Lots of people talk about the importance of buying American, but not many people talk about why it's important or how you benefit from it. Patriotism or national pride are perfectly valid reasons, but there are many more. Here are four reasons to buy American-made products that you might not have considered.
Buying American-made products benefits the local economy. Take a simple product like a wooden bookshelf. The retailer buys that bookshelf from a furniture manufacturer. The manufacturer acquires wood, supplies, equipment, space, and labor. The resources the manufacturer acquires are in turn provided by other businesses who do the same thing: buy goods and hire labor to create products and offer services. And we haven't even mentioned all of the people involved in shipping goods from one place to another, the businesses that cater to the workers, and so on. Leonard Reed wrote a short book illustrating this concept (which you can-and should--read for free here) but the gist is that any product or service you buy is the result of the coordinated efforts of lots of people engaged in productive work. The corollary to this is that when you buy a product the money you pay is going to all of those people.
Now, think about what happens when you buy something from an American company made from American resources. The people who earn a portion of the money you spend will in turn use that money to pay for goods and services around them, like groceries, housing, clothing, etc., building wealth in their communities and making everyone a little better off. So by doing business with American companies, especially American companies that get their raw materials from American sources, you're helping to strengthen those local economies in particular and the American economy as a whole.
Buying American-made products tends to help support small business. Large businesses tend to become international businesses as a general rule. At some point, with some exceptions, as a business grows past a certain point it simply cannot obtain all the resources it needs to maintain production from domestic sources and has to look abroad. As overseas sales expand, it becomes prohibitively expensive to ship from the US when the company could either partner with a foreign manufacturer or build a factory overseas and avoid shipping altogether. On the other hand, small businesses often can't afford to export many products if any at all.
To you, the consumer, this means that when you buy American-made products you're also likely helping to support small businesses. And they need your support now more than ever. Since last March, over 200,000 small businesses closed specifically due to pandemic lockdowns. Big businesses have been able to survive or even thrive, meanwhile, as is the case with Amazon and Apple, for example. Small businesses account for a large amount of the job creation in the US, so when they close or have to tighten their operating budgets to stay in business it has a dramatic effect on unemployment. By buying American-made products from American companies you're much more likely to be giving your money to small businesses that really need it, and helping our economy to boot.
The supply of American-made products is more reliable. The cost and difficulty of exporting goods overseas works the other way as well: importing raw materials or finished goods can be complicated and expensive. Many companies are attracted by the low cost of labor in countries like China, where local manufacturers will make items according to specifications at pennies on the dollar compared to American factories, then ship them to companies in the US for sale. The pandemic disrupted supply chains last year as Chinese factories first closed due to local policies and lack of demand overseas, then became overwhelmed by demand as people stuck at home ordered products online. It still hasn't recovered, and it has impacted costs not just of imported goods but of domestic goods as the supply of raw materials such as steel has been disrupted. While the pandemic has had a dramatic affect, this is just a more aggravated example of something that happens on a more subdued level all the time as a result of tariffs, international trade policies, and a host of other influences. Where American companies can take advantage of American resources, these complications are avoided.
American-made products offer the best value. As a consumer and a business owner this is something I've seen born out time and again: American-made goods represent the best value money can buy. This is certainly not to say that American goods are the cheapest, nor is it to say that, across the board, there aren't higher-quality goods made elsewhere. What I mean is that, in terms of value for dollar, American-made products give you the most quality for the lowest cost. On the whole, American manufacturing labor costs more than some popular overseas sources, but the results also tend to be much higher quality. Lower defect rates mean better margins for retailers, which mean lower prices for consumers.
One of the reasons I started this company was to try to make it easier for people to buy American-made products from small businesses after I found that trying to do so myself was not always easy. That's why I make every effort to ensure that the products we sell at American Made Retail Company are supplied by American companies and made from American materials. Where there are American companies using imported raw materials--sometimes there aren't domestic equivalents--we make that clear in the description. And in some very few cases where an American company is manufacturing goods overseas but the product is something we see a lot of customer interest in or we think is really special, we make that clear as well.
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