Amongst the many forwarded emails I receive on a regular basis, a recent one admonished me as such:
My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA – the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!
Saving American jobs, (and, by proxy, resurrecting the fledgling American economy) the author stipulated, was merely a matter of reading product labels to ascertain where they were made; once determined, one should then only purchase products manufactured in the United States. The equations postulated were, in a nutshell:
(1) Made in America = Buy It
(2) Not Made in America = (a) Don’t buy it, and; (b) Demand that the store immediately cease and desist from carrying the ‘illegal alien’ product.
The author suggested we start small- “1 Lightbulb At A Time”. All we, as good Americans, had to do was apply this simple “Buy American Made” (B.A.M.!) formula and, in turn, convince others to do the same. Surely, a swarming mass of locust-like consumers overwhelming the marketplace with insistence that only American Made products be sold (“B.A.M.!!” “B.A.M.!!”- I can hear the rapports now) would create an economic revolution and lift us out of The Great Recession. If only it were that simple… My candid response to this misconception? Keep reading.
From a Global Economics perspective (or even from an American Economics perspective), the conclusion drawn from the information presented in the “1 light bulb at a time” theory is thoroughly incorrect. It’s a wholesome speculation… but it’s wrong.
An aggregate economic picture/analysis actually presents no (minimal at best) direct correlation between consumer purchase and/or use of American Made products and the availability of/retention of American jobs. Any economic analysis which does present that conclusion does so having willfully disregarded the data and/or evidence needed to make an analysis worthy of being truly analytical in the first place. This concept of American job creation is not so simple as “buy here, create jobs here”. In fact, the creation and sustenance of the American labor force is exceptionally tied to, and thoroughly dependent on, America’s trading practices with other nations, which includes the import and sale of products manufactured in other countries. What truly matters is that the products, despite where they are made, are purchased from an American business- that is to say, you can buy dryer sheets which are manufactured anywhere in the world, but, if you live in California, don’t drive to Mexico to purchase them. Purchase them from a business which is, preferably, no more distant than a five-mile radius from your home. This is the essence of “keeping the money local”, the benefits of which will reverberate within your communities.
The message presented in the “1 light bulb at a time” email does, however, speak to a much larger social issue: There are strong sociological implications that Americans, in what has now become a commonplace practice, are the persons most negligent and ignorant of what truly helps “their own”. An example: Despite a plethora of social welfare programs which appear to help individuals, the bigger picture demonstrates that those same programs actually depreciate and cause more harm to the very people they are claiming to help- and, as such, that negative element “runs off” into society as a whole, causing a trickle down appreciation and cost across the sociological board.
Initiatives which feed and shelter the homeless, which adopt a highway, which save the whales, which encourage us to buy “Made In The USA”, have certainly been created by, and are staffed by, well-intentioned persons. However, those same social welfare initiatives do not work to solve the social ills but, rather, to manage them. That is to say, rather than eradicate homelessness, in the name of “helping the homeless” the institution actually sustains and prolongs homelessness. Ending the issue would necessitate collapsing the relevant social welfare program, itself a substantial provider of employment. Now, the majority of social welfare organizations are subsidized by government funding. As such, they create significant cost to American society (mostly through taxes). But it does not stop at a merely monetary loss- further to that incursion, by insisting on prolonging the issue(s) for the sake of having something to manage (and thus failing to solve the same issues they claim to be committed to eradicating in the first place) they create a grievous social ill. Not only does it cost money, it also costs resources, it costs time, it costs brain power, it costs energy, it costs land, it costs property, it costs labor, etc., all of which could be used to build the society uprather than maintain its pitfalls- it’s sociological Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Whether overtly realized or not, this fact mandates the contemporary American “man on the street” to capitulate to an acceptance of what has now become the standardized “snapshot of American life”. This snapshot encompasses the largest social ill (of which the majority of the populace has now taken note) and it can be summarized in one concise sentence: The overall cost of American living continues to increase while the overall quality of American life continues to decline.
What I’ve written here is a series of small, relatable examples. If you’d like to know more about the particulars and/or why and how this occurs, what can be done to reverse these trends, and why that information has not become popular knowledge amongst the vox populi, please do correspond with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly, what do you have to say? Find your voice and speak up. All comments are welcomed, and received with enthusiasm, below.