Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Asia Expo! WHY!

If you’re against foreign trade; you shouldn’t read this article. Trade with foreign countries is a good thing.

Coffee has never been grown successfully in North America nor has tea. These two products are always imported. I mention these only because everyone is familiar with both. But the truth be known there are numerous other products that we can’t produce ourselves or of the same quality as the foreign variety; Irish Wool and Turkish Mohair just to name a couple. Or, at least that it what we the consumer, is lead to believe by importers and distributers. Champagne only comes from the Champagne Region of France. We produce some very excellent sparkling wines but none the less if you’re looking for a bottle of Champagne, it has to come from France. And, if you want an overpriced automobile import; it can only come from Italy or Germany. That aside, American Auto Makers produce some of finest quality automobiles in the world; even allowing for the fact that GM is in very serious trouble that you, if you’re driving a foreign import has contributed too.

Before I go too far afield I had better point out that virtually every product we import into America can be produced right here. So, why are we importing these products? Because, over the last decade we have had “Global Economy” stuffed down our throats until we are blue in the face. The fact of the matter is “Global Economy” is hurting the American Economy. Worse yet, while we are being fed the line that we can save money we are actually paying more. American unemployment has been steadily on the rise with no end in sight while “Third World” countries are taking over our job markets. And, if you don’t think this is hurting your pocketbook, think again.

For the past 20 years American Manufacturers have been outsourcing American jobs. Open the back of your Cell Phone, Computer or Television; each and everyone is manufactured in Asia. Virtually all the clothes you wear are imports, mostly from Asia. All this is going on at the expense of the American middle class. I wonder; do we still have a middle class for surely we are being reduced to the poor and the very poor?

Think about this as you’re walking through the local Home Depot, Wal-Mart, or Target.
Yes, you’re there because it’s convenient; everything is under one roof, but, how many merchants are no longer in business or maybe scratching at the crumbs while these “superstores” are stocked with foreign made products; which they buy by the trailer load, container load or ship load at reduced prices, due to volume buying. While I really can’t fault the practice of volume buying because it is capitalism in its highest form, it is hurting our country, because very often they are seeking out foreign manufacturers and saying, “make me 10 container loads of (what-ever) and I’ll pay for it at the dock” and American Manufacturers are being left out in the cold. I should also add our Congress has encouraged this practice by making deals with foreign countries with reduced import duties, and import taxes. If you think I’m making this up consider how NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) has affected us.

What does this have to do with funeral service? Well!! A long time ago, 1963 to be exact, a lady by the name of Jessica Mitford wrote a book; The American Way of Death. It was written as an expose of the American Funeral Industry and became a bestseller. Mostly, I believe, because every funeral director bought a copy to see what truths Ms. Mitford was distorting at our expense. Well, the content aside, the title of the book was certainly catchy and true. The way we care for and treat our loved ones is uniquely American.

Now almost 50 years after the book was written and a decade or so after they started pushing “Global Economy” down our throats the National Funeral Directors Association has apparently jumped on both bandwagons by co-hosting the Asia Expo. The simple truth is American Casket Manufacturers will suffer with the importation of caskets manufactured in Asia. The American Funeral Supply Trade will suffer. And, ultimately so will you.

I could be wrong, but if NFDA is truly as their website states: “the world's leading funeral service association, serving 19,000 individual members and more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and internationally (mostly in Canada), and informs, educates and advocates helping members enhance the quality of service they provide to families”, you would think that the attendees at the 2009 Asia Expo would have wanted to come here and attend NFDA’s annual convention where they can learn.

NFDA also states that funeral service is a global enterprise. I could be wrong but, “enterprise” in my mind means a business venture and if this is the case I can’t see how an Asia Expo can benefit the American Funeral Director. The basic philosophy of funeral service has always been: “Neighbors helping Neighbors”. While the simple black and white of this philosophy may have become grayed with the founding of corporate owned funeral service in our country, even corporate owned funeral service holds to this principal in each of the locations. Their managers are encouraged to be active in their local communities.

Again, I could be wrong but, if NFDA truly wants to help its membership, your membership dollars should be used here at home rather than helping entities that could presumably have a negative effect on the American Funeral Industry. One way they can do this is; rather than co-hosting an event half way around the world, is to use that money it will cost them as Co-Host of this expo to reduce registration fees and membership fees so more American Funeral Professionals can afford to attend their Annual Convention. Assist State Associations that are struggling to have State Conventions by Co-Sponsoring regional conventions that would help the States involved and make things more affordable to suppliers who are finding it harder and harder to participate in State conventions due to spiraling costs. This would go a long way to advance funeral service here at home. NFDA needs to slow down and acknowledge the fact that they are in existence to serve funeral professionals here at home, not to be served by them and squander their dues money on the other side of the world.

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1 comment:

  1. Hey Richard!
    Great information about importers and how very true it is that American jobs are being cut due to the shift of our labor force to overseas! In the Boy Scouts we see this as well due to the job losses our fundraising dollars have decreased.

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