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Your smartphone was made in a labor camp, your clothes were made in a sweatshop, and your fish were caught on a slave ship.

So James Stuber tells us in the introduction to his timely and provocative new book, What if Things Were Made in America Again: How Consumers Can Rebuild the Middle Class by Buying Things Made in American Communities (Current Affairs Press, www.currentaffairspress.com).   

Stuber invites us on the journey to learn “what is really going on” with trade, globalization, and the U.S. and world economies.  We go to some surprising places. . . .

  • To Reynosa, Mexico, and Flint, Michigan, after Delco sent its production to the former from the latter:

And so, there we have it — under NAFTA, we send Flint’s jobs to Reynosa, creating demand for drugs in Flint, demand that is filled by gangs in Reynosa.  We have “employed” workers living in shanty towns in Reynosa, and jobless workers living in slums in Flint, and drug wars going on among suppliers in Reynosa and distributors in Flint.

  • To the Chinese “factory labor camp” making smartphones, with nets to prevent more workers from committing suicide by jumping off the roof.
  • To the Illinois steel mill, dealing with the suicide of one of its workers, because the mill was shut down when China started dumping its overproduction of steel on the U.S. market.

Along the way, Stuber’s seeks answers to the three questions posed in this book: Why does it seem like everything is made somewhere else?  Isn’t that causing a problem?  If it is, what can be done about it?  The answers are not easy to come by, but Stuber finds them.  We learn –

  • how the U.S. gave whole industries away pursuing unilateral free trade and fighting communism.
  • How trade morphed into globalization, three billion people joined the world economy, creating the “age of oversupply,” and China changed everything by adopting just enough capitalism to become the “world’s workshop,” to the detriment of developed and developing countries alike.
  • How we are caught up in the “Big Squeeze” of the global low-price, low wage economy, with every nation, including the U.S., competing to win over transnational companies shopping the world for low wages and subsidies.

Exploding myths of a “win-win” from free trade, Stuber shows –

  • how all this resulted in six million lost manufacturing jobs and lower wages for most Americans, outweighing any gains from lower prices of the foreign goods.
  • How these lost jobs destroyed lives, families, and communities, while our political and intellectual elites told us how good this was for everyone.
  • How the future holds more jobs lost to Mexico, China, and India, as white-collar and professional jobs are being swept offshore along with manufacturing, threatening our children’s future.

Stuber challenges us to consider the moral and practical implications of all this, and asks, “who will stand up for the ordinary American?”  He challenges us to create a better vision for the future, one that will support families and preserve the American Dream for our children.

Most importantly, we learn how consumers solve the problem, without asking anyone for permission: what sets this book apart is its plan of action that can immediately be acted upon by individual Americans: — bring home $500 billion in spending, create six million jobs, and get the virtuous circle going again.  It is required reading for every American.

About the Author: James A. Stuber began his career as a legislative assistant to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, focusing on matters before the Committee on Energy and Commerce.  He subsequently practiced legislative and administrative law in Washington, D.C. before relocating to Florida. He served as president of the World Trade Council of Palm Beach County and as a legal adviser to the World Trade Center of Fort Lauderdale, working with the U.S. Department of Commerce in the promotion of U.S. exports. He founded Made in America Again, a movement of consumers dedicated to creating jobs in communities across America by buying things made in those communities. Stuber holds a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University, respectively, and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Contact: James Stuber at jstuber@miaa.us. For more information, visit http://www.themadeinamericabook.com/.