America Is A Dumping Ground For Junk

This week's haul from the alley:
  • A Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner. The owner had apparently not read the manual and never cleaned a filter that has to be cleaned on that bagless model. Cleaned it, knocked a wad of dog hair out of a tube, and hosed parts of it down with Lysol overnight. Works like new now. Will probably donate to a thirft store.
  • A high-end toaster. Would not turn on when the lever was depressed. Resoldered a few connections that did not look perfect then tested various things - if an electric switch was making continuity, if a magnetic coil was burned out or not, etc. My 10 year old son did some of the work and now knows how to use a volt meter for continuity checks. Concluded that everything should work, so the switch must not have been making good contract. Filed down the slot where the lever goes, so it could go down just a hair more, and it works fine now. Will either donate to a thrift store, or may keep it and give away our old one. Feel kind of silly - I checked a capacitor off-board for its value and for ESR, checked some resistors, the diodes, etc., then it turned out to be a purely mechanical issue--which it is in about 25 - 50% of cases with electronic things gone bad.
 

AD416tu545

Chicken
Woman
I'm a long time customer of discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls; there's been a steep decline in quality of fabrics used in women's clothing and bed linens. Mid priced brands in the 90's used to feature silk, wool and thick pima cotton. I have old shirts that are still very wearable. New clothing items I've reluctantly purchased start to pill, and the seams separate, within months. Same for sheets: cotton/poly percale sheets used to age nicely, newer ones, are tissue paper thin, undersized, they pill, etc. Something that has helped me, and I know this doesn't work for all consumer goods, is shopping at thrift stores. Last year I found an old Henckels knife that's still going great. Give thrift stores a try!
 

Durden347

Sparrow
Most things in America are made in China. It doesn't matter whether you get them at Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, Macy's or whatever department store even if it is decently high end. It doesn't make a difference. China is cheap labor.
 

JackAn

Pigeon

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.​

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.
– Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms
 

PiousJ

Pigeon
Most things in America are made in China. It doesn't matter whether you get them at Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, Macy's or whatever department store even if it is decently high end. It doesn't make a difference. China is cheap labor.

I think we should also note that just because something is made in China, doesn't mean it's necessarily low-quality. After all, aren't most Apple products assembled there? They are good quality for what they are. My MacBook has been running strong for years and years.

A lot of guys won't want to hear this, but China has a large QUALIFIED labor pool, which is why many companies move production there. It's partially cheap labor but also the fact that you can simply find WAY MORE qualified Chinese workers than you can in the US.

Huge population + high IQ + solid educational background. It's a goldmine for greedy corporations.
 

ralfy

Robin
Also, as shown earlier, the typical view of CN as a source of cheap products applied to the US more than a century ago, and later countries like JP before WW2, HK and TW during the 1970s, SK during the 1980s, and so on.

Even during the early 1990s, writers like Reich would describe US cars with advertising from FR, engine design from GR, multiple components manufactured in numerous countries and assembled in others, and so on.
 
Also, as shown earlier, the typical view of CN as a source of cheap products applied to the US more than a century ago, and later countries like JP before WW2, HK and TW during the 1970s, SK during the 1980s, and so on.

Even during the early 1990s, writers like Reich would describe US cars with advertising from FR, engine design from GR, multiple components manufactured in numerous countries and assembled in others, and so on.
American manufactured goods a century ago were high quality--I don't know what people base ideas to the contrary on. Russia, for example, was buying small arms from America in the 1870's. The AC induction motor and high speed steel for cutting tools were invented in America and machined goods could be both top notch and affordable. Labor was always scarce in America, compared to Europe at the time, so there was a focus on automation and efficiency. Manufacturing efficiency as a sort of science (e.g., Frederick Taylor, Frank Gilbreth, Henry Gantt) was an American invention.

With the Japanese, they always wanted to make high quality goods, but did not know how and/or lacked the tools. When they retooled and learned modern methods they did admirably well and invented some new tricks of their own. There is nothing to stop China from doing that too, but they would rather not. Why sell something every five years if it can be sold every year, after the competition is crushed with low prices?

Obviously any country that can put people into space, like China, can make quality goods when they want to. Problem is China does not want to with consumer items, and that suits WalMart and Amazon just time, as that means repeat customers. The highest tech items are not generally made in China (cutting edge computer CPUs, for example) because everyone is afraid to bring their highest technology to a country that is an intellectual property kleptomaniac. Thus things are assembled there. Sure, the iPhone is assembled there--from high tech parts mostly made elsewhere, including America, Germany, and Switzerland.

Part of the problem too, is that people who make things and have no idea what they are, or how they are used, will not tend to make them well, and will tend to cut corners. As an example, used to, when you bought a caulking gun you would pierce the inner foil beyond the nozzle of the tube with a piece of wire attached to the front of the gun. Buy one made in China, and the wire is not nearly long enough to do that. They do not know and do not care why that wire was there -- just decoration as far as they know. Thus you now have to find a long nail, etc., to pierce the foil before using a tube. It is not just that things break more than they should, they barely work in the first place.

As my young son said, the Corona Virus is the first thing he has seen that was made in China that has lasted more than a year.
 

Vigilant

Woodpecker
Woman
American manufactured goods a century ago were high quality--I don't know what people base ideas to the contrary on. Russia, for example, was buying small arms from America in the 1870's. The AC induction motor and high speed steel for cutting tools were invented in America and machined goods could be both top notch and affordable. Labor was always scarce in America, compared to Europe at the time, so there was a focus on automation and efficiency. Manufacturing efficiency as a sort of science (e.g., Frederick Taylor, Frank Gilbreth, Henry Gantt) was an American invention.

With the Japanese, they always wanted to make high quality goods, but did not know how and/or lacked the tools. When they retooled and learned modern methods they did admirably well and invented some new tricks of their own. There is nothing to stop China from doing that too, but they would rather not. Why sell something every five years if it can be sold every year, after the competition is crushed with low prices?

Obviously any country that can put people into space, like China, can make quality goods when they want to. Problem is China does not want to with consumer items, and that suits WalMart and Amazon just time, as that means repeat customers. The highest tech items are not generally made in China (cutting edge computer CPUs, for example) because everyone is afraid to bring their highest technology to a country that is an intellectual property kleptomaniac. Thus things are assembled there. Sure, the iPhone is assembled there--from high tech parts mostly made elsewhere, including America, Germany, and Switzerland.

Part of the problem too, is that people who make things and have no idea what they are, or how they are used, will not tend to make them well, and will tend to cut corners. As an example, used to, when you bought a caulking gun you would pierce the inner foil beyond the nozzle of the tube with a piece of wire attached to the front of the gun. Buy one made in China, and the wire is not nearly long enough to do that. They do not know and do not care why that wire was there -- just decoration as far as they know. Thus you now have to find a long nail, etc., to pierce the foil before using a tube. It is not just that things break more than they should, they barely work in the first place.

As my young son said, the Corona Virus is the first thing he has seen that was made in China that has lasted more than a year.
I hope your children have watched, Cheaper by the Dozen
 
Originally posted on RooshV.com

made-in-china-1024x650.jpg

In the past two decades, the quality of products I purchase online or in retail stores has greatly declined. Most of what I buy today are not even finished products—they require a bit of tinkering or modification to perform as advertised, regardless of how many “five star” reviews they’ve garnered. I’m coming to the realization that corporations see us as fools who will buy anything, and will keep unloading junk onto us because we’ll keep buying it.

A friend told me a curious fact. Weber barbecue grills that are sold in America are made in China, while the Weber grills sold in Germany are made in the United States. Why wouldn’t American-made grills be sold to Americans instead of being shipped halfway across the world? “Because Americans prefer cheaper prices over quality, so they buy the inferior grills made in China. Germans do not tolerate inferior quality, so they get the better-made grills that are produced here.”

Could it be that Americans prefer junk over quality? It’s not like we’re an impoverished country (not yet, anyway) whose citizens can’t afford to spend $10 more on a grill that lasts twice as long, if not forever. I can’t help but recall my most recent purchases and how they’re faring.

—I bought a bed frame and mattress from Ikea. Within a day, I noticed a loud creak whenever I moved. I looked on YouTube and—judging by the view counts—thousands of other people had the same problem. After trying a few remedies, the only one that worked was coating the inside of the frame with duct tape to minimize friction with key contact points.

—When I lived in Europe, I don’t remember ever having to replace a pillow, but in America, pillows quickly turn into flat rocks. It’s like they have a self-destruct mechanism built right in. Pillow manufacturers are obliterating the lifespan of a pillow by saving a few cents using inferior polyester filling.

—I bought a screwdriver set from Amazon that came with a dozen bits. On the very first time I used it to tighten a screw, one of the bits started stripping.

—My mom told me she needed a knife set, so I bought her one at a department store. I made sure not to buy the cheapest set because I wanted them to last my mother for the remainder of her life. It didn’t even last a year. The handles all became loose, and one of them detached completely from the blade.

—I bought a three-pack of Type C USB cables from Amazon with “heavy duty” coating. In three years, all of the cables have failed. I fondly remember how USB cables would last forever, and grew up not knowing that it was even possible for them to fail.



—During my long USA road trip, the weather was getting cool so I bought a pair of gloves from Walmart. There was a stiff tag on the inside that was stabbing my skin and turning it red. I had to use my Swiss Army Knife to surgically remove the tag, which was aggressively sewed into the fabric.

—One Asus laptop I bought was not completely level when placed flat on a desk. I fixed it through the use of velcro pads. Another laptop I bought had protruding keys that left marks on the screen. If a laptop unit is defective in any way, I’m guessing that they dump it to the Americans.

—I use a soft lighting box for my live streams. The light bulbs are meant to last for hundreds of hours, but one burned out after I used it for less than fifty.

—A fan I bought from Target made a clicking sound so loud that it disturbed my sleep. I had to stuff folded paper into the mechanism to silence it.

—When buying t-shirts from a store like H&M, I learned that they are all different even if they’re the same size. I must now try on multiple shirts of the exact same cut and size to find one that is not defective. This is difficult in the post-coronavirus world where you may not be able to try on clothing.

I could go on. Almost everything I buy is junk. One of the few items I have bought that is not junk is a Japanese-made hand coffee grinder. I’ve been using it for years and besides the fault of a slightly bent steel notch (from all the grinding), it works perfectly. In fact, when I think of my possessions that have lasted, the only real winner is my 1999 Toyota 4Runner, which was also made in Japan. Even my fancy Samsung Galaxy S9, a premium phone (made in China), has started to have camera focusing problems, and I’ve only had it for two years. In essence, all my possessions are junk. I own a little junkyard. I’m like Redd Foxx in the old television show Sandford and Son. Maybe I can combine my possessions with yours so we can have an even bigger junkyard.

I don’t know how to even begin solving this problem. Do I simply buy the most expensively priced item of whatever I’m looking for, only to find out that I’m still buying junk albeit with a fancier brand name? Or do I seek out craftsmen who are making items by hand? Or maybe I can buy the wires and plastics to make a USB cable myself. Until I create my own workshop, whenever I need something I go to Amazon, Target, or Walmart, and willingly and knowingly buy a piece of junk that I know will not last. It’s not a good feeling.

I want to punish those who are selling me junk by not buying their products, but the economy is so centralized around only a handful of producers that that would be impossible. If I need a fan, there are only a couple of options, and they’re probably all made by Kung Pao Trading Company. When globalization was sold to us as “cheaper prices,” they concealed the downside of inferior products. It’s no surprise that a people who tolerate junk are also seeing their country’s politics and culture turn into junk. I wonder if it’s all related.

Read Next: The Goal Of Corporations Is Not To Make Money
Permalink
Junk people import junk. They also create junk cultures. Way back in the early 1980's when I had my first "personal computer" and was learning BASIC programming, I was taught the axiom "Junk in, junk out". That applies to people and societies. It starts with the deliberate junking of values, so you can trace it back at least as far as 1945 when we mass produced an entire society for our returning veterans with lots of tract housing and mass production. So if mass production helped pave the way then you can trace the junking of Western values as far back as the Industrial Revolution. The toothpaste is out of the tube on this front, and the only way to re-value Western societies is to flush the excess.
 
Not sure that mass-production is the the root of the problem--the mass-produced appliances and electronics of decades past seemed to last forever with some care. Mass production did not mean junk. What it did mean was people could afford things they previously could not, like cars, radios, and refrigerators. The Model T was mass-produced starting around 1913 or so, and brought the car to everyday people. Speaking of computers from the 1980's I still have an Apple IIe from the mid-1980's, and it still works. Even most of the 5 1/4 disks still work. Back then they were made in California.

Everything got cheap in my lifetime and I am the grandson of one of those GI's who returned in 1985.
 
With the Japanese, they always wanted to make high quality goods, but did not know how and/or lacked the tools. When they retooled and learned modern methods they did admirably well and invented some new tricks of their own. Thus things are assembled there. Sure, the iPhone is assembled there--from high tech parts mostly made elsewhere, including America, Germany, and Switzerland.

Part of the problem too, is that people who make things and have no idea what they are, or how they are used, will not tend to make them well, and will tend to cut corners.

A book about Japanese houses I read recently explains how the Japanese are able to mass produce quality products. In essence, it is a combination of standardisation, and ultra specialisation.

All aspects of the house are scaled to the size of a tatami mat - measuring 1.81818 metres by 0.90909 metres (5.9652 ft × 2.9826 ft). This ensures that there is minimal varience in the size of doors/windows/etc.

As a result, the manufacturer can focus on perfecting the craft of a few types of windows and doors. The strict standardisation means that there is an obsession for the most effective product to serve a function within highly restricted parameters.
 

ralfy

Robin
American manufactured goods a century ago were high quality--I don't know what people base ideas to the contrary on. Russia, for example, was buying small arms from America in the 1870's. The AC induction motor and high speed steel for cutting tools were invented in America and machined goods could be both top notch and affordable. Labor was always scarce in America, compared to Europe at the time, so there was a focus on automation and efficiency. Manufacturing efficiency as a sort of science (e.g., Frederick Taylor, Frank Gilbreth, Henry Gantt) was an American invention.

With the Japanese, they always wanted to make high quality goods, but did not know how and/or lacked the tools. When they retooled and learned modern methods they did admirably well and invented some new tricks of their own. There is nothing to stop China from doing that too, but they would rather not. Why sell something every five years if it can be sold every year, after the competition is crushed with low prices?

Obviously any country that can put people into space, like China, can make quality goods when they want to. Problem is China does not want to with consumer items, and that suits WalMart and Amazon just time, as that means repeat customers. The highest tech items are not generally made in China (cutting edge computer CPUs, for example) because everyone is afraid to bring their highest technology to a country that is an intellectual property kleptomaniac. Thus things are assembled there. Sure, the iPhone is assembled there--from high tech parts mostly made elsewhere, including America, Germany, and Switzerland.

Part of the problem too, is that people who make things and have no idea what they are, or how they are used, will not tend to make them well, and will tend to cut corners. As an example, used to, when you bought a caulking gun you would pierce the inner foil beyond the nozzle of the tube with a piece of wire attached to the front of the gun. Buy one made in China, and the wire is not nearly long enough to do that. They do not know and do not care why that wire was there -- just decoration as far as they know. Thus you now have to find a long nail, etc., to pierce the foil before using a tube. It is not just that things break more than they should, they barely work in the first place.

As my young son said, the Corona Virus is the first thing he has seen that was made in China that has lasted more than a year.

Here's the counterpoint to consider about the US:


Examples range from using cheap filler, dangerous additives, traces of lead, milk from diseased cows, tubercular pork, beef from cows infected with lung disease, all sorts of counterfeit products, medicine containing weird concoctions, fake bank notes, etc.

And they got these ideas from the British.

Before WW2, JP was considered a maker of cheap toys, and it was only after the 1980s that vehicles from South Korea were considered of good quality. Actually, even today several still insist on buying Japanese vehicles, even though more of them have been made in other countries for some time. From the 1970s, some still remember cheap plastic toys from HK and slippers from Taiwan.

By the early 1990s, some began to describe U.S. cars that involved parts manufactured and designed in many parts of the world. In various cases, not only were many co-owners of their companies foreigners, even advertising and customer service was handled elsewhere.

The gist is that what CN is going through, the US, JP, SK, TW, and many others experienced in the past. That's why more than a decade ago, it was also reported that probably 60 pct of manufacturing in CN consists of assembly of parts manufactured in other countries. The difference is that industrialization is taking place much faster.
 

lskdfjldsf

Pelican
Gold Member
Even products "Made in the USA!" are built by cheap, imported workers. At that point, factory location is just a matter of which flag flies over the dirt beneath it.

Atomization, centralization, wealth consolidation, cheapening of culture and community. It's an endless cycle of cheap people making cheap products, and then importing even cheaper people to buy them.

EDIT: Good whitepilling video of what true quality and craftsmanship looks like. The engraving part is incredible.

 
Last edited:

aogilmore

Chicken
Originally posted on RooshV.com

made-in-china-1024x650.jpg

In the past two decades, the quality of products I purchase online or in retail stores has greatly declined. Most of what I buy today are not even finished products—they require a bit of tinkering or modification to perform as advertised, regardless of how many “five star” reviews they’ve garnered. I’m coming to the realization that corporations see us as fools who will buy anything, and will keep unloading junk onto us because we’ll keep buying it.

A friend told me a curious fact. Weber barbecue grills that are sold in America are made in China, while the Weber grills sold in Germany are made in the United States. Why wouldn’t American-made grills be sold to Americans instead of being shipped halfway across the world? “Because Americans prefer cheaper prices over quality, so they buy the inferior grills made in China. Germans do not tolerate inferior quality, so they get the better-made grills that are produced here.”

Could it be that Americans prefer junk over quality? It’s not like we’re an impoverished country (not yet, anyway) whose citizens can’t afford to spend $10 more on a grill that lasts twice as long, if not forever. I can’t help but recall my most recent purchases and how they’re faring.

—I bought a bed frame and mattress from Ikea. Within a day, I noticed a loud creak whenever I moved. I looked on YouTube and—judging by the view counts—thousands of other people had the same problem. After trying a few remedies, the only one that worked was coating the inside of the frame with duct tape to minimize friction with key contact points.

—When I lived in Europe, I don’t remember ever having to replace a pillow, but in America, pillows quickly turn into flat rocks. It’s like they have a self-destruct mechanism built right in. Pillow manufacturers are obliterating the lifespan of a pillow by saving a few cents using inferior polyester filling.

—I bought a screwdriver set from Amazon that came with a dozen bits. On the very first time I used it to tighten a screw, one of the bits started stripping.

—My mom told me she needed a knife set, so I bought her one at a department store. I made sure not to buy the cheapest set because I wanted them to last my mother for the remainder of her life. It didn’t even last a year. The handles all became loose, and one of them detached completely from the blade.

—I bought a three-pack of Type C USB cables from Amazon with “heavy duty” coating. In three years, all of the cables have failed. I fondly remember how USB cables would last forever, and grew up not knowing that it was even possible for them to fail.



—During my long USA road trip, the weather was getting cool so I bought a pair of gloves from Walmart. There was a stiff tag on the inside that was stabbing my skin and turning it red. I had to use my Swiss Army Knife to surgically remove the tag, which was aggressively sewed into the fabric.

—One Asus laptop I bought was not completely level when placed flat on a desk. I fixed it through the use of velcro pads. Another laptop I bought had protruding keys that left marks on the screen. If a laptop unit is defective in any way, I’m guessing that they dump it to the Americans.

—I use a soft lighting box for my live streams. The light bulbs are meant to last for hundreds of hours, but one burned out after I used it for less than fifty.

—A fan I bought from Target made a clicking sound so loud that it disturbed my sleep. I had to stuff folded paper into the mechanism to silence it.

—When buying t-shirts from a store like H&M, I learned that they are all different even if they’re the same size. I must now try on multiple shirts of the exact same cut and size to find one that is not defective. This is difficult in the post-coronavirus world where you may not be able to try on clothing.

I could go on. Almost everything I buy is junk. One of the few items I have bought that is not junk is a Japanese-made hand coffee grinder. I’ve been using it for years and besides the fault of a slightly bent steel notch (from all the grinding), it works perfectly. In fact, when I think of my possessions that have lasted, the only real winner is my 1999 Toyota 4Runner, which was also made in Japan. Even my fancy Samsung Galaxy S9, a premium phone (made in China), has started to have camera focusing problems, and I’ve only had it for two years. In essence, all my possessions are junk. I own a little junkyard. I’m like Redd Foxx in the old television show Sandford and Son. Maybe I can combine my possessions with yours so we can have an even bigger junkyard.

I don’t know how to even begin solving this problem. Do I simply buy the most expensively priced item of whatever I’m looking for, only to find out that I’m still buying junk albeit with a fancier brand name? Or do I seek out craftsmen who are making items by hand? Or maybe I can buy the wires and plastics to make a USB cable myself. Until I create my own workshop, whenever I need something I go to Amazon, Target, or Walmart, and willingly and knowingly buy a piece of junk that I know will not last. It’s not a good feeling.

I want to punish those who are selling me junk by not buying their products, but the economy is so centralized around only a handful of producers that that would be impossible. If I need a fan, there are only a couple of options, and they’re probably all made by Kung Pao Trading Company. When globalization was sold to us as “cheaper prices,” they concealed the downside of inferior products. It’s no surprise that a people who tolerate junk are also seeing their country’s politics and culture turn into junk. I wonder if it’s all related.

Read Next: The Goal Of Corporations Is Not To Make Money
Permalink

My brother has noticed the same thing about cars...they tend to be junk. It does pay to buy quality; Hinckel knives and stainless pots, Fissler pressure cookers etc.

Needless to say, don't buy from Amazon! They are the devil. I'm sure you've mended your ways on that.

There's a reason craftsmen are willing to pay a premium for Snap-on tools. They will last a lifetime, don't chip, strip or break and save time and help you get the job done.

Haven't been to this page in a while. Good to hear from you!
-OG
 

ball dont lie

Kingfisher
Gold Member
A book about Japanese houses I read recently explains how the Japanese are able to mass produce quality products. In essence, it is a combination of standardisation, and ultra specialisation.

All aspects of the house are scaled to the size of a tatami mat - measuring 1.81818 metres by 0.90909 metres (5.9652 ft × 2.9826 ft). This ensures that there is minimal varience in the size of doors/windows/etc.

As a result, the manufacturer can focus on perfecting the craft of a few types of windows and doors. The strict standardisation means that there is an obsession for the most effective product to serve a function within highly restricted parameters.


That book sounds interesting. What is the title?
 
Here's the counterpoint to consider about the US:


Examples range from using cheap filler, dangerous additives, traces of lead, milk from diseased cows, tubercular pork, beef from cows infected with lung disease, all sorts of counterfeit products, medicine containing weird concoctions, fake bank notes, etc.

And they got these ideas from the British.

Before WW2, JP was considered a maker of cheap toys, and it was only after the 1980s that vehicles from South Korea were considered of good quality. Actually, even today several still insist on buying Japanese vehicles, even though more of them have been made in other countries for some time. From the 1970s, some still remember cheap plastic toys from HK and slippers from Taiwan.

By the early 1990s, some began to describe U.S. cars that involved parts manufactured and designed in many parts of the world. In various cases, not only were many co-owners of their companies foreigners, even advertising and customer service was handled elsewhere.

The gist is that what CN is going through, the US, JP, SK, TW, and many others experienced in the past. That's why more than a decade ago, it was also reported that probably 60 pct of manufacturing in CN consists of assembly of parts manufactured in other countries. The difference is that industrialization is taking place much faster.
Regarding American manufacturing, the high-tech of the turn of the century was metal machining, and America was as good as any other country at the time and pulled ahead when scientific management became a thing. Not in individual craftsmanship with a file, but in the ability to make good quality items efficiently that did not have to be hand filed to fit. It was not following the leader, rather innovative tools and methods were invented in America. Taking the worst chapter out of Sinclair's The Jungle, a book about meat packing plants and such, and warping that around all of manufacturing in America at the time is disingenuous. If one has furniture or firearms from that era, as examples, chances are they are better quality than what one could buy today.

But more to the point, tell me why when electronics moved to Malaysia in the late 1990's (in search of cheap labor) the quality was good right away. And why, when it then abruptly moved to China for even lower wages, it was poor quality and has not gotten better.

Japan rose in quality in the post war era as it discovered Juran, Demming, and others who had been preaching quality and how to attain it. That, and they went beyond it--Taguchi's concept of zero deviation is far better than most quality efforts in America today, and certainly far better than what is taught in Six Sigma programs. But today pretty much everything anyone needs to know to have good quality is out there and there is no reason to take decades to figure it out. It is all in the textbooks, and there are thousands of consultants ready to show how it is done. Nothing needs to be discovered or invented. And when China industrialized, they went on a spending spree and bought modern facilities, with modern systems. It is not a case of running worn out factories that survived a war to save up money for better equipment.

I think one needs to avoid the soothing-scenario narratives about China, i.e., that China just needs time to start acting like a civilized country. No, they make junk as much as they can get away with it because, well, why wouldn't they? Where else is WalMart and Amazon going to go? A Japanese worker would have an existential crisis if a defective part went out. A Chinese manager would wink. I suspect that the Western world deciding to outsource manufacturing to China could be the biggest act of stupidity, and treachery in some cases, I will witness in my lifetime.
 
Top