By Viki Economides | 61 Am. U. L. Rev. 1235 (2012)

In 2007, one journalist, Dirk Lammers, undertook a seemingly innocuous task:  to avoid anything “Made in China” for just one week.  He was not the first to undertake such a challenge in consumerism.  Others before him declared a boycott on Chinese products for an entire year, acting either out of concern for safety regarding allegations of Chinese food contamination and faulty assembly-line production of tires and toys, or simply reacting to the realization that everything they owned—or close to it—was Chinese.

Lammers wanted to see if a boycott on Chinese goods was even feasible—whether an American consumer who wanted to buy strictly American products could succeed.  In a word, the answer was no.  Lammers, like those before him, failed.  Sneakers, tennis rackets, toothpaste, and obscure ingredients in most food staples are all “Made in China.”  This  ubiquitous  phrase  is  here  to  stay  and  will continue to represent a formidable competitor in the American market because it signals products that are cheaper and virtually indistinguishable from their American or European prototypes.


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