- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
Since the election picked up, I’ve been remiss in updating our semi-regular "Decline Watch" feature, which charts examples of America’s falling fortunes and reduced influence in the world. But after reading that America’s newest job creator might be Foxconn — the Taiwanese technology manufacturer best known for suicides and riots at its Chinese plants — I’m wondering if we should create a new category for news that could conceivably be signs of either decline or renewal:
With an 800,000 strong workforce largely based in mainland China, Foxconn is one of the businesses that has profited from the decline of western manufacturing. Now the firm is apparently planning to reverse the labour drain by opening American factories.
As labour costs surge in its home market Foxconn has been looking overseas for opportunities, and sources have told Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes that the company is evaluating cities including Detroit and Los Angeles.
The Guardian notes that despite the welcome increase in U.S. manufacturing jobs, "Foxconn will have to adapt its formula, however, because America does not have armies of workers willing to survive on a few hundred dollars a month and live in dormitories."