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  1. #1 Sunday in Schiphol 
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    Cloudy and cold here in Amsterdam. On a day long journey back to the home of dying (what else do they have to do with their lives) insurance salesmen. Flew out of Nice at 6:05 local time this morning and arriving in the megalopolis mid-afternoon.

    Loaded down with Biot glassware, in a discussion with my (European) girlfriend yesterday, we talked about why American products (food, manufactured goods, etc.) are all of a single consistency, typically less than, for example, French goods of a similar nature. This is not actually true, but what is true is that the American genius lies in mass production and distribution of goods, all of a consistent, not unique, quality. This was the great leap forward in the midst of the industrial revolution, no better typified than by Henry Ford.

    While this capability inevitably leads to (and supports) the creation of a middle-class to consume those goods, all living at a similar standard of living, it does eliminate (or significantly reduce, at least), the extremes, both superior and inferior. Take a simple thing like tomatoes, for example. Because large-scale mass agriculture has not taken hold in France as it has in the US, tomatoes in France tend not to be as "pretty," but do tend to have significantly more taste. The same could be said regarding a wide range of products when contrasting the two countries.

    What's interesting is that the standard set by the US via mass production is now being lowered significantly due to the application of similar techniques by China and India. Therefore, you arrive at a $2500 car (by Tata). Since cost is always a key driver, those types of products tend to survive and thrive in a social Darwinistic way, while cars like, say, a Mercedes or Cadillac, die or adapt downward.

    TOTD: (At last) Will the very American concept of mass production and distribution of goods combine with the forces of globalization to drive all mankind to a lower (than our current) standard of living or will the rewards of individual excellence and craftsmanship (the European model, shall we call it) triumph?

    Hey! It's early and I'm sitting in an airport!!! :D




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    Senior Member DarkScribe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
    Cloudy and cold here in Amsterdam. On a day long journey back to the home of dying (what else do they have to do with their lives) insurance salesmen. Flew out of Nice at 6:05 local time this morning and arriving in the megalopolis mid-afternoon.

    Loaded down with Biot glassware, in a discussion with my (European) girlfriend yesterday, we talked about why American products (food, manufactured goods, etc.) are all of a single consistency, typically less than, for example, French goods of a similar nature. This is not actually true, but what is true is that the American genius lies in mass production and distribution of goods, all of a consistent, not unique, quality. This was the great leap forward in the midst of the industrial revolution, no better typified than by Henry Ford.

    While this capability inevitably leads to (and supports) the creation of a middle-class to consume those goods, all living at a similar standard of living, it does eliminate (or significantly reduce, at least), the extremes, both superior and inferior. Take a simple thing like tomatoes, for example. Because large-scale mass agriculture has not taken hold in France as it has in the US, tomatoes in France tend not to be as "pretty," but do tend to have significantly more taste. The same could be said regarding a wide range of products when contrasting the two countries.

    What's interesting is that the standard set by the US via mass production is now being lowered significantly due to the application of similar techniques by China and India. Therefore, you arrive at a $2500 car (by Tata). Since cost is always a key driver, those types of products tend to survive and thrive in a social Darwinistic way, while cars like, say, a Mercedes or Cadillac, die or adapt downward.

    TOTD: (At last) Will the very American concept of mass production and distribution of goods combine with the forces of globalization to drive all mankind to a lower (than our current) standard of living or will the rewards of individual excellence and craftsmanship (the European model, shall we call it) triumph?

    Hey! It's early and I'm sitting in an airport!!! :D




    Biot Glassware
    Blah blah blah blah....can someone put a limit on the length of his rambling day threads, please??? For the love of all that's holy and good...:D
    "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." H.P. Lovecraft in Supernatural Horror in Literature
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkScribe View Post
    Blah blah blah blah....can someone put a limit on the length of his rambling day threads, please??? For the love of all that's holy and good...:D
    Don't mind the rambling so much, but get sickened by the putting down of all things American. Why in the hell doesn't CW just stay over there and sip his beverages in the Biot glassware? Actually, I have known many insurance people over the years. Although they can drive one crazy, the patronizing remarks really grate me the wrong way.

    Actually, I feel that America's promoting mass production raised the standard of living for the masses, rather than lowering it. Not everyone can afford to sip their wine out of Baccarat goblets, but there are still some nice things made in the US. An example is Steuben glass, one of the finest.
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    TOTD:

    I got as far as "will the..." ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:p
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurkalot View Post
    TOTD:

    I got as far as "will the..." ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:p
    hhmm. Not surprising, actually, as the next word in the sentence was "very," the first word to have more than one syllable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
    hhmm. Not surprising, actually, as the next word in the sentence was "very," the first word to have more than one syllable.
    yup, silly little ol' me just cain't do them big words :)


    for next sunday can you talk about milk chokolat or dark chokolate?
    thanks
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    *sigh* I knew this would be misinterpreted and it's not surprising by whom it has been. I was careful to point out in my backgrounding that mass production has indeed led to the creation and the sustenance of a middle class while systems that are less reliant upon standardization in mass production and distribution, such as France, are more likely to produce products and services that are both superior and inferior. A trivial example -- the rather upscale hotel we ended up staying at provided a unique breakfast (as part of our costs) that included various cheeses, breads (including olive bread! :D), and figs, as well as cafe creme, cappuccino, and cafe-au-lait. However, they also failed to provide their clients with any beach towels, something that virually all American hotels of the same class would provide, although they were meters off of the Croisette in Cannes!

    However, I think it's important to realize that American-like mass production and distribution does provide, what I would call from my Saudi days, "the middle cut," that is products and services that are of a standard, consistent, average quality. This, indeed, has a number of positive benefits, but it also sacrifices the uniqueness and superiority that is provided through regional production and distribution. It is also particularly vulnerable to globalization and capitalistic price pressures that lower, rather than raise the average of quality. It's also an important topic due to the current pressures upon a business model that relies upon efficient, cheap transport of goods across large areas that may force a return to more regional production and distribution.

    And, btw, I don't drink wine out of Baccarat goblets, but I do prefer to drink scotch out of Waterford rolly-polly's.
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    Senior Member Zeus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaintLouieWoman View Post
    Don't mind the rambling so much, but get sickened by the putting down of all things American. Why in the hell doesn't CW just stay over there and sip his beverages in the Biot glassware? Actually, I have known many insurance people over the years. Although they can drive one crazy, the patronizing remarks really grate me the wrong way.

    Actually, I feel that America's promoting mass production raised the standard of living for the masses, rather than lowering it. Not everyone can afford to sip their wine out of Baccarat goblets, but there are still some nice things made in the US. An example is Steuben glass, one of the finest.
    I don't interpet his post necessarily as an American put down. He is mistaken in that the nexus of quality vs value is unique to the U.S.

    I think a somewhat unique attribute of your avg Joe America is the willingness & ability to at times pay the premium for what is considered a quality value.
    The 21st century. The age of Smart phones and Stupid people.

    It is said that branches draw their life from the vine. Each is separate yet all are one as they share one life giving stem . The Bible tells us we are called to a similar union in life, our lives with the life of God. We are incorporated into him; made sharers in his life. Apart from this union we can do nothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    I don't interpet his post necessarily as an American put down. He is mistaken in that the nexus of quality vs value is unique to the U.S.

    I think a somewhat unique attribute of your avg Joe America is the willingness & ability to at times pay the premium for what is considered a quality value.
    Thank you, as you are correct. As I've noted, I was not denigrating America, but rather noting the contrast and questioning the generally-held belief that one approach is always superior to the other. And, of course, you are also correct in that what we are discussing is really a spectrum that's present in all countries. However, in the US, the pendulum has swung very far to the mass production/distribution side as we are not so gradually remaking every town and hamlet into the image of Sam Walton.
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    Ginger and I were on topic with our yarn discussion; you can go to any big discount store and get mass produced acrylic yarn in harsh, bright colors, or you can get the handspun yarns that Ginger and I were talking about, which are a joy to work with and yield unique finished products from talented hands like ours.
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