Friday, March 18, 2011

Made In America

This is one part of the movement that I've never fully understood. Yes, yes, it's all well and good to not have had to ship things from overseas, but there is very little industry in the U.S. And what guarantee that you'll have high quality just because it's "american made"?

A fellow blogger mentioned how she was going to buy art supplies for her kids, American made if possible. My first thought was: when I think of high quality art supplies, I don't think U.S.A. I think Germany, or Italy, or someplace that has a strong art culture. I'm sure that you can FIND U.S. made art supplies, but that I fear they'd be lower quality, and not worth the money.

Because so much has been shipped overseas, there is usually only one or two of any given field still operating in the U.S. That does not give you a lot of options to work with. Suppose you're buying a tool -- you want a tool that will last a long time, not break easily, and be easily repaired when needed. If you only have one or two options, you better hope that they're good! Especially as the dominant culture in the U.S. is the "break it and buy a new one within 6 months" mentality, which does not a good tool make!

I just... don't really get this.


  1. As usual, the fulcrum is at the wrong point. It shouldn't be about buying American-made, for all the reasons you point out. The real thrust should be on mobilising trade unions and pressuring elected officials into pushing laws through that make it mandatory for all American companies selling in the US to have at least fifty or seventy percent of production done in the US. That way the local production houses, who now stint on quality because they have no real competition, will sit up and take notice.

    And that, stupid neocon economists, is how a real competitive market works and the consumer benefits, not by deregulated outsourcing and worthless products at slashed prices at Walmart and Target.

    So glad you posted this.

  2. Thanks Rimi -- its just one of those things that pisses me off, every single time someone gushes about this new thing they got "And it's made in America!"

    When I was telling T about this post, he went on to explain why he thinks nations are a bad thing. :-P That communities and the ties and bonds between people are great, but nation's borders are arbitrarily drawn and no one realizes that.

  3. Oh, and the other thing that I've noticed about American-made products: they're usually selling for a niche market, and therefore, not that useful. The ONLY American-made art supplies I've ever seen are twigs that have been hollowed out with a colored pencil shoved in there. Useless!

  4. T is quite right. I mean, my family's lands and houses and jobs just disappeared overnight because the British and some elite Indian politicians decided their birthplace was now going to be a new nation, for ease of governance. And now I'll need a visa to go where my grandparents' generation commuted from every weekend.