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Made in China?

(23 Posts)
ExD Thu 04-Feb-21 11:00:46

I am looking for some hair straighteners that are not made by slave labour in the far East. My friend thinks I'm being unreasonable and tells me if I get all the sweat shops closed down in the 3rd world (as if I could!) poor people would starve.
She has a point, am I unreasonable?

Hounddog Thu 04-Feb-21 12:26:54

Dear ExD: your thoughts are noble, but in reality almost everything comes from the F East these days. Even if 'made in Britain' the components have probably been sourced from China etc. The best way to guarantee that the factory workers are paid the going rate, conditions are safe, non-coercive practices etc and are not 'slave labour' is to purchase from a recognised brand or UK retailer. Most, if not all, will have a social compliance policy, which means their supply chain will have had to undergo 3rd party audits from recognised labs. This checks for workers welfare, such as wage rates, factory conditions, building safety, collective bargaining allowed etc etc. Also, as your friend says, many people in these areas would be very much poorer without the industry our orders bring to their regions. Their own living standards are also dragged up because of it.

Wheniwasyourage Thu 04-Feb-21 12:34:56

Good post Hounddog. It is worth considering looking for Fair Trade goods (not hair straighteners, I wouldn't think!) as they guarantee a fair wage for the producers at the bottom of the supply chain. For example, cashew nuts are, I understand, pretty horrible things to process as they come in very hard nuts, but if you can get fairly traded ones, the people who actually do the hard work will be better paid and have better conditions. Bananas are another example of something which can cause problems for workers who have to spray them with strong chemicals. If you buy organic ones, or even better, organic and fairly traded, the chemicals used are not as harsh and the working conditions will be better.

When it comes to child labour, there are implications for family income in some places if the children cannot work, but it is possible to arrange for them to have education as well. Again, Fair Trade and reputable companies with published welfare policies are worth looking for.

vampirequeen Thu 04-Feb-21 14:06:01

It's the same argument that was used by supporters of child labour in Victorian Britain. They said that families would starve without the money earned by children. What they meant was that they'd have to employ more adults or pay the existing adults more and it would cost the employers more money. Our children don't work and we shouldn't make excuses for children working in other countries. The employers will discover that they will still remain in business and the market will swallow up the extra costs that they don't make up for themselves. Child labour is simply a way of exploiting all labour.

Blossoming Thu 04-Feb-21 14:11:33

ExD YANBU, I’m trying to avoid buying stuff made in China for several reasons. Slave Labour is one, product safety and quality are others. However, as others have pointed out it’s very difficult to find things like electrical goods that are not made in China.

janeainsworth Thu 04-Feb-21 14:16:35

Here is the International Labour Organisation on China and Mongolia’s record on child labour.

keepingquiet Thu 04-Feb-21 14:50:48

If it was a choice between straightening my hair and forced labour I'd choose to ditch the straighteners.

janeainsworth Thu 04-Feb-21 15:02:15

This is what the ILO says about China:
Chinese authorities at various levels have implemented measures to ensure that children of internal migrant workers have access to social services, especially compulsory education and quality education programme. There are no official statistics. So far, China has not published nor submitted official statistics on child labour. The labour inspectorate is mandated to enforce the labour law, which outlaws child labour and sanctions violations. No cases of child labour found by the labour inspectorate have been reported to the ILO

So I don’t think anyone need beat themselves up about buying hair straighteners from China, even though the country doesn’t meet our high ideals of Western democracy.

There are probably worse examples of modern slavery in Britain.

mokryna Sun 07-Feb-21 16:41:50

What really riled me recently was buying a oximeter in the local chemist, while not wearing my glasses, only to unwrap it at home and find it was made in China. It was not a cheapy,

M0nica Sun 07-Feb-21 16:52:22

Standard oximeters are for sale on ebay for under £10. Identical oximeters on one of those Somebody of Somewhere catalogues were priced at £50!!!!!

I do not think avoiding buying items made in China is much of a problem. At the end of the day, the Chinese citizen is a tool of the state and the state will look after them.

I am more ambivalent of products, like clothes, made in other less well developed countries, where so many lives and livings are dependent on making products cheaply.

Chewbacca Sun 07-Feb-21 16:56:49

Sleek, straight, smooth hair -vs - child slavery in China.

Only you can choose ExD

M0nica Sun 07-Feb-21 17:41:20

Not everything made in China is produced by child slavery.

There are particular problems in certain areas, and in one or two industries, but the majority of Chinese products are produced in China by the ordinary working adults. Working condtions are not good compared with what we are accustomed to, but that would apply to most countries in the world.

keepingquiet Sun 07-Feb-21 19:10:09

It is more an issue with textiles than manufactured goods- some well known brands including Disney import cheap fabric products from areas of China where forced labour is common.

lemongrove Sat 27-Feb-21 14:04:47

ExD I try and avoid all products from China as a matter of principle.It may not always be possible but I manage to do so for the greater number of items.
Hair straighteners are made in a number of countries, try and find one made in Europe.

Katie59 Sat 27-Feb-21 14:33:59

You can’t avoid any products because even if the product is made in the UK or Germany or anywhere else, the components are made in China, or certainly the Far East.

paddyanne Sat 27-Feb-21 16:12:42

Am I the only person boycotting Israeli made goods or products? On here I mean ,I know most of my family and friends are like minded ,nothing that grows in Israel is allowed over my door.Until they stop the persecution of the Palestinian people .Or do Palestinians fall under the radar when compared to communist China for people on here ? In my opinion its as bad or worse when people are forced out of homes or off land they have lived on for centuries and live in dreadful conditions while fancy new houses and built for Israeli citizens.

GillT57 Sat 27-Feb-21 16:21:17

Keep calm Paddyanne, I do the same, as do many people. I avoid Israeli produce ( avocados chiefly), and I also try very hard not to buy anything made in China. Many reasons; slavery, non-existent labour laws, health and safety violations, copyright and piracy, animal cruelty. As far as I am concerned I don't believe any reports from China claiming that all is well, all workers are happy and healthy, but it really is very, very difficult to avoid goods made there. Anyone ranting about China while using their Apple phone or i-pad?

lemongrove Sat 27-Feb-21 16:32:25


You can’t avoid any products because even if the product is made in the UK or Germany or anywhere else, the components are made in China, or certainly the Far East.

It isn’t true that you ‘can’t avoid any products’ Katie, although sometimes it’s impossible to tell exactly where components come from.
It’s certainly possible to avoid buying anything from there through Amazon ( which is where I buy a lot of things) as the name and address of the company in China is listed.

PamelaJ1 Sat 27-Feb-21 18:17:28

I think we can avoid buying a lot of things. Full stop.
If we did it would probably be better for the world. Most people don’t have that mind set though.
If we didn’t waste our money on ‘stuff’ that we don’t need then we could afford to pay more for things we need and, hopefully, that would lead to better pay and conditions for those workers in the less enlightened (not sure if that’s the correct word) countries.

Katie59 Sun 28-Feb-21 10:07:17

Even Korean or Japanese branded products are often assembled in China principally from Chinese components, most smartphones and other devices are made in China, there are even one or two Chinese built cars available in the UK.

The quality of products have been poor in the past but that is improving quickly. The extent of the dependency was shown last summer when the Chinese factories shut down with Covid many factories in Europe had to close because of component shortages.

timetogo2016 Sun 28-Feb-21 10:12:59

A friend of mine bought me a gift back from tha USA and it was made in China.
It`s the thought that counts and at least it keeps the chinese poor in work.

I try to buy British but sometimes the price is shocking,so foreign it is.

FarNorth Sun 28-Feb-21 10:27:08

janeainsworth 'there are no official statistics' etc etc
How does that make you think there's no cause to be concerned? No statistics doesn't mean nothing is happening.

Eloethan Sun 28-Feb-21 13:15:44

PamelaJ1 I agree with you. Probably most of us are guilty of buying too much "stuff" - me included. I am trying, though, to curb this acquisitiveness which, I think, is generated by constant and unprincipled marketing, often based on psychological research which tells companies just how to "press people's buttons".

You only have to watch Dragon's Den to see that the hopeful "entrepreneurs" are often trying to market things that are wholly unnecessary. Occasionally, someone comes along who has developed a product that there is an obvious need for and which really has the potential to benefit society - but that is quite rare.

In The I yesterday was an article about "Gender Reveal Parties" - celebrations pre and post birth where couples reveal the sex of their child. These parties were first introduced in the US and already have a degree of popularity there but UK retailers have reported an interest in them recently.

The final paragraph of the article comments "..... Dr Slootmaeckers hopes people will steer away from gender-focused parties - but he suspects that they will continue as long as companies are willing to sell and advertise the idea. 'I think as long as there's a profit to be made, it will exist and the only thing you can hope is that it's not going to become mainstream.' "

Sorry if this rather drifts away from the thread subject but I do think the subject of conspicuous and needless consumption does bear some relationship to it.