America Takes on Apple

Back in January, during the height of the Apple sweatshop controversy, I wrote:

Apple could be vulnerable. How hard could it be to make an Android tablet in the USA, and market it under a “No Sweat” brand? Could “sweatshop consciousness” be the next “environmental consciousness”? Could the “No Sweat” pad be the next Prius?

Well, it turns out that my thralls leaped into action. If you turn over the new Google Nexus Q:

Google’s Nexus Q

…you will see stamped on the bottom:

“Designed and Manufactured in the USA”

ZDNet has a photo here.

But I am skeptical nevertheless. By “manufactured” they probably mean “assembled” from Chinese parts. We will see.

And that’s exactly what Element is doing with its forthcoming line of “Assembled in Detroit” TVs, which you will soon see at Target. One hundred new factory workers will be assembling Chinese parts into “American” TVs.

The boxes will sport American flags and a picture of the factory workers. However, the box itself will be from China, and the workers pictured will be actors since Element didn’t have any handy at the time of the photo session.

To find pictures of workers making TVs, you have to go to Mexico where your TV was probably made from Chinese parts. Why Mexico? Because there is a 5% tariff on TVs imported into the USA for Asian manufacturers. But through the job-destroying magic of NAFTA, they can come in duty-free if they are assembled in Mexican sweatshops.

Element thinks they can beat the Mexican products by saving on shipping costs and appealing to the patriotism of American consumers. I hope they succeed. There is nothing I would like to see more than the American flag logo becoming fashionable, with people wanting it stamped onto all the stuff they buy.

But this is still a sad situation. Element’s CEO said:

“With the help of partners Tongfang Global and Lotus, we were able to make our American dream come true.”

Tongfang Global makes the TVs that Element markets in the USA. Tongfang is owned by the communist regime in Beijing.

That’s some “American Dream”, right?

But like “Jobs Czar” Jeff Immelt says: “You’ve got to start somewhere.”

Of course, we should have “started” by not offshoring the 100,000 television-making jobs in the first place.

Further reading: “Element Electronics: America Matters
Further reading: “Detroit’s Wages Take on China’s” (WSJ.com – not free)

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