Tuesday 15 April 2014

A Better Place

I have mentioned in past blogs that in my opinion the problem with the USA and North America in general is that we don't make much of anything anymore. If the corporations can save a buck or two, they will move the plant out of the country.

Louise and I used to live in Kitchener Ontario nearly thirty years ago and at the time, Kitchener and the surrounding area had eight or nine shoe manufacturing plants. It was great to be able to buy factory seconds for the kids and ourselves. Seconds usually just meant that there were minor imperfections in the leather, a scuff mark or a nearly invisible spot of glue. It didn't mean that the heels were glued onto the toes or that they were built inside out. I would probably have bought inside out shoes at the time. We all considered cheap shoes a perk of living in Southern Ontario at the time.

Louise, I and the kids moved back to Alberta and bid adieu to inexpensive footwear. A few years later, we were back in Ontario visiting friends and family and thought that we might just as well top up on cheap shoes. Within four years, all of the shoe plants had moved south of two borders, into Mexico or they moved across the sea to some Asia country where they can somehow make shoes far cheaper than Canadians. I just couldn't believe it! It's like all of the Elves from the Grimm fairy tale "The Elves and the Shoemaker" moved to Asia during WWII and never came back. Can't really blame them, the Germans of that time were pretty hard on non-Arian races.
We still make some things, but not near as many as we once did. We used to make the tools that we would use to assemble the parts from the raw materials that we mined from the earth with huge, God awful machines we built for just that purpose. Now, we sell the rights to mine or harvest to foreign countries and they ship the raw materials back across the seas where they will manufacture parts to ship back here. They are sent to a plant where the parts go in one door and finished goods will come out the other door, which have been put together by robots. The final thing that happens is a sticker is put on which reads "ASSEMBLED IN USA/CANADA"

For some reason which I fail to grasp, we seem to take pride in that accomplishment.
We still do create things. Well, not things so much as the ideas that those foreign countries turn into products for that other thing we are good at creating. Consumers! We are the best consumers of goods in the world. We just can't get enough of pretty much anything. I am currently in Las Vegas and this is a place that consumes. You name it and the people here will not only use it, but they will abuse it! Food, drink, electricity, water, clothing, paper, money and of course, the most abused commodity of all...people.

I'm going to go home and make a point to create something every day or at least be working on creating something every day, so that at the end of my life I can hopefully say that I left something that made the world a better place.

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