If you’ve looked closely at labels in a retail store, you know that they claim all sorts of things. However, just because a company makes certain claims on its label doesn’t mean it is 100 percent accurate. If you see a product containing the label “Made in the USA,” though, that means it was “all or virtually all” made in the United States. In fact, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regulates this label.
Although some products made in the United States may cost a little more than their foreign-manufactured counterparts, many Americans would rather purchase them. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey found that eight in ten U.S. consumers would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one, and more than 60 percent would pay extra to buy American. Approximately 80 percent of the survey’s respondents cited the retention of manufacturing jobs in this country as the primary reason they’d select a U.S.-made product over one produced in another country. About 60 percent invoked concern about the possible harmful use of child labor and other unfair labor practices.
A Justification for Jobs
As mentioned in the Consumer Reports survey, one of the key incentives for purchasing products made in this country is job growth. If every U.S. resident spent just $64 each year on U.S.-produced goods, there would be an additional 200,000 jobs. This would, in turn, decrease the unemployment rate, minimize the country’s trade deficit and expand the tax base.
When a business is based in a community, it supports the area and through taxes contributes to its economy and overall sustainability. This is the case even if it manufactures and sells products to consumers throughout the country and globally. One study noted that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city compared to only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer.
In addition, local workers support their community. They do this by spending money at other businesses. Often, local companies employ the services of other enterprises in the area. And, many consumers prefer to communicate with customer service representatives who are familiar with the region in which they live.
Unlike the United States, countries like China don’t have comprehensive labor laws. The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights issued a report outlining how Chinese workers who produce toys for some popular American brands work 12- to 13-hour days and sleep on plywood bunk beds in crowded, dirty and freezing dormitories. Some foreign countries offer employees only low pay and limited benefits, if any. Others don’t have child labor guidelines in place or enforce necessary safety practices. In the U.S., the U.S. Department of Labor implements laws to protect the rights of employees and takes actions when those rights are infringed upon.
The transportation and delivery of products made outside the United States result in an unnecessary waste of energy and emission of pollution. This country has rules and regulations to protect the environment. Others around the world in areas in which a lot of products sold in the U.S. are manufactured leak hazardous chemicals into the environment. This lack of regulations might make it cheaper for those countries to manufacture products. However, it often harms the surrounding air, water and soil by doing so.
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