A New Dance | American Consumers and Chinese Workers

HopeTracker| All the world loves a good deal and no where more than in America, home to what we called the “design democracy” movement and throw-away fashion.

Our love of low prices isn’t confined to fashion, of course. As the suicides of Chinese workers at Foxconn illustrate, high-tech wants cheap, cheap, cheap too. 

As marketing and advertising costs far outrun production costs in making products successful, companies have less money to pay their workers and suppliers. China has been a key beneficiary of the bottom-line production needs of American manufacturers and retailers like Wal-Mart, known for bearing down hard on suppliers in the cost-of-goods leger.  

These actions are fine with American consumers, who believe there’s no limit to how low a price we should pay for goods, and especially in a recession. This is capitalism and globalization at its best, the market in action.

Today we want goods even cheaper than before, but American consumers may be facing some materialistic self-deprivation in the coming years. The bubble may be bursting, explains the NYTimes in two articles After Foxconn Suicides, Scrutiny for Chinese Plants and Changes in China Could Raise Prices Worldwide.