Witte: A Day in the Life of a Globalized Economy


Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Columnist Jacob Witte argues that America needs to spend more time manufacturing its own goods, rather then relying on imported products and putting large sums of money towards weapons development.

Jacob Witte

I have a pretty similar routine every morning: I wake up to the sound of my alarm from a cell phone that was made in Korea and whose battery was made in Japan. I jump in the shower and turn the knobs that were made in China to get the water flowing from the shower head that was also made in China.

After my shower, I put on clothes that were sewn in Nicaragua, Indonesia, Honduras and Thailand, and my shoes that were made in Mexico. Soon after that, I chow down a banana for breakfast, courtesy of Colombia, and a Braeburn apple straight from Chile. I wash it down with some orange juice in a cup made in China.

After breakfast, I drive to the commuter lot and get on a Canadian-manufactured CyRide bus, and then walk to class. While on the bus and walking, I listen to my iPod that was made in China, with headphones that were made there too.

Once in class, I take out my Chinese-made binder and my made-in-Mexico Bic pen to take notes. The professor puts a document up on the ELMO projector that was made in Japan, and we watch a clip of a film from a DVD that was made in Mexico with a DVD player that was made in China.

After class, I head to get lunch. I eat a salad whose ingredients came from various countries in Latin America and a bunch of grapes that came from Chile. My afternoon class consists of a PowerPoint slideshow being projected from a Chinese-made projector from a laptop that was made in Japan, using a laser pointer manufactured in Taiwan.

When I get out of class, I am done for the day. I head home on the same Canada-made CyRide bus and once I get home, lounge around for a bit. I turn on my Japanese-made television and watch a movie on my Japanese-built DVD player. After supper I probably need to do some homework, so I go to my office and turn on my Japanese-manufactured computer, monitor, and speakers, and start to work on homework for a few hours.

While I am doing homework, I check out some news websites. I find out that, while just over 100,000 jobs were added to the American workforce in September, the unemployment rate is still at 9.1 percent. Retail and service jobs added in the last several months numbers around 53,000, while manufacturing jobs have declined by 13,000 in the last few months.

Maybe this is why hardly anything that I come into contact with during my day is made in America. Maybe if America focused more on manufacturing reliable goods like we used to, instead of selling undependable foreign goods in ‘Big Box’ stores, maybe it would help us get out of this economic slump.

There was one more piece of news that I did see, however, which caught my gaze. President Barack Obama ordered the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, with a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, otherwise known as a drone aircraft, in Yemen. This is a stark reminder of what America makes a lot of, and is very good at it: weapons of war. The war economy is always booming in America, and we can always find a way to use it, whether it be full wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (now 10 years strong), or the proxy wars in Yemen and Somalia. And unlike the crash of the global economy of 2008, the war economy of America will likely never go bust.