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Fast Boat to China: High-Tech Outsourcing and the Consequences of Free Trade: Lessons from Shanghai Paperback – June 12, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Highly readable. . . . With his clear ideas about fair trade and internationalized labor rights, [Ross] lays out concrete alternatives to the common wisdom that globalization is unstoppable.”
Time Out New York

“A fresh look at exactly what we should be making of . . . the increasing number of U.S. and European companies that are relocating their factories and work force in China.”
The Asian Review of Books

“A skeptical take on pro-China boosterism, gained through the same participant-observer techniques the author brought to his Celebration Chronicles.”
The Atlantic Monthly

“Engaging. . . . A compelling ground-level perspective.”
The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette

About the Author

Andrew Ross is Professor of American Studies at New York University. He is the author of seven books, including No-Collar: The Humane Workplace and its Hidden Costs, The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney's New Town and Low Pay, High Profile: The Global Push for Fair Labor. He has also edited six books, including No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade, and the Rights of Garment Workers, and, most recently, Anti-Americanism.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400095549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400095544
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,851,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harvy Lind on February 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Written in the modish "cultural-studies" fashion by an academic in the humanities with no serious training in economics as a science, this book disappoints in a number of ways. Ross's knee-jerk hostility to what he sweepingly terms in black-and-white fashion "sweatshop" labor overlooks the fact that a country like the PRC that was mired in poverty, famine, and relatively slow growth during the Mao Zedong Era would not likely be able to move directly into a 5-day workweek and 8-hour workday during the early stages of the transition from an autarchic state-planned economy to a globalizing mixed economy. Ross's prescription of protectionist legislation and a "flight tax" for the US are pat answers to problems of much greater complexity than he is capable of understanding. A reader would be better advised to read a book on the Chinese economy by serious economist with academic bona fides and true fluency in Chinese such as Barry Naughton. The lack of a bibliography or works-cited list in a monograph like this is a sign of lightweight scholarship at best on the part of Ross.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Georgison on November 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author brings to light how Free Trade is effecting the culture of China: some well paid workers still choose a simple life and others are gung-ho on consumption. The low wages and government concessions given to foreign investment in the country create the movement of both white and blue collar jobs from other countries -- developed and developing countries in particular -- into China. I am glad to have read that the standards that the Chinese government and businesses expect from foreign companies, which are established in China, is higher than what is expected from local Chinese companies. This is unfair in a business sense but it shows respect from the non-Chinese companies. I have been given the impression that foreign companies are better to work for. For the foreseeable future the decisions that the Chinese government makes, along with international trade agreements, will effect every other developed, developing and undeveloped country on the planet.

An appalling example is of how a U.S. company that set up shop in Taiwan terminated the employment of a large number of employees that had been with the company for almost 25 years. The termination was to release the company of its obligation to provide the employees with a retirement pension, which was legally required by Taiwanese law if a worker was employed with the company for 25 or more years. The point here is the treachery of such companies. In comparison, when employees leave a company because they are aware that they are about to be fired for such a reason, the companies that were about to fire them will legally prosecute the employees that are looking for a new or better employer. The legal persecution arises from the past employees taking knowledge with them to a competitor. It isn't a fair, two way street!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By literary bug on February 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Fast Boat to China investigates the offshore impact of white collar, high-tech job outsourcing to China. He attempts to dispel myths about Chinese employees propagated by expatriate managers in China who recruit locals to fill these positions. He draws from his interviews of employees in this transitional economy - engineers, professionals, and liberated Shanghainese women, or "xiaojie."

The book speculates on the implications of outsourcing jobs to Shanghai, and further west to Suzhou and Chongqing, not only to the Chinese themselves, but also for Indians and Taiwanese. While Ross does not dispute that outsourcing may help line the pockets for expatriate managers and CEO's of multinational companies, he scrutinizes the job insecurity and identity crises that outsourcing seems to bring to workers in a globalizing China.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Tallman on December 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a dreadful book. This is a guy who writes a book about economics, but tries to claim it isn't about economics. He has no training in economics, but tries to prescribe economic solutions to problems. I had to read this for class, and byfar is the worst book I have ever had to read for class.
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