There is a story this morning in the New York Times about bringing jobs back to the US.
The seed of this lies in a speech given by Howard D. Schultz, chief executive of Starbucks. Disgusted with the political standoff in Washington over raising the debt ceiling, he called on business leaders to stop making donations to politicians and start doing something themselves to address the country’s woes. Here’s a link to an expanded version.
And look what can happen: Ulrich Honighausen’s company, Hausenware, in Sonoma County, Calif., supplies retailers like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Fred Meyer with ceramics and glassware from producers all over the world. He had a plan to revitalize American Mug and create jobs in an industry that had all but died. What if American Mug were to make mugs for Starbucks? American Mug and Stein Company, was on the verge of closing last fall.
Most of Hausenware’s manufacturing is done overseas, in Europe and more recently in China, where pottery making is a highly automated process. A tiny factory in Gifu, Japan, for instance, can turn out 7,000 mugs a day with just eight employees, two of whom are charged with attaching the handles that are supplied by another manufacturer. That’s 10 times the number American Mug can produce using the same number of employees.
But American Mug and Stein is in the US.
And these jobs are being created here. Even though this is just a few dozen jobs, this is already having an impact on the local economy. The ripple effect is tiny, but it will be persistent, and will bring other positive changes as these ripples proceed outward.
And beginning next week, you’ll be able to buy one in Starbucks stores across the country as part of a line of new merchandise made in America and branded Indivisible.
However there is always the cold water on the face to go with the warm-hearted story. The evidence that companies are bringing jobs back to America is spotty at best. “I’m not sure we’re seeing a sea change,” said Gary P. Pisano, a professor at Harvard Business School. “What we need to see is manufacturing that creates new capabilities here that we didn’t have and can build on, and I don’t think we’re seeing that yet.”
One more thing: Just imagine if all that money that is going to these useless, hate-spewing, truth-twisting, lie-spreading Super PACs… All those millions and probably billions of dollars, was instead invested in jobs and manufacturing in the US. This political campaign is going to pour billions of dollars into the black hole of misleading political ads and materials. Think of the good it could do in putting people to work…
This campaign season, please turn off and otherwise ignore the political advertisements. You can’t trust them anyway, and may I gently suggest that you should be making up your own mind, rather than listening to others. Maybe if these ads bring no results when polled, the Super PACs will stop hosing money into them, and these misguided billionaires will be tempted to actually invest in America.
Meanwhile, my opinion of Starbucks has risen. I still don’t care a lot for their coffee (unless made with a pinch of salt), but their principles deserve a thumbs-up.