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#1690779 - 04/04/06 01:30 PM 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
Accugroove Rocks Offline
Member

Registered: 07/30/05
Posts: 18
MM -
I felt like you said "Wow, here's this crazy global economic thing: You can get a real guitar for cheap from China." I wish you had finished the thought regarding cheap chinese labor churning out good guitars. I know you know.

Buyers are essentially promoting slavery when they buy goods from countries who do not have fair labor standards.

On top of that, the long term consequences of the trade deficit hurt the U.S. economy.

If you weren't going to address the whole issue, they why leave the impression it was harmless?
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#1690780 - 04/04/06 03:56 PM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
Mike Z Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 19
A bit heavy handed don't you think?

This is a guitar magazine and they were reviewing the new guitars out of China. I thought the article was actually quite good.

It is not GP's or MM's job to let us know of all the political ramifications of guitar purchases. Also, the issue you are ranting about is very complicated in nature and not as straight forward as you make it out to be.

Also, and this is a personal pet peeve, please use a dictionary and look up the word slavery. It is used way to often in today's society.

So please leave the guitar stuff to GP and MM and if you want to read about foreign labor practices there are several magazines devoted to that and similar topics.

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#1690781 - 04/06/06 12:33 AM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
Editor Boy Moderator Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/14/01
Posts: 368
Loc: San Mateo,CA,UNITED STATES
Dear Accugroove:

Good point on the labor practices, but Mike Z is also right that we were merely discussing value propositions for guitarists -- as many readers complain that we don't review ENOUGH affordable gear -- and we were not taking a political stance on the working conditions in China. I have to admit that I have heard numerous stories from manufacturers, both good and bad, about the labor situation in China, and I don't feel informed enough to comment intelligently on the subject. I'm worry if this seems like copping out.

Thanks for voicing your concerns.

Best,
Mike

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#1690782 - 04/11/06 01:47 PM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
dave esmond Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/11/06
Posts: 45
Loc: Wisconsin
"I have to admit that I have heard numerous stories from manufacturers, both good and bad, about the labor situation in China, and I don't feel informed enough to comment intelligently on the subject. I'm worry if this seems like copping out." - EB

I have to agree with the original post in many ways.

I guess I just don't see any way to seperate the labor practices, no matter the country, from the gear that results. If things are as bad as we've heard they can be in some of those factories, is it really okay if in the end they do turn out a decent $200 guitar? Do we owe it to ourselves and the Chinese workers to find out enough to finally be informed? Maybe things are honky-dory, but given all the stories, isn't it best to know for sure? Maybe GP can tour a few Chinese factories?

Leaving purely nuts and bolts gear reviews to GP, and labor practices to someone else is still sending a message after all.

d

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#1690783 - 04/12/06 02:04 AM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
Kramer Ferrington III. Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/12/05
Posts: 9412
Loc: Wellington, NZ
Quote:
Originally posted by dave esmond:
I guess I just don't see any way to seperate the labor practices, no matter the country, from the gear that results.
Fair enough, but how far do we want to take this?

What about the guys that cut the wood for the guitars? Are they getting a fair shake? Do you worry about the working conditions of the ppl that make the wiring? Some of those 3rd world copper mines are pretty dreadful. And what about the shipping? Some of those sailors on Panamanian flag cargo ships are little more than slaves. As I said, how deeply do you want to go into the rabbit hole? \:\)

It reminds me of the controversy that The Body Shop got into a few years ago.

They don't test their cosmetics on animals and that has always been a big part of their image and advertising. However, when pressed, they had to admit that they couldn't be sure that the ingredients and chemicals they bought and used to make their products hadn't been tested on animals.

Even if a guitar is made in America by union labor and all that... can we vouch for all the components?
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#1690784 - 04/17/06 10:37 AM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
dave esmond Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/11/06
Posts: 45
Loc: Wisconsin
"Fair enough, but how far do we want to take this?"


Fair enough also. This is in no way an easy issue to deal with.

I've drawn my own personal line in the sand at China. And yes I do consider where parts are made too. At least for guitars. There's not that many parts to worry about. But for my car? Who knows. I'm not a monk, but I try not to support China, and when I can to support "local" folks.

I've heard stories, probably the same stories anyone like an editor at GP would have heard about some factories in China. Maybe not slavery, but worrisome enough that I can't take the chance. No need to go very far down the rabbit hole before disturbing stuff starts showing up. After that? It's a emssy world for sure and I don't expect perfection. But "everybody does it" doesn't always cover every situation either.


So.

I'm not looking for 100% perfection and goodness when it comes to what I buy. Neither can I turn a 100% blind eye to everything because the world isn't perfect. I guess I don't see a problem with being somewhere in the middle.

d

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#1690785 - 04/17/06 02:07 PM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
Mike Z Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally posted by dave esmond:

Fair enough also. This is in no way an easy issue to deal with.

I've drawn my own personal line in the sand at China.
d [/QB]
I totally agree that this is no easy issue to deal with. That was all I was saying in my previous post (also to chill a little). Also, if you wish to not by products from China you are well within your rights to do so, and I commend you for sticking to your morals. But some food for thought.

For example, China is currently (trade wise) where the US was at the turn of the century (19th to 20th). The US used child labor, had very poor and dangerous working conditions and paid workers very little. What would have happened if no one traded with the US at that time? Because of the increase in trade for the cheaper US products the economy increased, which allowed for higher wages, and the government coming in and creating child labor laws and safer working conditions. This took time. By not buying the products, you are in effect harming the people you are trying to protect.

There are many ideas and beliefs involving this topic and allows for a great debate. All I was saying is that GP is about guitars and guitar playing. I personally don't care to read some article in GP about Chinese working conditions. I can research that on my own and make my own decision on whether to buy their products. Although I am sure GP and MM could do a very fine job researching the topic, that is not their speciality.

Jees, I just looked at the length of this thing. Sorry if I sound preachy.

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#1690786 - 04/23/06 10:24 AM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
Kramer Ferrington III. Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/12/05
Posts: 9412
Loc: Wellington, NZ
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Z:
[For example, China is currently (trade wise) where the US was at the turn of the century (19th to 20th).
Well, yes. That is the standard 3rd world reply to the 1st world's concerns over environmental and labor conditions. They always say something like "You guys made your wealth by doing all the stuff you are trying to stop us from doing. How can we join you in the 1st world if you won't let us do like you did?"

I really don't know what the answer is, because in the 1st world's case, it's way too late to turn the clock back. However, if I COULD go back to the industrial revolution and have some sort of say in how things were run, I WOULD be against child labour, excessive working hours, starvation wages and the destruction of the environment. Just because we did that stuff ourselves doesn't mean it's right. We no longer throw people at lions either, do we?

So I'm not sure this stuff doesn't belong in a guitar mag after all... would GP have encouraged ppl to tour a place like Sun City before the fall of apartheid?

Anyway... I don't dictate GP policy so it's not really my concern. Thank goodness.
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#1690787 - 04/24/06 09:45 AM Re: 20 Trade Deficit Guitars - May 06
Mike Z Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 19
Quote:
Originally posted by Kramer Ferrington III.:
Well, yes. That is the standard 3rd world reply to the 1st world's concerns over environmental and labor conditions. They always say something like "You guys made your wealth by doing all the stuff you are trying to stop us from doing. How can we join you in the 1st world if you won't let us do like you did?"

I really don't know what the answer is, because in the 1st world's case, it's way too late to turn the clock back. However, if I COULD go back to the industrial revolution and have some sort of say in how things were run, I WOULD be against child labour, excessive working hours, starvation wages and the destruction of the environment. Just because we did that stuff ourselves doesn't mean it's right. We no longer throw people at lions either, do we?

So I'm not sure this stuff doesn't belong in a guitar mag after all... would GP have encouraged ppl to tour a place like Sun City before the fall of apartheid?

Anyway... I don't dictate GP policy so it's not really my concern. Thank goodness. [/QB]
First, I would like to thank you for an enjoyable debate on this topic. Everyone doesn't have to believe the exact same way on everything in order to have a logical discussion (without childish name calling and hystrionics).

Second, you are correct in the 3rd world response to 1st world concerns. Although not an excuse, it also cannot be entirely dismissed out of hand either. I also don't know what the answer is.

And yes, if we could go back in time with our current way of thinking at the start of the industrial revolution, we would change things. But unless we are able to manipulate Einsteins theory of relativity, or discover a unified field theory that allows time travel that ain't happening. Yes, we don't throw people to the lions anymore, we inject them with chemicals. Same end result, but that is another topic for debate.

I personally don't think such things are a proper topic for a guitar magazine. Especially being that GP wasn't telling you to buy it (or to visit China for that matter), they were telling you whether the guitars were any good.

I mean does GP have to research how every guitar and guitar part is manufactured and assembled before making a review, how about advertising of these products?

Thanks

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