In 2015, a survey was conducted by Consumer Reports, an independent and non profit organization, which found that about 8 in 10 American consumers would prefer an American-made product to an imported one. Also, more than 60% say they’re willing to pay 10% more for it.

The Federal Trade commission, defines made in America as “all or virtually all the product has been made in the US. That is, all significant parts, processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Products should not contain any – or should contain only negligible – foreign content.”

Even though, it’s deemed patriotic and is easy to state that one prefers purchasing merchandise that is so called “made in America”, preference doesn’t pay the bills. I’d also argue, the word “made” can easily be interpreted to mean no foreign assistance in production of goods. But, in fact, the process of producing goods, even those “made in the US”, requires the designs, labor, and raw materials of those living all around the world.

Americans don’t just demand foreign designs and imports, which assist in the production of goods, but also benefit from them.

For one, consumer purchasing power increases, along with a businesses profit, due to the cheaper prices instituted from the hiring of low skilled workers. Lower prices does not always mean poorer quality, but a result of competition from the global market. Competition doesn’t just lead to lower prices, but improved quality and provides more variety, meaning newer products and services. This might be a small world, but it’s full of diversity and culture. It is not just those living within the boundaries of America that have unique ideas, skills, and exotic goods to share with the world, but individuals across the globe do as well.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association 2014 statistical report, found, that 97% of apparel and 98% of shoes sold in the U.S. were made overseas. The apparel and shoe market blesses the American economy by the hundreds of billions.

From the short essay, I, Pencil, by Leonard E. Read, he highlighted an ingenious point, that it takes countless amounts of people to make a singular product. It can be easy to see a pencil as a simple item that doesn’t take much ingenuity or work to create, but amidst the industrialized efficiency prevalent in this modern world, it takes the cooperation and voluntary exchange from numerous amounts of people.

People across the globe trade their valuable resources, and skills in order to get the goods and services they want. What is mind boggling to me is the countless amounts of man power, tools, time, voluntary exchanges, and interactions amongst individuals, that goes into mining, harnessing, crafting, assembling, and organizing raw materials without necessarily knowing the work being done will end up being shipped off to produce a pencil.

Personally, I’d argue, that it can take the efforts of thousands of individuals across the world to produce a single good. A product might have been partially designed and assembled within one nation, however, a products end result went through numerous stages of processing, from the hands of many around the globe. It’s rare to have a product that is 100% American design, assembled, and using only the raw materials found within the geographical lines of the United States. Therefore, I find it funny to be awarded the term patriotic for purchasing so called “made in America” products, when in fact the origins come from several foreign nations, so if there is to still be a sticker sharing the origin of production, it should really say, made by many.

Geographical border lines should not be an excuse to reject what the rest of the world has to offer. Whether it’s cheaper labor, different skills, or, raw materials. Promoting protectionism, which is becoming a popular topic in this election cycle can have massive reprocusions on consumers, businesses, and diplomacy. In the end, it’s imperative to not control how an individual shops or runs a business, but allow freedom of choice to thrive within society, choosing to persuade, but never force someone to come to grips with an issue however ludicrous it may be.

Sources:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/05/made-in-america/index.htm

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/tools-consumers/made-usa

https://www.wewear.org/apparelstats-2014-and-shoestats-2014-reports/

https://fee.org/resources/i-pencil-audio-pdf-and-html/