Research Paper: Buying or Not Buying Local Good

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Buying or Not Buying Local Good

Those who lived in the early ages had limited options and had to buy anything they wanted to use locally ranging from fruits to vegetables which were grown on farms. However, because the world has become interconnected the idea of cross border trade has widely been accepted. Because of economically volatile times we are living in and partly because environmental degradation the phrase "buy local" has become a vocabulary in the tongues of almost all households. This paper basically focuses on the disadvantages of supporting the "buying local" notion that is championed in countries like the United States where the citizenry is urged to buy locally made products without critically looking at issues pertaining to quality, price, and availability of products.

The notion that citizens of a given country should support their economy by purchasing products manufactured locally is neither here nor there. The most important things somebody should focus on while buying a good is its quality, price, and availability regardless of where it is manufactured. I am not an avid supporter of a notion that one should always purchase products manufactured locally because the consequences may be far reaching.

It is hard to deny the fact that buying goods made locally in a way creates job opportunities, taxes are levied, and the local community in turn thrives and grow. The most fundamental questions that one needs to ask are: the job opportunities are created at the expense of what? Are the job opportunities created benefiting the local population? Are the taxes used to better the lives and service delivery? Let's bring into focus the concept of importation vis-a-vis creation of locally owned companies where the locals would purchase from. Importation of goods creates more job opportunities compared to creation of locally owned enterprises where the locals buy because jobs will be created and taxes earned at every level from shipping, clearing the goods at the port where import duty will be levied, transportation of the good s to the wholesaler's warehouse, and retailing. It is no secret that the tax payer's monies are at times used to subsidize operations of the local companies. It is absolutely true that locally manufactured goods tend to be fresh than items shipped thousands of miles across the oceans (Smit & Ratta, 1995). However, freshness is not a guarantee that they are of high quality especially when issues to do with quality control are obscured.

It becomes difficult to know whether they have been grown and refined in way that meets the requisite standards. It is easy to theorize that locally manufactured goods are environmentally friendly. However, it is imperative to appreciate that some of the equipment used in the process of manufacturing are shipped in from other countries and this in a way compromises the healthfulness of the food.

Citizens of a country should not buy goods made locally because such goods have questionable quality bearing in mind that the process of manufacturing such goods raises energy and efficiency concerns. Some regions in the country may be endowed with alternative energy sources like wind power and solar power which local farms and manufacturers cannot optimally use to make green products.

Because of interdependence, international trade has become source of livelihood of residents of different locations of the earth. No single country can be endowed with all resources. They therefore have to source for those goods that they do not have through trade. For this to happen there has to be foreign exchange earner. This foreign exchange can never be there when country absolutely buy locally manufactured goods. Foreign exchange is a very vital aspect of international trade.

Buying goods made within a country's body is costly experience. This is something that has been attested to buy Mike Catherwood, a co-host on a radio advice show "Loveline," who resolved to buy only American made products as part of a year long experiment (New, 2012). Mike Catherwood revealed that only the richest could afford to buy American-made products. Because American made goods are expensive, majority of Americans can only afford to buy imported goods. Statistics indicate that an average American household had a median income of barely $50,000 in 2011 (New, 2012). With such kind of income one can only afford to do their at the Walmart and Old Navy emporium which both stock cheap imported goods. The U.S. made blue jeans, white T-shirt, and work boots costs a whopping $421. Domestic made Levi's 501 cost $178, American apparel white T-shirt $18, and classic Red Wing work boots cost $225. When these outfits are imported they would be far much cheaper. At least $100 would be saved when Brahma-brand work boots are bought from the Walmart at $33, a white Hanes T-shirt at $6, and Gap classic blue jeans at $60. Arguments leveled against importation have been that it costs Americans jobs. However, nobody has bothered to appreciate that importation as opposed to buying locally made goods lowers the cost of living for the lower and the middle class Americans (New, 2012). The made in U.S.A gimmick does nothing to improve the lives of average Americans apart from creating a symbol of Main Street pride which is basically a chic status symbol for upscale retailers. In fact specific labeling like "Made in Brooklyn" has been instituted to create additional cache. Buying such items may feel good just like buying organic lettuce but the bottom line is that they are niche products. With the globalized trade it is difficult for virtually all the products to be made within the United States as Federal Trade Commission purports. American cotton can be used to make clothes overseas just like Japanese cars are assembled in the United States (New, 2012).

The locally manufactured goods are normally more expensive than those that come from the grocery store because the local farmers operate in small scale and are family run. They do not have streamlined production (Cranbrook, 1997). Buyers therefore have to pay more for their products even as they disguise themselves with the notion of supporting local businesses.

Proponents of using locally made food have cited food miles as a measure of food's environmental impact. They have failed to take cognizance of the fact that food miles should be about how the food was transported as opposed to how far the food was transported. It doesn't matter whether the food has been tracked 100 miles or 1000 miles, the bottom line is that there are greenhouse gas emissions that have been released. Greenhouse gas emissions should be looked at through all phases of production of the locally manufactured goods because food miles merely represent a relatively small slice of the green gas pie (DeWeerdt, 2013).

Locally manufactured foods tend to be less convenient. One may have to go to the local farm to purchase the locally manufactured produce and rush to somewhere else to buy other things like grains and cereals that are not available in the local farm (McGinnis, 1999). Because local farms are not regulated you may end up buying goods that are not certified or regulated. It may be true that there produce are better that those that are shipped several miles away but the problem is how you will get to know that whatever they are saying is true.

Embarking on intensive production of local food means there will be more inputs to grow a given quantity of food where more land and more chemicals will be used (Sexton, 2011). All these come at a cost of carbon emission (Sexton, 2011). Increased demand for carbon-intensive inputs impacts our food's carbon footprint, destroy the habitat, and worsen environmental pollution (Sexton, 2011). Carbon emissions from transport cannot decline in the locavore because local farms reduce population density as potential homes are displaced by community gardens. Local food production makes many people to take to farming hence growing farm sizes and increased concentration in food processing and marketing. Large farms depend on synthetic fertilizers and tilling operations. Such farms face greater pest pressure and waste disposal problems that lead eventually lead to environmental degradation (Sexton, 2011). Local food system raises the cost of food by constraining efficient allocation of resources. The cost is ultimately passed on to consumers. As the cost of foods plummet there is high likelihood that the lower and the middle class will turn to wrong foods that would undo the gains that the fight against obesity had achieved (Sexton, 2011). Nutrient dense calories like fruits and vegetables have become more expensive while the high fructose corn syrup has become relatively cheap. Producing food locally hurts the poor (Sexton, 2011) who turn to alternative sources of food. Such kind of food exposes them to lifestyle diseases.

Small and localized enterprises that produce local products have had to compete with multinational corporations. These multinational corporations make use of current technology that substantively reduces labor costs. Their products are well-known in the market and this makes it extremely difficult for new… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Buying or Not Buying Local Good.  (2013, June 24).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from

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"Buying or Not Buying Local Good."  24 June 2013.  Web.  19 June 2019. <>.

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"Buying or Not Buying Local Good."  June 24, 2013.  Accessed June 19, 2019.