Does it matter where our Hi-Fi kit is made, morally speaking?

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dhansak

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I’ve been eyeing up a Denafrips Ares II and came across OCD Hi-Fi Guy.  He was a distributor for them but dropped their brand on the grounds of aggressive business practice and human rights violations.

It really struck me and made me think.  I didn’t order one.

What do you all think?  
 

Ethical Hi-Fi?

 
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Fullrange

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Personal speaking the older I get the more it matters. Information about manufacturers, countries human rights abuses and business practices are available on the net 24/7.

What we need to do is take the information in that is available and try to work out what is true or fake news.

Later this year I won't to buy an end game speaker and Ive been making a short list and this very discussion has also been on my mind.

I would love to buy a British made and British sold speaker but it is restricting my choices. I have managed to find and list around 4 that I would like to listen to.

Let's hope that one is going to tempt me to open the very old dusty wallet.

 
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flak monkey

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I’ve been eyeing up a Denafrips Ares II and came across OCD Hi-Fi Guy.  He was a distributor for them but dropped their brand on the grounds of aggressive business practice and human rights violations.

It really struck me and made me think.  I didn’t order one.

What do you all think?  
 

Ethical Hi-Fi?
Yes it should matter. Same in everything we buy.

The world would be a better place if we sourced our food, clothes etc ethically. But sadly our insatiable greed/desire for the cheapest everything pushes many businesses to unethical/immoral practices whether that's abusing humans or the habitat.

There's no excuse for that sort of thing in a luxury market such as hi-fi. And I don't just mean high end either. Even budget hi-fi is a luxury item if you are on a limited budget.

 

dhansak

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I’m glad to hear that others feel the same.  

Wouldn’t it be great if more brands talked about this - maybe even the hifi media?

As far as the DAC is concerned I’m now looking at an RME ADI-2 DAC FS as it’s designed and made in Germany by a German company.

 

Southeastern

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Sadly, we as a society have become reliant on Chinese exports, and we cannot actually change that as everyday people because Chinese made components are in most electrical household devices and appliances. This will only shift when there is governmental level pressure on a country to make changes necessary, which does happen, just not to extent that it needs to.

I find going from a ladder DAC to an RME a little bizarre though, there will be ladder DAC's that are 'assembled' in other countries other than China - AQUA for one, your RME dac has Chinese components, so while it may not be assembled in China, a lot of what is inside is, therefore it's no different really than buying a Chinese brand. At least with a Chinese brand, you are supporting a small business enterprise instead of just supporting the poor wage/high hours factories that make the components.

Are you claiming Denafrips have human rights violations in their company? Also, the Chinese are notoriously hard 'bargainers', that's just the cultural norm, so I am not sure what relevance this is? Have you got a link to this info from your OCD guy?

You have to ask yourself if you or any of your friends, family use low price clothing shops such as Matalan, Asos, New Look, Burtons etc because the fast fashion / sweatshop industry is a far bigger problem than Chinese electrical component factories, but people want a shirt for a tenner, and a new one every few months rather than paying £50 for a shirt from an ethical company and it lasting years.

l.jpeg

 
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StingRay

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Yes I think it does matter. I’m annoyed about what has happened to Tannoy and I won’t be buying any of their speakers in the future unless they are old ones made in the UK, what really annoys me is the false advertising which we can’t do anything about because the website is based in the Philippines. Some dealers seem to be unaware of the situation. 

 

 
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HouseElf

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I should absolutely matter morally where we source anything we buy. 

The issue we have is even products manufactured in the UK for example will have components made overseas - more than likely China - so I am not sure how you would ensure anything you buy is purely ethical.

Maybe we should bring in laws similar to Italy that state if a product is said to be "Made In Italy" all manufacturing, assembly has to be totally produced there. 

 
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Andrew_C

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I’m glad to hear that others feel the same.  

Wouldn’t it be great if more brands talked about this - maybe even the hifi media?

As far as the DAC is concerned I’m now looking at an RME ADI-2 DAC FS as it’s designed and made in Germany by a German company.
But the parts almost certainly are sourced from the Far East.

 

flak monkey

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You have to ask yourself if you or any of your friends, family use low price clothing shops such as Matalan, Asos, New Look, Burtons etc because the fast fashion / sweatshop industry is a far bigger problem than Chinese electrical component factories, but people want a shirt for a tenner, and a new one every few months rather than paying £50 for a shirt from an ethical company and it lasting years.
This is very true. Reminds me of a clip from Years and Years.... https://www.facebook.com/BBCOne/videos/years-and-years-our-fault-speech/2377735542498377/

I don't buy clothes from discount/low price shops, or meat or veg from the supermarket etc, but I realise, probably like many on here, that I am speaking from a position of relative privilege. But in times of increasing financial pressure on the worst off in society, it's an unfortunate self fulfilling prophecy that we will continue to exploit people and the planet either through desire/greed or through sheer desperation.

With electronics it's almost impossible to avoid far eastern parts at a component level. 

Though not everything coming out of China or the far east is unethical - some companies are ahead of the curve for the average worker there, especially in the electronics and technology industries. Obviously not all are, but things are changing slowly. Unfortunately until the west breaks the habit of wanting/needing extremely cheap tat exploitation will continue. Most larger companies should have Modern Slavery policies in place, though in some cases they have been shown to not be worth the paper they are written on.

 

StingRay

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Sadly, we as a society have become reliant on Chinese exports, and we cannot actually change that as everyday people because Chinese made components are in most electrical household devices and appliances. This will only shift when there is governmental level pressure on a country to make changes necessary, which does happen, just not to extent that it needs to.

I find going from a ladder DAC to an RME a little bizarre though, there will be ladder DAC's that are 'assembled' in other countries other than China - AQUA for one, your RME dac has Chinese components, so while it may not be assembled in China, a lot of what is inside is, therefore it's no different really than buying a Chinese brand. At least with a Chinese brand, you are supporting a small business enterprise instead of just supporting the poor wage/high hours factories that make the components.

Are you claiming Denafrips have human rights violations in their company? Also, the Chinese are notoriously hard 'bargainers', that's just the cultural norm, so I am not sure what relevance this is? Have you got a link to this info from your OCD guy?

You have to ask yourself if you or any of your friends, family use low price clothing shops such as Matalan, Asos, New Look, Burtons etc because the fast fashion / sweatshop industry is a far bigger problem than Chinese electrical component factories, but people want a shirt for a tenner, and a new one every few months rather than paying £50 for a shirt from an ethical company and it lasting years.

View attachment 108062
Yes it’s a problem but lots of brands have clothes made abroad, it’s not just the cheap ones and some do last for years. ASOS is an online retail it does not have shops. Boohoo are cheap but a lot is made in the UK but they have had a lot of adverse media coverage, about the pay and working conditions here. I don’t pay £50 for shirts. I tend to pay around £10 in the sales. I did buy an expensive shirt last year only to find it was made in Vietnam.
Its a complex issue, if you stop making clothes in countries such as Bangladesh, then lots of people would be out of work and without work then no food, there is no safety net in these countries unlike here. 

 
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Nativebon

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The reality is most of our electronics from phones to TV sets to computers are made in China or parts are required from.

As much as I'm for better working conditions from these areas of low pay and compromise places of work, it will take a major worldwide policies to enact change. 

Whatever ideology you want to refer to it all boils down to capitalism. The question goes further about how we view status in relation to our systems and if true fairness can be acquired in such systems.

I honestly believe no one on planet earth should lack the availability of food which should be a basic human right. The sad truth is this happens even in so-called developed countries. 

How deep does the rabbit hole go?

 

Southeastern

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This is very true. Reminds me of a clip from Years and Years.... https://www.facebook.com/BBCOne/videos/years-and-years-our-fault-speech/2377735542498377/

I don't buy clothes from discount/low price shops, or meat or veg from the supermarket etc, but I realise, probably like many on here, that I am speaking from a position of relative privilege. But in times of increasing financial pressure on the worst off in society, it's an unfortunate self fulfilling prophecy that we will continue to exploit people and the planet either through desire/greed or through sheer desperation.

With electronics it's almost impossible to avoid far eastern parts at a component level. 

Though not everything coming out of China or the far east is unethical - some companies are ahead of the curve for the average worker there, especially in the electronics and technology industries. Obviously not all are, but things are changing slowly. Unfortunately until the west breaks the habit of wanting/needing extremely cheap tat exploitation will continue. Most larger companies should have Modern Slavery policies in place, though in some cases they have been shown to not be worth the paper they are written on.
Completely agree.

We have sadly developed a society where, the average person cannot afford a £50 shirt, and one where the average person has become conditioned (through advertising, social media etc) to 'desire' and 'must have' new things regularly and at an affordable price. This is possibly why we are creating an 'on credit' nation. We cant afford things, so we get sold 'money' to buy them, and even before we have paid them off, we replace them, and the cycle continues. 

We have basically created a market for a less well off society, fuelled by the abuse of others and the planet.

Cars are another one. They have become so expensive, people buy them on credit programmes and change them every 1-3 years. The carbon footprint of this is insane, but ignored.

I agree regarding China. I use a factory for some of my own industries profits, and having visited the factory, it actually seems like a decent place to work, the guys I deal with at low to middle have nice apartments and families. I have also visited factories where I almost cried after leaving. There is some governmental input now over there of working conditions, much more than say Pakistan or India, but as ever, it's not enough.

 

Beobloke

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This is one of the reasons that makes Sugdens even better! 
There is an intangible feeling of reassurance that someone 50 miles from me assembled it by hand for my enjoyment. 
I quite agree with you.

Maybe don’t look too deeply into where all the resistors, capacitors and semiconductors inside the unit come from, though!
 
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DomT

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This is one of the reasons that makes Sugdens even better! 

There is an intangible feeling of reassurance that someone 50 miles from me assembled it by hand for my enjoyment. 
What about Sugden lovers in Argentina or India or New Zealand?

 
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rabski

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Most of my equipment is 'manufactured' a few yards from where I'm sitting, but I don't kid myself about the source of components. If it's solid state, it's almost certainly from China. Same goes for a lot of other components. I don't like to bring the dreaded 'B' word into the discussion, but our parting from the rest of Europe, financially, hasn't helped, as it has made sourcing stuff from European manufacturers a lot more difficult and costly.

With most things, the chain of custody is so convoluted that standing in a shop with your wallet out, you'll have no idea of the actual source or ownership. Many 'British' companies are actually in a tier of corporate ownership where the top of the pyramid is in the Far East, and the same goes for many things outside the world of electronics. And of course, a lot of the stuff proudly marked and marketed as 'made in Britain' is actually 'assembled in Britain', whereby most of the labour-intensive manufacturing is done in the Far East and it's all just screwed together here.

Like many, or hopefully most, people, we try to be careful about what we buy. I use a local butcher, fishmonger and grocer and avoid supermarkets for perishable stuff. I'm not mad though, nor incredibly wealthy. I don't like the online business model, but I have to be pragmatic and sensible. If I can buy something for £10 with a couple of mouse clicks and have it delivered next day, and the alternative is to drive 20 miles, pay £5 for parking, and buy the same thing for £15 (and sometimes finding it isn't in stock), it's obvious what I'm going to do.

 

Psilonaught

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the OCD video is offering a very simplistic (and xenophobic) view of the world, with regards to China. Just because a product is made in the mainland china doesn't automatically mean that it is made by children?! 

 

Nifkin

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Yes I think it does matter. I’m annoyed about what has happened to Tannoy and I won’t be buying any of their speakers in the future unless they are old ones made in the UK, what really annoys me is the false advertising which we can’t do anything about because the website is based in the Philippines. Some dealers seem to be unaware of the situation. 

 
What happened to Tannoy that's upset you? That their more mainstream offerings are built in China? Tannoy are very far from the only company that do this: in fact it would be easier to name the Western manufacturers who don't outsource to China than those that do (and I'm not just talking about manufacturers in the hifi sector).

I think we should always be mindful not to mistake the 1.4 billion Chinese people living there for the Chinese Communist Party. Of course there are human rights abuses going on there, but I don't for one minute think this is endemic in every manufacturing plant across that vast country.

Also, the onus is on the Western companies and their shareholders to ensure that their businesses make every effort to work with reputable and ethically sound suppliers in that region, of which there are many. If Western business refuses to turn a blind eye there soon won't be any room for abuses.

 
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