i totally understand what you guys are saying, and i'm by no means trying to promote the trade of fake goods, merely playing devils advocate here. in fact, i would never knowingly buy fake shoes, solely for the quality issues.
just to say a little more though, and then i think we can put this argument to rest with the conclusion that buying fakes is probably not a good idea. in response to the working conditions thing, i'm lucky enough to have gotten the chance to go to china where i visited one of their huge wholesale markets and talked to the people that worked there. while there, my friends all bought fake shoes (which, for the record, are still in good condition to this day). based on our conversations with the people running these operations, there are a lot fewer steps between the guy who owns, the guy who sells, and the 12 year old that makes. yes, they use shitty materials, but their prices are way lower than the jacked up rates you see with the real deal, and the money is split between fewer people. to actually figure out who gets more in the real vs. fake scheme would be nearly impossible. in general, the whole issue of cheap production is morally fucked, and anyone interested in the topic should read bill mckibbens accounts of china. i forget the actual book name, but its worth your time.
also, i just want to say that the "don't support illegal black markets" argument is moot if you download music, movies, etc., because its all the same. just a question of who you're stealing from.
anyway, i agree that if you buy fakes you're sacrificing serious quality, and that should be enough reason to not buy them.