U.S. must work hard to keep its standing
In reading the Aug. 4 issue and noting the closing stories and Mailbag letters, I felt compelled to write something. So here is my 2 cents.
* Congress is not listening and won't listen to U.S. manufacturers until we are in a crisis situation. They are putting their heads in the sands of time, hoping it will go away.
* Free trade does not work if everyone is on a different playing field. Survival goes to those that are willing to take advantage of the situation. The USA had that advantage until the rest of the world found out capitalism works.
* If you have a nation with a large population of energetic poor people, you have a ready-made cheap labor market. If you don't want them to rebel, you either feed them or give them work to feed themselves. China embraced socialism but saw that it did not provide an economic engine. Hence what we see now is a country committed to growing at the expense of the rest of the world.
* The loss of jobs in the USA is not going to stop. As China gains experience and expertise, it will continue to go after more high- and low-tech goods to market.
The United States is at a transition point in its history. It can survive or collapse, depending on how it responds. For the next 50 years, the U.S. standard of living will drop. Industrialization of the planet will bring about overcapacity to produce goods. The only thing that will block this will be the allocaton of energy. Oil and natural gas are finite resources.
What has all this to do with your business? Everything. It means you are going to be in a survival mode for some time to come. Remember, there is no law in the universe that says the USA will always be No. 1 on the planet. Times are a-changing.
How do we stay on top? Pump money into schools. Change our attitudes toward color, religion and sex. The old ways hamper and dampen bright people. Education can cure many ills for many people. Stop government waste. We don't need the government to be the biggest employer in our nation. The best tool you have sits on your shoulders. Learn to let it be free to find solutions to all the problems we cause ourselves.
Agency Fibers Ltd.
To rebate seekers: Reap what you sow
In your Sept. 29 issue you had a story that SMS Plastics Technology is asking its suppliers for a 7 percent rebate a la the Big Three [``SMS seeks rebates,'' Page 1]. Recently I received a form letter from a large client. It started with ``Dear Preferred Supplier.'' It applauded my excellent contribution to the company then politely asked me to kick back 5 percent of the past year's billing to help improve their profit and lower my rates in the future. I politely declined. They responded that there were others who would work at a lower cost. I responded by wishing them well in their endeavors, mentioning you always get what you pay for.
What the ``giveback'' folks don't really understand is that to be a Tier 1 supplier, you not only have to be the lowest bidder, you also have to have a record of excellent deliveries and obsessive quality.
While I am all for profit, does it make any sense to endanger the supply base that contributes to your own profit?
Sure, there are dozens of others who want the business. But the current supply base got that way because it worked hard to meet its clients' needs. The other guys didn't.
Why ask for just 7 percent? Why not 30 percent? If you are going to pull the business, why not just do it?
If you put your suppliers out of business, you have to find new suppliers anyway.
Sometimes it is laughable to look at the arrogance of the folks who greedily insist on the short-term gain, not realizing they'll bleed to death in the future from shooting themselves in the foot today.
Plastics still need public image boost
This refers to your editorial of Sept. 8 regarding the plastic bag bans and taxes [``Heading off debate on bag bans & taxes,'' Page 6].
There is no question that conservation is desirable. The answers that you give are all worthwhile, but do not get to the core of the problem, which is the incredibly bad public perception of plastics.
To help, a statement on each plastic bag in addition to the child safety warning might be, ``This plastic bag has saved part of a tree.''
A voluntary campaign to do this, or its equivalent, could be a project of the American Plastics Council.
Another slogan might read: ``Future generations can recycle this bag from garbage dumps.''
Our industry has yet to scratch the surface of our potential for public relations. The Epcot exhibit and a Class 1 plastic museum will help a lot.
Irvin I. Rubin
R Design & Consultation