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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Price of ‘Made in China’

Today's post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from www.nytimes.com

HERE is a symbol of China’s assault on the American economy: the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. This landmark, which opened in 1964, is North America’s longest suspension bridge. It’s also in urgent need of renovation. Unfortunately, $34 million in steel production and fabrication work has been outsourced to China.

How did this happen? The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says a Chinese fabricator was picked because the two American companies approached for the project lacked the manufacturing space, special equipment and financial capacity to do the job. But the United Steelworkers claims it quickly found two other American bridge fabricators, within 100 miles of New York City, that could do the job.

The real problem with this deal is that it doesn’t take into account all of the additional costs that buying “Made in China” brings to the American table. In fact, this failure to consider all costs is the same problem we as consumers face every time we choose a Chinese-made product on price alone — a price that is invariably cheaper.

Consider the safety issue: a scary one, indeed, because China has a very well-deserved reputation for producing inferior and often dangerous products. Such products are as diverse as lead-filled toys, sulfurous drywall, pet food spiked with melamine and heparin tainted with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate.

In the specific case of bridges, six have collapsed across China since July 2011. The...

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