We Are Just Cheap…


Storm1We are a nation who puts top priority on everything being cheap. No, that doesn’t apply to our military. We throw so much money into our war machines their top priority has to be figuring out how to spend it all. But since there are so many outstretched hands  wanting to relieve us of our hard-paid tax dollars  that even ends up not a big problem.

Getting back to the topic at hand. Among our European neighbors we in the U.S. are mostly known for the shabby goods we readily accept.  Don’t get me wrong, we know quality when we see it and sometimes we actually demand it but for the most part if something is ten cents cheaper than another choice we will plunk down less money.

I don’t know how many of you have heard the phrase or seen the movie “The Perfect Storm”. Here is how Wikipedia describes that:

A “perfect storm” is an expression that describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically. The term is also used to describe an actual phenomenon that happens to occur in such a confluence, resulting in an event of unusual magnitude

In our search for ever cheaper goods and services we seem to have found our “perfect storm” in this arena.  China has charged upon the world stage as the premiere producer of low-cost goods. Of course that is because there are billions of people in that country who will toil endlessly for hours and hours for pennies a day pay.  And since the Chinese government has also developed a strategy to eventually take over as the world’s manufacturer they will do whatever it takes to get all those jobs into their country.

So China is one of the things that is part of  “a rare combination”. Another part is our insatiable greed when it comes to capitalism. Almost our entire economy is geared toward maximizing profits. Little else seems to matter in our business world. There used to be what was known as the “three-legged stool” in American business: owners, employees, and customers.  Equal weight was put on pleasing all three. That concept went out the window during the Reagan years.

The last part of the “perfect storm” combination is the stagnant wages for the majority of us in the U.S.  Except for about the top 10% wages in this country have actually declined over the last thirty years. But, unfortunately the marketing pitches to buy more and more is still pushed on us and worse yet, readily accepted. So in order to buy more and more with less and less we have to buy cheaper and cheaper. So this is the final string to the perfect storm hairball that we find ourselves in today.

Are we poised for the perfect storm of seeing our economic and industrial power being rapidly drained from us? Who am I to say?