I became a fan of some of the Chinese knives when I saw the quality reach and in some cases surpass a few of the remaining US knife manufacturers. Combine the higher quality with premium blade steels at incredibly reasonable prices and what’s not to like! I sold some in the store and used a few in the field and was/am really impressed with their performance. In the last month I’ve started to question my enthusiasm and it makes me wonder if there are more Chinese Knives are in our future or less.
There have been discussions of possible trade embargoes or additional tariffs to punish the Chinese for lack of transparency. It’s been pretty well established they could have done more to prevent the spread of the disease early on. Export of some medical materials and drugs were slowed to the detriment of the rest of the world. Now the Chinese government has been suggesting the US sent the virus to China. I doubt we’ll ever know the truth about all of this. The question I have is will the US public (in particular) ignore these actions and continue as the worlds leader as a consumer of Chinese products.
Without getting deeper into the politics of the question, for years I had a real aversion to Chinese products for…..political reasons. Not US politics but Chinese politics. While we all love a good deal, it’s a bit hard to balance that price with our own beliefs.
On one hand, we live in a country where workers rights, working conditions and fair pay are virtually everyone’s concern. We also have no problem bitching about the cost of some of the US made knives and products while supporting the very things that drive those prices up.
On the other hand, as important as workers right, working conditions and fair pay may be, we have no problem buying lower priced, high quality products from China. We do this with seemingly lack of concern that the laborers making these products live and work in conditions which could be considered to be worse then substandard in our country. Its the old adage that you may love sausage, you just don’t want to watch it being made.
Now we have a virus with apparent origins from a country with a fair amount of baggage to begin with. The cost of this virus in human lives is already unbelievable. The cost to the economy has reached astronomical levels and the damage isn’t over. We’re looking at facing a bill that will cost everyone of us for decades into the future. This cost is going to be shared by everyone. While the folks that received the $1200 checks from the government may have been grateful, to believe they won’t eventually pay it back is wishful thinking at best.
I live in an area that depends on the tourist trade for our life blood. We don’t have an excess of ‘essential’ businesses that have helped carry our economy the last few months. We’re weeks away from the tourist season and our campgrounds are closed. Outdoor activities are restricted. There are folks that are unemployed, businesses that aren’t generating sales, cities aren’t collecting needed sales taxes, restaurants that will never recover, hospitals and clinics are losing revenue and facing huge deficits jeopardizing many rural communities, and the list goes on and on. I’ll repeat myself, the total cost hasn’t been calculated and won’t be known for years.
It’s hard to lay all of the blame on a single source. In hindsight, our government made errors in reacting. Some of those folks are out of a job and the elections in November will correct a few more ‘failures’. But the primary blame still falls on the source of the virus and how it was handled from day one. Now we have to decide if we change our behavior toward them or does life go on as usual. We’re willing to punish our own but will we be willing to punish the others.
Personally, I wish we would see some of these manufactured products return to our shores. The problem I see is the cost of this economic melt down is going to leave fewer dollars in everyone’s pockets making the inexpensive imported goods even more attractive. Some of us couldn’t justify the price of a new US made knife and now we surely can’t. The cycle starts all over. More US manufacturers fall by the wayside, more production moves offshore to reduce costs. The US manufacturing sector takes yet another hit. How do we stop the hemorrhaging?