This is a topic that has been in debate for quite a long time. There is no authority on the subject and depending on how you go about viewing the argument, there is not a correct answer. This post is being constructed to explain each of these arguments clearly, allowing for anyone who reads this to make an educated opinion of their own.
Before moving forward with the argument, we must first look at the situation. Currently the United States of America is the largest glass market in the world, with it growing rapidly into a multi-billion dollar industry over the last ten years. There is now a demand for glass like never before. The debate arises around where the glass that supplies this market should come from, and how it is produced.
First off, we have what I have labeled "Grass Roots Glass" (GRG). This is an artistic glass supplier fueled by small studios and single individual glass artist around the world (primarily in the USA). This includes individual blowers working out of their garages and also larger American "prodo" companies blowing high quality tubes and rigs on a large scale in a controlled studio setting.
On the other side of the argument we have what we are referring to as "imported mass produced glass" (IMP). This refers to glass that is primarily, but not exclusively, being mass produced in factories around China and India. This glass is then packaged and imported to the United States to be sold in shops around the country. While this sounds like simple capitalism at work, there are many other issues that need to be carefully considered.
The GRG industry would like you to think of safe work conditions, product safety, artistic quality, local economies, and product innovation to be issues that must be thought of when considering the answer to our glass supply source. The IMP industry wants you to consider only one thing, cost.
-Shane Penn @infinitealchemics