Economic Patriotism

Quote of the Day:

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” –Sam Walton

TB remembers the commercials from years ago, “look for the union label” and other campaigns to “buy American.” In the 1980’s and 1990’s Wal-Mart used the “buy American” slogan to help them grow into the leviathan of American retail, then used their newfound and massive power to bankrupt many American manufacturers by quietly becoming the largest American importer of Chinese goods. Read the link, it’s nothing new really, but a reminder of how evil Wal-Mart truly is. Diabolical too, because even I can’t bring myself to personally boycott the behemoth, much less urge anyone else to (you were getting ready to pigeonhole me before that sentence, weren’t you?).

No, this post isn’t about the politics of so-called “free trade”, nor the consequences of it on American business and manufacturing and especially unemployment. This is simply a shout in the black hole of the interwebs, a cry for help, a plea for non-partisan economic patriotism. Somebody tell me something I can buy that’s American.

Going through my closet, not one stitch of clothing is American made. My phone is made in China. My television is made in Thailand. I had to move a piece of furniture two weeks ago and noticed a sticker indicating “made in Haiti.” Haiti, for chrissakes.

Looking around my desk, the calculator is from Thailand, the picture frame is China, and my Fossil watch is either from Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, or Uruguay but for damn sure not the USA. I’ll keep looking. Desk lamp, bought it at Wal-Mart, so China of course, as are two completely different styles of letter opener. My clock, Taiwan, we don’t hear much about them any more. Paper clip holder is Italy, home of the world’s finest paper clip holders I imagine. Eureka! Paper clips from good old Des Plaines, Illinois. Allow me to commend them to you, discerning reader, for they are as useful and well-made a paper clip as any I have ever used. American manufacturing yet survives. I heartily endorse Universal paper clips, American made.

But what else is there for the newly fervent economic patriot to buy in support of American (as opposed to transnational) business and their employees? I have started at the grocery where I find Washington apples and California grapes every bit as good, nay, tastier than their New Zealand and Chilean counterparts. The produce section is my starting point. We are still competitive in growing fruits in America (blank stare) it seems, but in what else? And I mean that sincerely. If you can point me to an American made consumer product you love, please do, and even better if you know a website that promotes American made goods I’d love a link.

I think dumping Wal-Mart altogether is impractical, and besides, they are by no means the only “American” company to dump on us. But if I can find a good pair of Georgia-sewn underwear or Wisconsin made training wheel bikes or a Nebraska forged pair of loppers, I’ll make the extra stop and pay the extra damn ten percent and get ’em. Are you with me?

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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9 Responses to Economic Patriotism

  1. Barista says:

    It made me laugh that I read this post right after seeing this:

  2. tinyd says:

    POST-IT notes! My post it notes claim to be Made in USA or Hecho en E.U.A. Who can live without those?

  3. Jessie Lou says:

    We went to Destin on summer vacation every year until I left home. One summer one of the parents vowed not to buy anything from another country – everything at that time was made in Taiwan, Korea or Japan. All the little souvenirs in Destin originated in an Asian country – kind of took the beach out of the souvenir.

    My Sanford Brand Yellow Highlighters are Made in the USA in Oak Brook IL.

  4. FlyinJ says:

    Its a big deal in the Military, to buy things that are made in America. The plane I fly is made in America, but the electronics who ultimately knows where the pieces really came from. I do know one thing for sure, My two little ones were made in America. You want to know which States?

  5. Ok, so the list so far reads….office supplies capable of fitting inside a coffee cup, everything that makes up an airplane except for the components that allow it to fly and Flyin’ J’s spermatozoa. Anything else?

    I’ll try to keep an eye out and post what I find here from time to time.

  6. Hobby says:

    I previously worked for Lane Furniture in Tupelo and the upholstered furniture was “assembled” in the USA but the components, not all necessarily, so they have something in common with a military aircraft. Who’d a thunk it? There are several but relatively small furniture manufacturers in that area. One other thing from that area is Cooper Tires but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them.

  7. smilyj says:

    Dont we make wooden bats? Thats cool I guess. And we are big with corn. The best tools are made in America. Or atleast they are considered the best.

  8. smilyj says:

    Oh yeah. We make some of the best military weaponry. I think that’s probably one of the bigger exports too.

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