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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 12 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400095549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400095544
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,500,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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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Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e41b330) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e24ed08) out of 5 stars Amateurish attempt at economic analysis of the PRC economy Feb. 27 2013
By Harvy Lind - Published on
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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e2531ec) out of 5 stars Happy with change, even if it is painful for the privelged "I". Nov. 5 2009
By Kevin Georgison - Published on
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! There is a growing lack of loyalty on the parts of the employee and employer. It is hard for me to take a side rationally in an informed way, but I am biased for the wage earner over the corporation when I hear of such sociopathic behaviour from a company.

It has been a number of months since I read the book from the library so I can not review it to provide a summary. But what has stayed with me is my opinion that the jobs flow will not stop. Nationalism and "Buy Local" is not a solution. I think wage earners around the world need to form "grass roots" organizations with which to pressure governments and multinational corporations to provide civilized behaviour out of those corporations and a chance for the The Bottom Billion to catch up via *fair* trade agreements. Not until we all do our part to help get labour conditions and wages improved in developing and undeveloped countries will we see economic conditions stop deteriorating in many other developed countries.

Please, no comments on my opinions. I only hope you have an impression on what an individual may take from reading this engrossing, and enlightening book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e253264) out of 5 stars Engaging Read on the Impact of High-Tech Job Outsourcing to China Feb. 3 2008
By literary bug - Published on
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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e2535f4) out of 5 stars Horrible book...would not recommend it Dec 27 2013
By Jonathan Tallman - Published on
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.