Review: American Factory

American Factory is the story of Fuyao—a Chinese glass company—setting up a factory in Old GM facility in Dayton Ohio. There are a lot of challenges for Fuyaio to overcome:

  • The American workers are not as dextrous or hard working as the Chinese.
  • The safety laws are stricter in the US
  • The workers work a five day week unlike six in China.
  • Workers have a right to unionize in the US.

The CEO of Fuyao at some point says that the factory is not here to turn a profit but to prove to America that the Chinese can buy and run a business in China.

The documentary ends by the managers excited about automation that will further cut jobs.

Questions to ponder:

  • Is it worth competing with China on industries as they have the advantage of cheap labour without much rights.
  • How best to handle workers who lose decent paying jobs—their loss of lifestyle is stark.
  • It is unrealistic to assume that workers will retrain themselves and get better jobs when they lose jobs—what sort of soft landing mechanisms can society build?