Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Market Will Police Itself -- To Be Competetive

At least one U.S. child has died and 19 others have needed surgery since 2003 after swallowing magnets used in toys, the government said. Several injuries had been reported in an earlier Polly Pocket recall last November.

The mission of America's Republican Party is to completely decimate government so they are left to do whatever they want. The plan includes provisions for leaving a police force in place to enforce racist, punitive drug laws and a stilted court system to impose savage banking regulations and prevent bankruptcy protection for those who need it most. The plan was attempted under the Nixon administration when government privatization first began, but the Republicans of that era were such buffoons, so lacking in media savvy, that the plan never got off the ground. They did open China to profiteering, but not much else.

Nixon wasn't much of a poster boy.

Ronald Reagan was a perfect spokesman for avarice, and he played his part well. As an actor, he should have won an Oscar for his performance as President of the United States. He spread more lies and half-truths than any president before him, and he won the hearts and minds of the people he was screwing over: people who work for a living, those now called the 'working poor' (that is, the majority of Americans).

The premise of Reaganomics is that regulation of industry is bad, that all regulation is bad, that market forces police themselves, that supply and demand take care of all the ills facing society.

We were promised higher-quality products from more-profitable corporations employing more highly-paid Americans producing lower-cost items for now-wealthier citizens.

Anyone who has been awake for even a moment in the last twenty-five years has probably noticed that salaries have not kept-up with the cost of living, that quality has plummeted, well-paying jobs are scarcer, and the gap between rich and poor is greater than it has been since the abolition of slavery.

Next came the neo-conservative notion of free-trade agreements.

Somehow, otherwise smart, thinking Americans believed that sending our manufacturing jobs to developing nations would create more, and better jobs for Americans, and would keep brown-skinned foreigners on the other side of our borders.

In case you haven't noticed, the jobs that have moved out of the country have been replaced with lower-paying jobs and the influx of illegal aliens is at an all-time high.

Back to China.

Since the early 1970s, more and more American products are 'Made in China.' There are stories, allegedly unsubstantiated because they were reported by left-wing journalists not the Bancroft or Murdoch families, that entire farming communities in central China were flooded by the military so that crops were wiped-out. Then factories were built and the hungry farmers were then invited to accept slave-wages to provide the labor necessary to run the factories. Those who refused were generally imprisoned for sedition, or killed, and any attempt to return the agriculture was met with the full force of the Chinese military.

That's a pretty simple way to staff a factory.

What are these factories making? Nothing that anyone in China can afford.

They are making plastic this and thats, toys and umbrellas, and car parts and polo shirts. Toothpaste and anti-freeze, which now seem to be the same product in China. They make our junk. Our crap. Our throw-away stuff that costs a buck. Stuff that would cost three dollars if it was made int he USA.

How do they remain so profitable? Who knows. I don't pretend to know, but they must cut corners somewhere besides just labor. I mean, if you can make a fortune cutting corners on labor costs you can make two fortunes by also cutting corners on, say, paint.

So they cut corners on paint.

They buy paint that has large amounts of lead in it. Paint that is illegal in the United States.

That paint is delivered to the factory and the factory begins producing brightly-colored, I don't know, Barbie Dolls, let's say, or toy cars or action figures. Then that now-more-profitable stuff is shipped to your local toy store for kids to play with.

Some of it is shabbily made. Some of the pieces fall off. Like magnets. Or the paint chips off, just a little, and is ingested by a toddler. Just a little, though. And profits soar.

Then the companies, like Mattel, feign shock. They are appalled that their innocent looking doll could harm anyone. Meanwhile profits soar, Americans are without jobs and health-care, and the executives are living on paychecks three-hundred times that of their staff.

The Associated Press actually printed this paragraph:
Tuesday's recall was the latest blow to the toy industry, which has had a string of recalled products from China. With about 80 percent of toys sold worldwide made in China, toy sellers are worried shoppers will shy away from their products.

This implies that the media thinks American consumers are capable of making a decision to boycott (shhhhhh! not that word) a manufacturer, like Mattel, whose business practices are so reprehensible that no American can look to acknowledge how bad they are.

Can Americans stop buying Barbie dolls? I don't think so.

Even if they are poisoned, I don't think Americans are capable of refusing to buy something.

And our government certainly isn't going to put an end to any of this.

What are we to do?

Mattel recalling more Chinese-made toys

By NATASHA METZLER, Associated Press Writer
Tue Aug 14, 12:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Toy-making giant Mattel Inc. issued recalls Tuesday for about 9 million Chinese-made toys that contain magnets children can swallow or which could have lead paint.

The recall includes 7.3 million play sets, including Polly Pocket dolls and Batman action figures, and 253,000 die cast cars that contain lead paint.

Nancy A. Nord, acting Consumer Product Safety Commission chairman, told a news conference no injuries had been reported with any of the products involved in the new recall.

"The scope of these recalls is intentionally large to prevent any injuries from occurring," she told the news conference. Read more . . .

We have been promised by conservatives and neo-conservatives that market forces provide sufficient policing of industry. They continue to gut our government agencies and pass laws that allow greater corporate freedom, and things keep getting worse.

Mattel has proven it is unable to, or refuses to police itself.

Who will police them.

Nobody, I'm afraid.

Dick Mac Recommends:

A People's History of the United States
Howard Zinn

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