In tough economic times, Americans consumers are presented with a paradox – to seek out made in USA products to support our national economy or to purchase items manufactured overseas at a discounted price. There are few made in USA products currently on the market that are less expensive than imported goods. However, price is not always the most important factor to consider when making a purchase.
Consumers must support the national economy, or made in USA products will continue to decline and possibly disappear. Conversely, if consumers use their buying power to indicate that they are willing to pay a slight premium for American made items, domestic manufacturing will thrive and expand. The more USA made products American consumers purchase, from made in USA water bottles to organic apparel, the more products will become available.
Supporting the national economy goes beyond patriotism – buying made in USA products is the “green” choice as well. When consumers purchase items imported from other countries, they rarely take into consideration the carbon footprint of that item, i.e. how it was manufactured. For example, if you purchase made in USA clothes you are guaranteed they came from somewhere in the 50 states. Depending on where you live, there is a good chance your clothing item was manufactured and shipped to the end consumer less than 3,000 miles away. If you purchase an article of clothing made overseas, it’s possible that the fabric came from one country in the south Pacific and the item was assembled in an entirely different country then shipped to the United States. When all is said and done, one article of imported clothing has most likely travelled tens of thousands of miles before it ends up at your door. And even if the clothing is organic apparel, the environmental footprint may be quite large.
Additionally, there’s a reason that it is cheaper to manufacture items overseas. Many other countries have less stringent policies regarding labor laws and manufacturing best practices. So the less expensive items that are exported into the United States come at a price – generally at the expense of foreign laborers and increased pollution in developing nations.
In the current economic climate, it may be a challenge to find made in USA products, particularly organic apparel, grocery totes, stainless steel water bottles and electronics. However, if consumers begin to question where items are manufactured and choose to buy made in USA products when available, the impact could be staggering. The end result will be increased availability of made in USA products which support both the national economy and the environment.