As the holiday season madness officially begins, I want to offer six most excellent reasons for Don't Buy Made in China.
#1: Save America's Jobs - Don't Buy Made in China.
When a big corporation like Apple or General Electric offshores its factories to China -- and then sells products back into America -- it's not just those jobs that get offshored. As manufacturing analyst Richard McCormack notes in my Death By China film: "When a large company decides to move its production off shore and it closes a factory in a city or a town in the United States, that basically leaves a black hole. Suddenly, that factory just disappears, and everything else goes down with it too."
People who were supplying that plant with materials, equipment, maintenance services, even the accounting firms, design firms, R&D firms, and then all the other services around it like restaurants. What happens to them? They're doomed! They go down with it. They can't follow that company offshore to Shanghai!
#2: Defend Your Community's Tax Base - Don't Buy Made in China
It's not just our factories being Shanghaied. When American jobs are offshored to China, America's tax base goes right along with them. The result: Less money for our schools and roads and bridges and a lower quality of life.
#3: Stop China's Unfair Trade Practices - Don't Buy Made in China
As U.S.-China Commissioner Dan Slane has stated: "We are in a trade war and stealing, lying, and cheating on the part of the Chinese are all part of it." Economist Peter Morici likewise observes: "Free trade's great stuff if you can get it, but what we have with China is not free trade." Finally, Richard McCormack gets to the bottom of the problem: "For China to sell something at one-tenth the price of what it would cost in the United States to produce, they are cheating monumentally, in a major, massive sort of way. On everything."
Here's the irony: When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 with bipartisan support in Washington, it promised to STOP cheating... and play by fair trade rules. That meant abandoning unfair trade practices like currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies, and abusing its workers. Instead, the Chinese government has used these weapons of job destruction to launch a sustained and devastating attack on America's factories and jobs while flooding our markets with dangerous products.
When we buy Made in China, we are tacitly sanctioning China's unfair trade practices. Let's not do that!
#4: Don't Help Finance China's Military Buildup
Every time American consumers walk into a mall this holiday season, the first thing they should do is to be aware enough to look for the label. Then, when they pick up that good and it says "Made in China," please think this: "Hey, if I buy this, that money is going to go over to help finance what is essentially the most rapid military buildup of a totalitarian regime since the 1930s." Make no mistake about that!
#5: Protect Your Family From Chinese Junk - Don't Buy Made in China
Even if you don't want to consider the broader economic or national security consequences of consuming goods Made in China, you may at least want to think about your own personal safety -- and that of your family. One would think that after repeated scandals, the Chinese government would wise up -- and crack down on the unscrupulous entrepreneurs who poison our baby formula, medicines, pet food, and toys.
Just the opposite is occurring as the scandals continue, and the best evidence of the dangers is the attitude of Chinese mothers. They are desperate to find baby formula not made in their own country. We should learn from that.
#6: Don't Help China Buy Up America - Don't Buy Made in China
As we have gorged on Made in China over the last decade, our debt to the world's largest totalitarian country has soared to several trillions of dollars. These vast sums are capable of buying large swaths of America -- from our land and homes to our factories and building. As Lynn MacDonald said in my film: "We're a subsidiary of China and getting worse and worse because they're going to own us pretty soon."
The problem as expressed by Ralph Gomory is this:
We import a lot of stuff from China, but a lot of it we don't pay for. I mean, we've got no goods to ship in the opposite direction so we just ship bundles of dollar bills. Between two and three trillion dollars is available to buy up pieces of America. In other words, we're living beyond our means. We have an artificially high standard of living. We're consuming more than we create. That's a very dangerous situation, and especially if your principle creditor is a nation like China.
Given this six reasons, here's what I suggest when you are out there in America's sea of malls shopping for your loved ones. Look at the label of everything you buy. If the product says Made in China, put it back down unless you absolutely have to have it.
Of course, I know how difficult and crazy the holiday season can be. But let's remember this is supposed to be a time for giving in the spirit of love and friendship. Giving products to your friends, family, and loved ones from a totalitarian country that steals our jobs and poisons its products for profit simply sends the wrong "'tis the season" message.
Peter Navarro is a business professor at UC-Irvine and director of the film Death By China (now available on Netflix). A video version of this article may be viewed at http://www.youtube/deathbychina