Sample Questions


Ten Questions for Jim Stuber, author of What if Things Were Made in America Again


  1. What prompted you to write this book? [A: “Light bulb moment” involving a GE light bulb and a prison chaplain led me to investigate three questions . . .]


  1. Going to the first question, why does it seem that pretty much everything we see in stores these days is made somewhere else?  [A: 95% of clothes, 70% of appliances, etc. are foreign sourced]


  1. How and why did that happen? [A: The U.S. adopted faulty free trade theories, globalization happened, China entered the global market . . .]


  1. How has it worked out? [$16 trillion to China and a handful of other countries since 1985]


  1. Going to the second question, “is that causing a problem?”, what have been the effects on the economy?  We hear that the stock market is up, and unemployment is down; aren’t we doing pretty well? [A: No, most of us are not doing very well at all, compared to the cost of living in America. And what we’ve been doing to ordinary Americans raises profound moral questions.]


  1. What about the other countries?  We hear conflicting reports of building up a global middle class, but also of low wages and terrible working conditions.  What’s really going on? [A: the global middle class is an exaggeration bordering on a myth.  What is real are the millions of exploited workers churning out the foreign goods.  “Your clothes were made in a sweatshop, your smart phone was made in a labor camp, and your fish were caught on a slave ship.”]


  1. But isn’t the tide turning?  We hear reports that manufacturing is coming back to the U.S. What do you believe the future holds?  [A: more manufacturing job losses (Oreos to Mexico, Buicks and Fords to China).  It’s morally wrong to be sending these jobs abroad --Who will stand up for the ordinary American?  And now, R&D and other skilled white-collar jobs are being swept offshore with them.  “Your Indian replacement will start on Monday.”]


  1. Going to the third question, “what can be done about it?”, you paint a pretty bleak picture of the future if we stay on our present course.  But your book’s subtitle describes “how consumers can rebuild the middle class by buying things made in American communities.”  Why is buying American the solution?  [A: Consumers, and only consumers can solve this problem.  We can bring home $500 billion in spending, create six million jobs, and get a virtuous circle going in the economy.]


  1. But won’t that mean spending more for things?  [A: Yes, sometimes: My son’s first hammer cost $25 instead of $15; it was worth it to support the community that made it.  Often, things don’t cost more.  Oreos made in Mexico and the U.S. are priced the same.  Buicks made in China are priced the same.  Often, it’s just a matter of taking the time to make the right choice.  When companies can’t sell the foreign stuff, they’ll start making more here.] 


  1. Do you have any parting thoughts?  [A: I would just like to convey the urgency of the situation.  Things are not looking good for our children and grandchildren.  Fortunately, there is this a simple, elegant solution we can apply beginning today, without asking anyone for permission.  But I believe the window of opportunity will soon close, so I would urge our listeners to act, before it is too late.  The first step is becoming informed.  I hope this book will help with that.] 



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