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12/05/2006: "Cuttin' the Wool"
Yeah, I pedaled downtown this morning to load the last two rolls of wool we needed for the Classic Wool Knickers into my panniers...and boy did the little fixie handle differently with 50 pounds of sheep hair over the back axle! But she got the job done; the cutting begins today, and the sewing around the end of the week.

Unfortunately, I had to buy imported wool (though of a slightly finer grade) for the last few charcoal gray knickers. I have no problem with foreigners making a living; we're all foreigners to someone else, we're all humans together. I'm not so keen on saving money by exploiting someone else's poverty, or their governments' willingness to trash the earth. Let's face it; most manufacturing is exported not to benefit the struggling masses yearning to make a buck in other countries, but to take advantage of lax labor and environmental laws...all of which will come back to us in the end. We really are all in this together.

As investment counselor Bud Conrad wrote recently about outsourcing:
The other side of the trade deficit is that foreign cheap labor has replaced manufacturing in the U.S., hollowing out our lower and middle class incomes. [...] The expanding trade deficit matches the decreasing U.S. manufacturing jobs. This is exactly as expected, but it is not good for the long-term economic strength of the U.S.

The destruction of productive capacity will decrease our long-term wealth creation. With U.S. production decline, there is less need for investment in that productive capacity. Investment, which is the basis for future growth, has moved to Asia. U.S. corporations seeking to increase profits by cutting costs actively supported these moves. That means less wealth for the U.S. because we are not producing as much. The economy will weaken because we are not paying our workers to make the things we import, so they will have less to spend. Foreigners have put off the problem in the short term by lending us the money to buy their exports and maintain our lifestyle. But this can only continue until foreigners fear that they may lose by holding too many dollar investments that start to decrease in purchasing value.

His goal is to promote investment in the precious metals commodities he brokers. Mine is to keep people working here so that instead of degrading ourselves to a 3rd World economy so a few rich folks can get richer, we re-invigorate the vanishing middle class--the class that makes a country prosperous.

Neighbors buying from neighbors, goods made locally and cleanly and never carried far on fossil ideal we can make real.

There will always be things to buy from abroad, be it cheese or wine or Campagnolo or Toei or Maxway. But if we don't make things too, we won't be buying from anyone, here or there, and all will sink, leaving the musty dregs of shattered economies and landscapes.

So I might have to raise my price a wee little bit next year, just a bit. But I'd like to keep the materials as well as the labor in the Bicycle Fixation products as local as possible.

Still, just yesterday I bought a Tubus Fly rear rack from Germany. So the wealth will get around. Just got to try to spread it evenly.

And three sets of knickers will be going, ironically, to new Zealand, land of wool!

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