Charles Fishman’s latest feature in The Atlantic examines the potential return of American manufacturing from China. Here’s a few bullet points that sum up Fishman’s fantastic article:
- More factory jobs are returning to the United States—probably to stay.
- Not only can you make dishwashers (and other appliances) better in America than you can in China or Mexico—but companies are beginning to find ways to make them cheaper at home.
- The outsourcing “boom” didn’t save companies money. There was a notion that chasing the lowest cost and sending manufacturing overseas would help to cut down on production costs, but as Fishman says, “they didn’t do the math right, and they didn’t save money.”
- Factories are, really, research and development labs. By bringing factory work back to America it means that, over time, companies can learn how to improve their products. When you construct something day in and day out, you learn all about the product and can then learn how to make the product better in terms of efficiency in construction and usefulness for the consumer.
Here’s The Atlantic’s James Fallows, documenting his recent trip through one of China’s Foxconn factories. His feature story in this month’s issue examines the possible return of American manufacturing from a decade of Chinese dominance.
Lavin speaker James Fallows has just released his second book on China, China Airborne, and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Here’s one:
“On the surface it is a book about aviation in China, but it is also one of the best books on China (ever), one of the best books on industrial organization in years, and an excellent treatment of economic growth. It is also readable and fun.”