“Made In China, Sort Of,” by Alpha Unit

New Alpha Unit. This is a good one. I’m glad to see she is branching out into one of the Protectionist obsessions of this blog. I actually think this crap steel ought to be out and out banned. It’s obviously dangerous to use in construction projects. If it’s hazardous, ban it. It’s that simple.

I think there was one remaining US steel firm, and I think it just went out of business. Too bad, we have lots of iron ore up in Minnesota. The demise of the great US steel business and its high-paying union jobs is one of the sadder stories of the Globalization debacle. US steel firms are often slammed in corporate Time/Newsweek type organs as “protectionist.”

They have regularly been marching in to Congress demanding some sort of protection for their industry, and for this the corporate media ridicules them as if they were Flat Earthers. It’s finally looking like they have a point. Ban Chinese steel!

A man that I know and love had a construction project to complete, and decided that sheet metal would suit his purposes. He bought the sheet metal at one of those warehouse-style home improvement stores, and on the designated day to begin he got his welding equipment and set about to work.

First he realized that there was no way he could weld this metal. He’s been a welder for 40 years, and knows all about welding sheet metal and a lot of other things. This metal he couldn’t even spot-weld; it just burned up. Was this metal too thin? he wondered. Was the galvanization somehow to blame?

What he didn’t wonder at first was whether it was just really crappy sheet metal. Because when you go to one of those home improvement places to buy something, it doesn’t occur to you that you just bought a bunch of stuff that only looks like what you wanted!

It’s the Chinese version of sheet metal.

What we now know is that shoddy Chinese-made steel has been reported on, debated, and cursed for years now. Last year Reuters reported that there were Congressional hearings about the need to keep out inferior Chinese steel products. Of particular concern was a type of steel rod that is typically used in “seismic structures systems” for bridges, pipelines, and some buildings.

William Upton, president of Vulcan Threaded Products, based in Pelham, Alabama, said a company team visited China in November 2006 to investigate how Chinese companies could manufacture a competing steel rod so cheaply.

After observing “serious (safety) problems with the Chinese production,” Vulcan purchased samples of the steel rod to have it tested by a certified U.S. lab, Upton said.

The results showed “133 failures out of the 222 samples tested – an astonishing 60 percent failure rate,” Upton said. “These results are unbelievable because in normal applications for this product, only a zero percent failure rate is acceptable.”

Last year also it was reported by the Evening Times that imported Chinese steel may have been responsible for a bridge failure when a faulty cast steel component resulted in a snapped supporting cable.

This inferior Chinese steel is ubiquitous, not surprising since China outproduces all other countries. It’s a part of all kinds of everyday products people don’t give much thought to. All around the world people readily concede that this stuff is basically garbage, and yet the flow continues. North American manufacturers and construction firms expect a certain percentage of Chinese imports to be faulty, and order tests when they suspect there is a problem.

But the question I have, innocent that I am, is: Why is it okay to produce and sell garbage? Is there some kind of worldwide demand for shoddy Chinese products? If there isn’t, what is it doing flooding world markets?

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13 thoughts on ““Made In China, Sort Of,” by Alpha Unit”

  1. We’re all a bunch of idiots who have been lied to. There is no need to export our manufacturing jobs to China. America used to have one of the highest living standards in the world due to our manufacturing being based here in America. These greedy capitalist worms will do anything in order to pay a lower wage for their workers and then they print economic textbooks full of lies so that morons will believe that losing our jobs and having a low minimum wage will somehow help us. At this point I’m not sure who will support the worker. The mainstream in the democratic party is not for the worker. When the standard of living for the workers is better the result is that crime is reduced and the quality of products are better. Helping the worker helps everyone. Americans have been just so brainwashed with the idea that helping the worker is bad and they think that living in a crazy society is somehow good. I dont know what the answer is. I dont know what party can do it or if pro-worker people can infiltrate the mainstream parties.

  2. Do the capitalist class have a death wish? If the USA goes on this way, it will not be able to maintain its advantage in machine tools and the skilled workforce to make and maintain them. So it’s possible that China or even Japan, or wherever they’re getting the manufacturing done, will eventually have military more technologically advanced than the USA – then the Chinese will just take their money off them. No, they can always get the USA to nuke whoever – if they can keep the nukes and their guidance system maintained, if someone doesn’t get so far ahead in computer technology that they can hijack all the command and control stuff ( and if they don’t mind living in a burnt shell of a world where there’s nothing left to buy with their money). Let’s see if we can think of a foreign country that already has access to ALL American electronic communiciations – oh, Israel! I sometimes wonder it they dream of some sort of scenario like that – them deliberately de-skilling the US so THEY can be the new technological elite. Trouble is that there’s only 6 million Israelis, but 1 billion + Chinese – who would you bet on to come up with more geniuses?


    1. Hey!

      Happy New Year LS!

      Do the capitalist class have a death wish?

      Always, always, always! The capitalist always has a death wish! More precisely, he is like a low IQ person who can’t think past today. There is no future tense for the capitalist. As long as some profits are guaranteed in the immediate future, everything is cool. The capitalist is like a drunk or a gambling or drug addict on a run.

      You can’t talk sense to them as long as they are getting high or winning. No matter what the crash is like, it’s always ok, just fine, and justified, and everything is going to be all right. You all need to quit worrying.

      The capitalist class has TONS of money. As long as they are still allowed access to this cash, most of them just go along for whatever the Crazy Ride of the Day is. Even a lot of the capitalists who are eating shit due to the capitalist shenanigans continue to support the same madness that killed their business, drove them to bankruptcy, foreclosed their home or whatever.

      This is where the capitalist is the gambling or drug addict. The gambling addict has just had his house sold, his fortune is gone, his family is homeless and he’s waking up in a drunk drunk in jail, but everything is still cool, and he’s ready to gamble again.

      Capitalists don’t make sense on a very basic level. Even after they’ve been fucked hard and screwed rude and tattooed, they’re bloody and nearly unconscious in the ring, all their investors are cleaned out, and their name is mud, but they still want to go another fucking round.

      I really think that the latest DSM ought to include Capitalist Delusional Disorder as a mental illness.

  3. just look at American CEOs pay scale. They get paid several hundreds times more than your average workers when they do a good job, and they get compensated well when they do a bad job.

    (Stan O’Neal of Merrill Lynch & Co, $161.5M, Robert L. Nardelli, the CEO of Home Depot, $210 million. Amount that they were received when both are forced to resign for poor performance.)

  4. Robert,
    I don’t beleve what you say is true for this one reason.Whatever you might say about free markets, however much you may criticise them, they have one good virtue – a vendor of shitty goods soon gets found out and ‘blacklisted’ ie the vendor needs the customer as much as the customer needs him, and if the vendor loses business due to selling shitty goods, the first and time honored action of the purchaser is to refuse to buy from him ever again, and to go to his competitor down the road.
    It is this ‘force’ (and not legal threats) that keeps the wheels of business turning always and everywhere, and insures, for example that when you buy a dozen eggs from Safeway, half of them are not rotten.

    1. What if you have a situation where almost all the vendors around are selling the same shoddy merchandise, made in the same shoddy-merchandise-producing country?

      If you are a person of some means, I suppose you can afford to be discriminating and go out of your way to avoid this omnipresent inferior stuff. You can pay for what you want at the outset.

      A person of limited means buys what he can afford, but then realizes over time the true cost of owning this inferior stuff.

      Some people blame this sort of thing on consumers, who want the lowest-priced merchandise possible.

  5. I agree with what alpha unit said. In addition, consumers can’t possibly have all the information on every item they purchase. Sure, it is easy to tell if an egg is rotten, but how can one tell a toy that he buys doesn’t contain chemical that is harmful to his kid?

  6. I’m old enough to remember when the first Japanese cars were imported into Britain.
    “Absolute rubbish” people scoffed, “Cheap, plasticky rubbish, what do the Japanese know about cars?”, “No match for good old fashioned British engineering – that Jap rubbish will fall o pieces in a year”.
    But 40 years later the domestic British car industry doesn’t exist and Japanese cars have a well deserved reputation for being the most reliable around and dominate the car market.

  7. If any of you have ever worked in retail, you will know the almost fanatical insistence on keeping good custom and relying on the same regulars to come through your doors week in week out.
    Selling customers shit is the one sure way of destroying a business – reputation is everything in retail.Therefore it is never in the interest of a businessman (as opposed to a fly-by-night fraudster) to sell shit.

  8. hello.
    I’m korean.
    english very hard.
    I don’t know up writings.
    영어 대박어려워요ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
    여기서사람죽이는 동영상봤거든요ㅋ
    우리나라에서 여기 홈페이지 막아서 이젠 그런 동영상 못 보게됐네요ㅎㅎ
    happy new year 😀

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