Letters to the Editor: If we made more stuff in the U.S., would we even have a supply crisis?

Cargo ships are seen offshore with a port in the foreground
Backed-up cargo ships waiting to unload in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach idle off the coast on Nov. 17.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: We stare in wonder at the fleet of ships and stacks of shipping containers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and ponder how this could happen. The reason is much simpler than Raj Patel’s dissertation on the need for Americans for buy less.

That stuff that now must be sourced through a few port bottlenecks used to be made, stored and shipped entirely within the United States. And the hard-working people who made all that stuff were deemed by the investor class to be “not economically viable,” to borrow a term from the prescient movie “Falling Down.”

No wonder there are new legions willing to follow demagogues, not to mention so many more homeless people.


Tim Clark, Los Angeles


To the editor: A collective care revolution is less improbable than eye-rolling abstinence from consumer culture, but what are the chances these days?

There’s a good chance people of all views can ask seven open-ended (revolutionary) words from time to time: “Do I have enough stuff for now?”

Carol Holst, Glendale


To the editor: What has changed as a result of the pandemic, with the closing of many brick-and-mortar stores and those that are open having severe inventory shortages, is that customers cannot go into a department store and look at shoes, try them on for fit and then buy them. So more shoes that are bought do not fit and must be returned. (“We send back 30% of what we buy online. How our return culture alters the supply chain,” Opinion, Nov. 23)

That applies to many items for which the sellers do not properly show the color online or for which there are sizing problems and other issues.


Online shopping is fine for name-brand products from legitimate suppliers, but on Amazon there are many items being sold that are counterfeit, so they are returned. Buying an item online and having to return it is being done primarily out of necessity.

Reverse logistics issues have been around for more than a century. Easy return policies and procedures encourage people to buy from companies, as the risk is lower. In normal times, this is a win-win.

Bruce Stenman, Prunedale, Calif.