I am constantly arguing with my good friend Josh, who has a maritime legal practice in Lafayette, Louisiana about what exactly is patriotism and how does it impact our everyday lives. His job puts him in conflict with his beliefs on this all the time. If someone is injured working on a rig off LA, and the company refuses to acknowledge their part in that injury, he steps in and acts on behalf of the victim. He sees this as a patriotic duty to a fellow citizen. But when the injury is on a government vessel, the victim is not entitled to representation in our legal system. How does a maritime injury lawyer in Lafayette to feel about this limitation? He feels conflicted. A citizen who works for industry is treated much differently than one injured working for the government. Fair?
If you are purely a patriot (and I mean that only in terms of buying products at this point), you will only buy products that support your own country, bolster your own economy, and put your fellow countrymen to work, regardless of price. You want your money to stay within our borders, you want your community to be responsible for its own economic health.
Therefore, as a patriot, you cannot wholeheartedly support the freedom of markets. You must be willing to pay more than the bottom line, both as a consumer and as a company. On the other hand there are always folks who are willing to share their resources without any expectation of a financial reward. For instance, one person from Australia. Aunt Mary is a gardening maven. Every year to opens her expansive and beautiful gardens to the public, sharing the extraordinary flora and fauna. Here is a woman who expects no financial reward, just good karma. As a patriot of Australia should women only share their gardens with other Australians? I think this is a case where generosity and sharing over rides an economical argument.
Nevertheless, forget for a few moments, your own particular country.
In general, do you believe that everyone should prefer to buy (up to and including “only buy”) products that are produced in one’s own country?
Leave out considerations of the place in which you were born, the nation of which you are a citizen, the locale that you call home (or any combination of those, or any other way in which you determine the country that is “yours”).
We’ve seen that one can either be a patriot or have a free market. The two cannot go together (see previous page if you don’t understand the reasoning). Therefore, there must be some moderation between a completely free market and a completely patriotic one.
And, of course, patriotism is not the only thing that can modify simple “buy low & sell high” rules. Many other considerations come under the broad and vague heading of “quality”, things which have to do more with how we perceive the products than any essential characteristic.
Add that to the simple historical and geographical evidence that shows that any one locale cannot create everything that it needs and desires. There will always be products or even simply resources and raw materials that you cannot access without trade between two communities (or regions, or nations).
Even if you manage to be able to feed and clothe and shelter all of the people in your community, you certainly may not be able to satisfy even slightly complex needs and desires. And, obviously, there will come a time when the economy cannot sustain itself.
If you have to make a profit selling something to someone who has to make a profit selling something to you, eventually someone will not have enough (either products or money) to complete the transaction.
If you do manage to stabilize the economy, what happens when more people arrive (usually in the form of very little people at first, but with new needs — and more of them — once they get bigger)?
Spending your hard earned money on Items created right here in the good old USA is the best way to make sure our fragile economy remains vibrant & healthy!