Business: Third World Style


Charles Starnes–“Chip” to his friends–brings to mind the old joke about a guy reading his fortune cookie: “HELP. I’M A PRISONER IN A CHINESE FORTUNE COOKIE FACTORY.”

In Starnes case it’s his Chinese factory and it’s the workers that have imprisoned him. Meanwhile, not surprisingly, the Beijing police are standing by and doing nothing.

His company, Specialty Medical Supplies, is a Coral Springs based business that went to China for the cheap labor and little regulation.

Recently, with hourly labor costs zooming up to the luxurious $3 level, he decided to move his operations to India where you can pay even less!

The workers, citing to some Chinese law, demanded severance packages averaging $5000 each. They coerced him to sign some agreement in Chinese—which he does not read.

As I write this, a couple of hundred laid off workers have surrounded Starnes depriving him of food, water and sleep.

And here’s what the American government should do about this: NOTHING, NADA, NIX, ZIPPO! Make him an object lesson for others that want to move their operations overseas.

Third World countries are the home to crony capitalism. You want to safely do business in China? You better make a partner of someone in the local Communist Party or the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

It wouldn’t surprise me if Starnes ends up in the hoosegow while they extort his last dime out of him. While I don’t wish him serious physical harm, I wouldn’t care one whit if he came home a bit roughed up and dead broke. Let him be an object lesson to all these Ex-pat Americans who want to get into the equivalent of Third World wildcatting.

There is a price to be paid for economic treason.

I wonder if they are promoting this at The Chinese Sourcing Fair that is going on at the Miami Beach Convention Center from June 25-27?

I doubt it.

20 Responses to “Business: Third World Style”

  1. West Davie Resident says:

    While some would say that Starnes is getting what he deserves for choosing to source his goods from low cost countries, those low costs are also saving consumers billions of dollars per year in the retail price of goods. And Sam get your facts straight. His company did pay severance to the workers displaced by the movement of jobs to India. It is the remaining employees who are causing the civil disobediance for which Starnes will have to rely on Chinese jurisprudence. Personally I would not do business in or with China. In the equipment industry in which I am involved, goods from China are unreliable and not worth the hassles. But as long as the American consumer wants cheap prices, there will be business opportunities for the Starnes of the world. By the way Sam, is your home and office free of Chinese made goods or components?

  2. Sam The Sham says:

    GORNISHT? I had to look that one up.

    I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the guy either, but I think he was trying to escape the King of all Crony Capitalists, Barky Obummer.

    FROM BUDDY: I had to look it up, too. That’s why have now removed the word “Gornisht” out of the story.

  3. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    This is why no one, no one, should be doing business w/ China. A Chinese girl threw her baby in the toilet and it survived. HOld on though this stupid Chinese tramp wasn’t even arrested. Pathetic, greedy , book smart ,communist country. Steal anything made in China people(who cares). This guys family better be on the phone w/ the State Dept asap.. And to his wife (what the hell). You let your husband set up shop in China? Never trust the Chinese.

  4. Only in America says:

    Only in the good old USA do we have any rights or protection, but that seems to be eroding with this NSA stuff and ‘big brother is watchng’
    That said I’ll take my chances here as USA beats anywhere else and this China thing should be a wake up call for the ‘little guys’ thinking they can do biz in China and not get in hot water.
    Guess he is getting a wake up call – hows it comparing to all the profits you made and “savings” you passed on to consumers. Please.

    Thanks for posting this to remind me that mfg in China will never be anything I recommend. For those disagreeing, remember the drywall, cat food, baby formula, toothpaste, etc.

  5. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Sham,
    He moved his company to China in 1999. Get your facts straight.

  6. Tree supporters say "not against development" says:

    Walsh thinks its ok to steal from people you don’t agree with? Or is it a more general feeling that Chinese are lower than you and you can take Chinese peoples stuff at will?

  7. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear West Davie,
    When I recently converted my home to solar energy I paid extra to have silicon disks that were made in America…if you consider Georgia part of the USA. The inverters were made in California.

    Nevertheless, my home is filled with things made in China and other Third World sweatshops that promote American job losses in the name of “cheap is good”. That kind of thinking is to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    It’s time we stop subsidizing these job losses. Here are some idea:

    1. Eliminate the business deduction for moving jobs overseas [Currently opposed by the Republicans]

    2. Prohibit American Embassies from assisting companies that have issues with countries that have wages less than 50% of ours.

    3. Impose tax liability on overseas earnings of American companies. At the same time lower the rate on corporate income tax to be competitive.

    4. On the environmental front we should be charging a carbon tax on imports from high polluting countries. China is opening a coal fired energy plant every week. Right now we are paying all the hidden costs of Third World pollution. We need to shift it back to the polluters at home and abroad….that would have included Mr. Starnes.

  8. Sam The Sham says:

    Sam, I’m glad I have you to point out that the Crony Capitalist that Starnes was trying to escape was Bill Clinton, not Barack Obama.

    My real point, of course, is that Obama has practised Crony Capitalism (or Fascism for the real definition) more than any president in modern history. If you are conservative, he sends the IRS after you. Try to build a factory or dig an oil well, he sends the EPA after you. However, if you build some phony green energy project, he lavishes government grants on you. If you have a liberal 501c4 he puts you on the fast track. If you are gay or Muslim or a Black Panther, you are gold and can do no wrong.

    The US today is not that much different from China with Obama at the helm.

  9. West Davie Resident says:

    Sam thank you for admitting you have goods made in China. I will not call you a traitor as you did Starnes. With regards to your suggestions, I am open to #3, curious about #2, and need more details into why #1 is allowed in the first place. #4 is a non-starter from a legislative standpoint but I suggest you ask your friends in Occupy Wall Street, the Enviromental Defense Fund, PBS viewers, the 37% who still like Obama, and other liberal groups to simply not buy Chinese goods and let the marketplace do its thing.

  10. SAM FIELDS says:

    #1. All Congress has to do is limit the limit the tax deduction for business moving expenses to moves inside the U.S. (GOP opposes this)

    #2. If you go into a country that offers little due process but potential great profits (think China, Vietnam, etc) that is a risk you take. Why should I pay for helping you out of a losing fight with the locals anymore than if you got cheated in a Macau casino.

    #4 The United States taxpayer now spends upwards of $200 billion a year on catastrophic weather events. Much of it is climate change induced. As we begin to reduce our causation footprint (think CO2, methane) others like China and India are increasing theirs. They make extra profit by being allowed to shit on the floor and we have to pay to clean it up???? A carbon tax shifts the cleanup costs to the bad guys. It worked with the acid rain tax that helped cleanup power plants.

    When the true cost of Third World manufacturing is accounted for we become more competitive and jobs will come home.

  11. Jose "Pepe" Lopez says:

    China, Rusia, North Corea, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua etc.Anyone doing business with this countries deserves what they getting. Now Mr. American”businessman is moving to India for cheaper labor.I hope he gets what he deserves.This is slavery in reverse. We don’t bring them here but, is ok in a foreign country.

  12. Diane says:

    So it is OK to extort somebody just because he has money?

    He hired people to work for him. They were not slaves. They were free to work for him or someone else.

    They worked for him and he paid them a wage competitive with the wage paid in the area.

    Now he is pulling up stakes, as he is entitled to do. He has given the workers notice.

    Well, unless there was an agreement that he pay them a particular severance package upon letting them go, or the local law so requires, he is obligated to pay NOTHING. Anything they make him pay is EXTORTION, plain and simple. Only a Communist would think it’s OK to extort someone just because they have money. Oh, but then, look at the author.

  13. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Dealing with countries like China is strictly at your own risk. Especially now that they’re emerging into a homegrown form of capitalism.The action of the workers never would’ve been allowed by their government before.

    We manufactured soft goods (slings, neck braces, the black belt with the suspenders) from 1975-1993. In the 80’s the Chinese rep came to us and offered to provide workers for both plants for two years at no cost to us.

    Sounds good? Not so much. First of all, we employed, among others, several hundred women, the majority of whom were single moms, and they’d be out of jobs.

    Second, once the two years were up, the Chinese would leave with all the knowledge they needed to produce our goods and severely undercut us worldwide, putting us out of business.

    Third, in the unlikely event we could figure out a way to stay in business and hire back experienced workers, they’d show the same loyalty to us as we did to them, which is to say “gournisht.” Means “nothing.”

    A Yiddish word. I’m surprised none of my tribespeople knew it.

  14. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    To # 6-first of all look @ posting #4-says it all. To your observations pertaining to the Chinese(first of all my comments are in regards to the gov’t -obviously). However to your remarks yes, quite frankly. Instead of thinking of me @ 3:30 in the morning(look @ the blog post time), maybe you should try jerkin off. Remember the jingle-here goes-China people never swear, asshole, asshole. Thank you.

  15. SAM FIELDS says:

    I just read that the US has revoked an import tax waiver it had with Bangladesh (who knew?)

    It seems that they have less than tip top working conditions. I for one was schocked to learn that..ha, ha

  16. Not Leo Rosten says:

    Dear Ms. Greenbarg
    maybe you could direct the tribe to the “Joys of Yiddish” to re kindle the slowly dying language, that is full of cultural and expressive language!!
    OY Vey, what am I thinking..

  17. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Hey, Not Leo Rosten, definitely a good thought well said. But we’re out of vogue now, unfortunately.

    Some of it is embedded in the English language. But what goes round comes round, and our time will come again.

    I hope.

  18. West Davie Resident says:

    Sorry Sam but you will never convince me that man plays more than a fractional part in the natural climate change of our world. Certainly the CO2 being emitted by China and India is bad for the health of their citizens and should be curtailed as has been done in much of Europe and here. The whole climate change racket is pushed by a group of scientists, university research centers, and government bureacrats whose living depends on grants and other tax revenues funding their efforts. No global warming equals no income for them. It was only a few decades ago when Time magazine warned of global cooling. And it was only a few centuries ago when Greenland was actually green. The reality is our world’s climate is always evolving and will continue to do so.

  19. Only in America says:

    #14 @Robert Walsh
    thanks for recognizing good ‘advice’
    we have much to be grateful and appreciative of in the big picture – forget the local yokels robbing us blind with pensions, pension bonds, annual city employee raises and merit raises, fat cat payouts to retiring city attonreys, hiring of ‘new’ city attorney from wherever when it should have been Bob Dunkel Esq., Carter Park $1,5000,000.00 artificial turf deals for connected subcontractors from upstate, southside school boondoggles, hand off to SS School to Nova bosum buddies of commish, sistrunk cost over runs for pretty brick patterns intersections, a way over priced county courthouse,etc. etc.
    I’m with Sam and anyone tryng desperately to just do business in the USA, and even if at my loss

  20. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    #19 lighten up. I kinda like the “local yokels”…..