Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This morning in the shower, like every other regular Joe, I started thinking about the global economy. A buddy in class and I were talking about The World is Flat and how more people are working from home, and how more and more of our cushy service jobs will and are moving where there is less upward pressure on salaries, just like the United States' manufacturing in the 1980's. It seems obvious to people my age, I suppose, but for the older generations this is a new paradigm. Someone in New Zealand or Croatia or, more likely, India or China, could do his job as well as he could, whether it's manufacturing underwear or auditing a 10Q or building a new computer operating system. Leaps in transportation and technology has given a plant foreman in China the power to decide what goes in our toothpaste, what our dogs eat and what chemicals are used to manufacture the toys that our children play with. It's a little scary and a lot ubiquitous.

These are not thoughts that consume my day-to-day life. I eat packaged food (I even eat McDonalds a couple of times a month) and I wear clothes made in Pakistan. But the faltering dollar and my choice of career paths has gotten me thinking that the old hippy standby, "Think globaly act locally" might not be such a bad idea, even if 'locally' only means making sure that I buy toothpaste manufactured in the United States.

This is a list (from memory, at 7 in the morning, grain of salt etc) of products in or around my shower and where they were made:

Aveeno: USA, Aveda: USA (thank goodness), Herbal Esscenses: USA (though it's the old bottle, and this is now a P&G brand), Kerastase: Spain, Roommate's toothpaste, Colgate maybe: Canada, Our toothpaste, Crest, Proctor and Gamble: Not on package, My soap, Zest, Proctor and Gamble: Not on package, Wife's smelly soap: England, Band-Aids, Johnson & Johnson: China.

So, not so bad, except the P&G, who's website only states that all P&G toothpaste is manufactured in 'North America.' Next time we might try Tom's of Maine, who is actually 84% owned by Colgate-Palmolive, but who's founders and natural policies were retained following the buy. If you know of any other easy ways to be a hippy and promote our national currency, please let me know.

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