Long article in the New York Times this morning on Apple($AAPL), American jobs, corporate greed and the global economy. After reading it, you lose hope. You shouldn’t. Steve Jobs said it correctly when he was quoted, “This country is insanely great.”
The article has a lot of good information in it. But, like most newspaper articles what’s left unreported or unsaid might be more compelling than what made the newspaper. You also have to remember that in his state of the Union address, Obama is going to rant on China. It’s an easy straw man to puncture when so many American’s are hurting. No surprise Obama’s mouthpiece, the NYT, is helping set the table.
To humanize the story, the reporter picks one engineer that gets caught in a bad spot. He loses his job with Apple and winds up making $10/hr to check busted iPhones. There are some things we don’t know. What is his engineering degree in? The reporter never asks the engineer the question (or at least never reports the answer if they did), “You were laid off from Apple. Apple sits in the most incredibly productive ecosystem in the world. Why didn’t you go work for a start up?” Literally thousands of Silicon Valley companies were created since he was let go in 2002. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the guy, and have a lot of empathy for him. No one knows better about being engineered out of a job than a pit trader. I don’t think the reporter asked the right questions for a story about the future of the American job market.
The description about the manufacturing ecosystem that exists in Shenzen, China is pretty amazing. There are other places like that around the world that have amazing ecosystems. Silicon Valley has the most incredible start up ecosystem that everyone would love to replicate. For almost a century, Detroit had a highly efficient vehicle manufacturing ecosystem. It wasn’t only cheap labor that killed it. There were many factors that brought the auto companies down. The ecosystem of farming in the middle United States is a highly interconnected web and responsive to the market.