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James Fallows on Chinese Manufacturing

For decades, James Fallows has been providing readers of The Atlantic with outstanding journalism on two fronts: business and cultural reportage from Asia, and personal computing. This month's cover story is his. Interestingly, the title on the cover is not the title in the magazine, and I somehow doubt that Mr Fallows is entirely happy with it. Written in the contrarian vein so popular at The Atlantic, it reads, "Why China's Rise Is Good For Us." Mr Fallows talks about growth in manufacturing capabilities, not a "rise" in the world-power sense. And he is careful to note that, while the current situation may be working for both China and the United States at the moment, there are aspects of it (such as our dependence on Chinese investment in our debt) that can't go on. Mr Fallows's more sensible title is "China Makes, the World Takes."

As always, Mr Fallows's piece is stuffed with interesting information. Did you know that there are (probably - it's difficult to count) more manufacturing jobs in Guangzhou Province alone than there are in the United States? (Guangzhou is the populous heartland of "Cantonese" culture.) Did you know that the laptop assembly lines make heavy use of barcodes and sensitive scales, to make sure that the proper part has been installed at each step of production? Did you know that workers live in subsidized dormitories and eat at subsidized cafeterias, something that allows them to bank a great deal more of their earnings than American workers can? Read the article.

James Fallows on Chinese Manufacturing, in The Atlantic.


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