Made in the USA: The importance of buying local

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

How much of what you buy is actually made in the USA? My mother and I were discussing this very topic the other day. We both make it a point to buy U.S. made products whenever possible. Obviously, it’s difficult to make sure everything we buy is made here, but if you’re patient, you can find many U.S. made options for almost any product.

“Made in USA” used to be a considered a stamp of quality. You knew that if you bought something made here in the States, it was going to be top quality and last forever. While that may still be the case, unfortunately, people just don’t think about where products are made anymore. As a result, it becomes more and more difficult for corporations to justify the “higher cost of labor” to have products made here and not somewhere else. So where do they go? Where does almost every “Made in…” stamp say? China.

I don’t have anything against China. From what I know, and I only know from what others have told me based on their experiences, China is filled with smart, kind people who care about the world and how to keep things in balance. These are definitely concepts I find valuable. My only problem with China, quite frankly, is that everyone here complains about how frustrated they are that we are dependent on China to keep our economy running. I have no idea how to approach that frustration, but I do know that we can all start by buying local.

There are a lot of products still made in the USA, you just have to make an effort to look for them. It may mean you have to be patient at times, but if we all make an effort to avoid buying products made somewhere else, then we can do our part to support our own economy and our own workers. Personally, I have been looking for a desk to use at home for several months now. Part of the wait was because I didn’t find anything I liked, but also because I wanted to desk I bought to be made here. Sure enough, when Jake and I went to the hardware store this week, there it was. A nice, simple desk made by Sauder Woodworking Company, manufactured in Ohio. It wasn’t even expensive, which is usually a concern people have about buying local. It was perfect.

So with that in mind, I challenge you to buy local. Whether you are looking for clothing, appliances, vegetables; with almost every product, you can find something “Made in USA.” Some products may be more expensive, but not all of them are. Some of them are still considered top quality, like St. John Knits, Levi Jeans, Maytag, KitchenAid, Lenox fine china, Simon Pearce glassware. One of my personal favorites, Harley Davidson, has a major manufacturing center in Kansas City. Ford still makes their vehicles in Detroit. If you just take the time to look at the label before you buy, you really can do your part to support the U.S. economy.

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2 responses to “Made in the USA: The importance of buying local

  1. Pingback: Made In–Bangladesh | Shifting the Balance

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