- What is TAP America?
- Buy American
- Practice Tolerance
- Get Involved
Why should I (a middle-aged, middle income, mother of 3 who owns a small business) care about buying American made products and services? Why should any of us care about buying local? Well, for me, the answer is simple: I want myself, my children, my community, and my country to have health, security and prosperity.
I own a local business in a small town. When a huge multi-department grocery, retail, drug, housewares, garden, fabric, and hardware national corporate store moved into our town, one-by-one several small locally-owned businesses went out of business. The historic downtown corner hardware store was the hardest to see go. Additionally, most of these big corporate businesses sell products made from cheap overseas labor and then ship them half way around the world unnecessarily polluting the environment and compromising the world’s environmental health.
Do we have a choice here? The answer is: YES. If we purchase locally made, grown, or sold products, we support the true American spirit of opportunity for people, not corporations. We can provide more local jobs, and, therefore more money, right where we live. This also cuts down on long shipping distances necessary to bring vast quantities of cheaply made overseas products to a convenient local location. More money stays in the local economy, providing better funding for schools, libraries and other local services.
So, what about arguments against buying locally? Some may say we are denying these poorer overseas populations the resources American companies could bring them.
Dependency theorists (Vaughn, 1978; Walterstein, 1979; Delcroix & Ragin, 1981; Bergesen, 1983) found that “Multinational investments …actually creates few jobs, inhibits the growth of local industries, and pushes developing countries to produce goods for export rather than food and other products for local consumption.” These issues combined with poor working conditions, bring dependency and further poverty to these countries, not to mention the resulting inevitable poverty that will come to our communities and country.
Some believe that buying overseas products and food from big box stores helps them save money. This might seem like a really good financial idea, but it is only a short-term benefit with drastic long-term consequences. Can buying products made overseas from big corporations really affect your overall and long-term financial prosperity? Really, the only people who will not be affected by this continually escalating practice are the extremely wealthy that make up a very small percent of Americans who own most of American wealth and currently control our government through their high-paid lobbyists. The mega wealthy are cleverly ensuring their place in power through strategic methods. The only real power we have to change this greedy and selfish practice is with our consumer dollar. We are heading toward two very distinct classes in this country: the mega wealthy and the poor…which we will all eventually become, if this continues.
There is hope…take just a moment in your busy day to pay attention to the real choices you have. When you go to “vote with your dollar”, what are you voting for? What are you supporting? Make it a habit to ask yourself the following questions:
Sometimes we don’t have a reasonable choice and we end up having to buy something from overseas. At this time, it can be difficult to find local and American-made groceries and products. Shop local businesses and farmer’s markets first. If we all just paid a little more attention, it would make a very big difference. Each dollar going back into our economy sends a message to Wall Street and to Washington that we are taking back our country citizen by citizen and dollar by dollar.