Made In America

Here’s my own elevator-pitch paraphrase of an idea that I owe to Garrett M. Ziegler. I don’t know him, but I was reading his Telegram channel regularly this spring. (I’ve since fallen behind, there’s just too much to keep up with!) Anyway, he’d be the right person to contact about this and quite possibly lead it, just in case some funder/backer/investor type’s interest is piqued here.

“Made In USA” is a claim that distinguishes products, but it’s not backed by much beyond the FTC standard, enforced only on a per-complaint basis, and is easily fudged. What if there were an independent organization that certified and graded these products, much like organic and GMO-free foods? (Organic food and fiber certification predates the USDA label, which in essence co-opted it, but that’s another story.) Other examples include “fair trade” labels (quite a mixed bag), kosher foods, and a wide variety of other product certifications, both legally required certificates and distinguishing third-party endorsements.

Such an organization could not only enhance consumer awareness of and trust in American-made products, they could promote registered businesses in various ways. An online directory of US-made alternatives for ubiquitous globalized products, indexed by company values is a good first step. This isn’t too far off from where the New Founding ALIGN newsletter seems headed already. But imagine a mobile app that scanned product UPC codes and gave trusted third-party ratings, allowing consumers to ask and answer in real time: who owns this brand? who’s the parent company? who are they lobbying, and for what? who’s in their supply chain? etc.

In an age where basically everything seems made in China under inhumane conditions and marketed through a shell game of facade brands on Amazon, this could perhaps help cut through consumer cynicism and help us regain some economic independence and national pride.

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That is an interesting idea Max, and do not see why it could not become a reality. In fact I really like the concept of an app that helps find that. Here is a caveat though. Those certifications can come a great cost to a company. As I understand, Kosher costs are supposedly not as kosher as the food and can be really prohibitive. With the cost to make in the US (which is much higher usually) this could make the margins tighter. I say this as someone who struggled over a year to try and manufacture my own product in the US (because I really believe in it) and yet had to go overseas due to cost. The problem for me right now is economies of scale. When I am pumping 10’s of thousands of units, the margins can get closer, but not at this phase in my start-up. nevertheless, if it could be done economically for the business, it could be a boon.

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I wish companies in catalogs where something is made. Majority of the time it says imported. I tend to email now before I buy to find out where it is made. Agree lot of research as to where products come from and the chain and parent company and then what they support like BLM, CRT and so on.

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Great point, Todd. To be effective, we really wouldn’t want the cost of certification to be onerous in itself, especially for low-margin commodity products which compete largely on price point. I don’t think kosher food certification is really the go-to example, but would point out that even there, we see multiple competing standards, and I’d be willing to bet they don’t all charge the same.

Anyway, I doubt that the cost of certification is all that significant, for most products, compared to the increased cost of actually sourcing quality ingredients, components, industrial processes, and labor within the USA. An honest “Made in America” typically costs more already, and I think there are enough consumers who value the principle of the label, enough to pay the higher costs to make it worthwhile for manufacturers. My proposal is really about bolstering the confidence of that market segment, promoting it and helping it grow. I don’t think much can be done about those consumers who shop strictly on price point, short of education and trade policy. Well, and increasing the US standard of living so more people can afford to express their values in the marketplace – that’s part of the “virtuous cycle” we’d be trying to rev up. More US manufacturing, more US jobs, better quality of products, higher wages… Globalization won’t be an easy trend to reverse, but getting those who can afford it to pitch in and pay a little more to have better stuff and help their country seems like a reasonable goal to me.

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Me too! I think that many of us already do our own research, at least to some extent, before buying stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a trusted source to check easily?

I’m reminded of American Apparel, who built their entire brand around “ethically made, sweatshop free” clothing, only to have a massive amount of brand loyalty eroded by the scandalous conduct of some of their upper management. If there was a third party verifying their claims against an objective standard, would they have been so brazen?

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Two Apps in a quick search of the Apple App Store include Buy American and All American Clothing (a specific clothing company). Both created by Michael Sessions. Haven’t downloaded of reviewed extensively. Appears to be a source for companies selling Made in America products, links to company sites, search by product or company.

Mentions “trusted companies” on the Buy American App. . .not sure what the definition of trusted is or what level of vetting is required to become trusted.

Either App may be worth a look.

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Way back in 2004, 2005 there was a website called transnationale.com that exposed the real ownership of many brands but it’s now defunct because the corporate criminals went after the owners. Creating the type of database the OP suggests requires vigilance and the best way would be to use a blockchain to track the product origin (parts, components, ingredients) to the consumer. We all want a return to decentalization and blockchain is decentralized by nature so we can ditch forever the globalists OWO agenda and the crap from China (and India) using sweatshop labor from dehumanized and murdered minorities.

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“Made In America” is not easy to find. It’s impossible to source “Made In America” raw goods necessary to manufacture virtually anything. The glue that makes our plywood comes from China, the binder that makes our primer and paint comes from China, the release agent for injection molding comes from China…
The opportunities are in some of the most un-sexy products that you never see but can’t make anything without.
Now enter the EPA and it is virtually impossible to manufacture those chemicals here in America. Money will flow where sane regulations exist. Please know that I am not arguing for pollution but, I am arguing for logical regulations that promote solutions!!! I ponder things like - If the EPA Super Fund were used to invest in solutions instead of cleanups after mistakes or negligence, what would our world look like today?
Trying to find peace here in the beginning of WW3!

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So there are several organizations that do certify ‘Made in the USA’

https://madeinamerica.org

https://www.madeintheusa.org

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Good point about that previous website. I think something like the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) might be more resistant to corporate legal attacks: https://ipfs.io/.

As for going decentralized, it is a must. For all the conveniences of centralized services (technology, corporations), it seems leftitsts/communists/globalists too easily infiltrate and overrun the control of these centralized systems. Better to disperse control and make it harder for the communists to overtake us all.

Sadly many Americans want to be paid a wage that prohibits building a USA made brand. Drives me crazy. Everyone wants to make 6 figures but no one wants to truly work for it. It’s a sad commentary on Americans. I despise having to buy products made in China!

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That is not true, it is harder, yes, but it depends on where in the country you are. We moved our apparel company from California to Texas just before the complete collapse of the Los Angeles fashion manufacturers which used to employ thousands in the city. We import a lot of clothing still, but we do have a made in the USA option, the problem isn’t really the workers, we can get anything made here, it is that the small incremental cost of made in the USA is passed over by most of our wholesale customers. The difference can be less than $1 more for made in the USA vs China and 99% of wholesale buyers will take the China version because consumers don’t really care about quality in the bulk of the fashion world, it is the Forever 21 and H&M model, make it cheap and throw it away instead of buying quality products once and keeping them for years.

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Absolutely. We have to retrain our minds to consider quality. In nearly every domain, from dry goods to food to entertainment and beyond. Sometimes that means spending more. Sometimes it means not spending at all.

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Exactly!! I was just thinking the same yesterday about getting a Made in USA labeling like “Organic” “Fair Trade” etc but for these Align companies that can be trusted. You said it all so well!!

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