We are part of the problem.

| 11 Comments

Group finds China toy factory conditions "brutal" (Yahoo News)

A U.S.-based workers' rights group said it found "brutal conditions" and labor violations at eight Chinese plants that make toys for big multinationals, and called on the companies to take steps for better standards.

China Labor Watch said in a report issued on Tuesday after several months of investigation that the manufacturers -- which served a handful of global players, including Walt Disney Co, Bandai and Hasbro Inc -- paid "little heed to the most basic standards of the country."

"Wages are low, benefits are nonexistent, work environments are dangerous and living conditions are humiliating," it said.

I find it funny that all of this shit is coming out now.

It isn't like any of it is new.

Are Americans stupid enough to think that cheap prices at Wal-Mart and at other stores don't come at a price by the manufacturer.

Yes. I do believe it is all tied together.

"Corporate codes of conduct and checklist-auditing are not enough by themselves to strengthen workers' rights if corporations are unwilling to pay the real price it costs to produce a product according to the standards in their codes."

The group said it saw quality problems as "a result of multinationals' single-minded pursuit of ever-lower prices and neglect of other considerations."

I doubt much will change though.

11 Comments

so... pointing this out means what? all that crack in your house was made by forced cheap labor on the backs of poor people. you know this yet you support it anyways. what kind of karma do you think you deserve? maybe it would be better to turn a blind eye and enjoy your crack rather than come off as a hypocrite.

Wow... aside from stating the obvious that you felt so strongly about this that you needed to post it FOUR TIMES (either that or you don't comprehend that when you click "Post" and it seems to mess up, it still posted your diatribe, check first before clicking it a few more times (for future reference), I am missing where he comes off of hypocritical. All he did was state part of an article about horrible labor conditions in Chinese toy-making factories and then make fun of the authors of said article for JUST NOW saying something about it when it's very old news and has been going on likely for decades.

n10zguy: The server I am on at Dreamhost gets heavy traffic and causes posts to do that sometimes. I try to clean them up when I see them.

ampersand: Um... I posted more quotes out of the article than actually saying anything myself. I don't see where there is any juxtaposition of my thoughts versus my actions to be seen as hypocritical at all, especially in light of the fact that I barely said anything.

The only reason I posted this here was because it mentioned Hasbro.

Since you basically put a shitload of assumptions in the minimal words I typed, I suppose the "We are part of the problem" title must have trigged an intense personal guilt in you over your own purchases of toys and 85% of everything you likely buy in your daily life since very little of anything is actually produced or created in this country, assuming that you are a citizen of the US.

You probably had an introspective moment in which you realized that even the assembly of products in this country barely happens anymore due to the 20 year downgrade into the current services-based economy.

And the fact that even the non-physical services aspects of the economy is breaking down under the guise of outsourcing services had to make you think about the effects on your own personal life and the lives of your future grandchildren.

What kind of world will they be born into?

I understand. That's a heavy amount of guilt to be burdened with.

Oh. And wouldn't the act of "turning a blind eye" to something while "enjoying it" be in and of itself a hypocritical act?

With all the money you guys spend, you could seriously start an organization/group to use your buying power to try and exert pressure on Hasbro to change their labor policies.

Other companies have been embarrassed into making changes. It's not much, but it'd be a start.

Nala

do you have Overlord in your collection?

youngariff: No. It is on my list though to get some day.

Nala wrote:

>You probably had an introspective moment in >which you realized that even the assembly of >products in this country barely happens anymore >due to the 20 year downgrade into the current >services-based economy.

N:

While as a member and partisan of our manufacturing sector I admire your awareness of the trouble we are in, it's not actually as dire as a lot of people think.

Many, many things are made and assembled here. A lot of the consumer goods are imported, yes, but even there we find a lot of domestic production. Many of the imports, too, have been coming from the same actual source for a long time. Think of all that stuff that used to say "Made in Macau" or "Made in Hong Kong", both now returned to China.

Yes, we rely too much on imports. Awareness of that problem can have unintended consequences. Industry, more than it ever did, needs good people, right now. We need good machinists, engineers, draftsmen, salespeople, purchasing agents, etc. It is easier for a reasonably competent machinist to find work, in the industrial parts of the country, than a reasonably competent JC Penney shoe salesman, and if you're especially skilled, you can almost name your price.

The same thing goes for tradesmen. Earth needs plumbers, and yet we keep turning out people with degrees in random things that they never use. It's a pity.

Right now in this city there are made:

Big Wheel cranks, lawnmower braces
Locomotives
Industrial air driers
Ships
Coffee can lids
Deodorant packages complete except the deodorant
Shampoo bottles
Hams and sausage
Beer
Tool steel (vacuum remelted)
Valves
Steel forgings
Plastic pipe
Copper electrical parts
Snack foods
Street signs
Sewer grates
Cast plumbing parts
Truck wheels
Auto water pumps and other parts
Magnetic ore separators
Large forging presses
Coke and coal byproducts
Aerospace parts
Pro-grade hand and power tools

and this is only a partial list, and this city is not a big one.

But yeah, 80% of toys are imported from China. Do I like this? Not really, but the situation is a weird one. For one thing, it wasn't entirely China that gutted our domestic toy manufacturing. A lot of our prominent domestic toymakers like Marx were killed off by holding-company stupidity in the 70s and 80s, while those like Hasbro that imported a lot of stuff managed to survive. Furthermore, there is a lot of disrespect toward manufacturing in this country. People see it as a burden, not the opportunity it could be, and say "Hey, let's farm out the mfg. and concentrate on making Big Money". Stupid. I am reminded of the Chinese restauranteurs who prospered in the Gold Rush days, while the Americans were busy looking for that gold mine, and went broke. Another stupidity, on the local-government level, is "Hey, let's squeeze out all the yucky factories and concentrate on glittery things like tourism and commerce."

There was a time when New York City was a great manufacturing center. They didn't lose it. They squeezed it out.

The best advice I can offer is to look at the back and buy the domestic stuff when you can (which will often pay dividends; you will find that a lot of the higher-quality merchandise, where cost-cutting doesn't matter so much, is domestic, and tends to last longer). Also, for the kids out there, do consider a career in industry. It's a blast, seriously.

Cordially yours:
Autobus Prime
w/minicon Farebox.


I wish they would crack down more on those factories
My last titanium ship had a fingure print . The deserves atleast a whipping damn it . Maybe if they didnt spare the cattle prod id get better painted ships . J/K I really hope things change but i dont think it will . In life there is always someone that has to do the shit work .

Nala: Wow, that's what, two, three posters in a row that projected their own insecurity complex onto your words? I see we are branching out from collecting toy robots to collecting toy robot crazy people. :)

Autobus: Excellent point... I'm thinking if anything, manufacturing simply appears to be on the slide because (a) it's often the high-profile industries that get hit (i.e. automanufacturing) and (b) nowadays when it happens, it happens in 'middle America'... the moer reactionary quadrant.

(Additional point: Toledo, Ohio - how shall we recover from the financial woes of losing our major manufacturing business? Oh yes, that's right - tourism! *sigh*)

As it stands, I'd readily pay more for crack knowing that it meant better conditions for the workers producing it. Unfortunately, my feelings in this direction are irrelevant - the corporations of today are, by the nature, focused on one thing and one thing only - ever-increasing profits and growth.

Until such a time as that changes, they'll do whatever they've got to do to keep the investors happy, even if it means stomping all over the little guy overseas or ripping off the customers here. It's all good.

I thought it was obvious I was just "reading into" ampersand's comment in much the same way he "read into" my 4 sentences.

Autobus Prime: that's one helluva comment!

"Are Americans stupid enough to think that cheap prices at Wal-Mart and at other stores don't come at a price by the manufacturer."

Uhh....yes. Yes, they are.

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This page contains a single entry by Nala published on August 21, 2007 8:20 PM.

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