Made in the U.S.A.

By E.M. Burton

In Rest Day/Theory

January 04, 2012

PDF Article

E.M. Burton examines domestic manufacturing in post-industrial America.

I played a small part today in creating an American job. I donated $5 at my local Starbucks to their Create Jobs for USA program. They estimate that once 599 other people make the same donation, one job will be created.

A small contribution, granted, but it felt pretty good; the Opportunity Finance Network administers the fund to provide micro-financing opportunities for people who deserve them. But it started me thinking. Giving someone a job is one of the most direct ways you can help someone: you are improving his or her capacity to provide for the necessities of life.

Most affiliate owners know a thing or two about this. There’s a shift in thinking that occurs between being dependent on others for a job and making a job for one’s self. There’s another shift that takes place when you hire someone else.

How cool would it feel to create a bunch of jobs? But is it even possible or sustainable in an economic climate that has been nothing less than chaotic in the years since 9/11? Rogue, Oakley and American Apparel say it is.



7 Comments on “Made in the U.S.A.”


wrote …

If it were possible to create jobs for $3000 each, then the Obama Stimulus should have created about 300 million jobs.


wrote …

jobs aren't created by having $3000 or even $10,000, they are created by business need. If you have a need for another coach then you hire someone. If you happen to have another 10k in the bank you don't go out and create a job just to create a job.


wrote …

Greatest article so far on CFJ (I'm an Econ major, go figure). But to those with misguided pessimism on how a mere $3000 could create a job, well it is possible especially when the said $3000 stays in the local economy loop creating a multiplier effect. However, the article also mentioned that job creation in terms of monetary value is half the point (think voluntary work, internships, apprenticeships, open sourcing, grassroots, collective partnering)- it doesn't necessarily have to be monetized nor thankless. As an optimist, I anticipate that we will, by virtue, be forced to look deeper into how our economies are designed, incentivizing more R&D, accounting for negative externalities, having more business transparency,and most importantly, bringing a sense of purpose and passion back into the work force.


wrote …

Bill hit it right on the head.....without hard work there is little result.

Being an older guy that has been around long enough to watch the decline from near its onset ( I took a pay cut to leave GM in '91) I can say that in my opinion one of the largest contributing factors to the circumstance we find ourselves in today, is the erosion of our work ethic.

I spent a significant amount of the Fall outside the U.S. in meetings with a variety of companies, all of which are globally recognized manufacturers. Most of these meetings included senior level executives, if not C suite guys. They all had the same thing to say about their operations in NA, that the single largest issue that they faced was turnover. Hundreds, if not thousands of jobs available to American workers, at wage rates above market competitive levels, working for solid companies with great benefits, that were routinely being vacated because they were HARD. Jobs that were easily filled elsewhere on the planet, and what is more, filled for pennies on the dollar compared with their NA counterparts. Many of these same execs went on to comment that the huge dollars that were being spent on training personnel for these positions (over and over again) combined with the downstream unemployment and administrative costs associated with these same positions were rapidly becoming as large a financial driver in the selection of manufacturing location as was market specific wage rates.

The nebulous THEY aren’t doing this to US….WE are doing it to OURSELVES.

Just imagine what our affiliate memberships would look like if we applied American economic policy to our constantly varied, functional movement, performed at high intensity. If you kick ass on the WOD and do your very best we will give you $100. If you just show up for the WOD and go through the motions we will give you $90. If you sit on your ass and don’t do a damn thing, we will give you $35. Hmmm?? I wonder how many overweight, unhealthy, chronically ill people there would be??? Oh wait!! This country is full of them.


wrote …

How does donating to a Starbucks charity create jobs? So they can hire someone else to go look for more money? I work as a network engineer and we cannot find people to come work for us, because no one wants to take the time to commit to continuing training or doing their best!


wrote …

Interesting topic. Interesting stories. Lousy economic analysis.

The stories of fascinating passionate leaders of men/women making money and helping skilled craftsmen to use their skills/time to create - but how much easier it could be if there were not so many govt interventions in the marketplace that make it difficult to employ people productively. In the name of the "worker" we've made a nation that cannot employ "workers." If there was any clarity of economic thought, American workers could be as productive as any in the world for any activity - well, if they had a shot at a decent education, including an understanding that you can have a right not to be coerced but that you don't have a right to coerce someone like Bill H to pay you one penny more than he thinks you are worth.

The real value that folks like Bill H add to "Americans" is that I can buy a Rogue yoke and the better part of a Rogue reverse hyper for the cost of a competitor's yoke of goergon alone. In other words, for the exact same amount of my life energy (as represented by money), I can get two products where before I could only get one. By doing that, Bill serves me and every other American who buys Rogue products. Whether those products are made within the boundaries that define the USA or across some lines on a map which defines another country - that does not matter. I've been seeing "buy American" signs since the early 80s, but it's never made any sense to me why Americans deserve to be employed more than chinese, or Singaporese, or Japanese, or Koreans. The moral case for employment is simple - who will produce the best outcome/cost ratio should be employed.


Well said! I also majored in Econ and I'm glad you referenced incentives. All the silly stimulus stuff aside, it's about peoples incentives and the hard work they will put in to achieve. Rogue is a fantastic example of this and living about 2 miles from Rogue's facility I've been able to see a bit of what they are doing and it is awesome. I stopped in and bought a sand bag there and Bill said, "I've got sand in buckets outside if you want to fill up here". It is easy to see that they have purpose, and they get after it. That's what true entrepreneurs do, align incentives in new ways that factor in externalities and get to work.

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