When and where Sam Walton’s Walmart opened, a slow hollowing out of the town square surely followed. When the Fairfield store opened in 1986, our town square was home to a clothing store, a small department store, a furniture store, a pharmacy, a jeweler, two hardware stores, and many others. As the county seat, Fairfield’s retailers not only supported its population of 10,000 but also residents of tiny neighboring towns, such as Salina and Libertyville, where only a few hundred people lived. Today, only one of those stores remains—a symptom of what’s come to be known as the Walmart effect. Read more
Too many American companies base decisions about how to source manufacturing largely on narrow financial criteria, never taking into account the potential strategic value of domestic locations. Proposals for plants are treated like any other investment proposal and subjected to strict return hurdles. Tax, regulatory, intellectual property, and political considerations may also figure heavily in the conversation. But executives, viewing manufacturing mainly as a cost center, give short shrift to the impact that outsourcing or offshoring it may have on a company’s capacity to innovate. Indeed, most don’t consider manufacturing to be part of a company’s innovation system at all. Read more
Were the experts wrong about the benefits of trade for the American economy? Read more
Carrier – Union leaders at an air conditioner factory in Indianapolis threatened with losing 1,400 jobs to Mexico said on Tuesday the plant’s owner expects to pay Mexican workers $3 an hour compared to an average of more than $20 an hour for the U.S. workers. Read more
In the week before Valentine’s Day, United Technologies expressed its love for its devoted Indiana employees, workers whose labor had kept the corporation profitable, by informing 2,100 of them at two facilities that it was shipping their factories, their jobs, their communities’ resources to Mexico. Read more
The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.