Saturday, December 4, 2010

Being responsible vs. Asian imports

This isn't a post about vilifying China. It's a ramble about failed personal good intentions to be responsible with where my money goes in a larger picture than just "can I afford this".  It's about thinking about how one person's actions fit into the bigger picture of the overall economy, and the zillions of American jobs lost to overseas manufacturing, where workers earn a pittance and have few benefits.

I try to buy American made clothing whenever I can. But when you don't have a lot of money, it's easy to just go to the Big Box and find clothes that you need at a price you can "afford". So recently I refreshed my utilitarian wardrobe with a visit to Target. I didn't even think for a second about checking labels. I went for warm, well made and cheap. And I didn't even think about looking online for "made in the USA".

Now I'm feeling the guilt. I'm a part of the problem, not a part of the solution — a small one, but nontheless, a part of it. In no way will I throw my guilt completely onto the manufacturers who have chosen to close their factories here and outsource, or onto the politicians to made it easy and profitable for them to do so.

It's obvious that we have to bring back our [textile and clothing, just for one] industries to return jobs to US workers, but it will never happen. It's a big economic death spiral — unemployed people can't buy things, factories continue to close, more jobs are lost, the US loses its autonomy. Lack of purchasing power on the individual level weakens the whole economy. It all comes back to JOBS.

And now, a bit of nostalgia. Did you grow up with that ILGWU jingle stuck in your brain? I can still remember every word, though I never really thought about the importance of them until recently.

Jobless recovery? What exactly does that really mean? What idiot invented that term? Discuss among yourselves.

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