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Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the…
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Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities

by Chad Broughton

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Good balanced book about the exodus of manufacturing from the US, with the "twist" of alternating chapters set in Galesburg, IL, where Maytag appliances were built for years, and Reynosa, Mexico, to which they moved in 2002. The author focuses on the workers, but adds enough other material, on company policies and economic wisdoms, along with geographical & cultural differences. Bottom line: The Mexican workers didn't improve their lives as much as they hoped, although they try to believe they did, and while some Americans did seek (& get) more education and move on, not all did or could, and for the most part, workers remained way worse off without Maytag. -- For me, a central part was the economic plan of the company. The change, and the sale, came about when the focus changed from building a good product to making more money, plain and simple. Maytag sold out not only their employees, but their customers. As a lifelong Maytag person, I see this first hand, comparing the washer/dryer set I bought in 2006 to the one from the 1960s. ( )
  JeanetteSkwor | Oct 20, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199765618, Hardcover)

In 2002, the town of Galesburg, a slowly declining Rustbelt city of 33,000 in western Illinois, learned that it would soon lose its largest factory, a Maytag refrigerator plant that had anchored Galesburg's social and economic life for decades. Workers at the plant earned $15.14 an hour, had good insurance, and were assured a solid retirement. In 2004, the plant was relocated to Reynosa, Mexico, where workers sometimes spent 13-hour days assembling refrigerators for $1.10 an hour.

In Boom, Bust, Exodus, Chad Broughton offers a ground-level look at the rapid transition to a globalized economy, from the perspective of those whose lives it has most deeply affected. We live in a commoditized world, increasingly divorced from the origins of the goods we consume; it is easy to ignore who is manufacturing our smart phones and hybrid cars; and where they come from no longer seems to matter. And yet, Broughton shows, the who and where matter deeply, and in this book he puts human faces to the relentless cycle of global manufacturing.

It is a tale of two cities. In Galesburg, where parts of the empty Maytag factory still stand, a hollowed out version of the American dream, the economy is a shadow of what it once was. Reynosa, in contrast, has become one of the exploding post-NAFTA "second-tier cities" of the developing world, thanks to the influx of foreign-owned, export-oriented maquiladoras--an industrial promised land throbbing with the energy of commerce, legal and illegal. And yet even these distinctions, Broughton shows, cannot be finely drawn: families in Reynosa also struggle to get by, and the city is beset by violence and a ruthless drug war. Those left behind in the post-Industrial decline of Galesburg, meanwhile, do not see themselves as helpless victims: they have gone back to school, pursued new careers, and learned to adapt and even thrive.

In an era of growing inequality and a downsized middle class, Boom, Bust, Exodus gives us the voices of those who have borne the heaviest burdens of the economic upheavals of the past three decades. A deeply personal work grounded in solid scholarship, this important, immersive, and affecting book brings home the price and the cost of globalization.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:23 -0400)

"In 2002, the town of Galesburg, a slowly declining Rustbelt city of 34,000 in western Illinois, learned that it would soon lose its largest factory, a Maytag refrigerator plant that had anchored Galesburg's social and economic life for half a century. Workers at the plant earned $15.14 an hour, had good insurance, and were assured a solid retirement. In 2004, the plant was relocated to Reynosa, Mexico, where workers spent 13-hour days assembling refrigerators for $1.10 an hour. In Boom, Bust, Exodus, Broughton offers a look at the transition to a globalized economy, from the perspective of those who have felt its effects most. In today's highly commoditized world, we are increasingly divorced from the origins of the goods we consume; the human labor required to create our smart phones and hybrid cars is so far removed from the end product we need not even think about it. And yet, Broughton shows, the human cost behind the shifting currents of the global economy remains a reality. Broughton illuminates these complexities through a tale of two cities that have fared very differently in the global contest to woo or retain fickle capital. In Galesburg, the economy is a shadow of what it once was. Reynosa, in contrast, has become one of the exploding 'second-tier cities' of the developing world, thanks to the influx of foreign-owned, export-oriented maquiladoras. And yet even these distinctions cannot be finely drawn: families struggle to get by in Reynosa, and the city is beset by violence and a ruthless drug war. Those left behind in declining of Galesburg, meanwhile, do not see themselves as helpless victims: many have gone back to school, scramble from job to job, and have learned to adapt and even thrive. It is a downsized existence, but a full-sized life nonetheless"--… (more)

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