As readers may have seen in my previous blog postings on a prior site, I have long retained an interest in and a questioning attitude towards the Communist People’s Republic of China. From a viewpoint of trade, here we see an immense country attempting, and in certain areas succeeding, to join and lead the race towards the development of a vibrant economy. The huge developments in all areas of manufacturing have not, in my own view, been shadowed by similar rises in both freedom and choice!
In the U.K., for example, we have large enterprises almost totally dependant on supplies of cheap manufactured goods from China for their own continued dominance within their selected market-places. We see, for example, the shelves of the giant D.I.Y. chain B&Q are heavy with items from China, thus allowing the home-refurbishing masses of the United Kingdom to continue on their lasting quest for brighter kitchens, wallpaper replacement and new shower cabinets. We have forgotten perhaps that all these items, from kitchen cupboard door-handles to light fittings used to be sourced from areas much closer to home! They were built in Bradford, in Baden-Baden, in Bordeaux, in Brussels and in Budapest. The corporate decisions to relocate either manufacture or supply of the items which used to be built in Europe overto the cities and provinces of China are excused and justified by reasons of corporate profit, shareholder value and all the other tired excuses used to disguise a move to a cheaper, but not necessarily better manufacturing venue!
As was exampled by Apple, the U.S. giant of home electronics, their move to a Taiwanese manufacturer for their Ipods, promptly sub-contracted out to Mainland Chinese companies for the reputed saving of a few cents per unit cost, was spoken of as a corporate decision for corporate gain, but the loss of jobs in the workplaces of the United States and other Western countries who have advanced past the slave-labour ethic towards a dream of worker empowerment was devastating to say the least! The ethic behind investment should not, in my opinion, be always aimed at the largest possible return for the least possible outlay, because that way lies an over-heavy investment in what is possibly still the least free society in the world today! The replies by Apple that they were ensuring compliance with it’s’ ‘Code of Ethics’ is as shallow as the sheet of paper upon which the ‘Code’ is written! What guarantees that the Chinese company is holding to that ‘Code’? Not a great deal. When the Government snoops upon it’s citizens as to their Internet use, and bars them from even reaching any site which dares to criticise the Communist regime, the companies are only too willing to follow suit!
Suit us better that we do as I did when buying winter gloves last December. I was faced with gloves manufactured in China costing £19.50, or a similar specification glove made in Aberdeen, but costing £30.00. I paid £30.00, because I believe in supporting home-made and sourced equipment, and I do not believe in giving support to a Communist Regime where slavery is rampant, forced abortion is commonplace and the very concept of Freedom is a foreign idea!