Made In The U.S.A.

“This is worth nine minutes of your life, if only for the babes.”

In Adventures on July 29, 2009 at 12:35 am

That’s what a reader (who shall remain nameless in order to protect his identity) said to me in the email that contained this link:

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/134984.html

He (or She?) was right.

The problem with a video like this is that it gives a guy like me heart palpitations. I don’t want to feel like my adventure is just a big waste of time. It feels good, sincerely, to be buying so much less crap than I used to. But I’m not particularly doing it to be a patriot or because I think it will save the world. I just don’t know what else to do to make my own personal nine-cubic-feet a slightly better place.

The story is complicated, as the video points out. But I’m still not sure that there’s absolutely no value in buying things closer to home. If not for the local jobs they create, then for the lighter economic impact. That’s just my gut feeling, but my gut’s been wrong before.

It also does a good job of raising the question that I keep asking: what defines an “American” car? Is it an American-owned corporation that makes its cars in Canada, or a Japanese-owned corporation that makes its cars in the USA?

My favorite point from the video came at the very end. The idea that a product like the iPod, which is made in China, has 14,000 American jobs tied up in it. Those are real jobs for real Americans. Sure, it would be great if 6,000 more had jobs assembling the things, but the fact of the matter is that that would make the $150 iPod more like a $300 iPod. And when the product was first introduced, it probably would have made it so expensive as to be unattainable for the masses, or at least unattainable so quickly–meaning the manufacturing jobs created to build the things would be temporary as the product disappeared into the dustbin of electronics history. Meaning those manufacturing jobs would go away, as would the 14,000 jobs that Americans are currently holding because of this great cheap electronic thingamajig that’s made in China.

So it’s complicated.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. I’m fairly certain that Buying American isn’t a bad idea–at least not on one man’s personal level. But I’m not so certain that Buying Chinese is inherently a bad idea either.

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  1. […] I’m not sure how it matters where something is made in terms of its economic impact on that country of origin. Just because we don’t make a product here doesn’t mean that product isn’t good for growing American jobs. (Remember the iPod example in video form from a previous post?) […]

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