‘Made in China’. A set of words that seem to be virtually impossible to avoid when buying any goods ranging from electronics to clothing. It is undoubtedly one of the most recognised labels worldwide.
Funnily enough it would appear that a large amount of the people amongst the hustle and bustle of shoppers are ignorant towards the prospect of where the goods they are buying are manufactured and produced. Their concerns generally tend to extend no further than the reputation of the shops they are buying from and the quality of the product they are buying. Little thought goes into the fact that almost every product, especially those stored in large chains, began life in a factory, or even a sweat shop in China.
Other than allegations of poor quality products and cheap labour, it has also been recorded that there have been many danger hazards concerning goods from China. There have been accusations of tainted foods, lead coated toys and poisonous pet foods. In 2007, roughly 170,000 tubes of chinese manufactured toothpaste were recalled from stores for containing diethylene glycol. In the same year there was a recall in pet foods which resulted in several thousand deaths of cats and dogs.
These are just a few of the products that begin their journey into retail in a chinese factory. The public buy these goods without giving a second thought as to where they have primarily come from.
In producing goods, the Chinese have the same approach as they do with most things; quantity over quality. The cause of these poor quality goods is driven by efforts to boost exports, ultimately leading to industrial growth and increase of employment for chinese people. Other factors leading to poor quality in the industry stem back to corruption.
Despite such allegations, there seems to be no confinement for chinese manufactured goods – foods, toys, clothing, drugs, toothpaste, the list is never-ending. I guess a lot of this has to do with lenient regulations and cheap costs. In fact there seems to be a steady increase in Chinese manufactured product sales. Although the majority of clothes and electric goods are knock offs, they meet international standards and are much cheaper than the ‘real deal’. So many people these days are overly materialistic and money orientated, that when it comes to designer labels and expensive clothes, the don’t take into consideration how cheap these overly priced products actually were to manufacture. When considering ‘Made in China’ the first thing that people think is ‘cheap’. Little thought is put into the massive work force and ridiculously cheap labour.
When I asked a friend what his thoughts were on buying goods from china, his immediate response was ‘well, of course i don’t approve of child labour’. After a long pause he laughed to himself and said ‘but i guess, China is one of the biggest exporters in the world. Therefore the product will ultimately be satisfactory.’ The way he said it was very interesting. Personally I believe that his reaction to the question reflects the attitude of a vast majority of the public. When you ask people about buying goods from China their immediate reply will be of a moral nature, concerning cheap labour and poor conditions. However, reality is far from morally angelic. without putting someone in the spot and literally forcing them to think about where their products come from, they tend not to. They blindly follow trends and crazes, giving virtually no thought to the process of the production.
Although people like to stick to their morals, at the end of the day, it is the product itself and how useful it will be to the person buying it that matters the most. Its sad to think that this is how the majority of society works, but it is. I myself and everyone that I have spoken to are all guilty of the same ignorance. Even those who believe themselves to be boycotters of chinese manufactured goods are guilty. It has come to an extent where it is far to difficult to avoid. Another friend told me that he liked to avoid goods made in China because he doesn’t trust them. When i told him that most of the products he buys are probably manufactured in China, he was adamant to the fact that hardly any of the clothes he owns come from china. I asked him to check the label on his t-shirt, and low and behold, there it was ‘Made in China’. Most people in developed countries will own something ‘Made in China’. They’re taking over!