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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/llbean-duck-boot-labor-shoes-maine/410863/


I was disheartened to learn from this article (and have since validated) that not 50 years ago, 98% of shoes for Americans were made in America. Today, China makes 90% of the world's shoes. L.L. Bean has opted to keep the manufacturing of their signature boots entirely in the US, made by 200 Americans. Never thought they were all that nice, and I do not presently live where they would be used, but should I wind up in such a place, I will buy a pair of their "duck boots" to support them.


If we could get over ourselves, we have the technology and manpower to restore our self-sufficiency; we'd just have to stop with the "rights" language, and get over our fear of hard work and profits.
 

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I have the Cabelas version of the famous bean duck boot. It's better than Bean ever made them and they're a lot cheaper too. Manufacturing chases the cheapest labor costs because it's mostly unskilled labor. If you buy flies for fly fishing, they are almost certain to have been made offshore by people that can't even relate to what fly fishing is, and they do a good job of it. As for shoes, and most other things, robots are doing a better job now than people ever could: now that's real self sufficiency. No unions, almost no employees, 24 hour shifts, almost no down time.

Pendleton clothes are another made in America brand that are grossly overpriced. I have a coat that's of the same basic design as one of their coats, but it's a better design and costs 1/8 as much, so I can actually wear it outdoors and not worry about ruining it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Conan said:
I have the Cabelas version of the famous bean duck boot. It's better than Bean ever made them and they're a lot cheaper too. Manufacturing chases the cheapest labor costs because it's mostly unskilled labor. If you buy flies for fly fishing, they are almost certain to have been made offshore by people that can't even relate to what fly fishing is, and they do a good job of it. As for shoes, and most other things, robots are doing a better job now than people ever could: now that's real self sufficiency. No unions, almost no employees, 24 hour shifts, almost no down time.

Pendleton clothes are another made in America brand that are grossly overpriced. I have a coat that's of the same basic design as one of their coats, but it's a better design and costs 1/8 as much, so I can actually wear it outdoors and not worry about ruining it.

I understand your point, and have no problems buying better products for cheaper. That said, I think its wishful thinking to imagine that the global marketplace is a perpetually sustainable model, in fact I think its dangerous thinking because its entirely dependent on a chain of controls (like sea lanes, cost of oil, military strength, diplomacy) that are degrading rapidly as we watch. If all of our vitals are imports, and the only thing we produce locally are consumers and frivolous services, then we are sawing off the limb behind us. There has to be some strategic thinking applied to our manufacturing.
 

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There's a lot of strategic thinking, and execution, in our domestic manufacturing. It's all about making the processes as efficient and high quality as possible, and it's working. Go to a modern car factory like BMW or Toyota or Kia, and the conspicuous thing you notice is the near absence of people. Or a beer factory for that matter, like one of the big Budweiser plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Conan said:
There's a lot of strategic thinking, and execution, in our domestic manufacturing. It's all about making the processes as efficient and high quality as possible, and it's working. Go to a modern car factory like BMW or Toyota or Kia, and the conspicuous thing you notice is the near absence of people. Or a beer factory for that matter, like one of the big Budweiser plants.

You and I use strategic differently. Each example you gave was "strategic" to the business itself (more specifically its investors) - a stovepipe application; that's not my priority. What is strategic to the nation as a whole in which those businesses flourish? It might not be cheapest, and most efficient to the manufacturer, but it may be best for the nation. Doesn't matter how efficiently made or of what quality your product may be, if you cannot get the raw materials imported to your factory, and you cannot deliver the goods to market, and no one can pay for your product. Those items are entirely dependent on things over which the business has no control.
 

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I work for an American manufacturing company so I try to buy American whenever possible. I live less than 2 hours from the plant that makes these boots so I think my next pair of boots will be a pair of these. They are an excellent company to deal with. I bought a Bean winter jacket in the early 90's, it was worn out about 10 years ago. They replaced it with an equivalent for free. The zipper is now going on the replacement so I will have them replace it again soon. Almost 25 years for the cost of one jacket, you can't beat that.

I also recently purchased a Labonville wool coat for hunting season. It's made in USA and very warm. My son has had one for years and it's been very durable so I figured I'd get one.
 

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i have had 2 pairs of ll bean rubber sole
leather top boots. they're ok, but not
that much better than the $9.99-on-clearance
far east copies i buy every year at academy.
i can send the bean's back for a re-do, but
i just toss the cheapies when they puke.
i'll pay some more to get american made
when i can, but to a degree. they need
to be built better and last longer for the
extra expense involved. the sad reality is
the cheapies have lasted about as long as
the beans (for me).
 

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TeamNelson said:
You and I use strategic differently. Each example you gave was "strategic" to the business itself (more specifically its investors) - a stovepipe application; that's not my priority. What is strategic to the nation as a whole in which those businesses flourish? It might not be cheapest, and most efficient to the manufacturer, but it may be best for the nation. Doesn't matter how efficiently made or of what quality your product may be, if you cannot get the raw materials imported to your factory, and you cannot deliver the goods to market, and no one can pay for your product. Those items are entirely dependent on things over which the business has no control.
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This country is no longer about the citizens much less the workers. The bottom line thinking is how will it effect the stock market and the banks. The only ones protected are the thieves in the stock market and the banks.
 

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I still have and wear LL Bean Main Hunting Boots I bought in the 70's. Don't have reason to wear the often any more, but wore them in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, and now Oregon as I worked in each of those states over the years. Haven't tried any new ones, but...
 

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In a lot of ways China is helping keep The U.S. afloat. With that being said, you sometime wonder if China has any stands on anything.
 

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Savage said:
In a lot of ways China is helping keep The U.S. afloat. With that being said, you sometime wonder if China has any stands on anything.

They sure stand for expansionism, it's got the whole Pacific Rim concerned. Especially Japan there has always been bad blood there between these two country's, causing Japan to build up its so called self defence force.
Her Navy is now the largest it's been since WW2.
 

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TM7, good point. My cabelas boots did develop slight cracks after several years, and one of the lace hooks came unfastened from the boot. Those were easy to fix, but still, your point about durability is a good one.

My buddy who lives in his boots only gets top quality boots because his feet and overall health depend on it. If I were him, I'd be doing the same thing. I think he buys a new pair every year and pays about $300 for each pair, and for him it's well worth it.
 
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