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The cost of ‘cheap’

I’d like to respond to one point in the letter, “Are You Kidding Me.” The writer seems unaware that American companies have been outsourcing manufacturing to China for years, and American consumers appeared to be happy with the cheap products that resulted. Now we find that we can’t get medical supplies, drugs, vaccines easily because our pharmacies depend on Chinese and Indian manufacturers.

As a society we’ve accepted the idea that cheapest is best (for consumers, government contractors, etc.) and profit for stockholders is the highest good. And now that is coming back to bite us. Because of these “values,” we now have the greatest level of income disparity in the industrialized world. We have a completely inadequate health system which favors the well off. We have an educational system that devalues public education in favor of various private alternatives. We have a completely unacknowledged level of racial discrimination which hasn’t changed a great deal since Jim Crow laws in the South became de facto practice in the North.

The current confluence of a pandemic and the exposure of so many inequities in our system could lead to significant reform. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, I hope it does. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

ELLEN BLAIS

Mansfield

Submitted via email

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