In an increasingly globalized world, products from all over the globe can be found in every consumer market in the United States. Reasons for importing products from around the world for consumption by American consumers can vary: some countries have a comparative advantage in producing specialized products, some developing producing countries have significantly lower labor and environmental standards, considerably lowering production costs allowing for a cheaper sale price.
A recent article released by San Diego News Room titled “Does It Matter Where Products Are Made” argues globalization has many negative effects. Two of the fastest growing industrial economies in the last 30 years are China and India, both countries known to have deplorable environmental and labor standards. Many products imported to the United States come from these nations, allowing for American consumers to purchase cheaper products but also hurting American producers, the environment, and in the bigger picture even American consumers.
San Diego News Room points out that the United States’ 200 years of developing its manufacturing sector has allowed us to make progress in the areas of worker safety, pollution prevention, and environmental protection. The article states that the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the enforcement of local, state, and federal environmental regulations, and trillions of dollars invested into clean technologies by the US government and US manufacturers has led to industries much better equipped to responsibly manufacture new products for consumption. These strides taken by both the public and private sectors have led to major successes in limiting or reversing environmental degradation, as stated by San Diego News Room:
- Pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, and lead poisoning have been reduced by 60 percent.
- Vehicle emissions are 98 percent cleaner than in 1970.
- Levels of lead in children’s blood decreased by 75 percent.
- Increased safety of waterways and municipal water supplies.
The horrific and dangerous levels of pollution currently plaguing China and India show that producers and government officials in those nations care more about providing the world with cheap, dangerous products than the safety and wellbeing of their citizens and the global environment. San Diego News Room claims that since China has taken over the position of the world’s leading source of CO2 and SO2 emissions, Japan, South Korea and areas in the Northwest United States have seen increased acid rain levels as a result of easterly trade winds coming from China.
Chinese cement companies account for 45 percent of global cement production and are held to lower environmental standards in the production of their cement. Not only are all of the concrete products produced by RCP Block and Brick produced in the United States under the stricter environmental standards, but also they are made with cement produced in the United States whose plants are operated with a smaller carbon footprint by American workers.
American consumers are becoming more aware of the issues of globalization everyday. Instead of filling American landfills with cheap foreign goods that harm the environment, we should consume cleaner, safer, and higher quality American made products that benefit our national and local economies and our neighbors who work hard to produce them.