Where Is Santa's Workshop?

Ho-Ho-Ho, shouts Corporate America -- 'tis the season to Buy-Buy-Buy!

Yet, with this same Corporate America's continuous downsizing, off-shoring, and Wal-Martization of our middle-class jobs, most Americans find themselves a little short this holiday season. While these Ho-Ho-Hoers want you to buy stuff from them -- they have no interest in returning favor by manufacturing any of their stuff here in the US to provide some good-paying, middle-class, manufacturing jobs for our people.

Take Christmas stuff. Santa's workshop is not up at the North Pole filled with cheerful elves, and it certainly isn't in America's depleted industrial areas. Santa's workshop has moved to China. Hundreds of thousands of impoverished, poorly-paid migrants from China's vast rural areas are squeezed into thousands of unregulated, hellish sweatshops to produce Merry Christmas commercialism for us.

For example, three-fourths of the artificial Christmas trees sold in America are from these very un-merry factories. About the same percentage of ornaments, lights, and wreaths in our homes also come from there. Seventy-one percent of the toys sold in the U.S. are from there as well. The clothing, computers, cameras, and other gifts you'll buy -- mostly Made in China.

The Wal-Marts, Nikes, Dells, and other profiteers, of course, say that they have no choice but to abandon America and buy low-wage Chinese goods in order to "stay competitive." They lie. For example, a top-of-the-line artificial Christmas tree costs the owner of a Chinese factory only about $11 to make, with the labor cost only a pittance of that -- under a buck. That same tree is sold wholesale for $120 to US retailers, who then charge you about $250 for it.

Hello. The labor cost is an inconsequential fraction of the consumer price. They could pay wages 10 times as high and have no impact on the price. That's not being competitive, it's being exploitative.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.