Retail community poetry

While shopping for a $15 extension cord on Amazon, I found this exchange between two customers:

  • Where is this made?
  • It’s made where nearly everything else has been made in the last 10 years. How was your extended stay in that time capsule?


  1. Neal

    November 13, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

  2. SuperMike

    November 13, 2016 @ 4:09 pm


    I wonder what a U.S. made extension cord costs.

  3. SuperMike

    November 13, 2016 @ 4:11 pm


    Amazon has one! $35

  4. James Stevenson

    November 13, 2016 @ 6:56 pm


    @SuperMike not an extension cord, but similar and produced by a California company:

    Sweet deal, no?

  5. phik

    November 14, 2016 @ 4:43 am


    @Neal : one doesn’t have to spend very much time studying the output of the BLS (and the media outlets that report on it) to discover the common ways in which these numbers are distorted.

    As far as I can tell, the numbers in that article are adjusted neither for inflation nor population growth. Presumably they would say if they were, because it would only make their argument stronger.

    The article says that US manufacturing output has “nearly doubled” since 1984. Well guess what? It takes 2.32 of our 2016 mini-dollars to buy one 1984 dollar. So by merely doubling in nominal terms, we’ve already had a 15% decline.

    Furthermore, there are 37% more people in the US in 2016 than there were in 1984.

    So in terms of per-capita manufacturing output, in constant dollars, we have a 40% decline from 1984 to 2016.

    That’s a pretty profound collapse, even before you start to take into account the impact that increased automation has had on employment.

  6. Neal

    November 14, 2016 @ 11:52 am


    The numbers were adjusted for inflation:

    US manufacturing output has not declined. What has declined is share of the US economy and of worldwide manufacturing output. Those trends are not surprising given that 30 years ago we already had the ability to make an awful lot of “stuff” and the much of the world has now fully emerged from post WWII devastation and/or postcolonial torpor. US agriculture has “declined” to just a few percent of GDP but that doesn’t mean we don’t grow anything here anymore.

    The US has the world’s #2 manufacturing output, just behind #1 which is a country with over four times the population. That is a very long way from “pretty profound collapse”.

  7. superMike

    November 14, 2016 @ 3:36 pm


    By postcolonial torpor, you mean socialism? (Because China was never really colonized, other than by the communists)

  8. Neal

    November 14, 2016 @ 3:52 pm


    China wasn’t really not-colonized either, but yes getting rid of communists was a big part of the equation for China.

  9. Jackie

    November 14, 2016 @ 5:52 pm


    Just imagine how they will grow when they REALLY get rid of communists! The amazing thing is that the Chinese Communist government is much more business friendly and capitalist than government in the US. In China if I want a bottle of baijiu I got to the corner grocery store whereas here in PA I have to go to the State Liquor Store to buy vodka.

  10. RG

    November 15, 2016 @ 5:09 pm


    FWIW my brother goes to China for business deals periodically. His observation is that the Chinese are freer than we are in many respects.

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