Toys, China, Prices, And Burnett On CNBC


When news came yesterday that Cheung Shu-hung, a co-owner of the Lee Der Industrial Corporation responsible for the lead contamination of approximately 1.5 million toys that recently had to be recalled by Mattel committed suicide at one of his warehouses, I must admit that I was really not that surprised. After all, it's not uncommon for disgraced officials in China to commit suicide in response to the immense amount of public shame their actions bring on both themselves and their families. With Thomas and Friends being recalled this year for similar concerns, and another round of recalls coming shortly from Mattel, it seems as if there is, in fact, no end to the problems with Chinese manufacturers and the production of toys. And with over 80% of the toys sold in the world being produced in China, I'd be willing to bet that there are a whole lot more out there just waiting to be recalled as it becomes more and more apparent that Chinese suppliers having been cutting every toxic corner imaginable to gain an edge in the fierce competition for a piece of the business. Of course, that doesn't seem to worry CNBC's Erin Burnett a bit As Lloyd posted today in the "Quote of the Day Dept.", she points out if "China is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them, or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up. And that means prices at Walmart, here in the United States, are going to go up too. So, I would say China is our greatest friend right now. They're keeping prices low..." Now for some reason her comment coupled with the latest toy recall leads me to believe that we need to take a moment to declare that we've reached "rock-bottom" on prices in America. Because when you take away the fact that this is clearly an absurd comment made by someone who really needs to read Treehugger, you reach the reality that many of the prices we're paying today are just too low . How do I know? Well, when it's no longer possible to safely produce the food that I eat or the toys that my son will play with at a certain price, then it's time for that price to go up a bit Now I don't know how much of an increase it will take, and I don't know how soon it will happen, but I certainly know that it must. And I suspect that when this whole mess with lead in the paint on toys, toxic food, and tainted toothpaste is sorted out, the rest of the public will reach this conclusion as well. After all, it simply doesn't make sense to use the cheapest product available when you know it's just not safely possible.

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