If there’s ever been an economic con, it’s Foxconn in Wisconsin. The Financial Times describes two key aspects of Foxconn’s character, in a story, Foxconn shifts focus to ‘smart manufacturing.’
Automation, Not Jobs. The new reporting tells us that Foxconn’s working for “automating other manufacturers’ processes.” Of course they are: they’ve a whole business producing robots – coined Foxbots – to replace workers. See iPhone manufacturer Foxconn plans to replace almost every human worker with robots. The Wisconsin Foxconn plant, by the way, is likely to be scaled back to a less advanced product (more like its phone factories, and other manufacturers’ factories, Foxconn aims to automate elesewhere.) See Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All.
Appeasing the Politically Ambitious. The Financial Times report also reveals the gamesmanship of Foxconn’s politically-motivated CEO: “Terry Gou enjoys excellent relations with senior members of the Chinese government. He has invested heavily in several provinces whose party secretaries ascended to the politburo.” Gou’s simply appeasing Wisconsin politicos the way he’s habitually catered to Chinese autocrats. That’s not good economic policy – it’s a bogus capitalism funded by taxpayers.
Wisconsin wasn’t the perfect spot for this, it was – at the moment – a politically useful spot. By Trump’s own account – one that Gov. Walker has not publicly contradicted – it is by Trump’s influence that this taxpayer-subsidized project wound up in Wisconsin. See The Man Behind the Foxconn Project (“Everybody wanted Foxconn,’ Trump said. “Frankly, they weren’t going to come to this country. I hate to say it, if I didn’t get elected, they wouldn’t be in this country. They would not have done this in this country. I think you know that very well.”)
This is a project that brings to America a foreign businessman’s habit of appeasing a one-party state’s connected officials.
That’s not the way up to a greater Whitewater – it’s the way down to a lesser America.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, and The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, and Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, and Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All.