Made In America

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How Can We Buy Products Stamped “Made in America?”

This stems from an article I was reading this morning about the production and sales of GM’s Buick brand in China.  Currently, at one single manufacturing plant outside of Shanghai, works concede to a 10.5 hour work day (in which the plant is running two shifts per day) and with technologic advancements and automation of many tasks, are producing 90 cars per hour.  90 cars per hour!  That’s unheard of, and I’m pretty sure the US Labor Union’s wouldn’t stand for the hours, the productivity, or the quality of the product.

As I continued reading, I began to read postings American consumers had about this article, and many of them pointed to the fact of the Chinese (not just the Hispanics anymore) are stealing our jobs and taking them oversees.  The interesting point, referenced in this very same article, is that these Buicks are produced and sold in China.  They are not manufactured in China and then exported here for us to buy.  Frankly, Buick is considered a dying automobile brand in the American society.  Who can blame GM for taking Buick production and sales to China, where consumers are interested to buy them, when we as American’s see Buick as a low-class brand?  I saw a gentleman post that he was Chinese, and the Chinese marketplace sees Buick as a model of value.  Quality manufacturing and quality pricing.  He mentioned that seeing Chinese consumers driving BMW’s or Mercedes are seen as foolish buyers, because they aren’t getting the quality product, and are paying a ridiculous price for it.

Many of the postings are from angry American’s talking about we need to buy products “Made in America.”  Can’t say I disagree, but, the problem is that corporate America, and that top 1% we are hearing so much about these days, have shipped our production lines and products out of the country so that they make more money.  One woman posted about living in Florida, the land of 1000’s of miles of orange groves, and the orange juice she purchases at her local supermarket is imported from Brazil.  Who do we have to blame for that?  Of course, everyone wants to sit and blame the government.  Clearly, the government has played their part in dirty politics making it simple for American businesses to take they work outside our borders.  But really, on some level, don’t we have to blame ourselves? We as American consumers have become the instant society.  It’s not about how it’s made or who makes it, it’s about how quickly I can get it.  It’s not about quality and value anymore, it’s about convenience.

A good example of that was the recent launch of Apple’s new I-Phone-4S.  How interesting is it that we are in the heat of a massive recession in our country, yet we have consumers that will stand in line and pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to have the hip new products?  Frankly, isn’t that probably what happened to Buick?  The new hip cool product came out, and we jumped to that instead of once again relying on the legacy and dependability of the Buick brand.  The Chinese clearly see the value in Buick…why don’t we?

As the times change, if we as American consumers want to “buy American” it has to start with us.  Not the government.  Not the top 1% of the wealthy business owners and operators in America.  It has to start at home, which is how our American society was built in the first place.  If you can’t find the orange juice “Made in America,” why can’t you walk outside to those thousands of local orange groves, get your oranges, and squeeze your own “Made in America” orange juice every morning?  Haven’t we realized recently, as our brothers and sisters sit in their Occupy cities, that the only way to affect change is to start with ourselves?

I don’t want readers to think that I’m arrogant to the fact that we have to put American’s back to work.  I think this should be the most important message on the agenda to our local, state and national governments.  But, we also have to want to go back to work.  We have to want to take pride in the work that we do, and feel good about putting in that full day’s work to earn a respectable wage.  We have to take pride in whatever our work is and provide value to it.  In order to buy “Made in America” products, we have to first stand up and be Americans.