Sometimes stats are good. They stimulate our analytical brain with precise measurability. They anchor concepts, using numbers as a language to turn these concepts into an understandable reality. Metaphorical comparisons can be even better. This is “like” this. This is never going to succeed because it’s “like” this. I read a recent article in The Huffington Post by Edward Hertzman, the founder and publisher of Sourcing Journal. It was stuffed to the gils with statistics, lots of brain candy. And I don’t refute his statistics and thoroughly enjoyed the piece. What it brought to mind for me though is the generalizations we’re all guilty of when we talk about “made in America”.
Depending on our personal or professional leanings, we’re glancing through a categorical lens when we talk about manufacturing in America. For some, it’s automobiles in the U.S. and which major car companies are making here and to what extent. For others, it’s apparel – a lot of others, really, and certainly the author of The Huffington Post story. For some, it’s agriculture. Each aforementioned mini economy has its own governances, issues and human relations troubles, but when are we going to stop thinking in silos and look at “making in America” globally (truly)?
You know what it’s “like”? It’s like the film industry thinking its challenges in the digital age and pirating issues are independent of those of the music industry’s. It’s “like” one labor union thinking other labor unions couldn’t possibly understand their current plight. It’s “like” in this insanely interconnected world we live in we actually believe that apparel manufacturing, furniture manufacturing and automobile manufacturing in this country have nothing to do with each other.
We’ll never make everything here in the states, and there’s no real irrefutable reason we should. We’re all a part of a global economy. We need to put into it, take out of it. But the U.S. once was a manufacturing powerhouse, and we should be again. That fact is often lost at sea in this massive conversation about making in America.
So, if you only see this conversation in terms of apparel or electronics or edibles, challenge yourself to think bigger, wider, more interconnected. We’re trying to do the same. If you haven’t thought about it at all we hope you’ll continue to visit us. We’ve only gotten started sharing stories and igniting conversations we believe will serve the made in America movement.