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Olympic Uniforms: $2,000 and Made in China

Written by Gary North on July 16, 2012

For their march around the stadium in London, each Olympic participant will shell out about $2,000 to look snappy. The uniforms wee designed by Ralph Lauren’s form. Then they were made in China.

O, say can you see? By the dawn’s early light? “Made in China.”

This is what happens when federal laws governing hiring and firing are enforced. It’s called outsourcing.

The politicians blame low wages in China. They never blame 70 years of legislation that has raised the cost of production in the USA.

Some politicians call for trade restrictions on imports. That would raise the price of goods in the USA. Customers don’t want to pay higher prices. They want lower prices. So, they buy imports. Don’t blame customers. They want deals. They get better deals from companies in China.

The percentage of the U.S. economy that is imported from China is under 3%. It’s not that much. But it gets a lot of publicity. These imports are part of the international division of labor. They are a free market response to customer demand. Parents in rural China who live on barely┬ásubsistence-level farms think that children making socks are a good idea.

The free market is a huge auction. Low bid wins in labor. That is the high bid in terms of money spent to buy labor.

Freedom to work in China is far greater than in the USA. The government does not regulate labor. This is not slave labor. Slave labor is what China had under Mao. Chinese labor is free — far freer than in America. So, China sells socks.

The Chinese central bank creates yuan to buy U.S. government debt. This holds down U.S. T-bill interest rates. Chinese workers/taxpayers are subsidizing wealthy Americans.

This is bad economics for the vast majority of┬áChinese workers. They have fewer goods (“socks”) to buy. But it is good economics for Ralph Lauren.

So, when your heart swells with pride when you see all those Americans take their $2,000 walk around the track, recall this: Ralph knows how to make a buck. It’s the American way.

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27 thoughts on “Olympic Uniforms: $2,000 and Made in China

  1. Welcome the to third world, where all our durable goods, and even the clothes on our backs, come from foreign countries. This is the colonial mercantile system all over again.

    Whatever happened to the Brave New World that the liberals in Washington promised us?

  2. Kelly Kafir says:

    The cost of union labor and their ‘prevailing’ wage
    makes it damned near impossible to do business in America… And all the stupid regulations that our good for nothing conress have mde up.

  3. Kelly Kafir says:

    The cost of union labor and their ‘prevailing’ wage makes it near impossible to do business in America… And all the stupid regulations that our good for nothing conress have mde up.

  4. Isle of Palms John says:

    I disagree with the author. Admit it. The USOC screwed up. These uniforms could have easily been made in the US. I know that for a fact. Somewhere along the line a concious decision was made, probably by a well paid member of management. The problem is that Ralph Lauren was short sighted by relying on their management to discern the Olympic business from business as usual. Some idiot on the USOC got carried away with Ralph Lauren and Polo rather than looking at the substance of their decision. To me and everyone I know, Ralph Lauren Polo means overpriced Chinese made clothing. The brand is so 1970's. Its good for the elderly who like to overpay. The contract in the future should be given to someone who is as good and more sensitive to the manufacturing issue.

  5. The traveller says:

    Watch the movie "Brave New World" with Leonard Nimoy, and you will see what and where this government has turned to.

  6. I have questions.
    Who made the decision to pick Ralph Lauren?
    Who had insight into design and production?
    Who is getting kickbacks?

    $2000 for each uniform made in China……are you kidding me?

  7. Lol the uniforms cost 20.00 to make, Ralph Lauren and the Olympic committee split the rest most likely.

  8. how about a design contest, and an open bid to produce, or is that too capitalistic?

  9. Good questions!! Ralph Lauren has given over 57,000 dollars to the Obama campaign though!!! I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

  10. Arley Steinhour says:

    What part of each $2,000 is 'Design Fee??' How much was actually paid to the Chinese firm that made the uniforms??? Is there a gap, and if so, where did it go??
    We the People, at what-ever level we are involved, when it comes to gaining wealth, are all at fault, for the basic problem. We demand far more money, to 'exist' on, than most all other nations, because, IMO, We the People feel 'entitled' to more 'since we are so talented in what we do…..' (…if you make two, to prove I'm better, I need three …. which, after the wrong-way bidding stalls out, somewhere beyond reason, and the whole earnings program collapses).
    We should not be concerned with how much we make, to prove our worth, but 'how many conveniences we can purchase with 'less.''' "A dollar doesn't go as far today, as it did yesterday," is the wrong way of thinking …. which should be "A dollar today goes farther than it went yesterday, so I obtain more, with less …" Wealth, dear people, is not 'How much do I make,' but, 'what value my life, with what I make??' DEMAND a LOWER Wage, not Higher, and then DEMAND/EXPECT it to purchase MORE. That philosophy would have the China's and other Third World nations, trying to keep up with our 'More for Less' lifestyle. (I have promoted this for over fifty years, and have been laughed at each and every time. I do not expect anyone to see this logic today, but felt compelled to 'try' once more). Wouldn't it be nice, if the penny had value, once again??

  11. Well, even more disgusting is the bus that O uses for his bus tours comes from Canada at a cost of l million dollars. A while back, I decided to buy only American made and went browsing through the stores and could find almost nothing made her anymore. I was somehow taught it was the mean old businesses, which it was in part because of unions, but being very enlightened in politics in the last few years, I know the biggest reason everything is made elsewhere is because of this big government overreach regarding regulations and taxes. Do you still remember when Obama told the South American company that when they start producing oil, we would be their biggest customer. I also think he invested some of the taxpayers money. Wouldn't it be better to keep producing oil in this country until green energy is perfected and affordable. What good is a cleaner planet going to be if no one has any money. I would rather choke on unclear air than live like this.

  12. Gary Allan says:

    I wish these outsourcing distortions would end. I remember outsourcing back during the 1970's . So whose fault
    is it, nobody can say for sure. It has been a way of life that neither party will end. So all this outsourcing blame is just more dirty politics, which I thought Obama canpaigned on fixing. But I guess it was just campaign politics as usual, no real change, and without the change, there is no hope.

  13. Western Attorney says:

    Ralph Lauren's "form"? Gary, please use a proofreader.

  14. Our stores are filled with cheap overpriced goods. Gone are the quality products that was so much in demand by Americans
    and foreign countries. Seems most shoppers don't know what good quality is. They buy what ever is advertised on the media and of course it must be some fad for everyone to buy the same garbage and be happy about it. It is a sad situation indeed.

  15. From this morning's TP Blog on the same subject but with a Harry Reid slant. "OK, the uniforms the US Olympic Team will be wearing in the London Games were made in China. They were not paid for with tax dollars but instead by Ralph Lauren who designed them and had them produced in one of his factories." It goes on to note that the real story is not the uniforms but rather the hypocracy of the Senate Majority Leader. "Forget for a moment how you feel about the uniform issue itself and consider Reid's record on foreign manufacturing. The government gave now bankrupt solar panel manufacturer, Solyndra, nearly half a billion dollars for nothing. When Harry Reid pushed through funding and sweetheart land deals for a huge solar power generating facility near his home town in Nevada, the solar panels were purchased from his good friend, and Chinese manufacturing billionaire, Wang Yusuo. You guessed it, the panels installed in Nevada were made in China! I am sure it is a mere coincidence that Harry Reid's son, Rory Reid, is employed as a lobbyist for the solar venture!"

  16. You have a sound, practical solution that only the greedy of America laugh at! Only the wealthy are laughing at your practicality, Arley. IF more America thought as you do, and APPLIED this philosophy, there would still be a “middle class”. There is NO equality any more. America is no longer the land of the free and the brave … we’ve become enslaved to merely trying to survive because of the greedy elitist whether that be labor unions, people like Ralph Lauren who could very well have SUPPLIED FREE our Olympic heros their proud uniforms for nothing more than the noteriety of his name! Our Olympians have sacrificed the majority of their lives to be able to be good enough

  17. Carol Goodwin says:

    From what I heard, all the complaints did some good. I heard the current uniforms are being destroyed and the USA teams will be getting uniforms MADE IN THE USA!

  18. (to continue …) … to be good enough to represent their Country in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London – not to mention the sacrifices their parents or families have made so they could train to become the champions they already are! Shame on anyone who has the wealth and power to have clothed our Olympians in the manner they deserve! Free enterprise is great, but when it comes to being all about the almighty dollar (which isn’t even the value of $1 anymore) rather than what that dollar could do for America AND AMERICANS, then this Country is no longer a great Nation in and to the world – it’s lost the very reason our Forefathers fought to establish the Constitution. If we must blame anyone, we can blame ourselves for forgetting who we are, that our Creator created each of in His image, that no one person is better than another, that most of us were Blessed by being born in the free est Country in the world – the land of opportunity which has become the land of the ‘oportunist’, such as those who occupy The White House, those who were given their jobs in Congress by WE THE PEOPLE, and anyone who has excelled into wealth only to use it to trample the “little guy” who probably bought their products, a movie ticket, or voted for a person whom they belived, would SERVE their constituants well.

    China is only doing what THEY’VE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY to do by greedy Americans who have sold out their own Country!

  19. Better yet, read the book.

  20. It is for people who simply want to graft as much as they can from anything they can be involved with. It's like the great one BO said yesterday that the 33 million small business owners didn't do it themselves. This comes from a man(sic)who has never drawn a non-govt. subsidized breath.

  21. Yes, but the Olympians should NOT have to PURCHASE these uniforms they have earned the right to wear in representiing their Country – the USA! WHOEVER MAKES THEM OR SUPPLIES THEM, especially if it’s someone like Ralph Lauren who has already made millions in retail sales (no one in their right mind knows the labor and materials cost $2000 per uniform!), should be clothing our athletes for nothing more than the noteriety of advertising his name. Ralph Lauren should be so proud HE was chosen (?) to represent his clothing for our deserving Olympians to wear!

  22. Does anyone remember how miserably this company failed? How many off OUR … WE USA CITIZENS … tax dollars were WASTED with Reid’s greedy motivations and MISUSE of OUR MONEY? Do you remember how these solar panels were DESTROYED when they failed??? How is it that Reid’s constituants would vote him BACK INTO OFFICE/POWER ??? Q: Do the “DUHs” in/of this Nation outweigh the intelligent??? They must – look who is occupying the White House! He ILLEGALLY was nominated (no real proof of his eligibility) he ILLEGALLY was elected (fraud at the polls), AND he had NO experience for the position he holds! His existence is one lie after another, he speaks out of both sides of his mouth, he and his wife have usurpted the PRIVILEGE of the office he holds/ the position she has by spending THOUSANDS of OUR TAX DOLLARS for jaunting all over the world whenever they feel like it, and THEN has the audacity to state – the summer prior to the election for the NEXT PRESIDENT of these United (?) States – that “they are not taking a ‘vacation’ this year”!!! Will wonders ever cease?

    This Country better have a VIVID RECALL BEFORE thep step into that voting booth this November! This Nation has declined so rapidly in less than one term with the obamas at the (corrupt) helm, that surely (HOPEFULLY), the citizens eligible to vote, have become WISER throughout this nightmarish experience! I’m all for abolishing “party politics” so that the best suited for the highest office in our Land, gets elected for the job! That applies to the Congress as well !!

  23. dito! Someone was getting a kickback or it was somebody's friend who was into it to make a killing and nothing else. This one of the many reason I have refused to send the committee any money for the Olympics. Greed and Arrogance are the predominant personal characteristics of the people in charge. Even some of the "olympians" have a bad case of greed too.

  24. Alice Ray says:

    The elderly can't afford overpay for anything, so don't badmouth them. Someone didn't think about where something was made would be important..Maybe each country should make their own outfits. Then no one would be outsourced to another country. Ask for samples and take bids

  25. Per the same TP Blog, RL donated the outfits….

  26. nobodysfool says:

    What makes me mad is turning an item over to see where it was made, and it says "Hecho en China"!!! They have to let the illegal aliens know that it was made in China. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

  27. It seems like every single commenter here simply didn't read past the headline of the article.
    I hope Ralph Lauren made a nice profit. The Chinese have discarded communism for capitalism, and America is taking the opposite road.