There are a few reason why a person would care where his knife is made. Let me enumerate them here.
- Local economy
Many Americans (and some Europeans too) believe that products made in their own country are inherently of better quality than those made in the far East. This is of course a fallacy. It was once true that stuff made in Japan, then Taiwan, then S-Korea, now China was of inferior quality than that made in Germany or the US, but that was at a time when those same products also cost just a fraction of their European/US made counterparts. Cars, watches, electroncis, you name it, it was dirt cheap compared to local-made stuff. So you got what you paid for.
Nowadays, it's different. Chinese personel are trained to a high degree, and foreign companies (like most knife manufacturers) have their own quality control staff resident at Chinese factories.
The simple fact of the matter is that computers and robots do most of the work, and they do not belong to any ethnicity. Where people do come in, it's not essential to the level of quality, but it does greatly affect the cost of production. A Chinese worker makes on average about US$ 6000 a year. That is slightly more than 1/8 of what an average US worker gets.
This translates directly into the cost of producing. There is no reason to assume that the work a Chinese laborer does is inherently of less quality than that of a German or American worker. But even if there were, quality control - if applied strictly, as it apparently is by most US companies - will prevent bad apples from reaching the finish on the assembly line.
A lot of people feel that buying foreign is tantamount to local job loss. No one can argue with this, it is true. If people want to voluntarily subsidize American workers, they are free to do so. I just want to give them this argument to chew over: There was a time when the US and Europe were so techically advanced that the rest of the world could only do the simple stuff. Assembling quality cars or TV's could only be done in a few Western countries, which had a population with required skills, training, education and experience.
In those fields, first the Japanese, then the rest of Asia caught up with us, and in some respects, overtook us.
My question is, do we really want to compete with people who are happy to work for six thousand dollar a year, doing much the same work that we do? What happened to our technical lead? If we insist on artificially sustaining local industry by stealing from our own wallets, don't we in fact admit that we can't do better than them?
Isn't that contrary to the very spirit of capitalism, the very spirit of what made the US great?
We shouldn't WANT to compete on dumb labour. We should compete on what we're best at: Innovation, ingenuity, cutting edge (pun intended).
So make your purchases based on whatever criteria. But don't kid yourself into believing that your knife is better, just because it was made in your country. Because that comes close to reason #3.