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American Knockoffs
August 27, 2007 7:45 AM   Subscribe

A nation of outlaws. A century and a half ago, another fast-growing nation had a reputation for sacrificing standards to its pursuit of profit, and it was the United States.
posted by Kirth Gerson (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
You are likely to get many response to the effect that dodgy and standards sacrificing has been going on in the US even since a century and a half ago, not exactly a distant problem for us.
posted by edgeways at 7:51 AM on August 27, 2007


To quote China's Mom: "And if the United States jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"
posted by GuyZero at 7:54 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oligarchies value the profits of their rulers over the wellbeing of the other 99% of the population, news at eleven.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:10 AM on August 27, 2007


This is me with my surprised face...

Corner-cutting and ignoring-of-standards or laws is inevitable in any system that focuses on maximized profits over all else. Fines and fees will be factored-in as a business cost.

Of course, it's a little harder to figure-in outright execution of the guilty.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:11 AM on August 27, 2007


I've often though that China was currently dealing with the repercussions of unfettered capitalism, just as we did, and would soon come to their senses, just as we did. It's hard to imagine that there is some sort of conspiracy to poison our toys or whatever like some people seem to think.

I think that they'll probably come to their senses, indeed they have just declared a "war" on impure products. It's possible that their centralized government might be able to make the changes faster.
posted by delmoi at 8:16 AM on August 27, 2007


It's possible that their centralized government might be able to make the changes faster.

When you have unlimited power to execute people at will, I suspect massive change is a lot easier to bring about than in a contentious, squabbling republic.

If the rich corporate powers-that-be start working the papers and hiring lobbyists, they can simply shoot them.

You start to see why governments like this absolute power thing.
posted by Malor at 8:22 AM on August 27, 2007


We're still sacrificing standards to its pursuit of profit, but we've outsourced it so it looks like someone else is doing it.
posted by tommasz at 9:36 AM on August 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


I've often though that China was currently dealing with the repercussions of unfettered capitalism, just as we did, and would soon come to their senses, just as we did.

When was this, exactly? The current status of corporations in the U.S. (virtually all the rights of an individual with virtually none of the responsibilities) leads to companies doing just about anything they want to increase profits if there's a good chance they won't get caught. The individual citizen's vote is hampered, if not outright stolen, by lobbies. This isn't jaded cynicism, this is fact. Our form of capitalism is far more advanced in contrast to China's, but I would say we're a few generations away from coming to our senses.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 10:00 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


When was this, exactly?

Before Reagan. His election was the dawning of the new Age of Nefarious.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:03 AM on August 27, 2007


When was this, exactly?

Regarding product standards in the US, are you truly arguing things are as bad as in the 19th century? Really? No, things are not perfect, but there is a system in place that for the most part works and keeps us from the massive shit that used to go on here and is going on now in China. I mean, sheep brains and chalk haven't been added to my milk for a while now, and you know, I really do appreciate that.

Corporations still exploit the system. Bribes are still given and taken. But we have enough law-and-order in place that we don't have to worry about dangerous levels of arsenic in our food and re-used syringes in our hospitals.
posted by schroedinger at 10:17 AM on August 27, 2007


I am not able to read very far into an article that tells us Dickens was upset by finding pirated copies of his novels...Exactly when was it that international copyright came into existence?
posted by Postroad at 10:31 AM on August 27, 2007


We're still sacrificing standards to its pursuit of profit, but we've outsourced it so it looks like someone else is doing it.
posted by tommasz at 9:36 AM on August 27


FTW
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:33 AM on August 27, 2007


It's true - we're generally better off than the Chinese when it comes to food, worker, environmental, and product safety, but that's no thanks to current policies, which have continued to erode our protections.

postroad - the answer to your question is in the article you don't want to read.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:35 AM on August 27, 2007


It's hard to imagine that there is some sort of conspiracy to poison our toys or whatever like some people seem to think.

think so?
posted by clavdivs at 11:45 AM on August 27, 2007


Former chairman and executive director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission say, "it has been neutered almost to the point of uselessness. "
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:06 PM on August 27, 2007


Postroad: I think the 1886 Berne Convention was the beginnings of "international" copyright law.
posted by absalom at 12:48 PM on August 27, 2007


Regarding product standards in the US, are you truly arguing things are as bad as in the 19th century? Really?

No, I think it's pretty clear I was talking about capitalism in broader terms. Product standards, along with every other aspect of American capitalism, are of course more advanced than they were a hundred years ago, as they are more advanced than what occurs in China today. I just think we are quite a way off from an ideal system--or at least a slightly non-corrupt, non-corporate-serving one.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:17 PM on August 27, 2007


Back then, we didn't know lead paint was bad for you.

Today we do.

Moral equivalence indeed.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:41 AM on August 28, 2007


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