While watching The Daily Ticker yesterday, which featured the author of “The Next American Economy,” William J Holstein, the cover of his book flashed for a moment. Sure it’s nice, clean and modern — and a little spare and safe, to be completely honest — but if you look closely there’s a nice little twist (literally) on the age-old symbol for innovation and ingenuity.
I can’t claim to have read the book, from what I gathered from Holstein’s interview is that you shouldn’t count U.S. manufacturing out. Though consumers tend to notice that most of the stuff they buy at Walmart, Target and Best Buy is imported, a lot of big-ticket items are still made in America, like autos, planes and industrial equipment.
Local buying = fewer emissions
My reasons for buying American — whenever possible and when it makes sense — is to help shorten supply chains and shipping distances, which in turn helps cut carbon emissions. It takes big ships and jets — and a lot of fuel– to get that all that stuff to your store shelves. Supporting local businesses and economies is a another neat side effect of buying local.
For consumers, there are tons of resources online for buying American. And new projects like Sourcemap are helping to lift the veil on where componentry is sourced. Realistically speaking, though, you’ll find it tough to avoid imports when it comes to today’s most popular gadgets. In other words, don’t get your hopes up for a “Made in the USA” iPhone 5. Though, how cool would that be?!
Still, you don’t have to deprive yourself or radically change your consumption patterns right away to spur demand for home-grown goods. Why not start out with something small like a t-shirt? I’m a fan of Brand of the Free, for instance.
How about you? Do you buy American whenever possible (or locally if you’re overseas)? And if so, from whom? Drop a line in the comments!
And if you’re interested in Holstein’s book, check out The Next American Economy at Amazon. Only four reviews as of this writing but they’re generally positive. (Full disclosure, I get a cut from every referral if a sale’s made from that link.)