The Whole Wide (Material) World

Updated: Apr 29

Think about your stuff. Where did all your things come from? At first, you probably think about the stores where you bought them or who gave them to you. There is actually an origin to things you use every day that you don’t think about too often-- if at all.

WHERE were your things made?

Where something is made probably isn't one of the first things you think about before purchasing it. It can be common to assume that a lot of things are made here in the United States. However, you might be surprised to find, if you start looking around, this is not often the case. About sixty percent of the goods that Americans buy in the U.S., including technology, clothing, and household items, come from other parts of the world. What you’re wearing today could be from Mexico while the backpack or purse you use every day is from Vietnam.

If you look around, you'll probably find so many labels that say "Made in China" that you could accidentally assume that China is one big factory of electronics, gadgets, and fashion accessories!





WHY don't we notice these labels more often?

It's so easy to focus on only what is going on in the life that you are living; however, if you pay attention to the news, you have probably heard some of the conversation about the trade relationships between other countries and the U.S. Regardless of your views on foreign made goods being sold in the U.S., the point is that life isn’t lived in a bubble.

There are a lot of things that can be learned by making efforts to pay more attention to the wider world. You’ll find out a lot about yourself and get a better understanding of how the world works.


HOW MANY?

About 60% percent of the goods Americans buy in the U.S. come from other parts of the world!


When looking at other cultures, it is easy to see the significant differences. These include differences in language and lifestyle, which can at times make it feel impossible to relate. However, because we trade goods, the world can feel more connected.

Regardless of the language or lifestyle of those who make our goods, we are always similar in at least one way: we all want positive lives. The goods that countries trade with each other help everyone live better lives and progress.

Additionally, you can learn about other cultures through learning something of their language. The better that you can communicate with people who speak different languages, the more you can expand your horizons and discover new ideas.



Sarah Strobel is an independent contractor in the Chicagoland area for Van Houser Media.



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