"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

11 November 2010

Boycott China - Day one

So today I had to go to the store to buy a birthday gift for my friend's daughter. She's a clever and crafty girl, turning twelve, so I thought a gift from the local craft chain made sense. As I pondered the store, I found a million things she'd like. Every item I picked up (save two which were more accessories to a gift rather than gifts themselves) was made in China. Eventually, I gave up and went up the way to the other nearby craft chain store. Same experience, in fact most of what they offered was identical, brand included, to the competitor just down the road.

And you know something? While I wandered both stores for a total of an hour (what a waste) trying to find a decent made anywhere but China gift, I realized something. There is not a thing that I left behind that I regret, nothing that this girl will miss in her present pile. In fact, the gift I did buy, she'll probably like it, but its not going to improve her life in any meaninful way. Its all just stuff.

Cheap Chinese goods are popular because the people are content with meaningless wasteful clutter. Almost nobody wants more. China has been allowed to build an economic empire on the fact that we have too much money and no brains. Our vapid consumeristic lifestyle is supporting sweatshops, human rights abuses, and environmental disaster worldwide. All for stuff that is guaranteed to spend far more time cluttering up a landfill after it has completed its tenure cluttering up our homes.

Now some might object that Christmas is right around the corner. But would Christ be pleased by worthless consumer clutter, mindless spending, vapid expressions of obligation, and the misuse of creation required for the mass production of useless items? Its poor stewardship, institutionalized.

Anyone who will disown you for not getting them an obligation gift is no real friend. And for those who would truly be hurt to be left off your list (they are much fewer in number than you suspect) please buy from places like The Hunger Site a local fair trade store, or a local artisan. Those gifts are far more interesting anyway.


  1. I have enjoyed reading your comments on China, and applaud your boycott. Not buying needless trinkets is a great start. Dorothy Sayers had a lot to say on that subject.

    The disturbing thing for me as a farmer is that the Chinese have supplanted American goods that are essential manufactured items, such as replacement parts. Here is a typical example from my wife's blog

    I have a friend who is an industrial welder. He can spot Chinese steel in the yard by the rapidity with which it pits after rusting.
    I would happily pay more for US or European parts of higher quality, but the choice is becoming less available every day.

    Keep up the great weblog.

  2. Thanks for posting! Actually, the idea of boycotting China during Christmas shopping season is turning out to be a real blessing, and a bit of fun, for me. I generally hate shopping, getting done what needs to be done with minimal attention to stuff and nonsense. So I've had to slow down a bit and go off the beaten path. Since "off the beaten path" is usually my favorite place to be, that's not too terrible a lot.
    Your reply reminded me of thise guys: http://shepherdsflock.com/ who I found in an attempt to buy fleece slippers not made in China. Their order form absolutely made my day: http://www.shepherdsflock.com/pdf/orderblank.pdf
    Maybe it's my relational side, or maybe just because my dad started his own business when I was a kid, but I love doing business with real people!

  3. Galatians 4

    8However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.

    9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?

    Since you're writing about trade with China, there may be more than one kind of slavery involved.