Excited About American Made Goods?

You know how, once a subject comes up, you see it everywhere?

This morning I was reading about how the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show (it’s trade show season everywhere, not just in motion control) had a new award: a miniature Sasquatch figure designed to celebrate American-made goods.

Then I read Jerry Jasinowski’s interesting article about how we should be striving to encourage people to buy American-made goods in preference to those made in other countries. If we make it sound like a patriotic duty, or like something better for the planet, like organic produce, he says, we can turn the tide. Jasinowski even suggests that we should call U.S.-made goods “Organic Manufacturing.”

I’m not unpatriotic, but I’m seeing a little logical inconsistency here.

First off, people who prefer organic produce believe that it’s healthier and better for the environment than the high-tech kind of produce. They’d probably rather have Venezuelan organic produce than local stuff grown with pesticides. “Organic” means something beyond location.

Second, I’m not ready to give up the benefits of our flat earth. Ever since people began to be able to travel to faraway places, we’ve prized the special and different things to be found in other countries, and we’ve benefited from the way they prized our goods, too.

Admittedly, I may be biased. I think that Bosch-Rexroth, a German company, makes the best motion control on the planet. My whole career is about things like Indramat servos, and I don’t mind the fact that “German engineering” is like a synonym for “excellence.” I know we have excellent engineers in America, too — I work with them, and I try to be one. But I don’t want to be limited.

German engineering has made a lot of great American manufacturing companies possible. American openness to the rest of the world has made a lot of great things possible, too. Like American-made, organic coffee — not a native American plant, but one that we now enjoy. Something, too, that we now are good enough at that we can export it to the rest of the world, sharing something wonderful from our country as we enjoy wonderful things from other countries.

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