Reason.tv: Is Your iPod Unpatriotic?—Why America shouldn't "Buy American"

Is your iPod unpatriotic?

Its 451 parts are made in dozens of nations, and creating the little doodads employs thousands of foreigners. Final assembly is done in China-a country that right-wingers and left-wingers alike fear is an economic threat to the U.S.

As the recession worsens, maybe patriotic Americans should be smashing foreign-made iPods in protest. Or at least hiring bikini-clad American women to do the job, which is exactly what Reason.tv did. Our patriotic, sledgehammer-wielding bikini bandits headed to California's Venice Beach to smash some foreign-made iPods to make a political statement about saving American jobs.

Maybe the United Steelworkers Union (USW), one of the biggest "Buy American" backers would like to hire these patriotic ladies for their next rally.

"Every other nation during this economic downturn is directing their stimulus money inward," thunders USW's Billy Thompson at a rally in West Virginia. "Now if they can do it, why in the hell can't we?"

Actually, we are. President Obama's $800 billion stimulus package came equipped with a "Buy American" provision, and more than 500 state and local governments have signed "buy American" resolutions. And that may be just the beginning of the protectionist push.

Reason.tv went to a Washington, D.C. event where business owners and activists learned how to lobby for more protectionist laws. "If you want to sell it here, build it here," says one participant who referrs to those who ignore the "buy American" imperative as "uneducated, ignorant people."

And shouldn't we be patriotic purchasers? That's what car ads, draped with Old Glory and heartland visuals, suggest. What could be more patriotic than buying a Jeep Patriot? With American automakers hurting so badly, that's got to help America.

"That's nonsense," says George Mason University economist-and Cafe Hayek blogger-Donald Boudreaux.

"The Jeep Patriot, despite it's name is actually less American than some Toyota products. It's literally impossible-at least in any practical sense-to ‘buy American.'"

Boudreaux argues that Americans should buy whatever products they choose; neither guilt nor laws should push them to buy American. "The thing that is most distinctively American is freedom. To insist that Americans should not be free to buy good from foreigners that's very anti-American."

And what about your iPod?

Even though plenty of foreigners have jobs thanks to it, so do 14,000 Americans whose duties include designing and marketing the little buggers. So the iPod is a product of America and the world, and these days that describes nearly all the items we buy.

Welcome to the iPod economy, where just about everything is made everywhere.

After hearing the whole story, Reason.tv's bikini bandits decided to put down their protectionist sledgehammers. Will America's people, pundits, and politicians follow suit?

"Is Your iPod Unpatriotic?" is written and produced by Ted Balaker and hosted by Nick Gillespie. Field producer is Hawk Jensen and director of photography is Alex Manning.

Associate Producers are Meredith Bragg, Paul Detrick, and Dan Hayes, with additional photography provided by Nathan Chaffetz and Dan Haas.

And introducing reason.tv's Bikini Bandits: Alexandra Fulton, Chuki Lord, and Amber Waddick.

Approximately nine minutes. For embed code and iPod, audio, and HD versions, go here.

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  • KingShamus||

    Please put bikini bandits into every Reason.TV clip you possibly can.

    Thanks.

  • ||

    Is your iPod Unpatriotic?

    No, but it does look make you look like a fucking hipster.

  • Martin||

    Last year, a group of us on this side of the atlantic sent every member of parliament a copy of Orwell's 1984. Just as a reminder.

    Watching this, I think you guys need to send a copy of Hazlitt's "Economics in one Lesson" to every government representative and Union leader in the country. Just as a reminder.

  • Martin ||

    Speaking of which, I just checked my copy: Printed in China. Yup.

  • BlueBook||

    Please put bikini bandits into every Reason.TV clip you possibly can.

    Thanks.



    Seconded. I'm not even sure what the point of the iPod smashing was, but who cares? They were very leggy and limber.

  • Ben Rast||

    Bikinis and Boudreaux, a winning combination.

  • ...||

    Almost completely right, except that the example about money flows has one small little issue ... for the past 10 years when the Chinese woman has gone into the bank in China and exchanged her RMB for 100 dollars, she hasn't come back to the US to buy an IPOD; rather she has bought over a trillion dollars of T-Notes, keeping long term interest rates un-naturally low and helping to fuel a housing boom that has sunk the economy. Wooops!

    (I would note however that this isn't an argument against free trade because the Chinese woman was only doing so to keep the RMB artificially low against the US $, a move that is not exactly in line with free trade principles)

  • hmm||

    "Every other nation during this economic downturn is directing their stimulus money inward," thunders USW's Billy Thompson at a rally in West Virginia. "Now if they can do it, why in the hell can't we?"



    Bill appears to be a strong proponent of my whiskey, pot, coke, strippers and call girl stimulus package. Keep at home, preferably in a G-string.

    Last I heard Toyota was retooling another plant to build the Prius (lol prius) in the US.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I can't watch the video from my iPhone. Ironic, ain't it?

  • Xeones||

    Citizen, are you angling to get Reason.tv to send bikini-clad ladies in your direction with sledgehammers? Because, good plan.

  • Jeff P||

    Y'know Reason wouldn't stoop to bikini babes if Virginia was still editing...

  • ||

    Nick,

    Why didn't you mention the overriding reason for sending manufacturing overseas? Our tax code makes it cheaper to import goods than to make them here. The difference in the cost of the assembly labor is pretty much a wash with the added shipping costs.

    -jcr

  • ||

    she has bought over a trillion dollars of T-Notes, keeping long term interest rates un-naturally low and helping to fuel a housing boom that has sunk the economy. Wooops!

    That makes her a victim, not a culprit. The culprits are the Fed and the congress who decided to inflate the money.

    -jcr

  • gaijin||

    How much of the content on a typical iPod do you figure is created by US-based artistes? The dollar value of the music on my iPod is far greater than the plastic parts assembled elsewhere...perhaps we could get a stimulus payment that discounted downloads of US music from the iTunes store?

    Then noone would download RUSH :)

  • hmm||

    Y'know Reason wouldn't stoop to bikini babes if Virginia was still editing...

    I was thinking the opposite. My first reaction was Penn & Teller would have bad boobs.

    Are women in bikinis really stooping? I guess they could have played the equal for all and had a banana hammock in the mix.

  • ||

    [Forwards thread to Feministing]

  • Barry Loberfeld||

  • ||

    *sticks needles in Sugarfree doll's ears*

  • hmm||

    [Forwards thread to Feministing]



    Do they have angry women in bikinis over there too?

  • JLM||

    Were the bikini bandits sympathetic to the topic of the short, or were they just paid actors?

  • ||

    The major difference between Toyota and Jeep is where the profits go. The Toyota profits go to Japan, Jeeps stay in the US. The paychecks are important but the crux of the matter is where the profits go. Don't be distracted by incidentals.

    Oh yes, keep the bikini bandits, very easy on the eyes.

    Roland

  • ||

    The major difference between Toyota and Jeep is where the profits go.

  • hmm||

    The major difference between Toyota and Jeep is where the profits go. The Toyota profits go to Japan, Jeeps stay in the US. The paychecks are important but the crux of the matter is where the profits go. Don't be distracted by incidentals.



    Are you saying the profit on Toyotas is greater than the cost to build them? If the car sells for $10 with a profit of $2 and is made with 80% US labor and parts (measuring this is next to impossible) then of the $8 CGS about $6.5 stays in the US. $2 profit to Japan, and 1.5 to other sources. I'm sure the breakdown is a lot more complex, but the assertion that all that counts is the profit, when looking at the whole of an economy, is a little misguided. A break down along the lines of following one vehicle would be interesting. I just pulled those numbers out of my ass to make the point. I have no clue about accuracy.

  • Mike in PA||

    Were the bikini bandits sympathetic to the topic of the short, or were they just paid actors?

    And that matters why??? I will enjoy them no less if they hadn't a clue. In fact, I may enjoy them even more.

  • ||

    Fie on Reason sledge hammer girls!
    Reason Pillow Girl rules!

  • ||

    http://alexandrafulton.com/

    Is that Moynihan in that clip?

  • lookingforeyecandy||

    Lobster girl wasn't available?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Were the bikini bandits sympathetic to the topic of the short, or were they just paid actors?

    Does it make a difference to you when you're, umm, "watching" the video?

  • ||

    They have to be actors, true libertarians wouldn't take a hammer to something with resale value.

  • Rhywun||

    it does look make you look like a fucking hipster



    I'm pretty sure I know more iPod-owners who are not hipsters than who are. Living in Brooklyn, I can spot a hipster at a 1000 yards--the music player is not part of the outfit, despite what you might think.

  • ||

    "The major difference between Toyota and Jeep is where the profits go."

    To shareholders?

  • ||

    "I'm pretty sure I know more iPod-owners who are not hipsters than who are. Living in Brooklyn, I can spot a hipster at a 1000 yards--the music player is not part of the outfit, despite what you might think."

    Concur. A hipster is more likely to have an old Sony Walkman Sport with cassette copies of all his vinyls.

  • JLM||

    Mike in PA and Laursen,

    It doesn't matter; I'm just curious. I suspect that they were the latter.

  • Mike in PA||

    You know it's a good thing they don't have bikini girls out trying to sell the government health care proposals or I'd be for them as well.

    uh oh... I hope I'm not giving them any ideas

  • ||

    Where were the bikinis made? The sledgehammers? The sunglasses?

  • ||

    How about the camera that shot the video and the field recorder? Microphones? Smash it all!

  • Warty||

    Those girls don't know how to swing a sledgehammer properly. Pity.

  • JB||

    Fucking union products. Look for the union label and shit on it.

  • dave||

    Oh the irony. My Apple Software Update just came up while watching this video. I think I'm going to take my iPod Touch today, go put on my China Made Nike+ shoes and run a few miles in my Malaysian made running cloths. That will make me feel better.

  • ||

    It's entirely possible you'll be running on Mexican(!) concrete.

  • alan||

    Concur. A hipster is more likely to have an old Sony Walkman Sport with cassette copies of all his vinyls.

    HBS-II High Bias Tape for those copies or else you might as well be using generic K-Mart cassettes.

  • ||

    Wow Ted! There is no such thing as a bad day working on Reason.tv videos. Did you get to explain international trade to the bikini bandits?

  • ||

    "Oh yes, keep the bikini bandits, very easy on the eyes."


    Until you go blind from, well, you know.

  • KT||

    Capitalism is only OK when I approve of what you buy.

    Also, it's alright for us to export goods, but fuck if we're gonna import 'em! That's commie shit, man.

  • hmm||

    Were the implants made in America?

  • KingShamus||

    hmm | July 21, 2009, 9:16am | #
    [Forwards thread to Feministing]
    Do they have angry women in bikinis over there too?

    ------------------

    Now why would you go and do that? You know those gals are all cycling at the same time. And guess what time of the month it is.

    This will just rile them up.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Those girls don't know how to swing a sledgehammer properly. Pity.

    Why? Does it make a difference to you when you're, umm, "watching" the video?

    (Yes, that's going to be my response to everything on this thread.)

  • ||

    That bus tour: powered by Suadi oil

  • ||

    And the congress critters who signed on for the Buy American provision in the stimulus package all use Blackberries, which are from Canada.

  • jtuf||

    Last school board election, one candidate suggested we hire teachers from other countries to lower our labor costs. He got my vote.

  • ||

    I'm putting all you citrus farmers in Florida & California on notice, that in Wisconsin we're growing our own citrus from now on and passing a law to make sure Wisconsinites only buy Wisconsin citrus fruits. I'm replacing every other apple tree with either a navel, tangerine, valencia, lemon, or grapefruit tree. It is Un-patriotic to drink orange juice not grown and processed right here in the land of bleak nine month winters and grey skies. Patriotism means putting Wisconsin Citrus Growers' families ahead of your own! You have been warned!

  • arf||

    American made products, things like bags and clothing, are usually of significantly higher quality than imported. This is because all the shit ones have moved overseas.

    For instance, the best shoes in the world are made in the USA (Alden, Quoddy Trail, Allen Edmonds)--etc etc.

    I'm not saying you have to buy American to be ethical--but if you like buying non-shit products, sometimes there's little choice.

  • ||

    Talk about who's getting "stimulated" --

    Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) grills Bernanke on which foreign banks got the $529 BILLION the Fed printed up and handed out to them over the last year, all without Congressional approval (5 min YouTube):

    People are beginning to get it

    Of course, Bernanke can't seem to recall who got over half a trillion dollars he and his buddies gave away.

    The best part is where Grayson laughs in Bernanke's face.

  • Paul||

    Maybe the United Steelworkers Union (USW), one of the biggest "Buy American" backers would like to hire these patriotic ladies for their next rally.



    I'd like to hire them for my next rally. I think I need a ShamWow.

  • 净化工程||

    Every Living Person Has Problems.

  • ||

    Can we see Nick Gillespie smash something while wearing a bathing suit?

  • ||

    Quibble: One of the girls wasn't actually wearing a bikini. It's more like a wrap or sundress.

    I expect more from Reason.

  • x||

    steve jobs is a jew - not american

  • Jesus||

    There was no economic argument presented here except you can't buy american because we don't make things here anymore. The only other argument was theological. I'm an american so I I will define what "freedom" is for everyone. I should be free to spend my money in France.

    We spend hundreds of billions, even trillions, protecting the shores of our geography against foreign intrusion the acts of others that may harm us as a nation. When it comes to protecting main street, we crap our pants, because corporate "multi-nationals" pay lobbyists to go on cable tv and pretend they're reporters. There they explain to us why we should hate ourselves and adore hard working, self sacrificing Billionaires. There is no such thing as free trade or a free market. We cannot compete with slaves unless we become slaves.

    There is nothing wrong with protecting America's economy. If we can supposedly do it with aircraft carriers we can do it with cash registers. If we had a real and competitive "free market" internally instead of a corporate oligarchy, we would have good products, made here buy well paid labor, and other nations would have to pay tariffs, and obey our laws, for the privilege of entering the world's greatest marketplace. But we don't have anything of the sort, domestically or internationally.

  • ||

    yet, if America is about freedom, it bothers me that the reason companies manufacture cheaply in the far-east is that they don't need to pay workers benefits and can i didn't mention child labor.

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