Out Of Job Yet? Keep Buying Foreign!: Perfect example of economic stupidity

Out of Job Yet Keep Buying Foreign

From time to time I see an “Out of Job Yet? Keep Buying Foreign” sticker on an American car on the roads. This never fails to make me smile and say to myself: “A perfect example of economic stupidity naivety.” I wonder if the owners of these vehicles realise that their cars are not 100% American. Chances are the CD player and the cloth of their car seats are either made in China, Korea, Taiwan or some other countries in Asia. I also wonder if these same people also buy made in USA/Canada running shoes and sport equipment because if they buy Nike (American brand) products, the chance of having these same products made in USA/Canada is pretty much 0%. Let’s not start talking about computer and electronics because it is even worse.

The opposite is also true. Toyota and Honda have manufacturing plants in North America: they are Japanese make, but made in USA/Canada.

Why most of the products we buy today are made in Asia can be explained using economic principles, but at the end of the day it comes down to one simple reason: for a given level of quality, the same product made in USA/Canada can be made cheaper in Asia!

77 Responses to Out Of Job Yet? Keep Buying Foreign!: Perfect example of economic stupidity

  1. pngpingching says:

    To billy buy american and Dano:
    I don’t tolerate “get your head out of your ass” and “you’re a dick” type comments. It’s my blog, so I reserve the right to remove your comments.

    To billy buy american:
    On the other hand, I would appreciate constructive comments to my points. The bumper stickers don’t specify cars, so they can apply to anything being bought in North America. While I do understand your multiplier effect, most products in stores are not made in USA nor Canada. Take the clothes sold in Walmart for example, a huge proportion are manufactured in Asia. The computers you typed your comment on are almost made up of components manufactured in Asia. Big corporations’ goal is to make profit, and they do so by cutting cost the best they can. And that includes shipping jobs overseas. Apple Inc. is another example. None of its products is made in USA.

    Don’t get me wrong. I wish American automakers all the best. I’m from Canada, and GM’s financial troubles affect Canadians too.

    Now, if GM (one example) could make good looking and good quality vehicles, then the bumper stickers would not have existed in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not true. GM’s own board of directors recognizes that the vehicles GM produces have lost their “pizzazz.”

  2. Terry says:

    Unfortunately I must agree with you. It’s almost impossible to buy products strictly made in Canada or the USA. They simply don’t exist or are dwindling quickly. Do your homework and I think you’ll be very “unpleasantly” surprised.

    We are so interconnected with other countries via our trade, imports/exports that it’s getting near impossible to decipher what is made in Canada/USA. You mention cars (for example) and you are 100% correct. There could be material in your Pontiac that is manufactured/imported from several different countries. I think somewhere along the lines of our growing salaries, we lost that competitive edge. I don’t think the big 3 should get a damn dime of gov money. If YOUR business was wasting away in our tough economic times, would the gov step in and offer you a free handout? I doubt it. They would let you sink and go out of business. These big auto manufacturers in North America was their own worst enemies. The CEO’s and high ranking officials get GREAT bonuses every year. Millions of dollars to be exact. They fly around in private jets, drive company cars and earn HUGE salaries while their companies go bankrupt. Once the “good times” are over with they go crying to the gov and asking for a handout that will almost surely come out of the taxpayers pocket eventually. I say let them drown. The big 3 here in Canada CAN make great cars if they wanted. But is there profit in making GREAT cars? Not as much as making lemons. The technology has existed for decades to make electric cars but the oil rich industry won’t allow it. Period. If you think otherwise, you’re a fool. Research it and find out for yourself.

    You mention Walmart? I will never step foot inside a walmart or spend one single dime there. I simply don’t agree with their policies and it’s a personal thing. Ditto for Zellers.

    I could go on and on and on but no need to. We are heading for a huge wake up crash and it’s only just begun. Our current monetary system has to change because the people will demand it to change.

  3. Patrick Ng says:

    I, too, have to agree with what you said. If my company was doing bad, the government would not help me. And you are right, once again, about the the CEOs. Most of them get big bonuses and huge salaries regardless if their companies are not making profits. If during hard times, they want the employees accept lower raise or no raise at all, and lay-offs, then they, too, should pitch in.

    I have mixed feelings about the government bail out. On one hand, there are many people who depend on their work at the big 3 to put food on the table. On the other hand, by bailing out the big 3, the government will be rewarding poor quality. Seeking bankruptcy protection while they restructure themselves would be better (I think) for the American automakers.

    But do they want to restructure themselves is a big question. Even GM has some of its vehicles made in Korea: Pontiac Wave/Chevrolet Aveo.

  4. StrayDog says:

    The more ironic part of this whole economic situation is that during the 80’s and 90’s, during the great multinational expansionism of American clothing and sports apparel lines (most notably Nike), the oft repeated line of reasoning for every local economy they bulldozed, every mom and pop cottage industry they effectively killed, is that, “that is the name of the game of capitalism”. Can’t compete? Then you deserve to die – so goes the reasoning.

    Fast forward to today and American companies can’t compete in this globalized world. Suddenly, the ability of the Chinese, and other rising nations, to manufacture goods at least cost and with much greater efficiency is seen as a threat.

  5. Patrick Ng says:

    @StrayDog
    There’s a lot of truth in your comment.

  6. Celeste says:

    In answer to your question…
    Yes, people who have those stickers on their cars DO realize that automobiles with American names are not 100% American. That is a pretty obvious fact that everyone who understands most any manufacturing process knows. What “makes me smile” is that you jump to the easy assumption that people are stupid rather than stopping to think that maybe they are just like you, and they have thought beyond their nose. Maybe, just maybe, there is a complexity to their thought process. How much easier it is to just dismiss someone you don’t agree with by labeling them as stupid, rather than taking the time to try and understand their viewpoint!

    In short, the sticker symbolizes more than just automotive purchases. How about supporting American companies and businesses in general, large and small? (If you can find one still in business, that is.)

    Don’t be so quick to judge the people in Detroit. Think for a moment about the 3 largest employers in your neighborhood. How might you feel if they shut down? Fine, you may not work there…and you may not work at one of the 10 companies who supply goods to them (who are now cutting back hours and wages, trying to stay in business themselves)… But all those unemployed people are going to either not be spending money in your business or they are going to move to where they can find employment. Maybe you need to sell your house? Good luck, considering there are now thousands of houses on the market, half of them foreclosures, selling for pennies on the dollar.

    Where are these people in Detroit going to move? They’re going to move somewhere, aren’t they? And thus, for every one person who leaves Detroit and moves into your town, there will be one less job for you and your neighbors.

    This is not a theoretical debate about economic ideals. This is real life. This is about real people, just like you…who are just trying to pay their mortgage, their electric bill, and feed their children.

    Suppose you sell towels. Why should I go to your store and buy your towels when I can buy them on the internet and have them shipped in from England (where they spell “realize” as “realise”)? Enough people think like me, and you’ll be standing in the unemployment line right behind that Detroiter you so quickly judge.

  7. Patrick Ng says:

    @Celeste

    First of all, let me say that I really appreciate your comment. You defend your points very well and you did not use any swear word to do so.

    If you read one of previous comments, you’ll notice that I do wish the American automakers all the best. Being from Canada, I know how important it is for the Canadian economy that the big 3 do very well. But above all, I do have sympathy for those who used to work in the automobile industry and lost their jobs. My post may not sound like it, but coming from a poor background where my dad struggled to put food on the table, I know a thing or two on how these laid-off workers feel.

    Okay, I should probably have worded my post differently. But, the fact that the said bumper sticker is an example of “economic stupidity” still stands. Even if we want to support American companies, are the American companies willing to do the same? If tomorrow I go out and buy a Chevrolet Aveo or Pontiac Wave, that car would have been manufactured in Korea. Almost everything I buy from from Wal-Mart is made in Asia. And not a single pair of my Nike shoes were made in USA. Again my post may not sound like it, but I am not saying that the people are stupid, but rather the “bumper sticker” is economically-speaking stupid. The people who decide to put one of these stickers on their bumpers are doing so because they have some values and beliefs they stand by. I will always respect that.

  8. Scott says:

    Those stickers would be more accurate if they read:

    “Out of a Job Yet?
    Keep Voting Republican.”

  9. Patrick Ng says:

    @Scott
    I have not preference for either the Republicans nor the Democrats. I am from Canada. But, I do hope Obama’s administration can turn things around, not because he’s Obama, but simply because with a new start comes a high level of motivation.

  10. Laurie says:

    this too makes me grin… mostly because these people are parked outside walmart!

  11. Mike says:

    I would like to get stickers printed that say
    “Out f A Job Yet?
    Join A Union”

  12. Chris says:

    I see these stickers in Canada and it always makes me scratch my head.

    We don’t make cars. We simply manufacture cars from other Countries. Why does it matter if the car is US or Japanese? The word “foreign” is not a quantitative term. We build cars for whichever Country gives us money and employs our workers.

    I think some union workers are just extra-strength dumb. Soon they’ll be making $15hr like everyone else with a high school diploma and a chip on their shoulder.

  13. Patrick Ng says:

    @Chris

    In a way, you are not wrong in saying that it does not matter if the car is from a US or a Japanese manufacturer as far as Canada’s economy is concerned. As long as we get to make cars, we are happy. I don’t know if the American automakers employ(ed?) more workers than the Japanese automakers in Canada though.

    I think one of the many reasons for the existence of this sticker is because the autoworkers want to protect what they have. I don’t blame them for that. What I have against the sticker is that it does not make sense in today’s world economy to believe that American automakers don’t care about protecting local jobs. None of their vehicles 100% made in USA or Canada. Some are even made abroad like the Chevrolet Aveo. A better sticker would have been:

    Buy Domestic Cars
    Protect Local Jobs

    That being said, will buying more American cars make a big difference? Big corporations are looking for ways to cut cost on one hand, but keep giving huge bonuses to their CEOs, VPs, etc.

  14. Stroker says:

    It doesn’t necessarily represent Autos anyway, I’m sure it does for some but it could also be an expression of frustration with the general situation. When you buy domestic goods (autos or other) you help support _your_ economy.

    Anything that’s produced or at least assembled nearby (regardless of brand) may be keeping you or your friends and neighbors employed.

  15. Patrick Ng says:

    @Stocker

    I understand your point, but what are the big stores doing to protect jobs? I’m willing to bet that 9 out of 10 shirts I pull off the shelves in my local Walmart will either come from India, Bangladesh, or China. Even my Levi’s were manufactured in Bangladesh. So even if I wanted to buy a pair of Levi’s Made in Canada or Made in USA, I could not because they are simply not available on the store shelves.

    So, I think this slogan should be aimed at the big corporations rather than at consumers.

  16. Mark says:

    I agree 100% that Out Of Job Yet? Keep Buying Foreign! = economic stupidity. Here is an article that explains why this attitude is dangerous.

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/policy/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=216300176&cid=iwkPrintURL

  17. Kristen says:

    Now hold the phone charlie. I work for the big three and yes we know that most of the parts are made out side the country. As a matter of fact we truely dislike it and if you are a true union sister or brother you support america and A vast majority of us do by buying things only made in america. Have you ever wonder why we dont have suppliers here thank nafta and the goverments desire to destroy the middle class.

  18. Patrick Ng says:

    While I understand your point of view, I am not against NAFTA however. I’m from Canada, a country which used to make a lot of the cars being sold in USA.

  19. Andrew says:

    Let me explain something for all of you people, I was a worker at a Ford stamping plant in Detroit, until we were downsized. I understand that not 100% of American vehicles are made in America. However, the world headquarters for these company’s are in AMERICA. I’m not one of those “get your head out of your ass” kind of people as referred to in the post. It just seems to me like its simple economics. Buy foreign=no sales for American companys=downsizing=economic crisis in places like Michigan. I have no problems buying foreign products like Nike, mainly because Nike doesn’t employ over 30% of my community. Before you are so quick to condemn American corporations, think back (if your old enough) to the days of driving around your camero, or your old Nova; now replace that with a Honda civic that sounds like its farting when you start the engine up. Just doesnt have the same feeling to me. Me and family will be buying American until our country puts the big three out of business for good.

  20. Patrick Ng says:

    @Andrew

    Before I start to counter argue, let me say this. Part of me understands your point of view because I would probably do the same thing if I were in your situation. I work for a Canadian manufacturing company and I don’t buy products from the competition. Also, coincidentally, my dream would be to own a Ford Mustang GT and I hope they will still be made when I can afford one.

    Now to my counter arguments.

    I would say that your comment leaves some room for refutation. You mention simple economics. I would say that one advantage of the market system is efficient allocation of resources. There must be a reason why people are buying less American cars than foreign cars. According to me, the reason is the quality of GM products, for example, is not on par with Honda or Toyota. I’m not speaking out of speculation. I drive a Chevrolet and while I have no complaint for the engine, I do for some of the rattles and noises. I have had to replace bushing twice on a car bought new. And this was done under less than 8,000 kilometres. Thank God the vehicle is still under warranty. In buying another vehicle which are not on par with the foreign vehicles again, I will be condoning inefficiency (the Mustang will be the only exception ☺) After all, is it not the way of thinking in the US that if you cannot perform, you should get out of the way?

    In terms of the big corporations headquarters being in USA, I will repeat one thing: if the directors of these corporations were truly patriotic, they would not subcontract some of their work to foreign companies, they would not get some of their parts made in Asia, and they would equip their vehicles with Good Year tyres, not Continental tyres.

    It may seem as though I am condemning the big American corporations directly, but what I’m condemning is their inefficiency. They should have seen this situation coming and should have acted accordingly. Had they corrected the situation a long time ago and worked towards making good quality vehicles, they would not have been in the present difficult situation in the first place, would they? Had they been able to produce more fuel efficient and better quality vehicles, they would have been able to sell at the same price as Honda or Toyota do. The Honda Odyssey for example is way more expensive than the Pontiac Montana, yet Honda sells a lot of these. People buy them because the quality of the Odyssey is far ahead of the Montana’s. Otherwise, why would people buy a more expensive vehicle Odyssey if it were not any better than the Montana?

    As for the Camaro or the Nova, I’m not old enough to have driven one of these. However, I’m more of a Toyota person. My experience with the Chevrolet can only confirm this.

  21. Patrick Ng says:

    @ Andrew

    I might have some conflicting interests from you, but I would like the big three do get out of this mess. Canada used to manufacture a lot of vehicles for the big three. And it’s never with joy that I learn that such or such plant was closed. I have never taken joy learning that the workers will be out of job.

  22. Phil says:

    I saw one of these stickers in the middle of a big patch of delaminating paint on the trunk of a Ford. Classic.

    Personally, I find the bumper stickers offensive. They seem to suggest that I or anyone who buys ‘foreign’ is somehow disloyal or unpatriotic. As if we should buy lower quality cars just to prop up a poorly run company.

    Certainly there are some ‘foreign’ products that I would not buy because they are produced in plants that employ child labour, poor environmental standards etc. But not simply because they are foreign.

    I also think there is a bit of racism in the word ‘foreign’. Here in Canada any American built car is just as foreign as any other but I don’t think that’s what the owners of the bumper stickers are thinking.

  23. Patrick Ng says:

    @Phil

    It’s true that in Canada, any car is foreing. As an immigrant, when I first arrived in Canada, I did not undertand why American cars would be called domestic cars. As far as I know, Canada does not own these makes. This could have changed had Magna been able to buy Chrysler.

    It’s also true that American cars are of lower quality compared to Japanese cars, or even Korean cars. American cars tend to have more rattles and noises even under before the end of their first year. I’ve been in a lot of Japanese cars which had more years and more kilometres but were still very quiet. Americans tend to devote more importance to size and power. The big 3 should have seen their problems coming. But, they did not care much. They were like saying “we are the big 3, nothing can happen to us. These small Japanese automakers can’t nothing against us.” However, we all know what happened. It’s only now that the big 3 are talking about making higher quality vehicles.

    I had to write on GM’s financial problems for my Management Science course, and frankly, they are very much responsible for the mess they are in. For so long they could not compete against the Japanese in the smaller vehicles, so they kept relying on selling big SUVs because Americans tend to like their huge SUVs. However, when the price of gas skyrocketed, theirs sales went crashing. It’s now that they are talking about making more fuel-efficient cars. They have a long way to go though. Their vehicles are far from being on par with the Japanese when it comes to fuel-efficiency.

  24. Reach says:

    Japan protects its businesses against foreign
    competition. Businesses & govt. work hand in hand.

    The Japanese gov’t says: Want to get an item on the
    market ? Let’s see it first. Let us take it apart,
    show it to our own businesses, let them copy it, let
    them put it on the market first, then you foreigners
    can sell in Japan.

    The 2009 stimulus package for cars the democratic
    party sculpted would have gone a long way to help
    American auto sales here if it was restricted to
    buy-American only. Think that wouldn’t be fair ? Not
    fair in what way ? Like Celeste said above, “This is
    not a theoretical debate about economic ideals. This
    is real life.”

    Every American who loses a job will be somehow taken
    care of: unemployment checks, food stamps, help from
    the government in many forms. But, your taxes are
    going to have to rise to do that. I walked passed a
    line of cars today in a parking lot, front row,
    about 10 cars. Every single one was foreign. This
    is not good for the economy or your own wallet.

    I shrug my shoulders at the naïveté of you,
    if you are among those who rationalize your purchase
    of a foreign car by saying that it’s alright b/c the
    car is made here by American workers, you are fooling
    yourself, and we will all pay for your foolishness.

  25. aubreyfromwheaton22f says:

    Increasing protectionism further hurtled the world into the Great Depression.

    We need the “foreign” products just as much as they need us buying them.

  26. Patrick Ng says:

    Japan protects its businesses against foreign
competition. Businesses & govt. work hand in hand.

    And the US don’t? Why do the US want to renegotiate NAFTA? The truth is every country wants to protect its businesses just like any animal wants to protect its territory. I’m Canadian. I don’t want the NAFTA to be renegotiated to be more in favour of the US. Sounds harsh, but we all try to do what is best for us.

    The 2009 stimulus package for cars the democratic
party sculpted would have gone a long way to help
American auto sales here if it was restricted to
buy-American only. Think that wouldn’t be fair ? Not
fair in what way ? Like Celeste said above, “This is
not a theoretical debate about economic ideals. This
is real life.”

    How realistic can this be in today’s world? Not at all. What if other countries kick Wal-Mart out, would that seem fair to you? What if other countries don’t import Ford, GM nor Chrysler cars? What if European airlines stop buying Boeing aicrafts and start buying Airbus aircrafts exclusively?

    Every American who loses a job will be somehow taken
care of: unemployment checks, food stamps, help from
the government in many forms. But, your taxes are
going to have to rise to do that. I walked passed a
line of cars today in a parking lot, front row,
about 10 cars. Every single one was foreign. This
is not good for the economy or your own wallet.

    Again, just pointing to facts and not saying that my country’s system is better than yours, I’m in Canada, I’m used to paying taxes. In fact, I pay about a third of my salary in taxes. I have a different attitudes toward taxes than most Americans do (sorry if this is not totally true. I don’t know enough on the US taxation system to comment fully on this topic). I don’t mind paying taxes if it means that someoene will be able to put some food on the table for his/her family, if it means keeping the health care system free, if it means continuing to help refugees, and if it means keeping maternity leave to one year. All these won’t be possible if the government keeps taxes to a very low level. I don’t expect to have my cake and eat it too.

    I shrug my shoulders at the naïveté of you,
if you are among those who rationalize your purchase
of a foreign car by saying that it’s alright b/c the
car is made here by American workers, you are fooling
yourself, and we will all pay for your foolishness.

    Like Phil said, every car make is foreign as far as Canada is concerned. This is another reason why I don’t understand these stickers on cars owned by some Canadians.

    Besides, how is it better for the American economy if someone buys a Chevrolet Aveo versus buying a Honda Civic? The Aveo is made in Korea whereas the Civic is made in USA.

    You are focusing on cars, but what about IBM, Apple, Dell, etc ? Why don’t they stop having their products manufactured in Asia? Why don’t they stop having their support call centres in India? And why don’t many American software companies stop getting a lot of the coding done in India or employ Indians?

    Personally, I think if someone is going to put such a sticker on his or her car, then he or she should NOT buy any product which is not 100% made in USA if he or she is in the US and not 100% made in Canada if he or she is in Canada.

    I don’t know how realistic this sticker is. Look around in your home and see if you can find an appliance which is 100% made in USA. It won’t be your TV, computer, telephone nor your cell phone.

  27. Law Blog says:

    Law Blog…

    Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. received permission from two government entities to be purchased by JBS SA. The deal, which was approved by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, will help the chicken producer to get out of bankruptcy….

  28. mike says:

    theres a new bumper sticker out gas pedal stuck?

    http://www.cafepress.com/pop_topics.434147589

  29. Patrick Ng says:

    I have not seen one, but I will not be suprised if I see one. This is not about economics this is a serious problem where Toyota screwed up. I would not be happy if I had bought one of these Toyota with that problem, not when I have a baby onboard.

  30. mike says:

    your right patrick its not about economics but i think it will be to toyota’s bottom line come later this year. with a child myself. i would be very upset if i invested in Toyota and they put my family at risk!

  31. Creepy Uncle Bob says:

    Got no Friends? Keep being racist!

    Am I being too sensitive?

    I’m Canadian and I find these stickers a little ignorant.

  32. gary says:

    Anyone tried checking the power steering on a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 3800 engine? They should change the bumper sticker from “Out of a job yet, keep buying foreign” to “Out of a job yet, keep building junk.”

  33. hong chow says:

    only amreicans would advertise that their cars are are american built just like that stupid sticker that every cocky american has on the back of their car, yet the PT cruiser is assembled in Mexico. Toyota builds more of there cars in america than fords chryslers and GM. Who the fuck cares what you drive, just drive what you want and mind your own business, americans are so cocky and full of them selves.

  34. Patrick Ng says:

    While I agree that some Americans are arrogant, I don’t think they are all like this🙂 That said, I’ve seen many cars with these stickers in Canada. Actually, I’ve never been south of the border and therefore have seen these stickers only in Canada. I can certainly understand that we are sometimes desperate enough to try anything, and not being able to see the whole picture. Do people who have this sticker on their cars care about other Canadians or Americans? Do they fight to have computers made in Canada/USA only? Do they fight to have call centres in Canada/USA only? Most likely no for many of them shop at Walmart, where most products are made countries other than USA and Canada. What I’m trying to say is that these people should live by one principle: refuse to buy anything made outside USA/Canada.

  35. Adam says:

    I’m not big on politics. I will completely admit that I don’t know everything about economics and global politics. I actually found your website while searching for the copyright(if any) to the slogan “out of a job yet? keep buying foreign.” By the way if anyone knows anything about that, let me know.
    I understand both sides of the argument and maybe it’s my rural mentality but when I see the sticker I don’t automatically think of the auto industry. I think of the lady I buy eggs from.The local grocer I support. The mechanic that has fixed my family’s cars for 3 generations. The guy I buy fishing bait from. The boat that was made in Illinois I fish out of on weekends. The Remington I hunt with.
    Those are the people I think of. That what that sticker is meant to say

  36. Patrick Ng says:

    @Adam
    Unfortunately, the said sticker was not meant for the examples you cited. The sticker was made for vehicles. If I’m not mistaken, this was the initiative of someone working (used to work?) for Ford. I read it somewhere on the net when I was looking for information before writing this post. And when it comes to cars, I don’t think this sticker makes sense. All it is doing is playing on the emotional side of Americans/Canadians while at the same time misleading them to see only one side of the big picture, the big problem. Why do I say that this stick does make any sense?

    First, I’m writing mainly for a Canadian audience. Canada does not own any make. Any vehicle produced in Canada is a foreign make. When it comes to Canadian, American does not mean Canadian. Ford is American not Canadian. Chrysler is American not Canadian. GM is American not Canadian. Some Canadians are so ready to put this sticker on their cars, yet don’t want to be mistaken for Americans. So, as far as Canada is concerned, whatever the make of the car, the profit does go abroad.

    Second, what is a “domestic” versus what is a “foreign” car is not clearly defined as it used to be in the past. Take a look at this article . American cars are manufactured in USA, Canada, Mexico and even in South Korea. Even the ones made in North America contain a huge portion of parts made in Asia. So, even if we all buy American cars, we would still not buying 100% American cars. If anything, we will be telling GM, Ford, and Chrysler that it’s okay to manufacture their vehicles abroad for we would still buy them.

    Third, foreign car companies employ a lot of people in North America and their cars contain parts domestic parts. Honday uses 70% domestic parts on the Accord. Are the American/Canadians working in these plant less worthy of support? Don’t they have families to feed too?

    And fourth, like I have said before in a previous comment, those who put these stickers on their cars should live by that rule. They should not buy anything foreign. But do they fight to keep other products from being manufactured abroad? Do they fight to prevent other jobs from being shipped abroad? No.

    So to summarize, I can only repeat that this sticker is an example of economic stupidity. We would be foolish to think that we are really supporting only Americans/Canadians when buying American cars just as we would be foolish to think that we are not supporting Americans/Canadians when buying foreign cars. And most of all, while some people may think about supporting others with their buying pattern, what proportion of the American and Canadian populations really think about supporting their countrymen when they buy a particular product as opposed to finding the particular product at the lowest price?

  37. Patrick Ng says:

    I was trying to figure out why I was getting some angry comments and realised that perhaps “stupidity” was too strong a word and that “naivety” was probably a better fit. Therefore, I have decided to update my post. I would like to apologise to all those I offended with my choice of words.

  38. Doug says:

    You guy’s still don’t get it I too shop at walmart be cause I’m retired and can’t afford anything else but the fact is not cars but the idea of depending on other countries for everything.If and it’s been close we get into another war we will not be able to depend on these other countries to help us out.We need to be more independent than we have been.It’s not even electronics but we don’t even raise our own food which is retarded.God help us save us from our self’s.

  39. Patrick Ng says:

    @Doug

    I agree with some of the things you say while disagree with others. First let me say that there’s nothing wrong with shopping at Wal-Mart. The only reason why I talked about Wal-Mart was that the same idea applies to both Wal-Mart and foreign cars. I do agree that not being self-sufficient when it comes to food will cause some problems for some countries if there is a war. There’s no question about that. But I do believe that in today’s world, this is impossible and many even not be a good idea for the welfare of the whole population. Let me explain why I think that it may not be a good idea.

    If every country seeks to be self-sufficient in everything, the overall production of the planet for each product will be lower than what it would be if each country were to specialise in the production of goods/services for which it has a comparative advantage. Canada for example has a comparative disadvantage when it comes to growing mangoes compared to Costa Rica or Mexico. On the other hand, Mexico has a comparative disadvantage when it comes to producing clear ice for sculpture. Both countries can use various methods to produce both products, but there’s a price to pay: lower total production.

    A more concrete example:
    You said you shop at Wal-Mart because the price is more affordable at Wal-Mart. This is because specialisation. Countries who can produce clothing or food cheaper but not technological goods will specialise in clothing and food production and vice versa. The more the produce, the better they get at it and the more efficient they will become. If all the products in Wal-Mart were made in Canada or USA, the price level would have been way different and on the up side.

  40. Doug says:

    What I’m trying to say is and it started a long time ago is that not building more products made in America is killing America’s chance’s for survival. It started with tv’s and other electronics.If this keeps up and we all are out of work who’s going to buy anything?In fact the thing with General Motors is the worker bought G.M.Products that helped keep it a live and when they started laying off and more stuff went to other countries a lot of the money was lost.It went to the country that build the car or sold the fruit and made the phone ,we don’t even has a support system the speaks English.That sticker mean more than auto’s

  41. Patrick Ng says:

    @Doug

    The meaning of words is truly in us, not in the words themselves. I don’t think the autoworkers were thinking about others when they created this sticker. They were mainly thinking about their own problems. It’s hard to blame them though. When one is losing one’s job, it’s hard to think about anything else.

    Many factors contributed to the situation you described. Among those factors: consumers want to pay the least amount possible for a given product, whereas sellers want to maximise their profits. The only way products prices could stay low and profits high was to get the products manufactured abroad where labour is cheap.

  42. Doug says:

    Well as you can see I’m a ex auto worker and survival for us in the states is to keep the economy going and when Bush left us in failure people needed in order to survive bought cheaply this didn’t solve any thing it brought the economy down more .When nobody bought american cars the auto companys failed to get a hold on sales and went bankrupt.The amount of auto worker not working collapsed the hold system.if the goverment didn’t bring the auto companys back would of bankrupt the U.S.and the poor would of starved .That sticker mean more than you think.The guy who made that sticker problemly only had profit in mind but the people that buy them are not.A least not to me.

  43. Patrick Ng says:

    For which one of the big 3 did you work? I have studied the GM case quite a bit for an assignment, and I can say that GM was already in big trouble for a long time. Could they have done otherwise? I don’t know. It’s health care cost is huge.

    I don’t really blame them for that. It’s true that the sticker mean more than cars to those who buy it.

  44. Doug says:

    I agree G.M. has made a lot of mistakes and so has the American government.I quit trying to figure out how GM can justified in buying steel from over seas because it being inferior material and made the car rust faster but the government with their laws and restrictions made it impossible to continue making steel here.The government forced GM to deal with other countries to fund their projects,it started with parts and ended up with people trying to save money.Now that jobs are few who’s buying cars.It’s starts out slow but if the tread continues by buying foreign cars the great U.S.A. will not be so great.

  45. Patrick Ng says:

    The downside of a captialist system is the profit maximising search can sometimes have negative consequences. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no perfect economic system. The centrally planned economy is not a good system either. Personally, I prefer a mixed economic system, but even there, sometimes (quite often?) governments make the wrong decisions. Let’s face it, politicians look after their own interests first. They are human beings.

    The more I think about the whole situation, the more complicated it seems. The other factor what played against GM was how big the company had become. Most experts like to compare GM to the Titanic. It became so big that it was hard sometimes to make quick decisions and adapt quickly to various changes in the economic environment. And the bigger a company becomes, the less its board of directors will take risk. They start to play to not lose instead of playing for the win. And when you play to not lose, you need to be lucky all the time while the opponent only needs to be lucky once.

  46. Doug says:

    I agree totally G.M. got to big that the higher ups didn’t listen to the people,one thing they did was product 50-60 thousand dollar cars and trucks ,they did not see the economy was gearing up to fall.Gas economy was another failed incite,I think they through their good fortune to make millions for them selves was going to continue forever.They did not think of the workers- we were just numbers on the payroll.Now don’t get me wrong I feel lucky I kept a job for 37years ,I never had to look for a job but I feel for the younger people working now ,they lost everything the unions fought for.I also feel for the millions of Chinese and Japanese people that don’t have jobs ,but if we don’t look out for our selves is not going to help them either if the world economy fails.

  47. Patrick Ng says:

    This was what I learned in Management Science and an Economics classes. GM did not devote enough money to R&D to develop smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle. They chose to focus on a product for which demand was inelastic, a product which people were still willing to pay big money for (especially when gas was relatively cheaper than it is now): the SUV and big trucks. It’s a culture thing: Americans prefer to have more powerful and bigger SUVs rather than a smaller RAV 4 for example. It’s a culture thing, and I am not going to say if it’s good or bad. Culture, like colour, is beyond debate. As long as gas was relatively cheap, SUVs were being sold a lot. But, when gas prices starting to skyrocket, people started to turn towards smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Unfortunately, in that field, GM had to play catch up against the foreign automakers.

    It’s changing though. The Cruze has a smaller engine and is geared towards fuel-efficiency more than towards power. Let’s hope GM become successful. My post and some of my comment may indicate that I am against the big American automakers, but I’m not. I was just pointing that no product can be 100% American anymore. I live in Canada, and as such, it’s in my interest that GM and the other American automakers are successful. They used to employ so many Canadians. More working Canadians means a better economy. Each person’s job is ultimately connected to the job security of someone else. The only difference between you and me, is that I also want the foreign automakers to be successful. They employ Canadians too🙂

  48. Doug says:

    I know what you mean but I still don’t think it’s even trade in products you have to be a equal partner in the free trade cycle to make it work .when 80-90% of the products you use is over seas it will not work.That sticker is a last ditch effort to save something that we Americans get a income from.The auto companies help us win the world war II by making tanks and airplanes ,it was before my time but they say they made a B-52 every 55 minutes in a record production output.You might call the U.S. a war monger but you would be speaking Japanese and ruled by a dictator thats not so nice.Nice talking to you Patrick

  49. Patrick Ng says:

    It would not Americans war monger LOL. After all, “si vis pacem para bellum.” It was nice talking to you too, Doug. I will update this post when I get some free time. After talking to you and some others, I have more things to say, from both sides of the equation so to speek.

  50. Gordy says:

    Out of a car yet? Keep buying domestic!

  51. Doug says:

    Well GREED is the main stream thinking then it comes right down to the managements thinking.They still ranking in millions in profits for them selves.The great American big shot not thinking of the future just thinking of his today.I heard of some foreign auto managers taking drastic pay cuts ,they figure if it saves their company and they live comfortably that’s enough for them,not the U.S. company’s it’s GREED as usual.And the Government is the same in Washington the big shots are out of the loop with the everyday life of the people that do there best to keep their heads above water.Now a automobile is a big ticket item that employ’s a large group of people and most people don’t realize that if you take out the large group of people that spend there money on books ,food,coats,other clothing,and other stuff in day to day things it’s going to be like a vacuum.The bumper sticker is a sign in protest on where the jobs are going .Of coarse everything can be made cheaper out of the country but who’s going to buy it .If you keep buying foreign your going to become another country that can’t complete for market share and won’t step forward to a better life.

  52. Robbo says:

    I feel this topic needs to re-open for discussion. Because it isnt just black and white. I really can’t stand those bumper stickers especially when i see those assholes parked in Walmart Parking Lots. When 90%of Walmart is China, India, Korea, and other poor assembled hard slave labor countries who use cheap toxic materials to build them. The reason they get built in other countries is because americans are selfish and want more money for their work! They have this ego especially union members that their shit dont smell and they should be able to be paid glorious wages, time off just to make american products. If they would except an honest wage, have the gov decrease prices and have normal inflation prices, we wouldnt need china! BUT! don’t pretend to be this american pride asshole and try to really convince yourself you are driving 100% american. Those days are gone brother! America is on the verge of a Babylonian collapse or Roman Empire Demise!

  53. Doug says:

    If it wasn’t for the unions you,yourself would be making 5 cents a hour with no benefits.That’s what upper management wants so they can make more profits for them self’s.The union got us better health care which there was none before them ,no regulations on health and safety.No safety harnesses,safety gloves,and just because you were not in a union doesn’t mean you didn’t benefit from them.the people with these stickers know that the american cars are not all american made ,that’s not their point, the point is when your done and depend on every thing from other countrys who’s gonna have money to buy it.

  54. Doug says:

    And if the unions didn’t get the wage they got for them self’s you would always be making less than them because your not smart enough to see the standards the unions set ,it set your pay to.Your boss couldn’t set your pay to much less because it would make them look bad.And why is the economy in so bad of shape no body in the minority are working to pay taxes and the rich keep writing them self’s free passes by buying lawyers to pass bills in their favor.Bill’s that let them transfer their companies over sea for bigger profits.I’m frustrated that people can not see what good the unions have been and how every one is trying to get rid of them , do you know what’s going to happen, when the master minds get done with us,we will be throw away workers.

  55. Patrick Ng says:

    The more I think about this blog post and the comments from readers, the more I find the statement “The meaning of a word is in us, not in the word itself” to be true. What the various comments made me realise was that the slogan on the bumper sticker does not mean the same thing to all of us, and that it has an emotional connection to some of us. As a result, I learned a great deal more about the “problem” and have come to view the perspectives of some with a more open mind than before, although I still think that the cat is already out of the hat and that the trend of having products manufactured in countries where they can be manufatured cheaper will never cease.

    I find the discussion about this slogan very interesting and would be happy to get other people’s point of views. Therefore, I would ask whoever is going to post a comment to try to refrain from using an emotionally charged language like “asshole.” I am not asking that we agree with each other. I am just asking that we should try to argue in a civlised way. I will try to do the same when I post a comment in this thread.

    Thank you.

  56. american girl says:

    Some of you seem to have missed the point of Buy American bumper stickers. What we really want is for americans to actually support america itself. We have nothing left. Nearly all of our goods and services are supplied by some foreign country. Unless can get back our self sufficiency in this nation we have totally lost everything we hold so dear. Don’t you get it? We need our jobs here in America. We need to make out own goods. Look at the economy. Where have all our jobs gone? How are we going to pay the taxes that keep our country running with out decent jobs. Our nation is going bankrupt at lightning speed. Please, people wake up!!!

  57. Taylor says:

    I’m assuming if they can afford the car, then they’re not out of a job so your point is kind of flawed.

  58. Doug says:

    Taylor how is American girls point flawed the U.S. is trillions on dollars in debt.The work force need cars to make it to get back and fore to jobs if they have one.Right now the economy it such as gas prices rise the house hold is effected as what to do for food. You my friend must not of been affected by the crunch or you would have known the “heart”ships.When gas is 4 dollars a gal. and you get 5 dollars a hour and car insurance is hundreds of dollars,house insurance ,rent……..

  59. Dave says:

    The big reason why stuff is made in China is because it enables the corporation to make more money. Either so they can increase profit margins or increase sales by making their products less expensive. At first quality suffered, but it’s a lot better now (minus the melamine). Now since all the competition does it, in order to survive you must too.

    The reason why cars are assembled here is the same. Big savings on freight and cheaper cost on steel. Most steel in North America is produced around the great lakes because of the abundance of limestone, availability of ocean/lake transportation.

    So the Japanese auto makers aren’t being nice by employing Americans, they’re just trying to make more money. Just like the American corporations manufacturing in China. In either case the profits go back to the mother ship. And that’s what business is all about…profit.

  60. Patrick Ng says:

    I agree with you that profit is the one and only goal of big corporation or any business for that matter. That’s why I said that GM and any other big American corporations don’t care about American workers. They just want to make more profit. There’s also pressure from consumers to pay the least for a given product. This problem is an economic problem for sure, but also a very complex one.

  61. joe says:

    The funny thing is the bumper sticker is probably made in China.

  62. Let me start off by posing a question: What is capitalism? While, it may be a slightly ambiguous term, it still maintains a well understood component behind it that has to do with private ownership and PROFIT. I fail to grasp why I should purchase an inferior product in a free-market economy? One of the beautiful things about America is exactly what some of you are trying to rebuke. When I see a better product for my money, I will be switching (which may be soon if Ford keeps up their momentum). We are not a socialist state and I can and will exercise my right to purchase whatever I want to.

  63. I bet your the fiirst one to complaint about people standing around not doing anything and why crime is so high and why your taxes are rocketing.and you don’t think your part of the problem, duh!
    Why your house isn’t worst half of what you paid for it,and blame obama for your problems when Bush crushed this country and hurt any sign of recovery.

  64. Your assumptions are quite false, thus resulting in a rather illogical argument. I pay my taxes and I actually wouldn’t mind paying more if it meant that I would get to keep my freedom to buy what I deem to be the best product for my money. Not a product that you think would be suitable for me to buy in order to mend your bruised ego. I think part of the problem is wanting your cake and eating it too. In our situation it doesn’t work like that, unfortunately. Just look at the UAW. Do you want to live in a democracy and to continue enjoying the benefits that capitalism affords us? Of course, we all want to be free from the clasp of socialism. Now, you are trying to blame me for not buying a UAW or Government Motors product? Give me a break.

  65. You buy a foreign car; who benefits ,the foreign car company does. where is the money ?,It goes to the foreign country.So how does that benefit this country?You reap a small benefit at the moment by buying the car of your choice,but in doing so, you put an american out of work. ,he’s out a job ,he lives in this country..Add it up ,you take 1 away from 1 doesn’t that add up to 0.Your a business man how does that add up.How does this country make a dime when you have nothing.coming back into this country -If you make your bread and butter here, you ought to spend it here..

  66. Douglas, no disrespect but when you take 1 away from 1, you in fact do get 0. Your counterargument totally misses my initial point as well. You are trying to indirectly call me unpatriotic but but think about it, giving up your rights to bail out a business that should have failed in the first place due to improper management, corporate greed and incredulous unions…that to me is much more unpatriotic.
    What’s amusing is that the same people that complain about the Americans that exercise their right to drive what they want to, also shop at Wal-Mart, whose sales exceed $400 BILLION annually!!! Think of how much of that goes to China? I guarantee you, much more than what the Japanese automakers earn here. They also employ Americans. How about everyone practices what they preach? I for one won’t set foot in a Wal-Mart. Nothing to do with who profits but everything to do with garbage products. I don’t care if I’ll save a few dollars. Not worth it.
    At least some of these foreign vehicles employ AMERICAN workers and some use as much as 65% American content (Camry). Show me a superior product for the money and I will purchase it. Like I said in my previous post, I’ll gladly pay more in taxes to retain the freedom of choice and the free market. I don’t live here under the impression that we are a socialist state. Give it some thought.

  67. Ok I agree with a lot of the things you say but this thread is about the bumper sticker” out of a job yet”.This sticker at first was someones idea to make a few bucks .( your idea of free enterprise)But to the economy it’s thousands of jobs and the sticker means with all the jobs leaving this country it’s hurting YOU,ME,and the whole world because products are flooding the markets and nobody buying.World leaders all over are meeting trying to find ways to get the economy back from the downward spiral ,that’s because of greed(GM included)for cheaper products for bigger profits.But when it causes the country to collapse maybe we need to change -this is not your fathers country.

  68. this is just one business and it sends the message that greed is the biggest cause for the trouble the economy is in.
    http://www.wimp.com/meetstudents/

  69. This message isn’t just about cars. I love this statement I encourage people to look at labels of what they buy everyday. It has to say where it was made on it. Buy as much USA made products as you possibly can! If we want things to change please check your labels pay a little more knowing an American is making it and the taxes from the company and the employee help our economy. I am looking to put this in my front yard not on my car. Even though I buy american made brands… I can’t help that they have sold out and bought parts from overseas. Once Oil gets really expensive it will start coming back to us anyway. Scary but exciting at the same time. Your not a jerk I think this saying should encompass everything we buy.

  70. Patrick Ng says:

    Carrie: Initially the message was about cars, but went on to develop a life of its own. While I do understand your point of view, I do think that “paying a little more knowing an American is making it…” is not going to have much effect for now. This is the power of the situation. When it’s hard to find jobs, people are unwilling to pay more because they don’t have a lot of disposable income. Ironically, if there’s an economic boom, people can pay more, but we don’t see the slogan because everyone is working and earning good money.

  71. Reload says:

    Where do the profits of foreign companies go???

    To their respective country, which they in turn, will spend those profits in THEIR country ! ! !

  72. ryan says:

    I hear a lot of people talking about how poor quality thier North American vehicles are. While this is only one persons experience, I have found North American vehicles, if properly maintained to be just as reliable as any foreign car producer. Jeep Wangler, Pontiac Sunfires, Buick’s, all ran great for many hundred of thousands of kms problem free. On the other hand, I have heard numerous stories of Kia’s and and hyundais with tons of issues from faulty air bags to leaking oil for starters. If im not mistaken, when hyundai, kia, and honda first began selling in North America, they were the “cheap” and “faulty” brands trying to pawn of junk. I find also lately, there is this attitude of “hate the big 3” which is more often than not chalked up to blaming them from everything to quality to globalism.

  73. Patrick Ng says:

    99% people don’t complain about the engines in American cars. What they complain about usually are the things like noise. I have a Chevrolet Cobalt. I have no complaint as far as the engine goes. Every morning, the car starts on the first try. However, I have had to take the car several times to the dealership to get rid of noise. I also had the bushing replaced twice, the first time it happened, the car did not even have 6000 kilometres on the counter. I have had some rust problem under the doors.

  74. Doug says:

    Their you go most parts come from over seas so who do you blame for parts that fall a part, o yeah the line worker on the assembly line

  75. Patrick Ng says:

    Doug, you must know me by now. I don’t blame the assembly line worker. The rust under my doors had nothing to do with the assembly line workers. By the way, you are probably one of the best person to answer this question. How much of the Mustang (current model) is actually American? This is one American car I would like to own. A silver Mustang with blue stripes.

  76. Doug says:

    Hi Patrick congrats on the baby hope everything is going great.I guess my last entry didn’t go through I have Parkinsons and I twitch
    and make a mistake and I send stuff to where ever.Any way I’ve been retired for quite a few years now so I couldn’t tell you how much of a car or truck has American parts and the ford mustang is sharp

  77. Patrick Ng says:

    Thanks Doug. I hope everything is well with you too.

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