Do you think you could you go a day without products that are Made In China? How about a year? Alex at the Kango blog recently raised this question in connection with the publicity surrounding the recall of some Chinese manufactured products including toys, pet food, and apparel. I'll provide my personal answer at the end, but first a short background.
Historically, China has been a manufacturing powerhouse. This was true in antiquity (from 3rd century BC to approximately 3rd century AD), and again from roughly the 9th century into the 14th century. During these eras, Chinese products found their way to all the corners of the known world. Thus, what’s happening now with China’s current manufacturing capability can be viewed as a “return to form,” rather than something that’s without precedent.
Some groups have talked about boycotting Chinese goods, and/or buying only those made in the USA. I believe "that horse left the barn" a long time ago. It’s been some decades now that many western companies (and their customers) made the decision to have their products made in China. I think the typical consumer would rather pay less rather than significantly more for a comparable product. Simple economics.
Indeed, even if you wanted to manufacture a plastic product in the United States, you’d find that there’s only 40% of the molders here that there were 25 years ago. And you’d have to pay a lot more to have it done.
As many of you know, I designed a product (the Ball of Whacks: info at http://creativewhack.com) that is manufactured in China. I am quite pleased with my manufacturer. I have personally inspected their manufacturing facilities and have written about it: Manufacturing in China.
The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial (August 13, 2007) stating that it is unfair to single out China for shoddy manufacturing. Poor quality products can come from all countries. The key thing, the Journal points out, for better products is to have better designed products in the first place.
Could I go a day without “Made In China”? I personally wouldn’t want to. Chinese products have enriched not only my life, but also the lives of many others as well. How about you?