What can you say about China that hasn’t already been said in this global economy we live in? You can sit on one side of the fence that just doesn’t care where your product is made as long as it works or you can be all pro ‘Merica FUCK YEAH! Has China really become such a detriment to snowboardings future?
Does anyone else remember when K2 moved production from Vashon Island to China? I remember it pretty well and how bad their products were for the first couple years. Their quality control wasn’t what it is today and because of that they suffered. If you look at how much presence K2 has and how people are actively seeking their stuff out, I’d say they’ve escaped the ‘curse’ of Chinese made production. Or at least the biggest reasons the anti-China people claim.
Your boots or bindings are more than likely made in China. Other than Spark and possibly Karakorum (not 100% sure on them being made in America) can anyone think of a company making bindings in North America? I know there are factories in Europe that make them but those seem to have become few and far between these days. How many of you have been able to get 100 days or more out of your boots and bindings? Was their failure or product death ultimately because you used and abused them for their intended purpose or was it just manufacturing defect? I ask the question about the boots since 95% of you are riding boots made over there and it’s also the one piece of equipment that takes more abuse than anything else.
So here’s the typical arguments about why China is bad and the U.S. is so fucking great:
- The Chinese don’t ride so we’re not supporting snowboarders
- Taking money from our economy
- Slave wages
- Inferior quality
- Inferior materials
- Horrendous working conditions
- Polluting the environment
Alright do we really need snowboarders working in a factory to make our boards? Do you need a gamer making your Xbox or a programmer assembling your Ipod? No, it’s a tedious mind numbing task so who should give a shit about who is putting it together. Now designing the products that’s an entirely different story.
Initially sure they may have taken jobs from our country which effected our economy but does where a product matter if the company is housed in our country and products are sold here initially effecting ours?
Are people really that under paid compared to their cost of living? I know plenty of guys doing lay up for U.S. companies that at most are making ten bucks an hour. Is that any different than someone making five dollars an hour whose cost of living is half of what ours is? It’s all relative.
Quality control can lack in just about any factory. Anyone remember when Rome and Capita had issues with their top sheets a couple years back? They were using Elan and it was a factory error and it wasn’t little Mao’s hand in doing it. Quality control issues can happen anywhere with anything, hence why we have all those auto recalls for cars built in the United States. Materials fall into this as well as it’s more often than not just a quality control issue.
Everyone brings up working conditions as if it’s worse in one factory in China than it is in one in the U.S. Have you ever been into a factory? They’re not cleanly, even with a respirator you’re still breathing shit air, and almost everyone working with epoxy is guaranteed to become allergic to it. It’s a shitty place to work regardless of where you are.
Pollution yeah there’s no argument about that. China is like the asshole of industrial waste. Shit just keeps coming out and getting dumped wherever because there isn’t enough regulation.
People view China as this big bad thing in truth we need it as much as they need us buying their goods. Their emerging middle class will be bigger than the population of the United States and because of this they will shift the global power. On top of that there is a shift over there in rising production costs and demands from workers. Could this cause a shift of production back to America?
At the end of the day it shouldn’t be country to country bias but factory to factory. There’s some great factories and some really shitty ones out there. These are only as good as their labor force and quality control enforcement. If China isn’t your thing vote with your wallet if you’re so concerned, but first look at where your bindings, boots, and outerwear are from.