Top positive review
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Detailed window into offshoring, lots of primary sources
on November 19, 2006
This book is critical of the dynamics of offshoring, but it is not just another anti-China polemic. Instead, the author undertook extensive research in China, interviewing both employees and their foreign employers, and carefully analyzed the thoughts and motivations of all parties.
He draws some fascinating conclusions that you won't find elsewhere:
- Even in China, India, and Taiwan, employers use the threat of offshoring to hold down wages and make employees work harder. Workers in different countries currently have no way to organize and counter this pressure.
- Many of the cultural sterotypes about Chinese workers are better explained as logical responses to the prevailing work environment and labor market.
- Chinese workers assume that their favorable circumstances are temporary, and that companies will soon move on to the next low-cost region.
- Taiwanese managers have a reputation for being too demanding on their Chinese employees.
- Taiwan is experiencing offshoring to China to a much greater extent than the US.
He also does a good job presenting many well-known criticisms of globalization:
- Free Trade is a gross misnomer, given the vast incentives that governments use to attract investment
- China's size means that its low labor and environmental standards can drag conditions down everywhere.
- Chinese nationalist sentiment is common. Everyone there is taught that economic and technological self-sufficiency are a necessary bulwark against foreign menace. China's explicit goal is to build its high-tech capabilities.
- Companies can now move offshore quickly, even when the move involves "knowlege transfer".