Boycott Watch  
May 14, 2008
WSJ Ethical Purchases Study is Flawed
Summary:Boycott Watch ads one important factor into the Wall Street Journal study.
    The Monday, May 12, 2008 edition of the Wall Three Journal contained a study of consumer trends regarding purchasing so called ethically-produced products. In the study, people were asked how much they would pay for goods based upon the ethics of the company producing those goods. In summary, people were willing to pay extra for more ethically-produced goods than those from less ethical companies.

    For every product in the Wall Street Journal study, people had to assign a dollar amount from a pre-set range for how much they were willing to pay. The problem Boycott Watch sees with the study is that there was no option of refusing to buy those goods, which is very surprising in light of the China Olympics boycott call over the unethical treatment of people in Tibet by China and the fact that many of the goods in the study were imports. The fact is that the Beijing boycott calls are an extension of calls to boycott Chinese goods in general.

    Boycotting foreign imports to save U.S. jobs is nothing new. When Japanese cars first came to the U.S., "eat your foreign car" bumper sticker, referring to U.S. job losses, were common. The divide then is similar to today - Asian goods, specifically the value of cars to miles, were cheaper than American goods and now other Asian goods are cheaper. The difference today is that while Japanese cars were far superior to American cars in quality, Chinese goods are generally inferior today. At the time, Chrysler had severe financial problems because their new cars all had major problems - dealers expected to have to fix problems in new cars because of the low quality at Chrysler factories, and even then the cars did not last long. That is until Lee Iacocca took over.

    Then Toyota came along, the introduced cars that were expected to last for 200,000 miles compared to 80,000 miles for U.S. cars, forcing U.S. automobile manufacturers to start making decent cars. Another major difference in that era as compared to today is that up until about 1985, every gas station was also a service station because the quality of cars prior to the Lee Iacocca revolution was horrible - in those days people expected their cars to be in the shop far more than they do today.

    The automotive industry learned they needed to improve quality to compete with foreign car imports. The question today is what can U.S. companies learn from China when it comes to manufacturing? We can not compete with the pennies people make in China and other countries, the reason foreign products are so cheep here in the first place. There is still one thing we can learn - just like the national economies of our competitors, our economic house need to be in order too. As a nation, we need to get our national debt in control in order to strengthen the U.S. dollar as compared to other currencies.

    That is more easily said than done. While Chrysler was bailed out by the U.S. government, there is no big daddy to bail out the U.S. We have to bail ourselves out, and that won't be easy. We as a nation need to tighten our belt and in turn our reliance on big government in order to allow the U.S. government to catch up financially. While President Kennedy said "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country," the question today is "ask not what your country can do for you, but what your country does not need to do for you."

    The fact is that Americans want goods from ethical manufacturers but are generally having a hard time finding what they want at reasonable prices. If the U.S. would finally get its own financial house in order, including lowering taxes, then the dollar would become stronger and Americans would be able to buy more of our own goods which are generally ethically manufactured anyhow, own economy would be stronger and we would not have to worry about the ethical nature of foreign products because we would not need the foreign products.

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