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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 10:34   #1
kristoffer
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Buying Chinese products (binoculars) yes or no

Letīs sort this out, itīs between the lines in all the Zen threads. We are allowed to discuss this, no?

So, should we support the totalitarian state of China by giving it our hard earned cash when we buy or new binoculars.

Pros:

Itīs very very cheap.

Is really the other productions countries much better? And what countries are they.

Most of the other stuff without giving it a second thought comes from China. Itīs probably impossible to avoid buying products made in China.
Maybe we should apply this moral guideline to all stuff we buy, not just the one big expensive but also the stuff we buy each day. Cant be done though?


Cons:

We support a totalitarian communist state.

Perhaps we take away a job here and give it to someone in China. Good or bad?
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 12:29   #2
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What proportion of all binoculars sold are not made in China? Very few I suspect. The main difference is that it is now more obvious?

Last edited by iveljay : Saturday 25th July 2009 at 12:31. Reason: Poor English?
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 12:41   #3
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What proportion of all binoculars sold are not made in China?
Yeah, where are the bins made?
My Nikon Monarch 8x42 is made in China. My Vortex Viper 8x42 is made in Japan. My Leica 8x20 trinovid is "Made by Leica Portugal". Most Zeiss is made in east Europe, right? My Swarovski scope is made in Austria I guess, couldn't find any tag on it. Perhaps under the eyepiece.

And further on, where are the parts made that makes up the bin? The glass and metal, rubber etc. And where is that material mined or extracted.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 14:20   #4
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Itīs a topic that will never die. But we can extend it. Where do the diamonds used to ground our glass in all optics come from? The Congo? Sierra Leone? Under what conditions are they mined and traded?

As consumers, we wanted cheaper products. We got them.
As workers, we wanted better protection and conditions. We got them.

The price was, our products are now made outside our economies under conditions which cause us crises of conscience, and we worry about jobs being lost to low-cost economies.

I wouldnīt worry too much about conditions in China. They know exactly what they are doing and the new economic world order will be focussed around China, India and Russia. Europe and North America are in decline.

Meanwhile, if you live in Europe or North America, and remove from your residence all products made or assembled in China, or containing components from China, there will be very little left. Probably not even clothes.

So we got the cheap products and the labour laws. As the Chinese say, "May you get what you wish for". Interesting times, indeed.

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 18:10   #5
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Kristoffer- Your con list is incomplete, to say the least.

Skipping all the political and social aspects of this topic, and staying focused on binoculars (and birds) and not everything else in the world, there is a practical side to supporting high end field optics from the viewpoint of a birder.

If all the makers got out of making high end innovative bins and such and left it to the Chinese, what kind of products do you think we'll end up with? Besides not having a model to steal from, they won't be making bins to challenge their engineering skills, uphold a tradition, pride in offering birders the finest products made, or support nature and birding organizations. Without a touchstone (Euro and Japanese), the Chinese will give no more than they have to to garner as many sales as possible, making them no better than minimally necessary, while building them as cheaply as possible. That touchstone, I would argue, keeps them more "honest".

And, I'm sure birds (and all critters) are finding it much harder to make a living in China these days.

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 18:16   #6
Bob A (SD)
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My view is that there are two operative issues:

(1) personal rejection of a particular country's politics / philosophies by boycotting their goods

(2) continued loss of US manufacturing to other countries

There comes a time when one has to choose between being able to acquire a particular product, or protesting and doing without.

For example, I know of no one producing a high quality, lightweight, midsized 7x roof binocular like the Zen Ray ED2 7x36 other than China. (I believe that the Vortex Diamondback and Swift Eaglet are Chinese as well.)

I've pre-ordered the Zen Ray 7x36. That said note that I have bins from a wide variety of manufacturers and sources including an "Alpha".
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 19:12   #7
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... So, should we support the totalitarian state of China by giving it our hard earned cash when we buy our new binoculars.
Short of an economic boycott, all we can do is buy on an educated basis and let the chips fall where they may.

During the next century Chinese workers may organize and transform their country into a capitalistic state dominated by international corporations who export their jobs to a peaceful, post-capitalist agrarian Europe and US.

Just wanted to be somewhat forward looking and optimistic. I have the urge to hug a tree.

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 19:14   #8
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I have only Chinese and Japanese, so mine are all Asian.

I don't need no stinking euro-optics.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 19:38   #9
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During the next century Chinese workers may organize and transform their country into a capitalistic state dominated by international corporations who export their jobs to a peaceful, post-capitalist agrarian Europe and US.
True. Then again, a world pandemic or a comet may come along and REALLY shuffle the deck. Ultimately it's all but a finger in the dike.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 20:13   #10
Sancho
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the Chinese will give no more than they have to to garner as many sales as possible, making them no better than minimally necessary, while building them as cheaply as possible. That touchstone, I would argue, keeps them more "honest".
Indeed. That touchstone makes them perfect Capitalists too. Create Markets, Produce Cheaply, Maximise Revenue.....they may be totalitarian, but they sure as heck ainīt Communist.... (And I should know...I used to think I was one...until I went to work in China....)

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 20:17   #11
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It's just about impossible to live by a logically & morally consistent policy vis-a-vis imports of goods from countries one dislikes (or goods which are simply manufactured under conditions one disapproves of). In fact, it's difficult enough to even to formulate such a policy. So, what I do, is avoid such goods whenever it's reasonably convenient to do so, & not worry about it when it isn't. A much under-appreciated virtue of modern "open" economies is the freedom they accord to the consumer to boycott particular products on whatever basis--however stupid, self-defeating, mean-spirited or xenophobic (or rational or socially responsible)--he chooses.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 20:21   #12
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Originally Posted by Bob A (SD) View Post
For example, I know of no one producing a high quality, lightweight, midsized 7x roof binocular like the Zen Ray ED2 7x36 other than China. (I believe that the Vortex Diamondback and Swift Eaglet are Chinese as well.)

I've pre-ordered the Zen Ray 7x36. That said note that I have bins from a wide variety of manufacturers and sources including an "Alpha".
The Eaglet is, for now anyway, Japanese. FWIW, Zen Ray tried initially to get where they wanted to go by using Japanese Optics resources. They didn't want to get into the cheap Chinese junk arguments to begin with. Dealing with Japan proved impossible and they had to go to China.

Now that Zen Ray has broken the path, look for 7x and 9x36 of the ZEN ED 2 to show up from Atlas, Hawke, or Promaster. If the quality 7x36 goes, maybe the euros will have to copy the quality 7x binocular concept.

While I am no admirer of the Chinese political system, neither am I arrogant enough to assume they are only capable of "copying existing intellectual property". Has that happened, sure. Will it happen again, yes it will. Is it restricted to China...I think not.

Besides if the Mayans and Nostradamus are right, this will all be moot on Dec 21, 2012 anyway.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 20:33   #13
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While I am no admirer of the Chinese political system, neither am I arrogant enough to assume they are only capable of "copying existing intellectual property".
Of course! Anyway, we "borrowed" some of their intellectual property...like paper, ink, silk, and that rather cool fireworks stuff, gunpowder. Which we Europeans, of course, put to other, less entertaining uses....

And then we came up with the even neater trick of divesting them of their products, while paying their workers with...Opium from India!!! And when they protested, hey, we just declared War on them!!! Twice!!! Honestly, I donīt think the guys who produce Zen-Rays have anything to apologise to the "West" for......

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 21:43   #14
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Some good points brought up, here, and it's worthwhile noting that the transformation that China's political system is currently undergoing came about precisely because the West provided a huge market for their products, creating a wealthy producing and exporting class that, despite largely being made up of the children of communist party authorities, has begun to wield their own power in the pursuit of a more market-oriented philosophy.

One thing I notice in all of these morality-based discussions on Chinese optics is how the relatively recent sins of the Germans and Japanese are conveniently overlooked. 70 yrs. ago, a drop in the bucket of human history, those two countries led aggressions that left 70 million dead. The Chinese (also victimized by the Japanese) don't even rate in comparison. Leitz (which would become Leica) and Zeiss both made optics and photographic equipment for the Nazis.

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 21:52   #15
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One thing I notice in all of these morality-based discussions on Chinese optics is how the relatively recent sins of the Germans and Japanese are conveniently overlooked. 70 yrs. ago, a drop in the bucket of human history, those two countries led aggressions that left 70 million dead. The Chinese (also victimized by the Japanese) don't even rate in comparison.
Good point. No offence intended to any nation/ethnic group/language community, but I think we all live in glass houses and stone-throwing is probably not a healthy pursuit.

Meanwhile, I canīt wait to get my Zen-Ray7x36, produced in China, by Chinese, in response to requests on BF for just such a configuration. Iīve also bought binos etc. from Austria, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. So no World Imperialist Order need feel left out....
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 21:53   #16
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Of course! Anyway, we "borrowed" some of their intellectual property...like paper, ink, silk, and that rather cool fireworks stuff, gunpowder. Which we Europeans, of course, put to other, less entertaining uses..........
Yes, but what have they done for us lately (other than lend us a lot of money)?

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And then we came up with the even neater trick of divesting them of their products, while paying their workers with...Opium from India!!! And when they protested, hey, we just declared War on them!!! Twice!!! Honestly, I donīt think the guys who produce Zen-Rays have anything to apologise to the "West" for......
But that was a good few years ago, wasn't it? By all means, dissolve in guilt for past sins if it pleases you, but it seems to me that it's still perfectly legitimate for "westerners" to object to present day conditions in China regardless of how badly their "ancestors" may have behaved.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 22:11   #17
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I don't really care where they come from as long as they work and i can see what i want to see. in my 15 years birding i have owned binoculars from at least 8 countries.

i'm not getting involved in the politics of it i just love birding and right now i do still own a pair of binoculars from china and i happen to love them :)
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 22:14   #18
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One thing I notice in all of these morality-based discussions on Chinese optics is how the relatively recent sins of the Germans and Japanese are conveniently overlooked. 70 yrs. ago, a drop in the bucket of human history, those two countries led aggressions that left 70 million dead. The Chinese (also victimized by the Japanese) don't even rate in comparison. Leitz (which would become Leica) and Zeiss both made optics and photographic equipment for the Nazis.
Good points, but this is why I tried to keep the focus on bins and birding and if it's ultimately in our favor if S,Z,and L go under.

Bringing up Germany and Japan and WWII is fine and valid, but that was then and this is now. The Uihgers, Tibetans, others in the western provinces, countless political prisoners, human rights advocates, environmentalists, and so on may not like the Chinese gvt much though. Regarding Leitz' and Zeiss' involvement with the nazis, I don't know. Making optics for the nazis may be overstated as not all German companies were sympathetic to them unlike, for instance Bayer, which manufactured gas used in the concentration camps. That might be a little like blaming GM for being complicit in the invasion of Iraq because humvees were used.

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 22:24   #19
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But that was a good few years ago, wasn't it? By all means, dissolve in guilt for past sins if it pleases you, but it seems to me that it's still perfectly legitimate for "westerners" to object to present day conditions in China regardless of how badly their "ancestors" may have behaved.
Hmmm. Good point. (I hate when someone stops me when Iīm on a roll...)
I suppose what I was clumsily trying to say was that human innovation is more than simply "intellectual property"....something gets invented, modified, copied, put to alternative uses, produced elsewhere, etc. etc. But meanwhile Iīd wager that the workers producing Zen-Rays and Hawkes are considerably better treated than those producing the Chinese-made baby-clothes with which the "West" is swamped. The morals and politics of consumerism are a minefield...... and the bottom line from where I live is, if we donīt import, we return to the middle ages. Even the Spanish fruit I buy here (in Northern Europe) is produced by migrant "illegal" labour working under conditions that would shock most of us.

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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 04:33   #20
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When talking about Leitz, Zeiss and the Nazis, don't forget Swarovski

As mentioned in other posts, the whole thing is way too complicated for that one can seriously base buying decisions on political or moral reasons. If you buy Zeiss, your money goes to shareholders of whom you have no idea who they are and if you like them, maybe some are even Chinese. If you buy a Zen-ray, probably half your money goes to Zen-ray, a US-company. The Chinese optics company probably buys it's production machines from Germany....
Just get's you headache. Tough enough to find out which is the best bin for yourself, better concentrate on that.

Of couse brand image plays a major role in buying decisions. But I think that's a largely emotional thing, which we don't like to admit to ourselves, that's why we come up with a whole lot of political or moral justifications.
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 08:45   #21
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Really good point, ownership is a very important factor in this discussion.

Quote:
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If you buy Zeiss, your money goes to shareholders of whom you have no idea who they are and if you like them, maybe some are even Chinese. If you buy a Zen-ray, probably half your money goes to Zen-ray, a US-company. The Chinese optics company probably buys it's production machines from Germany....
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 10:06   #22
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If you buy Zeiss, your money goes to shareholders of whom you have no idea who they are and if you like them, maybe some are even Chinese.
no. Zeiss is a private foundation set up by Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe about a hundred years from now. There are no shares in the public domain anyone can buy.


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The Chinese optics company probably buys it's production machines from Germany....
probably buys
probably?
Buys??
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 10:59   #23
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Well, that was just an example to say it's complicated if you want to dig into a companies history and ownership structure every time you want to buy a binocular. But actually it isn't, just need to ask Thola Now you just need to tell us who eventually gets our money in this private foundation and what they're doing with it and if we should be happy about it or not...
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 13:21   #24
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no. Zeiss is a private foundation set up by Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe about a hundred years from now. There are no shares in the public domain anyone can buy.



probably buys
probably?
Buys??
This is early in the morning for me, so does this mean that the Chinese don't buy the machines? I take it as that.
My father worked at GM plant in Baltimore,Md. USA and after World War II there were people from an Island nation going through his plant taken pictures,writing notes etc. and they ended up selling vehicles later that were better than what GM etc. were selling. I know this as fact. At the time I think we were just trying to help these people rebuild.
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 14:26   #25
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....My father worked at GM plant in Baltimore,Md. USA and after World War II there were people from an Island nation going through his plant taken pictures,writing notes etc. and they ended up selling vehicles later that were better than what GM etc. were selling. I know this as fact. At the time I think we were just trying to help these people rebuild.
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- http://www.businessweek.com/autos/au...e_copy_bm.html

- http://curiousphotos.blogspot.com/20...-anything.html
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