The loss of manufacturing jobs to the Chinese bogeyman has become a consistent theme of this year’s US Election, with both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama playing the ‘yellow peril‘ card to some extent.
However, Bob Davis at the WSJ highlights a recent study by Rhodium Group, an NY consulting firm, showing the amount of American jobs created by Chinese firms:
According to its estimates, Chinese-owned firms in the U.S. now account for about 27,000 U.S. jobs – a number that is bound to increase so long as the U.S. encourages such investment.
Japan, whose coming economic dominance of America people talked about in the 80’s on massive phones wearing parachute pants, has been a prolific creator of American jobs, and provides a model that, if unmolested, China is likely to follow:
While 27,000 jobs isn’t much of a constituency, compared to what Rhodium estimates are the 700,000 U.S. jobs created by Japanese-owned companies, it’s a start. U.S. business leaders have long urged their Chinese counterparts to boost their investment and hire Americans. Doing so, the businessmen say, is bound to affect the thinking of U.S. lawmakers the next time they think about penalizing China for trade issues, currency measures or any of the myriad other Chinese practices that rankle Americans.
Also on the China-jobs issue, bleeding heart liberal ‘concerns’ about Chinese factory conditions are somewhat misguided according to Leslie Chang, author of Factory Girls:
A widespread fear of China, a monolithic force that is taking over the world and stealing American jobs, blinds people to the complexities of life there. The Chinese government is not a democracy, yet its economic policies over the past three decades have improved the lives of millions. But it’s far easier to believe that everyone there is exploited and miserable.
It’s true that Chinese factories have harsh conditions. It’s also true that Chinese factories have allowed huge numbers of people to improve their lives and change their fates. This same set of contradictory facts characterized America’s industrialization more than a hundred years ago. To insist on seeing China in black and white reflects an ignorance of history and a failure of the imagination.