they were quite happily paying a reasonable cost before, the small traders close down (currently our small outlets are closing at about one or two every week) as they have no customers. He has always based his business on being a manufacturer and refuses to be a box-mover which i admire him for, as there is so litle profit, its just not worth it.

This is what we dont get, why can they not import and compete at a reasonable level instead of the "import and destroy" method. They could sell at UK prices and make 10 times the profit and we could still have jobs. This indicates to me that it is not just about money but undermining economies and everyone just lets them get on with it?

The whole world really has gone nuts, i'm putting my name down for the first station on mars i think;)

Dave

all i can suggest ...is you start promoting the fact that your product is British ...

EG .....proudly made in Britain stamped here and there ......union flags .(im welsh and hate that flag .should have a dragon in the middle of it )..etc ...this will probably cost you didly squat to implement .

how about a leaflet .......with each product .explaining the ins and outs of buying British ........showing pics of your workers .......and there children .and why jobs are important to them .

ps .forget the words england and uk .they sound nath.
all the best.markj

lazlo
03-23-2008, 11:24 AM
Last fall, the chinese government slapped a 25% tariff on exporting steel. That means chinese steel mills have to pay the government 25% tax on every shipment they export.

The Chinese are trying to cut down on shipping of cheap steel over here, because they want it for internal use.

Which is consistent with Boslab's assessment:


the figures dont work for me, the $300/ton, comes back at $100 ton finished? somthing is gonna give sooner or later

I always get a big chuckle when folks talk about "China's Capitalist Experiment" -- the Communist government is heavily subsidizing an artificial economy driven by slave labor. The so-called "emerging middle-class" -- the factory owners and employees of corporations that are co-owned by the communist government, are almost exclusively Party Members. That's not capitalism, that's China trying to take over the world, which they're doing quite successfully.

lazlo
03-23-2008, 11:37 AM
The banks just throw money at these people now.

Not anymore! Bear Stearns, who was just one of many global investment firsms buying-up bogus sub-prime mortgages and re-packaging them as bonds and mutal funds, effectively went bankrupt 2 weeks ago. JPMorgan just bought them Friday, backed by a $20 Billion treasury loan from the Fed. The Federal Government hasn't had to fund an investment firm bailout like that since the Great Depression, and Bernanke is saying there may be as much as $200 Billion in bailouts coming...

The sub-prime mortgage debacle was a global Ponzi scheme, just like the artificial dot com boom and the wildly over-inflated US real estate prices.

torker
03-23-2008, 11:53 AM
and the wildly over-inflated US real estate prices.
Robert..That's exactly what we are facing right now.
Our case may be a bit different but the end result is the same.
The oil rich Albertans have invaded us in hordes.
They have been known to get into bidding wars over any piece of real estate in this area.
We are a prime "recreational" area.
EG..low cost older houses that 2 years ago would sell for$60,000 to $70,000 are now selling for $250,000 or more.
We're talking "fixer uppers" here. Most need a pile of money spent on them.
This really hurts our young people who want a house.
They could get into one of these for $3000 down before. Now they need $20,000 down.
It's tough.

Evan
03-23-2008, 01:15 PM
Most of the comments being made here to explain the situation used to be true but are badly out of date, including yours Robert. Things are changing so fast in China that it is very difficult to keep up. They have an open stock market, private land ownership even for the farmers, income taxes structured very much like the US system and most of the major state subsidized industries have been cut loose to sink or swim based on actually making money on their own. Social security systems are in place for the elderly since the sons aren't staying at home to look after the parents any more. Gasoline prices are much the same as here. China is the largest buyer of Rolls Royces and Mercedes autos in the world. Over 40 million households have a standard of living equal or better to what we consider middle class and some ar much better with palatial mansions. Those are NOT the party faithful any more but very newly wealthy businessmen.

If you visit China you will see something very different than just a few years ago. There is still poverty in the back country but most of the people have enough to eat and decent clothes.

There is no "old" money in China. There are no long established traditions of business practices and laws to regulate them. That was all swept away when the communists took charge and will take quite a while to reinstate. In the mean time there is going to be a period of swift and sometime extreme adjustments to balance the foreign trade since having a surplus of money you can't spend is even worse for a country than being in debt.

lazlo
03-23-2008, 01:38 PM
Most of the comments being made here to explain the situation used to be true but are badly out of date, including yours Robert.

Evan, you've been saying this for years. As we've discussed here many times in the past, most of my information about China (including using teenage girls as slave labor) is based on current reports from the Economist, which is an extremely well-regarded, unbiased British news magazine.

What data do you have to the contrary, from what source, preferably other than the Internet?


Over 40 million households have a standard of living equal or better to what we consider middle class

It's actually closer to 50 million households Evan. But guess what, that's 19% of the China's 1.3 Billion people. 60% of the country is officially in poverty:

Dissecting China's 'middle class' (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-10/27/content_386060.htm)

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) released a report earlier this year that suggested China's "middle class" accounted for 19 per cent of the country's 1.3 billion population by 2003.

http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9944734


China: Beijing’s Migrant Construction Workers Abused
Builders of the ‘New Beijing’ Cheated of Wages, Denied Essential Services (http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/12/china18244.htm)

In recent years China's Communist Party has begun to pay attention to a deep malaise in the countryside: the prohibitive cost of health care and education for the rural poor, mounting debts at the lowest levels of government, bloated bureaucracy and a growing wealth gap between rural and urban areas. Riots have become common, fuelled by the attempts of avaricious governments to raise money by selling farmers' land. Incomes may have been rising, but so has dissatisfaction. In some parts of China, more than 60% of those in dire poverty have been driven there by medical expenses. And for many rural residents the higher levels of schooling are becoming unaffordable.

Evan
03-23-2008, 02:08 PM
I've been saying it for years because it has been true for years. What you thought you knew a few days ago is likely to be out of date today. That hasn't changed a bit and is even accelerating. Any comments about slave labor need to be tempered by the recognition that the US also uses prisoners to produce goods and services. For sources I have relied on reports from friends that recently visited China as well as reports from a variety of non-western news media. Also informative is the degree of free speech that is allowed even on state sponsored media forums today. There have also been several Canadian made documentaries as well as one detailing the visit of a railroading club that were the first to visit the real back country via steam train in China.

Other information is available online from various government sources including such items as a comprehensive list of foreign investors in China as well as other data.

I don't know why you seem down on the internet as a source of information. It has the same mix of good and bad as you will find anyplace else via any other media. It's a matter of exercising some judgement about the sources and doing some background checking on the more extravagant claims.

J Tiers
03-23-2008, 04:16 PM
Any comments about slave labor need to be tempered by the recognition that the US also uses prisoners to produce goods and services.

Sorry to burst the pretty bubble ..............

The US found that unconstitutional since you left.

Equal pay, and no forced labor is the rule, whether or not there are lawbreakers somewhere in the South who still run chain gangs. Equal pay is not slave labor, sorry.

Most solved the problem by eliminating all work programs, which means prisoners do nothing but teach each other how to be better break-in artists.

Doc Nickel
03-23-2008, 04:38 PM
Any comments about slave labor need to be tempered by the recognition that the US also uses prisoners to produce goods and services.

-Which is almost exclusively "make work", intended simply to both keep inmates busy, and in some cases try to teach some of them a useful trade other than how to steal cars or cook meth.

The only "product" I'm aware of produced by inmates is/are/were office furniture intended for Government offices. I don't think any of them even stamp liceense plates anymore, but I might be wrong on that.

"Chain gangs" and the like are just road cleanup crews. The inmates are not taking any jobs from anyone else, and not producing any economic impact. 'Gangs' are, again, simply to give the inmates something to do, and to get some trash picked up.

I'm sure I don't know the proportions, but millions in poverty making crap product for export isn't comparable to a few thousand prisoners doing make-work so they don't start setting fire to their matresses out of boredom.

Doc.

JCHannum
03-23-2008, 04:40 PM
It would also seem that their "freedom of speech" is controlled and limited to the few granted permission, or allowed only with very limited access.

http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/exp/expspeechprivilege.php

Evan
03-23-2008, 07:17 PM
"Chain gangs" and the like are just road cleanup crews. The inmates are not taking any jobs from anyone else, and not producing any economic impact. 'Gangs' are, again, simply to give the inmates something to do, and to get some trash picked up.

So what? I once asked my daughter if she would sleep with a guy for a million bucks. She said "sure". Then I asked her if she would for 10 bucks. She said "What!? What do you think I am?". I said "We have already established that, all we need to do now is haggle over the price."

The fact that prisoners in the US may or may not contribute or substract from the economy is irrelevant. They are still prisoners and the work they do isn't optional in many cases. That is forced labor regardless of what it entails.

For those in the US it would be enlightening to review the news from outside news sources with a good reputation. BBC and Deutsche Welle are good places to start.

The fact is that the Chinese government has eliminated most subsidies to business. In many cases they are probably less than the subsidies the USA provides for businesses in the US, which are considerable. For example, the tariffs that were applied to Canadian softwood lumber in the last ten years were collected at the border but not for the US Government. Over 5 billion dollars was collected from Canadian companies and went straight into trust accounts for US lumber producers. When the entire mess was settled after many years during which the US was repeatedly found to be in the wrong by even their own courts the US decided that they would only pay back 4 billion and keep 1 billion which was paid to the lumber companies anyway.

The US is no better than any other country and there are absolutely no grounds to try and take the moral high ground.

Ries
03-23-2008, 07:48 PM
I dont know about "forced" but here in Washington State, prisoners work for anywhere from a few cents an hour, to minimum wage, in direct competition with normal american businesses- which, to me, is pretty much the same thing the chinese are being accused of.
If the prisoners are working for significantly below market wages, as they do in Washington, how is that different from the Chinese prisoners, in terms of its economic affect on american business?
Sure, its different in terms of its personal effect on individual prisoners, and I dont think anyone would disagree that the Chinese system of forcing labor is morally wrong, just as it was here in the USA until 20 years or so ago.
But ECONOMICALLY, isnt the Washington State system as described here-
http://www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks/prison.cfm
just the same thing?
Government gives SOME businesses artificially low priced labor, and their competitors suffer.

My local waterjet cutter is constantly underbid by a waterjet company that operates out of the Prison in Monroe, Washington. They may pay minimum wage- I think they used to pay even less- but he cannot get guys to run waterjets, load machines, forklift materials, pack and ship, for minimum wage- Heck burger places around here start at $10.50 an hour.

He sued, and got the law changed- here is a description of what is was like, a couple of years ago- this was the situation until 2004, when they started paying minimum wage-

""UNTIL IT WAS FOUND TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL IN WASHINGTON STATE, private companies used prison labor and prison space and were called “Class 1: Free Venture Industries”. These companies had a pool of prisoner workers with no labor unions, no strikes, no health benefits, and no unemployment insurance. They only needed to pay a wage of 75% of what is paid to “free” people. They avoided language problems and steep international shipping costs encountered with cheap overseas labor. The free industrial space was provided with vocational training and a program coordinator provided with taxpayer dollars. For example, MicroJet, a company that used prison labor at Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, got more than 11,000 square feet of industrial space rent-free. Many utilities were provided to MicroJet, free of charge or at discounted rates. The Department of Corrections (DOC) also provided security and a security orientation session. In 2001, according to Washington State Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge, DOC actually enticed employers with the promise of lower overhead costs and a motivated and readily available work force. These prison workers were motivated because the only other pay options available to them are 42 cents per hour, to maintain the prison environment, and up to $1.10 per hour to produce products and services for the state. The exact wording used by the DOC to entice employers was as follows: “By employing highly motivated workers and lowering your overhead rate by operating within an institution, you make money. If you don’t have your own manufacturing plant or are unhappy with an out-of-state or offshore supplier, you can lower your procurement costs and get better service by contracting with Correctional Industries.” Justice Bridge also said that employers were also told that in addition to lowering their costs, they could potentially receive bid preferences on state contracts. THIS ALL STOPPED AFTER IT WAS FOUND TO BE UNCONSITUTIONAL.""


Rent Free, Prison labor- how, exactly, is that different from what the chinese do?

Anyway, the vast majority of chinese crap we get is made by FREE teenage girls. Who still dont get paid much, but are not in prison.

China now has 68 Billionaires, according to Forbes. Most of these guys surely have a good relationship with the communist leaders, but are not politicians- these are full time businessmen.

I am with Evan on this one- China is changing so fast if you blink you miss it.
Its still a dictatorial, communist country with no freedom of speech or religion- except for their new religion, capitalism.
Capitalism does not require freedom- in fact, it works better without it.

lazlo
03-23-2008, 08:15 PM
For those in the US it would be enlightening to review the news from outside news sources with a good reputation. BBC and Deutsche Welle are good places to start.

Or the Economist. :rolleyes:


The fact is that the Chinese government has eliminated most subsidies to business.

Source please? Boslab seems to have insider knowledge that the foundries are selling steel for way below their cost, which is consistent with most of the rest of the current Western media reports.


the figures dont work for me, the $300/ton, comes back at $100 ton finished?


The US is no better than any other country and there are absolutely no grounds to try and take the moral high ground.

China is a Communist totalitarian government, run by an unelected political elite. The United States is a democracy. That's a big reason to take the moral high-ground.

lazlo
03-23-2008, 08:25 PM
Anyway, the vast majority of chinese crap we get is made by FREE teenage girls. Who still dont get paid much, but are not in prison.

Technically true, but inaccurate in practice. The government is institutionally exploiting the rural poor for cheap labor: the Chinese teenagers come from destitute peasant families who are so poor they can only send one child to school. So they send the boys to school, and the daughters are sent to the Work Zones to live and work in a factory for piece work. The girls are kept in work camps, 8 - 12 girls in a 8 x 10' room, and work 13 days on, 1 day (alternate Sundays) off. They send all their money home to their families.

At the end of 3 - 4 years, they've either burned out, or been maimed by working with heavy industrial equipment with no safety provisions, and no training. At that point, they're nearly 20, with no education. Their only future is to find a husband.

If you want to see the "real" China, watch the 4-hour Frontline Episode "China Rising," which follows the girls from their homes, to 18 hour work days, to the day when they eventually return home to their families.

Another shocking visual is "Mardi Gras: Made in China", a documentary that is shown on IFC and Sundance. They show young teenage girls making polystyrene Mardi Gras beads by sticking bare hands in an operating hot press with no guards, no E-Stops, no ventilation (polystyrene vapor is highly toxic) and no training.

J Tiers
03-23-2008, 08:27 PM
AS I said..... it was found to be unconstitutional.

So it is completely unimportant how it is different from the chinese.

Besides........ people ASSUME that workers are prisoners of the state, when in fact they are living in dormitories on the premises, because they are from a long way off, and there are not the apartments etc as available in the west. The principle is not bad, the execution can be, as lazlo refers to. The problems are cultural, which will be hard to fix, and socio-economic, which is easier to fix.

And in either case true prison labor is such a minute portion of the economy that in either case focusing on it makes no sense if the object is to discover "the way it is done", meaning growing the chinese economy in the face of rising costs and overseas costs that don't accord with it.

If you wish to get snippy and prissy and see who can claim the "moral high ground", the answer is NOBODY.

The chinese have had serfs/slaves, so they can't, in common with the rest of asia. All of europe had slave labor (serfs) so they can't. The middle east STILL has slaves, so they can't. Africa ditto, along with many other issues. The US had slaves, ditto. In South and central America there were and sometimes ARE slaves, so they are out. Australia is a prison colony, plus treatment of the aborigines was very poor. Canada would be a candidate, but has had their own problems relating with the various native populations, so even they are out.

Not much left, so you better quit now.

ALL governments end up corrupt.

The difference is that in SOME types the corruption becomes "normal", while in others it may exist (people are inherently corrupt), but is prosecuted when found.

If you see no difference between those, your problems may need professional assistance.

lazlo
03-23-2008, 08:31 PM
For those in the US it would be enlightening to review the news from outside news sources with a good reputation. BBC and Deutsche Welle are good places to start.

The fact is that the Chinese government has eliminated most subsidies to business.

OK, here's a BBC quote for you:

US tackles China subsidies at WTO (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6326213.stm)

US lawmakers and manufacturers have urged the administration to do more to force China to its trade practices, including subsidies on a range on items from steel to paper.

The move follows a case brought in 2006 by the EU, Canada and the US over Chinese tariffs over car parts. That case is still unresolved.

So it's not just the US who's complaining about China's subsidies...

oldtiffie
03-23-2008, 11:05 PM
Re. J Tiers post #29 at: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showpost.php?p=344365&postcount=29

While your concern and comment may appear to be correct, an even less than cursory look at the practices of corporations who run their "Empires" as "fiefdoms" may be enlightening.

"Internal rates of return/s" are a key financial and corporate tool used by corporations, financial institutions, churches etc. The local accountant uses it when he does a tax return or is planning a strategy for the future - no, not in "China" but in Main Street USA (and other countries).

If you have a look at your local large multi-part business - say one who sells/distributes etc. a significant number of goods and/or services in a significant number of "internal (sub?)-departments", you will probably find that each (sub)department is a separate internal business and has its budgets for costs and income/profit/s set by the "Head Office" (HO). HO regards these subs as cost-centres and profit centres. It finances them and sets and expects an internal rate of return on its "investment". "Man power" aka employee/s are loaded to the hilt and more and higher "targets" are set progressively higher and higher. HO assigns/delegates all the control to itself and all of the risks to those further down the "food chain".

OK. That is for the "big boys"? Not so. I suggest that you have a look at the operations of the Franchise industry where HO decides who can buy a franchise (ie. buys their own job) and "taxes" part of their "turn-over" (as distinct from "profit") as HO's "return on investment" (ROI). HO also decides where any new franchise may be set up and in effect sets/fixes prices and leases and assigns "sole rights" to a franchisee for a particular district so as to "control" the "opposition" (and the Franchisee). It gets even worse for the Franchisee - and the "customer" - in a large shopping mall where the mall owner extracts his "cut" and decides if and where the franchise(e) can operate. And there you have centralised control with multi-layered "tax" and accountability without recourse or representation.

Why is that acceptable in the USA (and other countries) when that sort of "taxation without representation" under a "Command Economy" (Great Britain/UK) was the reason for the "Boston Tea Party"?

It sounds a lot like the dreaded Chinese model doesn't it?

And so it should as they are all corporations.

From even recent experience it seems that the "China" government has more control over the activities of its corporations than most of the "Non-Asia/n" countries do over theirs.

And which seems to be getting the best result of late?

Why?

And what can be done?

So far as I am aware the "China problem" and problems as we are experiencing in the "West" may not just be from China but from many other "developing" countries as quoted by others in previous posts on this thread.

All of those "Sovereign Funds" mentioned previously - many of which are government owned or controlled - are in a prime position to take advantage of the "Western" "problem" which all too obviously is a problem of our own making, the consequences of which are yet to be fully disclosed or realised.

And what is one of the suggested or real incomes? You guessed it. Government funding/under-writing at Tax-payer/s expense for the corporations which the corporations want and "more (Centralised) control and regulation" which corporations do not want and it seems that they will get their way. It seems that only "crumbs (from the rich man's table)" will go to the "victims" (tax-payer/home-owner/mortgagee etc.) as any "benefit" is meant to "(re?)prime" the economy and eventually to filter down/into the banks and financial institutions/industry.

Incestuous ain't it?

Asian countries have always had "controlled economies" to varying degrees and the "Asian way" system is very much different to "ours". It is not much different in Eastern Europe, the Middle and Far East, Eastern Europe, South America, Russia and where-ever.

Asians are quite big risk-takers and have a history of planning years and decades ahead and financing it accordingly. Short-term "goals" (profit and share price) are not such a worry there.

In all cases, it is a matter of where "beneficial ownership" and/or "control/s" rest that defines those who are really in control.

It seems that we in the "West" and "the rest" are more similar than different in many ways.

J Tiers
03-23-2008, 11:36 PM
I am not so sure that your analogies are quite correct.

It is entirely different dealing with a sovereign nation, which can tell you and your investigators and laws etc to "shove it". That nation need not pay the slightest attention to you unless it pleases.

Your only options in dealing with it is sanctions or war. The world cannot agree on sanctions, normally, let alone anything more.

If it hasn't worked with Iran, which the Eu and others are in conflict with, how will it work with the largest nation on earth? particularly when that nation has economically oppressed most of the "1st and 2nd world".

Making allowances for the "foreign view", I can't see any direct analogy with a corporation, which:

a) does not make laws (at least not directly)

b) cannot ignore the larger society and government authority (some District attorney will find it useful to prosecute).

c) does not have a true internal economy, since it does not print money, and cannot "set" the exchange rates.

And, as a final item, if the chinese are acting in the same way as a predatory corporation, and I agree they are, with unique advantages due to being a sovereign state, that is not a thing to be considered an "excuse".

It's a bit like saying "well all the others were doing it too". That didn't go over well in the family...... Or saying that you are not the ONLY one who has robbed a bank, so you really aren't so bad.

Predatory corporations were restrained from most of the obvious forms of excess 100+ years ago, at least here.

The idea that "well others have done that too, so it's OK if I do it" doesn't quite cut it when closely examined, does it?

The main issue is NOT the various governments, it is ultimately the demand for the very cheapest goods.

That in turn has been driven by a failed and bankrupt notion called "it's just the same as "X" only cheaper".

That notion has been sold to the public by the emergence of the large chain store. While they initially got low prices by volume buying, inevitably competition forced "made-to-be-cheap" goods.

Once teh public "bought in", the corporations found themselves sitting in a runaway wagon. They had stirred up the horses, but they couldn't stop them. So the largest, WalMart, abandoned its flag-waving "made-in-America" theme, and bought everything in china..... forcing the transfer of manufacturing in order to keep their business.

The rest is just the fallout.

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 12:38 AM
Thanks JT for your well-considered and thought-out response at post #48



Making allowances for the "foreign view", I can't see any direct analogy with a corporation, which:

a) does not make laws (at least not directly)

b) cannot ignore the larger society and government authority (some District attorney will find it useful to prosecute).

c) does not have a true internal economy, since it does not print money, and cannot "set" the exchange rates.

Your point "a)":


a) does not make laws (at least not directly)
Many corporations have the "clout" (power/resources) to have (in effect) the laws made to suit them - the result is the same - anywhere. It is not a "happy" scene to see National as well as State and Provincial Governments "bidding" ("begging") a corporation to establish, stay or up-grade in their bailiwick. And the corporation dictates the outcome with huge "help" (assistance?) from that Government and its utilities and regulators.

The end result is the same - its done to suit.

Your point "b)":


b) cannot ignore the larger society and government authority (some District attorney will find it useful to prosecute).
Yes they can and do - see point a).

It gets "better" (worse) when a corporation uses its "home" Country to "lean" on another for the benefit of one of its national corporations. Many corporations will and can and do deal only with "Government" at the highest levels. To this extent they may be seen/are to be almost(?) "beyond the law".

Your point "c)":


c) does not have a true internal economy, since it does not print money, and cannot "set" the exchange rates.
They do have an internal economy - see my previous comment regarding internal rates of return etc. which is set and managed internally within the corporation.

"Money" in the physical sense is not an issue until it is "cashed" and in your hand.

You don't have "money" (ie "cash") in your account - just a credit that can be converted to "hard cash" when you physically have it in your hand at the ATM or from a Bank "Teller" etc.

Your house - or anything else - has no "cash" worth unless the "value" is converted to "cash-in-hand". It, like anything else is only "worth" what some-body is prepared to pay on the day.

All accounting is based on "credits" and "debits" - not "cash".

Nothing is available to a "host" or "home" country's Taxation system until the Corporation is assessed and "pays" its assessed amount/share of its "taxable income" as "tax". Needless to say multi-national corporations are very clever as regards "creative accounting" and liability to any country as regards tax. And they have the resources to "defend" themselves. Many have annual and real value and "turn-over" (Gross Domest ic Product - GDP) well in excess of the host country's net worth. In many cases the host country is more reliant on the corporation that the other way around. This is no different to the position/state in (one) "Company towns" as is the case here as well as elsewhere where the whole community is Dependant upon "the Company".

Corporations are the most efficient methods of "business" aand delivering "product" (and "making money") there is.

It seems to me that many corporations are small (and not so small) "Principalitiies" or "nations" (almost?) in their own right.

"National" and "Corporate" interests are quite often mutually (inter)-dependant in some countries and often do and can look and act as sovereign countries.

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 12:56 AM
Cmon Tiff!
Competition amongst (Australian) banks?
Puleeze!

Sorry Lin.

Over-looked or just didn't see your post.

This is just a "bump" so that I don't miss it again.

Evan
03-24-2008, 01:53 AM
So it's not just the US who's complaining about China's subsidies...

Uh huh. And it's not just _______ (fill in the blank with just about any WTO country) that is complaining about US subsidies and trade practices. Everything from lumber to ball bearings. Also, some of the practices are obviously the result of a corrupt system. A case in point is the duty collected on the lumber as I mentioned.

This was authorized under what is called the Byrd Amendment. This is so blatantly a result of manipulation of the politicians by vested interests that it is illegal in nearly every WTO member country. Nearly all such countries have been pressuring the US to recind it.




Byrd Amendment The Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 ("CDSOA"), commonly referred to as the "Byrd Amendment," provides for the annual distribution of antidumping and countervailing duties assessed on or after October 1, 2000 pursuant to AD and CVD orders in effect on or after January 1, 1999. The distribution is available to "affected domestic producers for qualifying expenditures." An "affected domestic producer" is defined as a manufacturer, producer, farmer, rancher, or worker representative (including associations of such persons) that (1) was a petitioner or interested party in support of a petition with respect to which an AD or CVD order was in effect and (2) remains in operation.

http://www.usitc.gov/trade_remedy/731_ad_701_cvd/byrd.htm


EXTRA Vol. 138, No. 19 Canada Gazette
Part I
OTTAWA, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2004
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
NOTICE SEEKING COMMENTS ON POSSIBLE TRADE RETALIATION AGAINST THE UNITED STATES IN RESPONSE TO THAT COUNTRY'S FAILURE TO REPEAL THE CONTINUED DUMPING AND SUBSIDY OFFSET ACT OF 2000(commonly referred to as theByrd Amendment)
Background
On August 31, 2004, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Arbitrator ruled that Canada and seven other WTO members (Brazil, Chile, the European Union, India, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea) could retaliate against the United States for its failure to repeal the WTO-inconsistent Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (more commonly referred to as the Byrd Amendment). Under the Byrd Amendment, anti-dumping and countervailing duties are given to U.S. producers who supported those trade remedy actions. These duties were previously deposited in the U.S. Treasury. In this context, the WTO Arbitrator authorized Canada to retaliate up to 72 percent of the annual level of U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duties collected on Canadian goods disbursed to U.S. producers under the Byrd Amendment. This level is based on an economic model developed by the WTO to measure the trade effect of the Byrd Amendment on U.S. trading partners.



http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2004/20041123-x/html/extra-e.html

Incidentally, four years ago is just yesterday in these types of actions. They commonly take years to resolve as the cases drag out in the various courts and committees. The US is one of the worst offenders in refusing to comply with decisions handed down by the various levels of international authority that they agreed to respect when the signed on to the treaties. The Department of Commerce frequently simply chooses to ignore any rulings that aren't favorable in direct violation of international agreements.




Source please? Boslab seems to have insider knowledge that the foundries are selling steel for way below their cost, which is consistent with most of the rest of the current Western media reports.

Sure. They haven't eliminated all subsidies. However, subsidies in China take a different form than they do here, or at least they did. When most of the enterprises were state owned and operated they were heavily susidized by the very nature of the system. Most of those industries have been cut loose, as I said before. I'm not going to look up individual news articles to support this claim, you can do that yourself. They are easy to find.

Davek0974
03-24-2008, 04:57 AM
all i can suggest ...is you start promoting the fact that your product is British ...

EG .....proudly made in Britain stamped here and there ......union flags .(im welsh and hate that flag .should have a dragon in the middle of it )..etc ...this will probably cost you didly squat to implement .

how about a leaflet .......with each product .explaining the ins and outs of buying British ........showing pics of your workers .......and there children .and why jobs are important to them .

ps .forget the words england and uk .they sound nath.
all the best.markj

Thats exactly what i'm working on, it was one of the main reasons for starting the project. I've already started drawing up a neat swing-ticket with a flag on one side and some words on the back, leaflets a possibility but another angle was no or very little waste packaging etc. Most commercial stuff comes wrapped in card hangers and so on, its just waste.

I'm intrigued about your p.s. though. I would only use UK where i did not have space to fit England in, i have always counted myself as English and from England, not British or from Britain, i suppose it means little in the end though. As for flags, it should be the George Cross but it does not have quite as much impact or recognition as the Union Jack so i will use that.

This is one hell of a thread! Good reading so far.

Dave

chief
03-24-2008, 05:35 AM
Can you say "Tibet"? lots of free speech and unrestricted internet access there.

Allan Waterfall
03-24-2008, 06:07 AM
From a program I watched recently,it seems a large percentage of Chinese workers are employed making counterfeit goods.Everything from cigarettes to Rolex watches

Allan

Evan
03-24-2008, 06:55 AM
Can you say "Tibet"? lots of free speech and unrestricted internet access there.

Yeah, just like holding prisoners without charges or trial for years. Remember that little American base in Cuba?

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 06:55 AM
China is a Communist totalitarian government, run by an unelected political elite. The United States is a democracy. That's a big reason to take the moral high-ground.

Thanks lazlo.

Maybe so - maybe no.

Let's get away from the "moral high ground", as it just doesn't matter other than to hang platitudes on in Inter-governmental, International or "business" dealings with each other.

You can include "ethics" in that lot as well. If it doesn't make money or "ease the way" it just doesn't get a mention.

I once had a Lawyer and an Accountant explain to me that the "man in the street" and "business" see things in diametrically opposite ways.

As they put it, most people would think that if something is not allowed then it must be illegal or improper, where-as a Lawyer, Accountant or Businessman would say that unless it was specifically illegal it was OK. So there goes the ethics and morality bit/s.


China is a Communist totalitarian government, run by an unelected political elite. The United States is a democracy.

You might like to read this quote before you tell me that something "is" when it may not be adequately defined.
No universally accepted definition of 'democracy' exists, especially with regard to the elements in a society which are required for it.

This extracted from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy

And a variety of "Democracies" are discussed (take your pick/s) at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy

China in the generally understood and accepted sense of the term is - as you put it (in part) - "a Communist totalitarian government" We can agree on that. The people as we understand it do not have a formal vote on who rules the nation in what is a one-party state. That's OK too.

Now here is where we differ and where China and most other "Totalitarian" states and the "Democracies" as we understand them to be in the so-called "free world" are very similar.

China's ruling Party/Elite - after much wrangling and power-broking "behind the scenes" between various interest groups and factions - after the "deals" are hammered out and accepted (if not agreed) present a lot of people for election by the Party elite as a "fait accompli".

This is mainly just as it happens here and I understand it in the USA, UK, Europe and where-ever in that it is the "behind the scenes" and between unelected similar groups have agreed on who gets what etc. that a "candidate" of their choice in nominated as a candidate for election. It is a "2 horse race" as there are only two parties and two candidates. It is a "take or leave it" outcome that is presented to the electorate with the "winner/s" - provide they have majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives, can pretty well do as they like for the best part of 4 years without really being responsible or accountable to anybody. The USA elects President where-as here and in the UK the "winning" party "Appoints" a Prime Minister (after or as a result of more "behind the scenes stuff and carryings-on").

So in both instances, the government really does not need to "consult" the electorate at all let alone be or be seen to be accountable to the electorate.

The "totalitarian states" just continues more or less as before and get on with governing where-as the Government of rest of us just just "freeze" a year before elections as they are only concerned with winning nominations and elections and then don't do much of substance for 6 to 12 months after the election.

Do you really think that "big (or any) business" contributes to very expensive election campaigns without having "good reason" to expect to be "listened to" and/or "looked after"?

I'd also invite you to check most Annual General Meetings and appointments to Boards of Corporations where a "trust us" and a mere formality takes place for appointing the only candidates as determined by the Board. Sounds very similar to China does it not. And we rely on Corporations to look after our wealth and welfare. And if you are a share/stock-holder in any corporation, do you really think that you will get "your say" at all - and if you do will it matter. In most cases it is the Board and the Financial Institutions that hold many/most of the shares/stocks (and "voting rights") who "proxy" their votes to the Board Chairman/President that determine the outcome.

Democracy? My foot!!
Just about any system puts the fox in charge of the chook-shed.

I will look for something different after I put on my rose-tinted glasses and consult chickens entrails and the like, but my final "Bible" in these matters will - as always - be my "Noddy" books. My crystal ball is somewhere between frosted and fu**ed.

But having said all that I much prefer the "Democratic" system we have as the "least worst" of the really only two options available.

Just as Churchill said:
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
Winston Churchill

For Churchill quotes see:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/winston_churchill.html

aboard_epsilon
03-24-2008, 07:23 AM
Thats exactly what i'm working on, it was one of the main reasons for starting the project. I've already started drawing up a neat swing-ticket with a flag on one side and some words on the back, leaflets a possibility but another angle was no or very little waste packaging etc. Most commercial stuff comes wrapped in card hangers and so on, its just waste.

I'm intrigued about your p.s. though. I would only use UK where i did not have space to fit England in, i have always counted myself as English and from England, not British or from Britain, i suppose it means little in the end though. As for flags, it should be the George Cross but it does not have quite as much impact or recognition as the Union Jack so i will use that.

This is one hell of a thread! Good reading so far.

Dave

ENGLISH, made in England etc

well you are selling hopefully to the whole of Britain

So appealing to the English, Welsh,Scottish and Irish .

The name UK...or United Kingdom I always thought ...was a bit naff.....Sought of name that would be thought up by a committee

Where as the name Great Britain ..has a lot more clout .

all the best.markj

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 07:36 AM
Mark, is this any help?

http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/britain/britain.htm

http://www.port.ac.uk/research/gbhgis/

http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/index.jsp

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=great+britain&hl=en&start=0&sa=N

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=great+britain&fulltext=Search

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK

JCHannum
03-24-2008, 07:38 AM
Yeah, just like holding prisoners without charges or trial for years. Remember that little American base in Cuba?

There is a world of difference between holding a few enemy combatants, and keeping an entire nation under the gun because of their religious beliefs.

J Tiers
03-24-2008, 08:18 AM
Tiffie:

You aer obviously never going to give up on making a corporation equal to a nation, so I won't bother to argue the point much further.

But, there are an obvious set of differences, and I suspect a little open-minded thought would allow them to come to your attention.

The items you mention, while "somewhat analogous" are in no way equivalent. A corporation's internal accounting is light-years different from the internal economy of a nation, for instance. The former is entirely illusory, the latter can be said to have a reality (if anything can be said to be "real"), because it is to a greater or lesser extent actually enforceable outside the boundaries. In the case of the chinese, they can and DO force theirs on the entire rest of the world (with the willing and enthusiastic co-operation of the world, of course, at least at first).

You are apparently a chinese apologist, unashamedly excusing all actions as equivalent to some other action by others, and therefore acceptable on the basis of "all the others are doing that".

The question of the actions of any others, US, EU, north Korea, etc, are completely irrelevant, be they good, bad, venal or saintly.

You do not see how your own country, while apparently prosperous as a result of exports, is actually being drained by its trade.

May I suggest that you enjoy the warm water, Mr Frog, while it lasts.

John Stevenson
03-24-2008, 08:29 AM
60 replies and nothing will change other than by global economic forces that eventually level everything out.

In the meanwhile Tiffie's groaning bookshelf has just spawned 10 more volumes of Tiffiepedia.

One day Mrs Tiffie will post to say the shelf has fallen down and Tiffie's been crushed :D and the poor bastard won't get to see his own obituary :D :D



.

tony ennis
03-24-2008, 08:47 AM
Yeah, just like holding prisoners without charges or trial for years. Remember that little American base in Cuba?

Evan, that's embarrassingly weak.

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 09:05 AM
Well, well JT.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for those gems of information.

I have often come close to be stuck in (up?) some old boiler in my time and in hot water up to my ears. You knew that!!!!??

I wasn't aware that I was a "frog" ("froggie" perhaps) nor was or is there any French letters (aka "froggies" here in OZ), in my correspondence or wallet/pocket-book or back-ground.

Hmm-m-m does that not make me a "man of letters"? Wow!!!

But as you are so well informed on such matters I am duty-bound to enquire further.

The French might not be too happy either. They do - among other things - eat "frogs". Is that cannibalism?

Perhaps its because I am not sufficiently advanced as yet and can only aspire to be a "frog" as I am only a "Toadie" aka "Toad-eater".

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=toadie

http://www.bartleby.com/81/16583.html

This OZ web site may assist in your deliberations:
http://frogs.org.au/

Should I reply :
- in French (using French letters - of course); or
- in English

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 09:33 AM
60 replies and nothing will change other than by global economic forces that eventually level everything out.

In the meanwhile Tiffie's groaning bookshelf has just spawned 10 more volumes of Tiffiepedia.

One day Mrs Tiffie will post to say the shelf has fallen down and Tiffie's been crushed :D and the poor bastard won't get to see his own obituary :D :D

Luvved it John.

You and JT are very perceptive.

Combining your "spawning" with JT's "frog" conjures up huge possibilities.

Your mention of
and the poor bastard won't get to see his own obituary brought back some memories and a wry smile.

When I worked as a "Civvy" (after my "Uniform time") with Navy I set about my job with a vengeance. On one occasion I had to go to a Management meeting with the Executive Officer - a Navy Commander - best boss and administrator I ever had - bar none. He said that there were to be a lot of "higher-ups" and our own "usual suspects" there. He wanted me to wear a name tag (I detested wearing them - which he knew) which were large "stick-on" types that we were to write our names on - in large "Texta" letters.

I just put "That Bastard" on mine as most people knew me as/by that.

Everybody knew who I was, even those that I had never met but had probably spoken or written to - a great success. The Commanding Officer (Captain) arrived shortly after, saw my name-tag nearly pis*ed himself, asked the XO to tell/ask me to remove it and retired to "collect" himself.

Many had good cause to promise me that it ("That Bastard") would be my epitaph.

I should hope so as for it to be otherwise would have been a huge waste of effort on my part.

My "obit" will be:
"Never shelved - shafted either"

[PS.]
We all have a "shelf-life" and a "use by" date.
[End PS.]

Evan
03-24-2008, 09:52 AM
Evan, that's embarrassingly weak.
Wow. As a US citizen that comment is just plain embarassing. No trial and no charges, no chance to state a case or see counsel and not even the protection afforded by international agreements because the US refuses to grant prisoner of war status. They have been kidnapped and diassapeared by the US government. Don't you see anything wrong with that?

Davek0974
03-24-2008, 10:15 AM
ENGLISH, made in England etc

well you are selling hopefully to the whole of Britain

So appealing to the English, Welsh,Scottish and Irish .

The name UK...or United Kingdom I always thought ...was a bit naff.....Sought of name that would be thought up by a committee

Where as the name Great Britain ..has a lot more clout .

all the best.markj

Thanks Mark,
Great Britain it is then. As i said, I would only use UK if i couldnt fit Great Britain into the space available, i dont think its that much of a kingdom anymore anyway;)

Thread's still going strong though!

Dave

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 10:16 AM
Most recent thing i have heard from a Big builder is that steel prices are unreal.
China is already exporting steel and other raw materials back to Europe and it should be a matter of time before these prices drop because of laws of economics.
A small piece of the answer.



Sorry not going to happen.

China has just had a 60% increase on castings, yup 60 %
This will now be passed on and so our steel imports will cost more as will imported goods.

It's just part of the leveling process.

I posted a while ago in a thread called "We have never had it so good"

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=27777

Originally written in September 2007

Last month our steel suppliers told us they were putting on 27% and in two months time they are going to put on another 32%

It happened before with Taiwan, cheap goods and then as their standard of living and infrastructure advanced they had to farm out to China, now the same is happening with China.

There is no answer as it's part of a global leveling process and propping up dead or unproductive companies will cause more harm.
.

Thanks John, I apologise for using an earlier post but it was as focused as any and more than most as regards steel and metal/material in our shops.

Combine the certainty of what you say with the uncertainty of the out-come of the current and potentially on-going financial and banking scenario and the outlook for material and equipment at affordable prices is not looking good - at all.

I'd expect that there will be a "leveling-out" but not to the extent that there will be parity - no where near it.

China has plenty of internal cost-pressures and pricing to deal with. But it has plenty of competition in the offing as well. That competition will keep prices to "Western" consumers below what they can produce it at - so there will not be a lot of reduction (improvement??) in relativities as they are now.

If China and some of its real or potential "rivals" get together and form an industrial "bloc" or "cartel" as is the case with oil, sugar, coffee and a host of others, the situation may well get worse. That sort of trading bloc will give the USA, Europe and the WTO member nations nightmares.

I wouldn't both emulating the squirrel and salting all my material away though.

I'd much rather emulate the OZ "wombat" (a native marsupial) as all that he does all his life is eat, roots and leaves.

Swarf&Sparks
03-24-2008, 10:24 AM
eats roots, shoots, and leaves Mick :D

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 10:41 AM
eats roots, shoots, and leaves Mick :D

Thanks Lin.

I defer to the wombat from the west.

JCHannum
03-24-2008, 11:04 AM
Wow. As a US citizen that comment is just plain embarassing. No trial and no charges, no chance to state a case or see counsel and not even the protection afforded by international agreements because the US refuses to grant prisoner of war status. They have been kidnapped and diassapeared by the US government. Don't you see anything wrong with that?
Actually, no, they have not been decapitated on TV or had their fingers mailed home. Whatever goes on at Club G'itmo has no bearing at all or even a close relation to China and Tibet.

Swarf&Sparks
03-24-2008, 11:27 AM
Welcome Mick. Just thought it was unlike an ordnance tiffie to leave out the shooting bit :D
Not too many wombats down this way. Plenty of pelicans, seals and dolphins tho.
Lotta grey-funnel types with dolphins on the uniform too. Hmmmm :eek:

Evan
03-24-2008, 11:42 AM
Actually, no, they have not been decapitated on TV or had their fingers mailed home. Whatever goes on at Club G'itmo has no bearing at all or even a close relation to China and Tibet.

Of course not. What it does bear on is the US record of human rights abuses.

Peter N
03-24-2008, 11:53 AM
Edited to take out stupid inflammatory political content.
I got carried away and forgot it's a machining forum.

JCHannum
03-24-2008, 11:55 AM
Of course not. What it does bear on is the US record of human rights abuses.
Which is not what is being discussed. Stay with China and Tibet. What did your "friends" observe there in their "recent travels".

Evan
03-24-2008, 12:00 PM
I didn't bring up China in Tibet. What is being discussed is the alleged use of slave labor to produce products so they can be sold below market value. This is then presented as a case for human rights abuse in China. What follows from that is a severe case of throwing stones from within a glass house.

lazlo
03-24-2008, 12:19 PM
Actually, no, they have not been decapitated on TV or had their fingers mailed home.

..and raping/torturing Tibetan nuns.

Heck, you don't have to be Tibetan to enjoy China's moral high-ground: every year, China officially executes more citizens that the whole rest of the world combined, and that's not including political dissidents and labor representatives who disappear. And of course, China has no due process, so some party official decides that you need to be executed, and that's all she wrote...

Don't forget, a couple of years ago China asked Yahoo to track down the IP address of a political Blogger: Shi Tao. Yahoo provided the information, and he was convicted of 10 years in prison. Nice.

Google also heavily filters results in China. If you Google "Tiananmen Square" from within China, you get pretty tourist pictures of the square, a not a single mention of the 10,000 students killed and 30,000 injured by the Chinese army.

They call it "The Great Firewall of China."

JCHannum
03-24-2008, 12:29 PM
I didn't bring up China in Tibet. What is being discussed is the alleged use of slave labor to produce products so they can be sold below market value. This is then presented as a case for human rights abuse in China. What follows from that is a severe case of throwing stones from within a glass house.
No, you were extolling the virtues of free speech in China. You ignored a link to a site that indicates that even "free speech" is regulated and controlled, one reference to Tibet and responded to the second reference to Tibet with your comment re Club G'itmo.

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 04:53 PM
Welcome Mick. Just thought it was unlike an ordnance tiffie to leave out the shooting bit :D
Not too many wombats down this way. Plenty of pelicans, seals and dolphins tho.
Lotta grey-funnel types with dolphins on the uniform too. Hmmmm :eek:

Thanks Lin.

I needed that.

But my memory (tongue and sharp edge??) is getting a bit duller as life moves on.

I seemed to recall that the "Grey Funnel Line" consisted of surface ships and that the dolphin emblem was for guzzunda-boats.

Sure wooda looked odd with a funnel on one of 'em!!! and the "Smokies" would have had quite job keeping the fire going under the kettle/s.

I think I can safely presume that a wombat "par excellence" will be the recipient of this epistle - when he comes up (out??) for air from his wombat and "muff-diving" activities.

Please advise "soundings" - feet, fathom or metre - doesn't matter - just what-ever you are equipped to deal with will do.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sounding_line

I trust that there are no knots in your rope (there are other and better ways of getting well and truly "knotted" - as you are aware). I hope that there is lots of lead at the end of your "sounding rope" (from the lead in your pencil - for recording purposes - what else?). I can just about visualise you swinging your lead before you become a tosser - again?

Keep in touch.

HTRN
03-24-2008, 06:26 PM
If you want to see the "real" China, watch the 4-hour Frontline Episode "China Rising," which follows the girls from their homes, to 18 hour work days, to the day when they eventually return home to their families.

Do you mean "Frontline: China in the Red"? Because if so, it's available online (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/red/view/).


HTRN

Your Old Dog
03-24-2008, 06:34 PM
I have no possibility of competing.

I disagree. They can't be making a quaility product at those prices. That's something that you can afford to do and do a better job at it. "Quality" always has and always will sell. The better the food at a restaurant the longer you have to stand outside in the rain waiting for a table. All that just to eat the same beef and salad materials that all the local diners are using. Quality makes the difference. Market the sizzle and not the steak and then make sure your item has plenty of sizzle.

lazlo
03-24-2008, 06:36 PM
Thanks HTRN -- that's not the episode I was thinking of, but that's an excellent one as well.

I just looked up the documentary I saw that highlighted the slave labor and poor/dangerous working conditions on PBS.org, and it was:

China on the Rise (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/china/)

NewsHour correspondent Paul Solman traveled to China in the summer of 2005 to produce a seven-part series on the Asian nation's rise as a global economic contender and America's anxiety that China will overtake the United States as a Superpower in the 21st Century.

J Tiers
03-24-2008, 07:02 PM
Of course not. What it does bear on is the US record of human rights abuses.

At least in the US there is a spirited debate on teh whole detainee issue, WITH court cases etc, on the matter. and it is all in the papers, etc. Outspoken people do not disappear, nor do they end up floating in a canal.

Any attempt to "equate" that with a nation where dissent is routinely squashed by very heavy-handed means is both futile and expressive of a total lack of the slightest sense of perspective. It suggests that the person expressing that thought is simply unable to understand the concept at all.

NO free nation is perfect. The entire POINT of a free nation is NOT that the excesses will never occur. It is that they will not be permitted to continue un-restrictedly, and that debate on the matter is not suppressed by the military etc.

In some cases, the criticism is the most obscene form of double standard, such as the Germans decrying human rights abuse. Since these debates often (I might more accurately say *routinely*) scrape up old conditions in prior history, Germans in particular (and several other EU nations) should keep silent for another century at least, or risk looking remarkably stupid.

Tiffie..........

I referred to the slow boiling of the frog, who never notices it until he is cooked.

This, if I really MUST explain, refers to the un-noticed impoverishment process ........export of raw materials, and the import of finished goods, with the thought that "lookit them exports, that's great, we're doing bizniss now!".

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 07:23 PM
Tiffie..........

I referred to the slow boiling of the frog, who never notices it until he is cooked.

Yep I knew and realise that - thanks.

But I like my version better.

Perhaps I should have been (am?) a lobster where I am "green" when tossed in live into the boiling water and come out cooked, ready to be served up and as "Red" as you can get. Now there's patriotism for you if ever there was.

But it will do a lot of good as those at the feast can not only eat my "ar*e" but can toss out my head full of sh*t.

Hmm-m-m-m-m yeah - I rather fancy that too.

I have often been described as a lobster - head full of sh*t and an ar*e full of meat - sort of "closes the loop" as it were.

Likewise my having a head like a Swallow's nest - mud out and sh*t in.

Perhaps my "China friends" will make "Birds nest Soup" out of it. A very good idea actually as the analogy and irony appeals to me - I've been "in the soup (sh*t??)" most of my life.

Seems you've done me a good turn after all. And after all me old dog would say "One good turn deserves another". (Just as well me Ol' Dog never went to China hey? or me cat either!!).

Waste not - want not.

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 07:46 PM
I might be - scratch that - am - thick, dense and stupid but I am confused at to whether a lot of this stuff is a new brand/type of "ism" or an old one or a variation of an existing one.

Perhaps you'd like to refer to this article and let me know which "ism" - singular or plural as the case requires - best describes this lot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/-ism

Perhaps "phobia" is a "better fit"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=phobia&fulltext=Search
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobia

Hydrophobia?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrophobia

aka "rabies":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabies

xenophobia?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenophobia

Is there a metal phobia - just thought I'd ask as it seems that there might be as of late.

lazlo
03-24-2008, 08:01 PM
You're right, of course, Tiffie -- just because China has about the worst human rights record in modern history doesn't mean that we should criticize.

We should be more tolerant of how totalitarian states run their countries -- it's their business, anyway, and it let's us buy really cheap machine tools.

oldtiffie
03-24-2008, 08:56 PM
You're right, of course, Tiffie -- just because China has about the worst human rights record in modern history doesn't mean that we should criticize.

We should be more tolerant of how totalitarian states run their countries -- it's their business, anyway, and it let's us buy really cheap machine tools.

Yep.

Absolutely - but don't bet the "family jewels" on it happening any time soon - if at all.

Take our guide from well-established USA businesses - and their clones and ventriloquists dolls here as well - and the(ir) embodiment of all that all is good and great - those paragons of virtue and our leading lights. They who - with our assistance - in large part got us to where we are today.

Hint: they live in Main Street, Wall Street, Madison Avenue and the equivalents here and elsewhere.

Mind you, our own greed, debt, blinkered out-look and our belief in our own infallibility and omnipotence gave it a good "push along" as well.

Taking all that as a "given" it just can't be our fault - never!!! - and do it must be some-one else's fault - of course!! - the dreaded "Chinee" and all them yellow hordes knocking over all them dominoes etc. etc.

My response? In a word - bull-sh*t.

My advice (to me anyway)?: When in a hole of your/our/my?? own making - stop blo*dy digging!!!

Read about it in the "Wall Street Journal" - owned (and controlled??) by that dreadful, dreadful Rupert Murdoch no less - another blo*dy one from OZ. There are some truly absolute bas*tards in and from OZ - there really are. Me and Rupert must be prime examples.

I do hope that there is none of the following here:
- paranoia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia

- "blinders" aka "blinkers";

The term is also used metaphorically to refer to people with an overly narrow focus or inability to see the larger picture.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blinders


- myopia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myopia

and you'll just love this:
- brain-washing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-Washing_%28book%29

HTRN
03-24-2008, 09:09 PM
Take our guide from well-established USA businesses - and their clones and ventriloquists dolls here as well - and the(ir) embodiment of all that all is good and great - those paragons of virtue and our leading lights.

Your analogy sucks. Business is inherently amoral(note, I did not say immoral, there is a difference). If given the opportunity to decrease the costs legally they'll take it. Using Business as moral stand in is like taking medical advice from a garbage collector. They may know something, but it isn't really in their line of work. Even socalled "Business Ethics" are aimed squarely in reference to black ink. EVERYTHING A COMPANY DOES IS TO INCREASE PROFITS OR MINIMIZE COSTS

It's up to to the legislature to decide whether we should allow it's citizens to do business with foreign nations based on their internal and external behavior.

As for the Chinese, they've been playing a 3 card monty game with their currency, they treat workers as little better than slaves, they are allowed to commit a level of ecological damage that if done in the US would rate you a long jail sentence.. And that's just for business.

I'm all for free trade, but it has to be FAIR trade. If not, Tarriffs or even an embargo are not unreasonable.


HTRN

J Tiers
03-24-2008, 09:48 PM
Quite a bit of this all is based on a particular sort of attitude:

"You did this stuff for a long time, and now you say it's bad and nobody should do it. Well, you did it, so your opinion is too contaminated to take seriously.

WE are going to do it just as long and just as much as you did it, because it's our turn now, and we want to take our fair turn".

The problem comes when a small and limited example is pounced on, held up as the "you did it too" case, and used to justify "our turn" in a much larger and unlimited case.

Evan
03-24-2008, 10:22 PM
No, you were extolling the virtues of free speech in China.
When?


You ignored a link to a site that indicates that even "free speech" is regulated and controlled, one reference to Tibet and responded to the second reference to Tibet with your comment re Club G'itmo.
Why would I be interested in a commentary about free speech? I said nothing about it, here or there.

I responded in kind to the off topic Tibet reference, which was only appropriate. Calling Guantanamo a "club" isn't going to fool anyone even though it is a classic case of trying to minimize and obfuscate the truth. Demonizing the "enemy" isn't going to work either in this day of instant world wide communications.


We should be more tolerant of how totalitarian states run their countries -- it's their business, anyway, and it let's us buy really cheap machine tools.
Oh, but the US is. Check out Saudia Arabia for instance. It'a a titular Monarchy which is really a dictatorship. It restricts half the population to the point where they aren't even allowed to drive a vehicle. They routinely toture people in the prisons there including a Canadian that the US government sent there without any good explanation. The religious thought police are watching you everywhere and the punishment for even minor crimes may be amputation of the hand or head, in public. Fortunately they are great allies of the US. Oh yes, they also have a lot of oil but I'm sure that wouldn't influence any concerns over human rights issues.

J Tiers
03-24-2008, 10:31 PM
Demonizing the "enemy" isn't going to work either in this day of instant world wide communications.

People who gleefully blow up trains, behead prisoners on tape, and mass-murder villagers, etc are not exactly saints...... I would suppose that "demon" might be a bit closer.

Unless of course you think that Hitler was the second coming........ as some do.

Where do the chinese fit on the spectrum?

A liberal, tolerant state?

Or a controlled, intolerant, dissent-stomping regime?

The newspapers seem to present an incontrovertible case for the latter. At least for now,.

tattoomike68
03-24-2008, 10:42 PM
This bull**** hijacked thread should be locked, its worthless unless you want to have a flame war. I run lots of sites where this would be a welcome topic but this is not one of them.


Lock this turd topic..

JCHannum
03-24-2008, 10:55 PM
When?


Why would I be interested in a commentary about free speech? I said nothing about it, here or there.

In post #37, is when. You said: "Also informative is the degree of free speech that is allowed even on state sponsored media forums today."

We really have no need to demonize the enemy, they do a very good job of that themselves. We merely need to read the newspapers.

Evan
03-24-2008, 11:20 PM
A degree of free speech is what I said. That does not equate to "extolling the virtues of free speech in China". The Chinese are now openly critcising the government in the press. That was unheard of just a few years ago.

Arguing by means of red herrings and misdirection doesn't do your case a bit of good Jim. It only serves to make you appear foolish.

Evan
03-24-2008, 11:25 PM
People who gleefully blow up trains, behead prisoners on tape, and mass-murder villagers, etc are not exactly saints...... I would suppose that "demon" might be a bit closer.

Unless of course you think that Hitler was the second coming........ as some do.

Where do the chinese fit on the spectrum?

A liberal, tolerant state?

Or a controlled, intolerant, dissent-stomping regime?

The newspapers seem to present an incontrovertible case for the latter. At least for now,.
If you haven't noticed, I haven't been defending the Chinese. If you don't think so go back and read what I have written.

The fact that somebody does worse things than you do doesn't excuse anything. It's a lame argument that doesn't stand up to inspection. Before criticizing anybody else you should have your own house in order.


People who gleefully blow up trains, behead prisoners on tape, and mass-murder villagers, etc are not exactly saints...... I would suppose that "demon" might be a bit closer.

Of course not. Does this describe the people held in Guantanamo? How do you know? Please don't tell me that the government says so. Prove it.

JCHannum
03-24-2008, 11:38 PM
A degree of free speech is what I said. That does not equate to "extolling the virtues of free speech in China". The Chinese are now openly critcising the government in the press. That was unheard of just a few years ago.

Arguing by means of red herrings and misdirection doesn't do your case a bit of good Jim. It only serves to make you appear foolish.

Evan, I get quite tired of you insulting me, calling me foolish, obtuse and other terms you fall back on. It is simple bullying, has no place in these discussions and is distasteful.

If you will refer back to the link I posted in post #40, it makes it quite clear how the government controls the "free speech" by controlling the media.

I will repost it here for your benefit;
http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/exp/expspeechprivilege.php

oldtiffie
03-25-2008, 02:41 AM
Now that all of the spleen has been vented, gospels preached (to the converted and others - pagans??), tubs thumped, punch-drunkenness rampant etc. lets get back to the "main event" which, in case you hadn't noticed, had forgotten or chose to ignore is the cost of locally and over-seas sourced steel and other material now and in the near, medium and long-term futures.

oldtiffie
03-25-2008, 03:10 AM
It's up to to the legislature to decide whether we should allow it's citizens to do business with foreign nations based on their internal and external behavior.


Absolutely - no argument.

And given those guardians of our welfare etc. have done so little - if any - over such a long time that this seems to have been going on, it seems that they are not too concerned if at all.

Perhaps you might like to get them to get off their "freckle" (or "salmon pink smudge"??) and do just as you say.

Perhaps they just don't think that yours is a majority view and/or worth the trouble.

I'd have thought that an election year was the best possible time to raise such an urgent and contentious issue.

Anyway.

I've just been in to see my metals supplier today and all is well in the world there and in regard to material if I want it.

And guess where it is all made - from iron-ore mining and conversion to steel etc. right bl*ody here - in poor destitute enslaved down-trodden OZ.

And for my edification (ignorant savages here in OZ):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amoral

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics

I have first-hand experience of the "philosophers stone". I got pis*ed when discussing Philosophy - my head hurt - must have been "stoned". I woke as confused as when I started.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosopher_stone

and wait - there's more!!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_philosophy_topics_%28I-Q%29

Davek0974
03-25-2008, 05:31 AM
I disagree. They can't be making a quaility product at those prices. That's something that you can afford to do and do a better job at it. "Quality" always has and always will sell. The better the food at a restaurant the longer you have to stand outside in the rain waiting for a table. All that just to eat the same beef and salad materials that all the local diners are using. Quality makes the difference. Market the sizzle and not the steak and then make sure your item has plenty of sizzle.

Hi YOD, it seems the thread has taken a serious nose dive into the crap heap.

Anyways, unfortunately, at present it seems that its the price that sells not the product. Its a case of "never mind the quality, feel the width", a term normally used in the tailors shop but seems fitting here. Joe & Jenny public look at the bottom line first then the product. I have spoken to many friends over the weekend and they all came up with similar answers, :- "we cant afford to buy a local product as it costs x pence more", it appears they would rather have a low cost item than a job! I explained that buying this junk is costing us jobs which means we cant afford not to buy the junk, its a spiral effect and it all goes downhill. They weren't interested and many drinks were consumed as the chat went on:rolleyes: it was interesting but ultimately fruitless, a bit like government i suppose!

Oh well, i think the threads just about dead now, shame really.

John Stevenson
03-25-2008, 06:20 AM
Yawn.................



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