a few opinions of Hannah Murphy
Years ago you could walk down almost any street in any town in the United States, and find shops & stores owned by local business men and women, specializing in almost everything you were looking for. Now you have shopping malls, with big chain stores in every one. A store in New York carries the same line of imported junk merchandise as their counterparts in Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, or even a little town called Chehalis, Washington! They all look the same -- like the old song, "Little Houses Made of Ticky-Tacky".
The numbers are horrifying to an old-timer, and should be to our young people as well. But they don't know any different - the Mall is all they know! What is so disturbing is that 90% of the products in these malls are made somewhere other than in America! I believe the number is even higher for clothing & apparel shops. Check the label on anything you buy... where was it made?
What Does This Mean to our Kids and Grandkids? With much of the production equipment and expertise going overseas, there are few people left in this country who know *how* to make anything that used to be made in the United States. Very few know how to operate or maintain equipment used to manufacture clothing and all the products that used to be made in America. It won't be long before there is no operating equipment left in this country, even if someone wanted to learn how to use it. Millions of people in this country would be happy to go back to work in the textile mills and factories producing goods in America.
Kids today in many schools throughout the United States are not taught any skills or trades. They all want to be doctors, or lawyers, or college professors, or Heaven forbid: Politicians! One of their majors is usually "Business" - so they'll know how to manage their money when they get rich!
What used to be our downtown shopping areas are now "service-oriented" or professional businesses like lawyers, accountants, doctors, or government agency offices! There's a tattoo parlor and a beauty shop in there somewhere!
Look what is happening all over the country - fabric stores, and even textile mills, are closed because kids aren't learning how to sew anymore. Thank goodness for the few who belong to a 4-H Club! It's not "cool" anymore to sew on a button, or make your own clothes, or even hem up your own "designer" jeans (made in Taiwan)!
Downtown business have closed and moved out succumbing to the low-priced "Mart" stores in the mall! The few remaining Crafters and Seamstresses have a difficult time finding stores specializing in fabrics and sewing notions. Now Scrap-Booking and Stamping are the latest rages. I don't know how to do either one of those crafts, but I can knit a sweater, sew and mend my own clothes, and cook my own supper on a campfire if need be.
Sadly, Home-Economics & Shop classes aren't taught in many schools anymore. Consequently, kids are growing up not learning much about nutrition and cooking their own meals! It's too easy to grab a bite to eat at the mall! Junk Food - making America a bunch of fat slobs! Most kids today know more about the latest nail polish color and body-piercing jewelry than they do about anything in the kitchen! Oh, I forgot.... ask any one of them who is on the top-ten music list these days... I'll bet they have the answer!
(I call this the "Britney Spears" syndrome!)
How Did This Happen?
Cost-cutting measures by big corporate conglomerates are the biggest reason. They can give their shareholders bigger dividends! Middle-class Americans can't afford to buy stock in these big corporations, so they never get to share in the corporations' cost-cutting and tax benefits. Instead, they have to settle for minimum-wage jobs in this country, and buy cheaply-made goods that are manufactured in sweatshops overseas! It's a vicious circle!
Most Americans are "asleep at the switch" in this area, and will wake up one day to find themselves living in a third-world existence. As more and more people are losing their jobs, I think they're beginning to wake up!
Two small steps to help reverse this trend:
1. Bring back mandatory Home-Ec classes and mandatory Shop classes in high school curriculum. This will create a demand once again for shops specializing in fabrics, notions, sewing machines, and tools, while at the same time raise the student's self-esteem by allowing them to actually make something for themselves!
2. FOREGO A FEW STOPS AT YOUR LOCAL ESPRESSO BAR, AND BUY SOMETHING MADE IN AMERICA!
This will make you feel good!
Hannah Murphy Lamps & Lampshades
"Made in America"
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©2007 Hannah Murphy