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Letters

A Matter of Curbing Foreign Trade or Our Spending Habits?

January 05, 2003

Fred Dickey's article "Levi Strauss and the Price We Pay" (Dec. 1) tells the story of the hundreds of thousands of American textile and apparel workers who have lost their jobs due to globalization. Globalization is caused by the enormous power of corporate contributions to our elected representatives in Washington. By lowering tariffs on foreign imports, Congress puts our workers in direct competition with pennies-an-hour labor elsewhere.

Levi Strauss wouldn't move production offshore if it couldn't get its products back into our market and still make a profit. After 30 years of unabated trade liberalization, I think the burden has now shifted to the proponents of free trade to tell us their endgame scenario. The goal of our trade policies should not be free trade [but rather] enriching our workers and developing our economy. Levi Strauss was an active player in promoting textile and apparel trade liberalization on Capitol Hill. Its former workers are victims of its lobbying efforts.

Jock Nash

Washinton, D.C.

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The search for a quick buck without any moral obligation is creating intolerable conditions here and abroad. Historically such conditions led to political instability, revolution and war. We should elect politicians who realize that there's a link between human dignity and national security, but I'm bitterly aware that none are interested. Difficult decisions about human rights will have to be made within the next 10 years if we are to avoid global catastrophes.

Tony Esporma

Via the Internet

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Once again we lament the loss of American jobs as Levi Strauss moves its production offshore. For Levi Strauss, it is a matter of survival after years of trying to avoid this decision. Americans need to reflect on their personal behavior and its impact on such events. Our constant search for the cheapest option, even as we fall for the allure of imported products that are made more cheaply in America, is much to blame. How many of us would pay even $1 extra for a pair of jeans made in the U.S.? And how many of us do pay more for imported wines or cheeses when U.S. products are better and cheaper? Our personal buying decisions drive the loss of American jobs, not companies like Levi Strauss.

J. Hirsch

Via the Internet

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We should have taken note this Christmas as we shopped 'til we dropped of how many items we purchased from the countries mentioned in the Levi Strauss article. Almost everything with an electrical cord or batteries comes from China, Taiwan or Mexico. They long ago chased American manufacturers into the ground. Don't wonder where illegal aliens are going to find work. Start wondering where our children will be employed.

Joe Viers

Mission Viejo

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