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China Syndrome

There has been great condemnation recently because China has been selling its goods on the world market at prices below what other countries, especially the U.S., can produce. It has been called exporting deflation.

The major reason for these extremely low prices has been their labor costs which I am told are about $100 per month for ordinary factory workers. Even factories in Mexico are being closed and shipped to China because of the labor differential. These extremes in production costs are literally putting many, many companies out of business. When you look at the labels in almost any store you will note the product is made in some Asian country. As far as you, the consumer, is concerned you are buying a product at a good value. Political considerations aside there is no question this has been beneficial to retail buyers.

Is there any reason China should act otherwise? No, they are acting like any businessman. Yes, I realize it is a country, but countries do the same as businesses just on a larger scale.

Suppose you and I each own a hamburger franchise. I have a McDonalds and you have a Berger King across the street. We each sell our hamburgers for 99 cents. The competition is equal. You also own a huge cattle ranch and slaughter house/packing plant as well as a large bakery and you want to increase your retail food business so you pass along the savings you make from the meat production and bakery to the burger stand. You reduce the price to 75 cents and now make a profit of 20 cents per burger whereas I only make 10 cents and must sell it for 99 cents. When someone wants a hamburger where do you think they will go?

I can scream all I want about how unfair this is, but so what. He is not selling at a loss and even if I lower my price I can't go low enough to make a profit. I eventually will lose all my customers to him and will go out of business. Is that fair? Sorry, but fair doesn't count. That's business.

China is selling hamburgers (whatever) cheap, but they are of equal quality. Consumers want both quality and price (value) and don't care where it comes from. Countries are complaining that they are selling "too cheap". No they are not because they are making a reasonable profit. One of their production tools (cheap labor) is so good that businesses from all over the world are moving there to take advantage of it. If they don't they will be out of business. You can't blame them.

Over the next 10 to 20 years China can become the world's leading country because of their economic development. They don't have the overhead (translation - central government, entitlement programs, lawyers, labor unions, etc.) we do so they will be able to keep costs down. Eventually (many years) their central government will slowly evolve toward giving more to their people, but it is going to be decades. In the meantime, learn to speak Chinese.

Al Thomas' book, "If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!" has helped thousands of people make money and keep their profits with his simple 2-step method. Read the first chapter at http://www.mutualfundmagic.com and discover why he's the man that Wall Street does not want you to know.

Copyright 2005

al@mutualfundstrategy.com; 1-888-345-7870

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