ABC: Anywhere But China

“Made in China” is a phrase that morally discerning consumers have grown to dislike. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to avoid goods made in Communist China. Even companies that tout “Made in the USA” (e.g., Carhartt) don’t make all of their products stateside. Furthermore, online retailers like Amazon often show only that a product is “imported” and you have to dig around to figure out whether it’s made in a (relatively) free country or in a communist dictatorship that forces ethnic minorities and dissidents to work in what are effectively concentration camps.

Although “Buy American” would be preferable, personally I don’t care where something is made as long as it’s not China (since other countries that I find deeply objectionable don’t produce anything in the first place). Perhaps it’s time for the ABC movement: “Anywhere But China.”

We’re all familiar with those idiotic Proposition 65 warnings reading “This product is known to the State of California to cause cancer.” Here’s something Governor DeSantis could do to decrease the flow of payments to the CCP: add a little warning reading “This product was made in a country known to the State of Florida to employ slave labor.”

14 thoughts on “ABC: Anywhere But China”

  1. “in a communist dictatorship that forces ethnic minorities and dissidents to work in what are effectively concentration camps.”

    This is pure BS and is part of the CIA’s propaganda effort. Nothing at all unusual here, but believing this crap is, is not good for your ability to understand what is happening.

    Canada too is following, along and will keep its nose firmly in America’s as our pitiful leadership bows to power. This is very bad for Canada, but there is no force at all, towards changing our attitude in this regard. So its just me. ;)

  2. Without in the least disputing your premise, I hesitate to enlist the mob with yet another holy crusade. Moreover, I doubt it’s going to be necessary.

    The CCP seems intent on expelling all foreigners, the better to obfuscate their various pogroms. The big players learned long ago that maintaining quality of their products produced in China was utterly dependent on the closest supervision and inspection and that locals were too easily bought off or intimidated to be reliable. China is still very dependent on Western high technology and high precision components. None of that happens without foreigners.

    This has coupled with their lock downs and swiftly collapsing infrastructure to make any production unreliable at best and often impossible. Those companies that have invested heavily in Chinese production like Tesla are likely going to have to write off those investments very soon.

    Westerners thought that they could operate free enterprise in an unfree country, and it looked like it would work for a while. That vestige of freedom is what the CCP has realized they can not tolerate. As usual, it is the Chinese people in their millions that is bearing the cost and will, yet again, feed the abattoir of Communist ideology.

  3. Yeah! Let’s run an unsustainable trade deficit with Vietnam or Pakistan instead of running our current unsustainable trade deficit with China! Brilliant idea!

    After all, who needs those high-paying jobs that have been outsourced to China? Who needs all those nasty tax-yielding mines & oil wells & steel mills that Our Betters have regulated out of the country? Who needs the tax revenues from US industry when Biden* can simply print perfectly good US Dollars?

    As someone once said, the US trying to undermine China is a bit like a junkie planning to knee-cap his dealer.

  4. And I read just yesterday that Elon Musk is thinking of sending some of his Made-In_China Teslas here.

    But I have had that ABC sentiment for some time.

  5. Although the remark on the tax-yielding mines. I went through Butte, MT last year and found it fascinating. For those who know a little history picture Virginia City, NV that was vibrant right up to the 1970s.

    Except Butte’s product is copper – not silver. And through both World Wars, Butte was so strategically important that its miners were forbidden to join the military –

    There is still one company mining the copper – under EPA supervision. And they are not allowed to have the copper ore processed in this country – it is all loaded onto trains where it is sent overseas to be processed.

  6. Well… Let’s look at the alternatives. Think like someone not only making an investment but as someone who’ll be betting the good name of their company.

    Vietnam: Not a paragon of human rights in my book. They seem to be operating under the radar for now but I have no doubt that push comes to shove, individual rights will not count for much. I’m not particularly informed but my impression is that the infrastructure is thin to non existent outside of a few cities and probably not that reliable in those. It’s a small country with no prospect for a fraction of the output from China.

    Pakistan: You’ve got to be kidding. Is there even one danger sign that they don’t cover?

    India: Has it all; poor infrastructure, sisyphean bureaucracy, corruption all combined with ethnic and religious strife.

    Southeast Asia in general: Questionable human rights at best, much worse than that in places, military dictatorships in most. Small countries with poor infrastructure for the most part. The exceptions like Malaysia and Singapore are already booked up.

    Any of these places might work for a while but if you’re Apple, there’s just not that many places you can set up a factory with 20-30,000 people in a couple of months and if that’s what your business model depends on, you might be in trouble. Tim Cook should just close his eyes and repeat over and over; “There’s no place like home.”.

  7. I’m happy as anyone to be able to buy something not made in China … even if it means buying something vintage at the thrift store.
    I have an account as a Vine reviewer for Amazon – yeah, quite a lot of the s**t consumer products that I request are from China, but whenever I get a good one that isn’t from China, I make note of it.

  8. Let me be brutally frank, with no apologies to anyone who gets offended — “Anywhere But China” is totally dumb! The American who buys something imported from ABC instead of imported from China is simply shooting herself in the gut instead of in the head.

    Get back to the fundamentals of economics — “Production Precedes Consumption“. The US runs an unsustainable trade deficit because so much of the productive jobs & industries have been offshored. It matters not if something is imported from China or Mexico or anywhere else — that imported item equates to lost jobs for US workers and lost tax revenues for US governments. Unilateral “Free Traders” get excited about the lower cost of the imported items, but that ignores the higher costs associated with unemployed & under-employed US citizens — costs the guy who bought the cheaper imported item ends up paying through his taxes and through inflation.

    And that is without even considering the national security ramifications of depending on imports. I am still staggered that something as mundane & essential as an AC Delco spark plug is now imported from China. We don’t make them in the US anymore. Eventually, there will be a huge price to be paid for all of this short-sightedness. The only question is whether that price will be paid in misery or in blood.

  9. Unilateral free trade is a red herring. It makes economic sense; and why shouldn’t Americans be free to buy and sell as they please.

    The no-China thing is more of a heuristic. 1) The Chinese govt is involved by ownership and/or control in many Chinese businesses, and despite the relative advantages (mainly, lower retail prices) of many Chinese goods, many of us will pay higher prices for non-China sourced goods if doing so means not benefiting the Chinese govt. 2) The quality of China-sourced retail goods is highly variable, and many of us have decided that the average lower prices of Chinese goods do not justify our taking risks with Chinese quality control, particularly for goods such as drugs and processed foods, if non-China sourced alternatives are available. 3) The national-security risks of American manufacturers’ reliance on Chinese components in industrial products have become obvious.

  10. Jonathan — You are missing the point! “Free Trade” between near-peer nations with roughly comparable regulatory burdens can indeed make production more efficient and make everyone (or at least someone) better off — provided that national security considerations are taken into account. For example, Germany was doing very well importing low-cost gas from Russia and turning it into high-value products — but that left Germany in a very difficult situation when it decided to sanction Russian gas and the US blew up the NordStream pipelines.

    Unilateral Free Trade, such as the English did in the later 19th Century, is destructive. It was one of the factors which led to the collapse of the British Empire, as their domestic industries declined. Economies depend on Production! Now US Unilateral “Free Trade” has resulted in the US running unsustainable trade deficits along with a palpable decline in American society as industries, jobs, and tax revenues have been lost.

    “Free Trade” is a great idea — in theory. Notice that one of the assumptions in “Free Trade” is that everyone continues working and becomes more productive. They produce some things more efficiently than us and sell them to us; meanwhile we produce other things more efficiently than them, and sell those things to them. Trade remains balanced. Does that describe how “Free Trade” has worked in the real world?

  11. As far as China is concerned, the choice is no longer ours. They’re far along the road to self immolation and have the gas pedal hard against the floor. The present trickle of product will become increasingly erratic over the next year or two before it disappears. A bigger issue will be whether China can sustain enough of their economy to pay for the imports to feed their population. This may not be a CCP priority if history is any guide.

    When we’re giving thanks next week, something high on the list should be that we aren’t in China this year. Likely next year and more years to come.

    The quandary for the plutocrat seeking low wages at any cost is that the low wages are a direct result of a dysfunctional economy. With that comes poor infrastructure, political turmoil and corruption. Don’t count on whoever you bought today to stay bought or be the one you need to buy tomorrow.

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