For many years, my husband has been fairly anal about buying products made in the USA (or other western society that regulates factory working standards). It was a little annoying to try to shop for clothes or gifts for him. Our friends would chalk it up to his crazy engineering ways and shake their heads...and so would i. In the past year or two, i have come to realize the importance of this. For our daughter, we have tried to buy toys made in the USA (or europe) for safety reasons (this has come in handy, especially with the recent recalls). If traveling, we try to buy gifts and mementos made in the country in which we're visiting. It's almost a challenge. Recently, i wanted to buy some wooden kitchen spoons, a cutting board and a spatula. It took a while, but i found spoons made in france, a cutting board made of recycled materials in the USA and a spatula made in germany. I'll admit: We can afford to make these decisions when buying certain products. It's an option not everyone can do. But it's an important gesture that more people (who can afford it) should think about and try to do.
It's a bit mind-boggling to think of all the factories in china making the zipper on your clothes, the plastic cup for your chilled coffee, your underwear, and that toy that came with the happy meal. The people working in these factories get paid pennies a day, have dangerous working conditions and they are responsible for a lot of pollution in our world.
I am not a purist. The majority of my clothes are made in china. It's been on my mind a lot lately and as i flip things over and see 'made in china' on the bottom, i wonder what the future holds for american manufacturing. Isn't it patriotic to buy things american made? I think about these things too much and want to live in a commune and sew all my clothes and raise barns.