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US Made, is it for the masses?

Stray_cat

Monkey
Nov 13, 2007
460
0
Providence
Hi All,
This is been on my mind a lot lately and I wanted to see what you all think:
First off I’m a huge proponent of US made products/services. But for all intsive purpose I qualify as middle class. I can afford the slight ‘premium’ that tends to come with such products. There was a time in my life however when I was completely despondent(I.e. looking for loose change for my coffee, driving an unregistered, uninspected, uninsured car, etc etc). At that point in my life I just bought whatever I needed to get the job done. While at that time I did care about where it came from, I was just too hard up to be able to pay. A few of my friends are going through the same turmoil I went through a year ago, and I know there’s no way I could get on my soap box and tell em’ to buy US made…let alone sustainable. Now there is unfortunately a pretty large percentage of Americans in this situation.
So the question is: Is it for the masses? Or do we have to wait for a sorrta domino effect? Paying the premiums at first until more jobs are created, thus more money to go around. Do you think it’s a pipe dream? I’d love to see your responses…just keep it friendly.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
27,081
2,061
the phrase you want is "for all intents and purposes", not "for all intensive purposes". :)

i think it's unreasonable to expect people to martyr themselves for an ideology. this holds true for buying goods made in the USA. companies such as Walmart need to step up to the plate and choose sustainable and/or local products using their mass-buying power as leverage to get prices reasonable.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
Yeah as MMike posted, we just went through this Stray Cat. Im sure the "masses" would be more for it, if it were even possible to "buy American" in most cases.

Example: Go try and buy an American Made Toaster. Tell me where you can find one.
 

fluff

Monkey Turbo
Sep 8, 2001
5,672
0
Feeling the lag
Assuming your reasons to buy US-made goods would be to support the US economy, and hence the standard of living of its inhabitants, then to impoverish yourself doing so would seem at least a little self-defeating.

If you can afford it great, otherwise you need to buy within your means.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
Assuming your reasons to buy US-made goods would be to support the US economy, and hence the standard of living of its inhabitants, then to impoverish yourself doing so would seem at least a little self-defeating.

If you can afford it great, otherwise you need to buy within your means.
I agree with that from a strictly pragmatic point of view in the short term, but I see where he is headed. Americans like to talk a big game about patriotism, "supporting the troops," being responsible citizens, etc. In truth, committing to all those causes requires a bit of self sacrifice...and that's typically why all Americans do is "talk" a big game. If people were really willing to sacrifice and buy American goods instead of heading down to Wal-mart and stocking up on disposable chinese crap, I bet we'd be in a lot better shape, overall.
 

fluff

Monkey Turbo
Sep 8, 2001
5,672
0
Feeling the lag
I agree with that from a strictly pragmatic point of view in the short term, but I see where he is headed. Americans like to talk a big game about patriotism, "supporting the troops," being responsible citizens, etc. In truth, committing to all those causes requires a bit of self sacrifice...and that's typically why all Americans do is "talk" a big game. If people were really willing to sacrifice and buy American goods instead of heading down to Wal-mart and stocking up on disposable chinese crap, I bet we'd be in a lot better shape, overall.
Your industrial base would be stronger, for sure. And hence my point about buying US-made if you can afford it (assuming it is fit for purpose).
 

FlyinPolack

Monkey
Jul 16, 2007
371
0
I agree with that from a strictly pragmatic point of view in the short term, but I see where he is headed. Americans like to talk a big game about patriotism, "supporting the troops," being responsible citizens, etc. In truth, committing to all those causes requires a bit of self sacrifice...and that's typically why all Americans do is "talk" a big game. If people were really willing to sacrifice and buy American goods instead of heading down to Wal-mart and stocking up on disposable chinese crap, I bet we'd be in a lot better shape, overall.
Yep, exactly.
 

SPINTECK

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2005
1,370
0
abc
You guys don't understand that big corporations make it easy for you to buy foreign stuff. If you look hard you can find a comparable american subsitute, but it's inconvenient and americans are lazy, which decreases their own job security and financial status.

I bought american made jeans for 38$. WHen I get T-shirts printed, I get american made, which only cost me 1$ extra (of course 50$ if you make 50 t-shirts).

It can be done, will people take the effort- history has proven they will not. It's different in Eourope, so it's no coincidence they are passing us in standard of living and their money is worth much more than our dollar (true, dollar value is not really based on american purchases)
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
Why dont I "understand" that big corporations make it easy to buy foreign stuff? I dont think I said anything to the contrary.

In fact, mentioning wal mart is a perfect example. Maybe 15 years ago, their big marketing campaign was "Made in America" stuff, but as the original owner has died off, well, we see the direction things have gone...when responsibility gives way to the bottom line.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
wall street's a bitch. CEOs are paid to increase the stock price. if they don't, they get fired. of course, they get a nice package on the way out.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
Any time I think about American Companies, and "business ethics," my mind always flashes back to that scene in Billy Madison where the CEO doesnt have an answer and just whips out a gun and starts waving it at the crowd. :rofl:
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
Example: Go try and buy an American Made Toaster. Tell me where you can find one.
Try having a small textile pre-print business where you use only US made blank goods.

Try to find good quality US made linens. You can't.


We use American Apparel for clothing items, so we have that. And some things like aprons, etc that are domestic can be found that are decent.

But the linens that we have bought that were made in the US actually sucked, and were expensive. (and difficult to source reliably). Our main problem is we use 100% cotton only. Polyester is easier to come by but we won't use it.

Linens made in countries that have strong textile industries are much better quality and cheaper. We are still looking for a good source for domestically produced linens (especially organic cotton) but if we find one I have my doubts it will last.


Maybe some day American Apparel will produce linens, or our business will get big enough to contract domestically produced blanks.
 

SPINTECK

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2005
1,370
0
abc
Why dont I "understand" that big corporations make it easy to buy foreign stuff? I dont think I said anything to the contrary.

In fact, mentioning wal mart is a perfect example. Maybe 15 years ago, their big marketing campaign was "Made in America" stuff, but as the original owner has died off, well, we see the direction things have gone...when responsibility gives way to the bottom line.
Okay, you got me, not you. But most of middle america create a demand for foreign made goods because they are manipulated by big corporations. Look at Nike, worst company in the world exploiting any labor they can- but B-ball players help the masses ignore Nike's horrible working environments. I buy New Balance, half are made up in New England, but you have to read the label.

Yes, Walmart is helping to lower our standard of living. As evil as big companies are, they still can't make us spend our money. We are guilty for voluntarily creating the demand. The answer is to be careful how you spend your money and don't be lazy- take the extra effort to look for an american substitute-90% of the time it's not a whole lot more, just harder to find.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
Keep this in mind - most often corporate management is bound by LAW to make profit for the shareholders. Whatever can be done to maximize profit and keep costs down is the rule.

Labor is the biggest cost, hence the drive to produce overseas and import. If the cost of doing business in the US was cheaper and more efficient, it would be done here.

For example - that's why Chris King can keep their manufacturing in the states - they aren't a publicly traded company that is bound to the shareholders.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
When I think about goods made in the US, typically I think of it as being high quality. Chris King being a good example, Thomson, etc. and that's mostly privately owned businesses, as you mentioned H8. Surely one thing that makes it much tougher for these small companies to thrive is the undercutting done by the big Corps.
A good example is box stores like Lowe's, Home Depot. Hardware stores are dying off fast these days. I try and buy stuff from the little guys when I can, but of course their prices are going to be higher. Probably partly because they have to try and increase margins due to lower sales volume when the big guys moved in.

I buy all my power equip from a local lawn and garden place, even though I could streamline my shopping by "One-stopping" it all at Lowe's. Im glad the place is in business, because Lowe's isnt going to rebuild any engine I blow up.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
29,541
2,212
Portland, OR
If you don't throw in your buck-o-five, who will?
I tossed in a $5 and didn't expect change. However, I have been asked if I can give more and I declined.

I can afford many things, but I choose to buy what will serve best regardless of it's place of origin.

If I buy a tool at Home Depot, I have now supported Home Depot and in turn, its employees even if said tool was made in China. If I buy a Honda from the local dealer, I supported the dealer AND America because that Honda may have in fact been made here.

Ultimately the Honda Corp. has made money, so not 100% of my $ goes to America. But how often does 100% of ANYTHING go to America? If I buy a Dodge, the fuel pump of said Dodge was made in Japan.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,659
25
behind the viewfinder
I buy all my power equip from a local lawn and garden place, even though I could streamline my shopping by "One-stopping" it all at Lowe's. Im glad the place is in business, because Lowe's isnt going to rebuild any engine I blow up.

is my memory faulty, or did you get in a big blowup re: supporting LBS a while back w/ someone? i recall you being distinctly on the mailorder side.
 

firemandivi

They drank my Tooters
Sep 7, 2006
784
0
a state called denial
CEO's have to make their company profitable plain & simple. As of right now the average American will go to Walmart to buy product "X" only because its cheaper. The problem is the average American is Fat, Lazy & Stupid, who is middle to lower middle class. They probably don't have the extra money to buy American made products. So until American made products are competitively priced with foreign ones people will not buy American.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
is my memory faulty, or did you get in a big blowup re: supporting LBS a while back w/ someone? i recall you being distinctly on the mailorder side.
What? Now Im supposed to be consistent too? WTF?

Really, I never said an LBS didnt have some value, i was going on about having to "be cool" or buy enough stuff there to receive reasonable treatment or prices.
 

SPINTECK

Turbo Monkey
Oct 16, 2005
1,370
0
abc
Keep this in mind - most often corporate management is bound by LAW to make profit for the shareholders. Whatever can be done to maximize profit and keep costs down is the rule.

Labor is the biggest cost, hence the drive to produce overseas and import. If the cost of doing business in the US was cheaper and more efficient, it would be done here.

For example - that's why Chris King can keep their manufacturing in the states - they aren't a publicly traded company that is bound to the shareholders.

Please don't tell me you fall for that. Laws are written by wealthy stock holders. Just like when the telephone company tells you the line fee is law- of course it is, wealthy people scratching each other's backs.

Is the dog wagging the tail, or the tail wagging the dog??

DOesn't matter until they make laws that mandate you have to buy from a certain company- my point is thank God we still have the freedom to spend 2/3rds ( less if you include mandatory car insurance, homeowners, sales tax) of our money the way we want.
 

Stray_cat

Monkey
Nov 13, 2007
460
0
Providence
Try having a small textile pre-print business where you use only US made blank goods.

Try to find good quality US made linens. You can't.


We use American Apparel for clothing items, so we have that. And some things like aprons, etc that are domestic can be found that are decent.

But the linens that we have bought that were made in the US actually sucked, and were expensive. (and difficult to source reliably). Our main problem is we use 100% cotton only. Polyester is easier to come by but we won't use it.

Linens made in countries that have strong textile industries are much better quality and cheaper. We are still looking for a good source for domestically produced linens (especially organic cotton) but if we find one I have my doubts it will last.


Maybe some day American Apparel will produce linens, or our business will get big enough to contract domestically produced blanks.

I can definitly second your fustration here. A few months ago I was trying to start an organic/sustainable clothing line. I really wanted it to be US made. I got quotes from both US and foreign companies that made blanks. As a brief side note it was a better process to work with the US companies on custom patterns I had done. In terms of quality there was nothing out of the ordinary from the US guys, but the pricing was more than double(pricing would have been better if I could have done larger production runs, but we couldn't afford it). I would have been better off buying foreign and donating 1% of profits to a worthy cause. I just don't think we're a strong textile country anymore.
 

Changleen

Paranoid Member
Jan 9, 2004
9,890
4
Hypernormality
I think that any 'advanced' economy has to accept that as it moves forward there is an inevitable move away from manufacturing towards services and management.

Essentially bulk manufacturing (not specialist stuff like Chris King etc.) will always be a job for those who are paid less and as the general wealth of the country increases that means that less of the population will be in a place where they are willing (or able) to do such jobs and be part of that forward momentum. Globalisation is a natural result of capitalism.

In general for you to be successful and move up the ladder there has to be someone poorer than you to keep making your 'basic products'. Whether this is China or Mexico or whatever doesn't matter. First world countries have to expect that manufacturing and 'low wage' jobs will move abroad. There really is no way round it.

Of course the problem is that continue the trend of everyone getting richer and to to avoid slipping back down the ladder, your population on average has to get smarter and consume more.

These days the US has a problem that education is weaker than it has been for a while, and globally resources are under increased pressure. Something has to change if you wish to maintain your status.

IMO one of the things first world countries have to be doing is to ensure the continued expansion of growth by looking off planet for more resources to consume. The alternative is to dump capitalism as the underpinnings of world society. However hard it would be to start moving and exploiting off-world resources, it is massively harder to change from capitalism.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,060
62
chez moi
We use American Apparel for clothing items, so we have that.
I use American Apparel for internet porn. Seriously.

But the bald fact seems to be that there aren't American-made toasters, etc., because American companies make more money doing other things than building toasters on US soil. It's cheaper to make stuff where people don't need to get paid as much to live. Even the illegal immigrants who are bound in near slave-labor conditions work largely in service industries once you're outside the agriculture/food production arena. We're not running too many assembly lines in the States. How much should we let the government step in to artificially change that?

And there's the strategic aspect of tying yourself to other countries for the goods you want and need--both good and bad aspects to it. It might be all that keeps us from a real war with China.