Take a quick second to check one of the tags on your clothes. Does it say, Made in the USA? Majority of the time it’ll read, “Made in China”, or anywhere else other than the US really. In todays United States economy people are losing their jobs, foreclosing homes, and many of the businesses are suffering from the lack of money, buyers, etc. Yet no one is working to fix this. Instead we have US Olympic athletes representing the US in another country in uniforms manufactured by China. Did China show up to the Olympics in USA made uniforms? This caused quite a bit of controversy and brought up the subject of low amount of manufacturing in the US. Many companies and part of the fashion business gives their business and jobs to other countries. The emergence of this issue caused me to become more curious as to why we don’t have a high percentage of American manufacturing and how increasing it would benefit the United States economy. Although there are some conflicts within the American manufacturing industry, it can bring up the economy by bringing more jobs back to America and also rid of the downsides that abroad manufacturing poses.
Ever since the start of our economic crisis, the people of the United States have been looking to the government for answers to their economic problems. Many have lost their jobs, people are losing their homes, and the government is constantly getting bashed at for our huge economic crisis. People want something to be done, they want to be able to support their families and live a stable life. The Alliance of American Manufacturing, a non-profit partnership of leading U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers, conducted a survey of 1,200 likely election voters asking what was most important to them and what they wanted to be done for the economy. According to the findings of the survey, “creating jobs, specifically in manufacturing, and strengthening manufacturing in the U.S. are top economic priorities”(Friedman). Google, has made “Made in the USA” as a marketing tool and trend in technology. Markoff, writer for the New York Times, states “Google claims to have wanted to try something new, so they figured having the product manufactured and designed in the U.S.A. would be good for them”. Markoff points out how other companies such as Hewlett Packer and Apple design their products in America, but have them made in China. With Google trying out this experiment, it may cause a trend that other companies will end up following. Clearly manufacturing is needed much more in America as it can bring back jobs in the United States, and also get rid of all the currency manipulation we encounter with our manufacturing competitor, China. This particular topic is one that is being pushed into the elections. Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, claims to crack down on China’s undervalued currency. Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, states that by Romney listing China as a currency manipulator and will expose the fact that millions of jobs have been lost to China because of it. Therefore, people will reconsider doing business with them and it will hopefully lead to a currency Bill from Congress (Ellis).
American manufacturing carries many positive benefits for the people, however some conflicts may be encountered within the industry. Just recently, the New York Times released an article by John Markoff that seems to be the solution to our want for more American manufacturing. The article reads, “This is the future. A new wave of robots, far more adept than those now commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution” (Markoff). Although this may be a way to improve production much more quickly and easier, the statement clearly states a problem, “Replacing workers”. Surely this will solve our low amounts of manufacturing here in the Unites States but it will only add to the amount of jobs lost here in the United States. People want manufacturing so that they can have more job opportunities, not so they can have robots replacing them and doing the work for them. They claim that human workers will still be needed saying that, “…the human workers do things like trimming excess material, threading wires and screwing a handful of fasteners into a simple frame for each panel” (Markoff). According to the Obama administration, “this technological shift presents a historic opportunity for the nation to stay competitive.” Tom Kalil, deputy of the White House Office of Science and Technology policy added, “The only way we are going to maintain manufacturing in the U.S. is if we have higher productivity”. They may make it sound like the perfect solution but it will surely create a new problem, America taking away jobs from America.
Not only can the investment of American manufacturing increase job percentages, improve the economy, and allow the U.S. to stay competitive, it will also rid some of the problems that abroad manufacturing causes. In 2007, Harper’s Bazaar published an article by Dana Thomas. Thomas went out do some research for her book that involved the issues of the counterfeit market. Along the way she discovered an unusual group of workers working in the factories in China that manufactured counterfeit items. What she discovered was tired, young, sad children working long hours in these factories to try and make a living for their families. Thomas describes her findings of these unsafe working conditions, “Workers are not required to and usually do not wear protective gear like earplugs…No one speaks. Shifts usually run 10 plus hours, but workers often take back to back shifts”. She then adds, “It is not unheard of to read in the newspaper about workers who drop dead, presumably from exhaustion” (Thomas). Businesses here in the U.S. that give their manufacturing business to other countries are only contributing to this ongoing problem. Sure costs are much cheaper than producing here in the U.S., but that’s because China has children younger than 16 working in unsafe factories and are paying them on average, fifty dollars a month. The loss of growing up and having a normal childhood is not worth cheap costs that China and other countries offer to American companies. American manufacturing will reduce the number of children working and ensure that the people of America have jobs, are paid nothing less than minimum wage, and safer working environments within the factories.
It is quite clear that bringing manufacturing back to the states will solve a number of problems, both within the United States and outside as well. Knowing what we know now, a question that should be coming to mind is how can we make it happen? We can be cautious of what we buy and where it comes from, join organizations that strive to rid of child labor, or even start up our own businesses and be supporters of U.S. manufacturing. As we go on the next few years we can only hope for more investment in American manufacturing, as it has been proved to be extremely beneficial to our nation.