As a US product evangelist and humanity realist, I would like to get three points across that will hopefully convince you and all fellow Americans that buying US-made goods is the answer to turning our economic boat around. In the end, all the effort it takes on our part is to give two minutes of thought and time to research your local alternatives before clicking the “buy” button. Really, just two minutes!
1. First reason… Michigan:
We are already experiencing MAJOR employment gains in the state of Michigan, where the rescue “bail-out” of Detroit’s auto industry has reduced unemployment in the state from 14% in 2010 down to an awe-inspiring 8%. One might argue that unemployment has dropped everywhere since that peak, but Michigan’s rate has decreased approximately twice the average. See below, the unemployment stats in Michigan, taken from Google’s Public Data visualization:
These new Michigan jobs are not just auto factory workers! They are Wait-staff and Chefs in nearby restaurants, new employees at bustling dry-cleaning businesses, Plumbers, home-improvement industries and hardware stores, Architects, Engineers, Electricians, grocery store Checkers, boutique store workers, and everyone in-between. When we buy American products, we directly support the manufacturers, and we also indirectly create jobs for symbiotic businesses.
2. The Made in USA Renaissance:
The United States and its businesses are currently on a realization that we can make our products here, and demand is on the rise. Some companies have been “reshoring” their production, such as Riccar’s Simplicity Vacuum. As an Industrial Designer, I can tell you it is an absolute myth that American products are not competitively priced! And as a consumer that is constantly researching products for my Made in USA blog, I am constantly blown away by the breadth and quality of the products that are made here, items that are stylish and affordable, as well as created by forward-thinking businesses and green fabrication practices.
Just a sample of the great products made here include appliances, fashionable shoes, cutting edge clothing, handbags, beer, award-winning audio speakers, modern furniture, sleek and affordable gas grills, kitchenware, you name it! Even TVs and smartphones are on their way back here. The only thing that we need to overcome is our perceptions/ misconceptions and to adjust our value system… and to realize that if we spend a few minutes looking for American made products that we can often find what we are looking for – at a surprisingly good value! On average the products made here will likely last longer than the imported options, and will even save time and resources in disposal of the old and finding a replacement. I value that!
3. Environmental Impact:
We need to take a little responsibility for our actions and for our planet. Think about all the oil it takes to move materials and product all over the world. A globalization scenario could have materials exported, and then products are crafted and re-imported back in. I often envision crates full of silly imports that are slowly making their long journey across the ocean. Think about the impact of boat ballasts introducing invasive marine life into our coastal waters, heat waves pluming from Jet engines, and diesel trucks hauling toilets and tomatoes across the border. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is about as true to the American spirit as you can get.
It is a very simple choice to give two minutes of thought and research into your next product purchase. Resources and Made in USA sites are sprouting up like the gold mines of the old West. No matter what your party – Republican, Democrat or Independent, we are all members of the American party, and things will bustle here again when we all join the party. Next time you crave a Corona, pick up a Bud Light Lime, sit back and enjoy!
Eric Brian Smith is co-founder of US Groove, a blog that is dedicated to making it easier to find great products made in the USA.