Made in China Vs Made in USA

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Made in China Vs Made in USA
By Glenn Schreider

It has always amazed me that a product made in a foreign country can cost less than a product made in my own country, for me the United States of America. Even with the cost of labor or manufacturing, shipping and freight, and marketing, I see products from China, and other countries, that cost up to 75% less than similar products made in the US. Granted, a high majority of the time those imported products are of lesser quality, made with questionable (sometimes hazardous) materials, and dubious labor practices. Is all that enough to justify the redicuously low costs?

Due to several factors, most recently the economic crises (which created many different factors in and of itself - several of which were mentioned above), US consumers have been inundated with cheaper imports. Not only is shopping for the lowest price a higher priority than quality for most consumers these days, it is a essential in order to make ends meet. Economic hardships have eliminated many choices from most purchases. More is better, in spite of the quality in these lean times.

Furthermore, the large shopping venues (WalMart, Costco, Sam's Club, etc.) and even many smaller ones, have indulged this practice of cheap imports to maximize profits. Overseas imports fill shipyard cargo containers, airplane pallets, warehouses, store shelves, and ultimately our homes.

On the one hand it is true American capitalist nature that compels companies to maximize their profits. Likewise, to bend the rules (as mentioned, many overseas business practices would not be tolerated in the US) and to exploit foreign workforces.

On the other hand it is un-American to take jobs outside the country and allow our industries to go bankrupt. Additionally, smaller and independent businesses cannot compete with the flood of inferior imports. It seems that while US consumers can spend less (although perhaps not when they have to repurchase products more often because they wear out faster), small companies and many large industries are unable to stay in business. The only ones truly getting ahead are the big retailers and importers (and these days, many are doing their own importing).

Take a look at the labels of the products you own, the clothes you wear, and even the food you eat. See where they are made, manufactured, or come from. How many of those labels say, 'Made in USA'?

After World War II, the market was filled with products labeled 'Made in Japan' and 'Made in Germany.' It was the Allies' (mostly US') way of helping to rebuild the economies of those countries devasted by the war - or I should say those countries that lost the war. The same happened with Korea in the 1950s. As those countries became more industrialized, their economies were able to support more imports and their retail suppliers also looked for cheaper goods abroad. Today the majority of the imported products come from China - at least here in the US, but I imagine it is the same in many countries.

My wife and I support local businesses as much as possible. We look for products made in the USA. Oftentimes we are actually surprised to find such products. Naturally, we compare different products for quality, quantity, and of course price. There are particular products, however, which we buy that are not made in the US, such as Belgian chocolate, English and Mexican Beers, Japanese Sake, etc. But we try to buy local and US made products whenever possible. My feeling is where ever you live, you should do the same.

Glenn Schreider
Dark Horse Arts and Gifts

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Last changed: Oct 23 2010 at 8:36 AM