Counterparties: Return of the Mac

December 6, 2012

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American manufacturing has gained boosters recently, with politicians from President Obama to Rick Santorum championing its merits. The Atlantic’s current cover proclaims “Comeback”. Even Apple — the epitome of the Made-in-China multinational — is bringing a mini portion of its manufacturing back to the US: CEO Tim Cook says that “next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States”.

Cook’s announcement, which came in the form of an interview with Businessweek, is a savvy move by a company that has faced questions about its reliance on an overseas suppply chain. Still, it’s not much of a homecoming. The FT’s Tim Bradshaw, looking at the $100 million that Cook says he will invest in US manufacturing, notes that it pales in comparison to the billions Apple has invested in Asian manufacturing in the last year alone.

In many ways the much bigger news is that Foxconn, the Chinese behemoth which makes most Apple goods, is expanding into the US. (It might actually be the same news: Cook’s line about Apple’s US manufacturing is “This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.”) Steve Jobs famously said that America’s lost manufacturing jobs “aren’t coming back”. He’s still right. As Felix noted, a big problem with tomorrow’s US manufacturing jobs is that they look more like today’s Chinese manufacturing jobs than yesterday’s US manufacturing jobs. — Ben Walsh

On to today’s links:

Size of likely HSBC fine rises to $1.8 billion – Reuters

On Language
Defining deviancy down, troll edition – Farhad Manjoo
Trawling isn’t trolling – Choire Sicha

After Sandy, the NYPD says Occupy reduced crime and saved lives – NY Post

Primary Sources
Cutting government spending worse for growth than raising taxes – IMF

Billionaire Whimsy
It’s special-dividend season in America – Agnes Crane

Steve Cohen’s absence may dent Art Basel’s profitability, sense of superiority – NYT

Oscar Niemeyer, sensual Modernist – NYT
Major-General Tony Deane-Drummond, escaped from capture three times – Telegraph
Dave Brubeck, jazz legend – New Yorker
Elisabeth Murdoch, matriarch of a media empire – NYT

Takedown of a Takedown
“Why is an ESPN VP speading rumors that I’m straight?” – John Koblin

When painful faux-hip-hop slang meets the FT style guide – New Statesmen

Bobby Jindal’s innovative, forty-year-old fiscal policy proposal – Matt Yglesias
Senator Jim DeMint resigns to pursue ideals, larger salary – Reuters

“I am Snoop Lion! Ask me anything!!” – Reddit

DC’s new consensus: truth, justice, and Simpson-Bowles – Alex Pareene


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