“Buy American” Is Alot Like Racism


So argues University of Rochester Economics Professor Steven E. Landsburg. Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree, I’d be interested in knowing why.

38 Responses to ““Buy American” Is Alot Like Racism”

  • It’s well understood and unsurprising that Gibson is an idiot. What I can never understand, though, is how so many conservatives have allowed themselves to become so completely derailed by these Fox News “news analysts” and their ilk. These guys don’t care a hill of beans about free market economies, or fiscal responsibility – they only care about war (they’re for it), gays/Mexicans/Muslims (they’re against them), and “moral” issues (as defined by Pat Robertson).

  • Yeah, they definitely have their shortcomings but what news organization doesn’t? Much can be said of CNN, the New York Times, and all other major news media as well. It’s all about balance IMHO.

  • Just to be clear – My criticism was not meant to be of Fox News per se, or even of others of that ilk, although there’s plenty to condemn there. I meant to criticize “conservatives” – members of the public who blithely trail along behind the O’Reillys and Limbaughs of the world – all the while believing they are “conservative”, when they are anything but.

    When I was a conservative, real conservatives believed in free movement of goods, services and labor with as little restriction as possible.

  • True. But on the other side of the coin, ‘conservatives’ atleast tend to be alot more free market than liberals. Wouldn’t you agree?

  • Yeah, kinda sorta, but not really. You have two TV’s, both equal in quality. One is Japanese, the other American. You buy American because of “pride” or “helping the economy”(assume you are American). You have just exercised your right as an American with freedom of choice, and Joe Punchclock keeps his job on the assembly line because demand and sales are up. Now you have a job opening. Both candidates are equal, but candidate A went to you alma mater, or is from the same country (assume you are an immigrant) or state or city (assume you have relocated elsewhere) you are originally from. He gets the job, candidate B goes back to the want ads. You bought the TV for the only reason that it is American made. You hired candidate A because of your connection to him. Landsburg brings up very interesting topics and points in his work in general. He points out things that are “kinds sorta but not really” the same. Depending on your political and economic view of things you will love him or hate him. It is a stretch, but you can see where it is coming from. Once I read a piece on “recycling” and he said “the local government never sent me a bible, but they sent me a recycling bin”. He is right. The government won’t tell you which church to attend, but it will tell you “environmentalism” should be practiced in your home and taught to your children.

  • I do understand the professor’s argument of how blind nationalism can theoretically become a slippery slope to racism or ethnocentrism, but this argument really does not apply to a country with a workforce as heterogeneous as the United States. Maybe Japan, maybe England, maybe Iran, but not the U.S.

    Besides, this argument is irrelevant as protectionists (organized labor and their Democrat lapdogs) have been pushing the whole “Buy American” thing since the early 90s, and year after year more and more products that are sold here are being produced in other countries. It’s simple economics.

  • I’d argue that any form of nationalism or patriotism isn’t much more than a watered down form of racism. Love of place and fondness for the familiar are natural human feelings but devotion to the arbitrary borders cut out by the vicissitudes of history and the cruelty of tyrants is just another type of fanaticism. This being the case, my choice of which car to buy should either be based on purely selfish motives (which at least have some justification) or purely altruistic motives (creating the greatest happiness for the greatest part of mankind). Anything else is just foggy-headed thinking.

  • Good point Karlo. I had never thought of that before – the connection to nationalism and patriotism. Something to think about…

  • Depends on your definition of American, now doesn’t it? I see American as consisting of various different “races,” nationalities, “peoples,” etc.

    In light of that, “Buy American” is nothing more that a safe-haven reaction by Americans. It has legs because American firms have historically had beter practices such fair wages, adequate quality controls, etc. (especially in relation to under-developed nations).

    My $0.02…

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  • If you buy products made in this country, you are putting money into this country. You are funding jobs for people. Products are made, people buy, demand is good, more gets made, people buy again, etc.

    However, all the American made things are way too expensive. You buy from China because they’re cheap, but cheap isn’t necessarily better either. How do we know that foreign countries aren’t putting crap into what we buy? Whether we consume it, wear it, play with it… what exactly is IN the stuff we get from China and Indonesia et al? How many of you trust other places in this day and age? We can’t even trust our own FDA and other government agencies to keep up with our safety.

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