A lot has been said about Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, but I haven’t seen anybody mention the lack of discussion on China. If you have the e-book, and you search on China, you will find almost nothing.
Of course, this is typical of Big Media’s approach to offshoring: pretend it doesn’t exist. Propaganda by omission.
Perhaps Isaacson didn’t think it was an important topic. After all, it was a biography of Steve Jobs, and not a history of Apple Computer. But I don’t think that was the case because the book covers the factories that Jobs used to build in Silicon Valley. Isaacson discusses the high-tech plant that Jobs built while at NeXT right down to the $20,000 chairs that Jobs furnished it with.
But there was no discussion at all about the factories in China, or what Jobs thought about them. And it’s not for a lack of an interesting topic. I mean workers were leaping to their deaths in those sweatshops, right? How is that not a story?
And I am not exaggerating about this being propaganda. Big Media is so assiduous about hiding the scale of offshoring that it brainwashes the members of the Council on Foreign Relations itself! When the iPad was introduced, CFR member Erin Burnett thought that it would be a fabulous addition to the USA’s exports. She had no clue that Apple had 700,000 workers in China. See the Burnett video here.
On a related topic, we read stories blaming unemployment on automation. The robots are taking our jobs, right? It’s got nothing to do with offshoring. But consider this quote from the book about the NeXT factory:
“Empty circuit boards were fed in at one end and twenty minutes later, untouched by humans, came out the other end as completed boards.”
That’s right; Steve Jobs had an automated assembly line in Fremont, California 25 years ago! So is it really automation that explains the loss of manufacturing jobs? Or is it cheap sweatshop workers (who undercut expensive robots) and an artificially weak yuan? The truth is that the “Automation Explanation” is just another propaganda campaign to keep the American middle class quiescent as it is being eviscerated.
Note: Nerds have complained about the lack of technology coverage in Isaacson’s book, but the vast majority of people will enjoy it. I liked it, and recommend it.