Foreign Investment Takes a Shine to the Rust Belt

cement factory. by Miroslave Vajdic.
Cement Factory. Photo courtesy of Miroslav Vajdic.

What if every critique you could make about the modern workforce was briefly disproven?  I happened upon one shining example in a recent article in the New York Times.

It’s opposite land in Moraine, Ohio.  A Chinese glassmaker named Fuyao put a half-billion dollars into an abandoned General Motors plant and created over 1,500 jobs producing windshields for the North American auto sector.  The investment narrowed the physical distance between the investor and clients, which presumably lightened the load on the environment.  The plant has been unionized by the United Auto Workers who would normally think of this as their turf.  Health and safety conditions fall squarely under US law.  There are more visible minorities in executive positions.

Some people have a problem with all of this.  White male executives lost jobs to make space for Chinese managers who were brought in, triggering at least one lawsuit.  The drive to unionize was successful but really difficult.  There is a debate about how hard the employees should work.  The investor is operating just one inch inside the law on health and safety, spurred into action by a hefty fine.  (Who knew that kind of thing worked?)  On Weibo, a popular microblogging site in China, someone called out the owner as a traitor for out-sourcing jobs to the US.

I can barely think of what to say.  It’s just one of those things you hope would happen, until you realize you are suddenly deprived of any legitimate reason to complain or criticize. Maybe we should decide we don’t have to chase reassuring opinions, and get comfortable with contradiction?

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