Saturday, August 23, 2014

CRAIG EDWARD KELSO, Don't Buy American

I can’t remember when exactly, but President Obama and those who wanted his job at the time (Republican hopefuls) lamented the sorry state of manufacturing in the United States – something about the US needing goods and services made IN the US, for Americans BY Americans.  

Is this important to you?

I honestly do not care WHO makes my stuff.

A consideration when I buy junk is, of course, price. Price I take into account along with quality and how long I need the crap I buy to last. But I don’t ever factor-in WHERE my junk is made. Sure, some countries are known for their shitty products (Mexico comes immediately to mind – even Mexicans don’t want it), but then I don’t really let that make my final determination.

I have ZERO patriotic feeling. Zip. Nathan. Zilch.   

YOU can fight and die for American politicians. YOU can get weepy at the National Anthem. YOU can worship people in government costumes and jewelry.

No thanks.

When I trade with others, I don’t give a flying fuck about their national origin, ethnicity, religion, or whatever. If THEY can make a better mousetrap, and I am in need of a mousetrap, I’ll go with THEM.

The confusion usually comes when social justice issues are introduced. Easily, and rather smoothly, groups who pretend at no vested interest point out their competitor’s faults: child labor, horrible political culture in the country of origin, and so forth. It can be heartbreaking to learn, and it is legitimate to use your personal values when spending money in any direction.

But the nationalism issue is stupid.

Take the case of Montgomery, Alabama.

For as long as anyone can remember, Montgomery has been a colossal shit hole. Its racial problems are legendary, the stuff of modern mythologies. It is known as a backward city in a backward state.

Around the mid-1980s, my mother could afford a relatively new car! Working two, sometimes three menial jobs she often purchased low end and much older cars. All the sudden a newer model car was available to HER. How?

A company from South Korea, of all places, Hyundai, decided to enter the American automobile market. As it stood, American car companies were burdened by their labor force who’d unionized at the expense of everyone else, including customers.   

Years prior Alabama politicians famously tried to jump-start the local economy. Public works projects, bridges, and the usual laundry list of government answers were proposed. But as we know, government CANNOT and WON’T produce lasting value of any kind. Only a voluntary, cooperative market can produce value. Markets are freely associable and collaborative. Governments TAKE from someone and give to someone else. Where governments use force, markets use mutual benefit.

Hyundai opened a factory in Alabama.

Now, of course, Hyundai is a well-known and well-respected car company here in the States. But at first the company was met with suspicion and derision by the usual suspects: patriotic xenophobes and union goons. Worries about “those people” coming into Alabama, and the effect such a mix would produce were commonplace.

So what happened?

People like my mother were able to drive affordable, well-engineered cars. Compared with American over-priced and under-performing cars, the Hyundai was a revelation to people like my mother. And, for the record, that car was wonderful: it hardly ever broke down and was cheap to repair.

For thousands of folks in Montgomery, their economy took off. People had dignity in good paying jobs. The spillover is obvious in terms of machinery and parts businesses as well. But the culture blossomed with new comers. The South Korean ethic toward education and arts flooded into the local way of life through top symphonic organizations and restaurants. The churches, once thought long dead in the wake of national trends, are again packed. Classical music and art … in Montgomery!

The magic of commerce, the source of peace and prosperity in our lives.  

And I mean it.


Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children. 

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