My American Truly Un-American

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Global Trade

I caught this rather funny article in this week’s Economist called Flying the Flag about the latest purchasing certification process to make its debut.   According to the Economist, the owners of high end American-made ski equipment, High Society Freeride intend to, to create a certification process to help customers identify products in which most of the materials and labor were sourced in America. The firm’s website will list the goods that it certifies, their manufacturers and the retailers that stock them.

What a bunch of hooey.

Let’s look at a consumer product with a metals supply chain shall we? I’ll revert to an example most of us can relate to, the bed you sleep on. Inside your bed (unless you have a foam mattress or some other Tempur-Pedic alternative) is a mattress innerspring.   These mattress innersprings are produced in the US by companies such as Leggett & Platt. They are also produced in China.   The Chinese and the US produce comparable quality products (I have seen first hand both products). The US producer typically charges at least 15-20% more than his Chinese equivalent. When the mattress manufacturer goes to purchase innersprings, he looks to keep his costs down so that he can deliver a high quality product at a cost effective price to the US customer (the mattress manufacturer is likely still operating in the US).

In this case, the mattress manufacturer buying Chinese innersprings would likely receive a rating of three stars instead of five for having non-American sourced raw materials. It reminds me of this cereal, I think it is called Annie’s Bunnies (available at Whole Foods) that says it contains 75% organic content (and lord only knows what the other 25% of the content is). I find this a highly deceptive marketing practice. But that’s an entirely different story.

Now here is the real question, would you pay more for a mattress that contains innersprings from the US? I never would simply because there is no extra value in them. Would you pay more for a Motorola phone vs. a Nokia one (Motorola phones are still at least partially assembled stateside)? I don’t even have to answer that question, just look at the market share numbers and Motorola’s stock price.

Don’t get me started on these clubby certifications. Like I said, hooey.

–Lisa Reisman

Comments (8)

  1. Danish says:

    Excellent site and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here: this… As it’s taken me literally 2 hours and 51 minutes of searching the web to find you (just kidding!) so I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

  2. Dawn Miller says:

    I find it interesting that you would title your article My American “ Truly Un-American but then go on to state how you “never would simply (purchase products made in the US) because there is no extra value in them. ”

    Ms. Reisman…who is truly Un-American?

    The extra valve is keeping US manufacturing alive…in this economy what could be more “American”? Our Wal-Mart mentality and frankly articles like yours are at the root of what is wrong. I think your 15 – 20% is exaggerated but even if you can dig up an example what is wrong with paying a few dollars more to ensure that what you just purchased keeps another American employed.

    Haven’t we had enough of cheap and unregulated Chinese manufacturing? If you have not then I suggest you have your infant formula and dog food from China shipped directly to your house. I am sure the saving would be 20%.

  3. admin says:

    I’ll take the lead trains if you take the peanut butter. Bad quality comes from anywhere as does good quality. I say let consumers decide. LAR

  4. American mom says:

    I believe that is exactly what this company is looking to do. After checking their website, it seems that they are just trying to be sure that people actually know the verified content of their purchases. Wouldn’t that be arming the consumer with knowledge to make the best decision for themselves? Just as you stated “let consumers decide.” This could be good…certainly can’t be worse than our current situation. I hope it works for this company.

  5. admin says:

    Sure, the site will tell you what was made in America. But as we’ve previously written, “let’s just take a look at that 1.2 employees per 1000 tons of steel. How many employees do you think it takes to convert that 1000 tons of steel into value-add products for export? Answer: I think it is exponentially higher than the number of jobs the steel industry contributes to the US economy.” That’s really my point. BTW, I’m an American Mom too.

  6. JL says:

    I find it interesting that one of My American Jobs co-founders is a Canadian. Not to mention the co-counders were both employed at a French-Italian company whenever this company was formed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It appears this site doesn’t have any intention of letting the public know the facts about this company. By your censorship of Comments, this site should have no right to exist.

    1. admin says:

      Not sure what you are talking about “censorship of comments” If we didn’t publish something, it was either inappropriate or advertising some service. But now that I look it appears as though you are “JL” and for some reason your comment wasn’t published. I can assure you it was an accident. You can get off your high horse now. LAR

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