Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Way Back to the Top

If Americans take a close look at ourselves, we will discover much the same characteristics of today that were also in the 1970's and '80's as depicted in a Michael Keaton movie about an American automobile manufacturing plant that was bought by a Japanese company. 

In the movie, the Japanese were perceived as a threat with their strict work ethic and on-the-job requirements even to the point of discounting worker safety in favor of productivity. The American workers (the Japanese management thought of them as slackers) complained mightily, boasting in American strength and superiority 35 years previously. They threatened that closing the plant as a form of rebellious complaint seemed like a "good thing to do" to prove American pride, even though the community would really suffer because of it. Production was so poor that the Japanese had just about determined to actually close the plant. When that became known, the workers really began to get angry Then, Michael Keaton stood and acknowledged that the reason the plant was owned by a Japanese company in the first place was because strength and excellence had shifted from America to Japan, as evidenced by the excellent cars coming out of Japan, replacing American cars by the thousands. His logic was so strong that it could not be denied but it still took a long time before the bulk of the workers swallowed their pride and went back to work. Through sacrifice, dedication and some comic relief, the plant was saved from being closed and an "American Icon", the automobile, continued to thrive in America, even supported by Japanese capital.

America truly has been a "melting pot" of the nations, perhaps more like a stew with many cultures remaining separate and maintaining their own distinct flavor to add to the blend of the whole. This melting pot, however, is very soon going to discover hunger again unless the people on the whole become more producer-oriented than consumer-oriented.

What is American know-how anymore? What is "Made in USA" anymore? I'll bet there aren't even many parts on our military vehicles of all shapes and sizes that are completely USA made! Does anyone know anything that is strictly American Made other than the lovely American Maids we find all over the country, and many, many of those are, as has always been the case, imports.

So, what does this have to do with anything? What is to be done? There are, generally speaking, only two thing that can be done. 
      1.    Become more thrifty
      2.    Become more personally productive

One of the main problems we face is the willingness to accept a reduction of our lifestyle. We, as a nation, have become very settled recently in the assumption that we can go from grammar school to high school to higher education or a job that will put us into a house slightly larger than the house we grew up in, a far nicer car than the one our parents drove, exotic vacations and lots and lots of other leisure activities that require, very often, lots and lots of cash or credit. If we can't have at least as big a house as Dad and Mom had, we all too often feel slighted.

My Grandmother was raised, with her 8 brothers and sisters, Mother and Father, in a two story, 18'x24' cabin with a lean-to kitchen built on later. That is 864sq.ft total for 11 people to live in. My children need nothing less than 2,000sq.ft. for their families ranging from 4 to 7 people. I've seen many families of four living in a 1,600sq.ft.home declare they need (need?) a larger house. By definition, "need" means "if you DON'T get it, you will pay for it, sometimes very dearly, so you'd better get it!" Does each child NEED a separate bedroom?

I am not advocating we all move into smaller quarters. No. I am advocating we learn the difference between "need" and "want" or "desire". Grandma wanted more space in her childhood home, sure, and she still grew to be a fine, healthy and strong American Beauty from a fine Danish heritage - her parents came across the plains with the Mormon Pioneers.They had what they needed: food, shelter, clothing, land and tools. With those they created enough wealth to not only survive but help America become one of the richest nations on the face of the earth.

I'd say Americans can compete very well in the global arena. We must be ready to do overseas business as individuals as well as the major corporations. This means creating product for export. With the Internet, international marketing and sales takes place with the click of a cursor on "Pay Now" and the little lady who hand-knits sweaters and scarves can be a supplier to the global market. Are you helping your little grandmother go global? Are you going global yourself?

What is the first step? Get a computer? Hook up to the Internet and get a Paypal account, or Clickbank? How about signing up for those free webinars that teach international marketing? Where does one start providing to the world market?

Well, how about starting with a product or service? 

Sure, there are loads of providers looking for people to plug their products and that might be just the right place for you to start. There are "warehouses" that have hundreds of affiliate programs you can sign up for, then, on your website, start selling. There are hundreds or thousands of Multi-Level Marketing companies with excellent products to sell. Millionaires are made every year in the MLM business.

I know of a man who makes wart remover and sells it over the Internet. His wife tells me things have been slow since the economic downturn, but his marketplace has been mostly in the USA although he markets over the Net. What if he started pushing his product in Australia, the UK, India, Europe, maybe even China? What would happen to his annual income? I wonder.

I have heard, just to give fair warning, that selling to China is different from buying from China. The story goes that the USA selling company received a communication from the China purchaser, when the containers of product were in mid Pacific, that the purchaser had a "change of circumstances" that required the price to be half the amount agreed or the product would be refused at the Chinese customs, requiring the seller to pay return shipping and try to sell the custom made product to someone else. What to do? Eat the 50% loss or eat the 100% loss plus pay return shipping? As the saying goes, East is East, WestWest, and never the twain shall meet”. is

More later.

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