August 29, 2000
12:05 PM   Subscribe

When colleagues in countries outside the U.S. attempt to get me to understand how the rest of the world could loathe us quite as much as they do, this is what they are talking about. "Well, shee-oot, they don' even speak English down there, howthehell they gonna know them tires is not safe? Just slap a little ol' label on 'em and say they're safe.... Oughta be good 'nough!"
posted by m.polo (16 comments total)
Except that Firestone is a Japanese company. Nice try.
posted by aaron at 12:16 PM on August 29, 2000

Yeah, them ultra-leftist pinko commie japs! We should have took them in vietnam, "because inside every gook is an american trying to get out" which explains why they all wear big $400 cow-booyyyee hats and pay millions for "western" weddings.
posted by tiaka at 12:21 PM on August 29, 2000

ohh, btw, I'm obligated to say that TANAKA Tomoyuki is an idiot. haha! (actually he's a nice guy : ) )
posted by tiaka at 12:30 PM on August 29, 2000

Does it matter that Firestone is financially a part of a Japanese corporation? Don't be idiots. "Firestone" is an American brand and an American product. I absolutely guarantee that no one in Venezuela thinks that Firestone Tires are a Japanese product... they're as American as Mom, apple pie and being crushed to death in a Ford SUV when the tires fail on you. The globalization of the capital economy is no excuse for the local behavior of American companies.
posted by m.polo at 12:39 PM on August 29, 2000

Yeah, alright, America Sucks. that's that? Atleast we got tires, you know in russia, they all had to eat them for dinner last week...
posted by tiaka at 12:59 PM on August 29, 2000

Huh? Maybe I didn't read the article right. So the incidence of tire failure is outrageously high in Venezuela. What does that have to do with non-Americans hating Americans?
posted by daveadams at 1:20 PM on August 29, 2000

Somehow its a failing on the country as a whole that Ford/Firestone tires are bad products.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 1:31 PM on August 29, 2000

You know, I could have sworn that the U.S.'s bad rep had less to do with faulty tires than, say, over a hundred years of meddling in the affairs of other nations as if we were entitled to fuck with anyone because we wanted to.

Just my opinion.
posted by solistrato at 1:35 PM on August 29, 2000

Does it matter that Firestone is financially a part of a Japanese corporation?

Yes. Firestone has been owned by Japan's Bridgestone Corp. for 12 years. If foreign corporations are going to snap up our beloved brand names and use them to kill Venezuelan yuppies by sabotaging their SUVs, foreign corporations should get the blame. The U.S. employees at that tire plant in Illinois were just following the orders of their inscrutible Japanese overseers.
posted by rcade at 2:00 PM on August 29, 2000

[rcade] Except that the tires that failed in Venezuela were also made there.
posted by lbergstr at 2:36 PM on August 29, 2000

I don't think, personally, that this is nearly so much a First World-Third World problem, as much as a typical-arrogance-of-corporations problem. After all, good old English-speaking, high-school-graduating Americans were sold bad tires too. I'm also not so sure that the Venezuela incident is exactly a part of the unforeseen problems that cropped up in the worldwide supply: there seems to have been an entirely different labeling/quality-control thing going on with that batch. It looks to me like it's only showing up as a result of the larger problem, or perhaps was an early tipoff -- it's hard to tell whose info came from where now.
posted by dhartung at 2:56 PM on August 29, 2000

thankyou, solistrato!
posted by lagado at 3:17 PM on August 29, 2000

The tires were faulty because of extreme heat which caused them to break apart- almost all (if not all, I'm not exactly sure) of the deaths in the US were in southern states. So it only makes sense that death rates would be much higher in an equatorial nation. Heatstroke is probably more common there too.
posted by kidsplateusa at 4:19 PM on August 29, 2000

Well, either way, I didn't see the quote used in the original link anywhere in the article.
posted by howa2396 at 5:28 PM on August 29, 2000

A few years ago, there was a problem with babies and young children swallowing their pacifiers and strangling. The US Government required that the manufacturers include a small hole in the shield of the pacifier so that even if it was swallowed, there'd still be an air path the child could breath through. This has saved countless lives.

Unfortunately, the companies making the pacifiers had warehouses full of the old ones without the holes and needed to sell them. Simple: export them to the third world. Problem solved.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:29 PM on August 29, 2000

1. what is lawful is not automatically moral
2. what is moral is not automatically lawful

Also, if there is an inherent design law in the tires, it wouldn't really matter where they were made. Although, lower quality materials (read:cheaper) may be used overseas, accounting for higher failure rates simply because quality regulations don't require it.

And is it the company's fault or the government's fault if something harmful is allowed to persist? Bohpal, India - the big Union Carbide plant leak there years ago could link many of the problems that caused it back to government interference and self-servingness as well as lacking regulatory laws and enforcement.

As for the pacifier companies, they missed out on a bigger opportunity - creating and selling a 'safety enhancement kit' consisiting of a hole punch and instruction on how to create that safety hole for all the overseas sales.
posted by rich at 9:04 AM on August 30, 2000

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