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Ever wonder if cheap commodity exporting countries might play this as a form of covert economic aggression?

It's an interesting thought but I think there's little basis to believe there is a concerted effort here, as the average consumer is very aware that the quality of, say, a screwdriver from China, is very different from that of a German made one.

I think it's just an unintended consequence of a race to the bottom in cheap, disposable manufacturing. Even then, I'm unsure if on an aggregate level the progress in materials engineering and overall manufacturing processes does not eventually offset this focus on cheapness, resulting on better value than the more expensive alternative.

It's not a concerted effort, but over the course of forty or more years it may seem like a trade surplus built on disposable goods is somehow a strategic move?

But times are changing, now it’s also possible to buy great screwdriver from China and inferior from Germany.

Sure, but buying a random German screwdriver gets you a better one, comparing to a random Chinese one.

Even if China produces an absolute number of good screwdrivers, tge deluge of crap ones dwarfs it.

It's possible, but the "natural" explanation (capitalism driving costs down/race to the bottom) is just as plausible and much simpler

So selling things people want = aggression now?

Why is everything viewed in term of us vs them?

Everything isn't us and them, but bear in mind we're not talking about things people want here, we're talking about things people need.

oh! man! I'm loving this thread -- there's no question that economic policy is designed as an adversarial game for leverage, especially on the world stage. Taking a step back and seeing how the world has (de)evolved in the past 30 years I'm wondering if selling people what they think they want isn't the best way to bring a society to its knees? edit: and making it just ever so much more breakable to where it's usable but definitely won't last forever..

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