what I think about Made in China and how it leveraged Made In USA
I am quite bothered by my label finder habit.When I find the tiny cotton words “Made in China” on things I purchased outside of China, it’s hard to interpret my feelings. The three words is even harder to understand comparing with the instructions and products details written on the side of label.
“To labor meant to be enslaved by necessity.—Hanna Arendt”
Honestly ,I could hardly give a smile when my friends tell me how they like Chinese Products.I am not sure if I they are still happy to buy some products which are at least 10 times cheaper in their original country. My immediate correlations to it are more about cheap labor, poorly made, factory migrants and other negative images.Moreover,there is something not just about my country.
In fact, there is endless destination for industrial production as long as the existence of groups driven by consuming needs and groups driven by living necessarity. China is now less qualified as factories location and other neighbor countries such as Thailand and Vietnam have growing share on subcontracting markets.A worker ([^NYU,alumni magazine,#25, challenge and power]) in Bangladesh clothing factory said,please give us more order. For him, the “ridiculous” low wage still be better off than earnings in a chicken slaughtering house. This factory is just one process in the chain of “making” things[^human condition,Hannah Arendt, P143, “the process of making is itself entirely determined by categories of means and end. “ She points out that labor produces for the end of consumption.It’s not the real making, who’s end product is fabrication. ].Those destinations are found where laboring is possible or where,as Arendt put,”one must eat in order to labor and must labor in order to eat[^human condition,chapter four:work,page 143]”.
Essentially, the locations, which we talked quite often, is another name for process,the production process where immaterial stages(like designing,thinking,planning,managing)and material stages(“labor of bodies”,animal laborans) are separated. It’s easy to correlate good coffee beans to African countries, and also hard to label below average designs to Japan. From the scale of global economy, large mount of creative jobs are in developed countries whereas the laboring work keeps flowing to less developed area.In this case, the “made in China” phenomena is an ongoing issue from the beginning of capitalism.
It might be more appropriate to say “manufactured” instead of “made”. My unease and unhappiness are all here because the more I intrepret, the more questions I could not answer.
Migrants are rural elite. They are longer, better educated,and more enterprising than the people they have behind.- Leslie T. Chang,Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
Not such a book as far as I know exists in Chinese. Leslily writes about working ladies’s life in Dongguan,one major manufacturing hub in east cost.Through her friendship with two girls Min and Chunming and other observations on migrants, one can take a glimpse about normal worker’s hardship in city life. Enduring is not just stop at Chinese continent.Sara Bongiorni with her family experimented so called A Year Without Made in China Life Adventure(a book) and it shows her deeply struggles in “getting rid of” China,other side of which her intention is on explicating the economic benefits in global context.
It seems plausible and is quite common to connect and justify the human rights,capitalism,and other topics with the contexts between made in China and made in USA, both of which, are likely characteristic of two representatives from developing and developed countries. Yet the distinguish mark here is made by “who” . In other words, ourselves should be on top of questions and from where, we think and talk.
It’s interesting to note that only comment I hear from my cousin and her husband, who spent one year in some factory at Guang Zhou, is that “no bath room in dorms”. Nothing else. She didn’t hate it, and she did not even care all the happening. Frankly, I quite understand her calm and feelingless. We grow up together in the countryside, and we spent lots of time explore neighbor farmland,forests and rivers.Our family and small villages teach us to live within human relation and life itself. No wonder she felt nothing about the short staying at a cold factory.Who should？
However, it’s indeed surprising that we give too much emotions to the mechanic world.And those care and love are used as a tool to empower the mechanic thinking.
Seemingly, experts dig more emotions in the label.Those hidden strategies,entitled as “Made in USA”, is to assure the products quality on bottom line and also, to build the local relations between brands and customers, if the latter higher goal is achieveble. American Apparel is proudly to announce everywhere,from cotton labels to virtue brochures,that all their clothing are fabricated on the continent of America,to be more specific,California.The heavily predicated promise on “made in US” drives the brand into a corner where the survival of the company transparently becomes the survival of marketing.
Truly,those big players either media or corporations discuss the questions in front of us just as they are.But some times, they fool themselves and jump into their own stories, where mechanic world can simply kill all human feelings.
Further more,those logic are hard to overthrow and we trend to sequence our imagination, even our body into a structured storyline.Young people are hardly seen in my village and the only primary and only middles schools were closed. It’s just fifteen years, and my village located at over thousand miles from the frontier industrial line(east cost). Where are they going? I don’t know. It’s sad that our turning away form real life. What’s more pathetic is not even what drive them to leave, but the growing power keeps them not coming back.
No other country would accept him when he was fleeing Vietnam, he says, and he sees Huy Fong and its success as his way to pay back that debt to the U.S.-How Sriracha Got So Hot(http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246728)
Manufactured in China is simply one side of the label.And the real made in China is on the other side, the unwritten and black side which comforts me.This is the part I really want to say to my American friends and to myself.
China is too big to become a factory.And for those people want to find a factory somewhere else, they might turn their home as a factory.
Since I am a food lover, I decide to give three examples on eating.If summarized in one sentence, it is I gained 10 pounds by eating unhappy food while I started to go to gym.
There are lots of food trucks in Chinese cities.For example, the city I moved to for school, Mianzhu, a relatively small in Sichuan Provicecity(still half million), has a street called “truth food street”. Some of them are migrants from other remote areas,others are local farmers or city people.There food are great and most of them generate good business. The monthly earnings could be more than normal white collars’s ;more successful cases are end up opening a restaurant, or purchasing a apartment in the city. If you look at the food truck in New York city, you might find it’s a bad job. But think about if you are a Chinese pancake cook and you are surrounded and welcomed by locals when you show up in market.
The first example is about the how small business are active.I see it as a shell to protect people from falling into the cold side of business world.
Comparing with my happy eating in China, I surprised to see so many chain restaurants, supermarkets, and other “copied “stores in US. Corporation leveraged the “manufactured in China” opportunity so to generate bigger space for “made in USA” , which is primarily served for themselves. This market is too mature in a sense that the market rule is easy to read,follow and control. People can still be labored,in a sense that minds can be labored by marketing,or technologies. To be clear with, I am not standing against any big corps, but the any one is dehumanizing process or products(especially food) with or without intentions. For me, eating without knowing who cooks, cooking without seeing who delivers, and delivering without watching people eating that are all unacceptable.
However, I am still here and I have to eat.The structured story happened on me and I got a gym card. The well equipped gym near my home has 5 floors, and full loads of schedules for group fitness class. And guess what, I see lots of machines. I name them as Human Machines, which actually made for human body.
Indeed, those machines are warm. Not because it’s designed for us, or function for us. But we are the player. Since we are the player, we want all the people join our team and leave no space for any machines, or what other name they entitle.
The most popular Asian sauce,Huy Fong Sriracha chili sauce, is a definitely pure-hearted “Made in USA” one, from inside and outside.The founder David Tran landed at USA at 70s.He said his family never be thankful enough for this new home. Here is how and why we should think and talk in this global world where no one else could resist. Just like David, we work on ourselves and feel ourselves.When we put the face on everything, we see Made in China and Made in USA as the same.