The Sunday New York Times had a provocative story on just how far America has fallen from economic grace, and that the largest technological-making purveyors in this country (Apple, in particular) have all but given up on this country's ability to supply the needed tech-savvy workforce and factory capabilities when needed.
And why not, when Shenzhen, China-based Foxconn City, as it's informally known, has a mega-factory that employs 230,000 workers -- most of whom earn $17 a day and live in dorms -- and are making virtually every component needed to make our tech dreams come true.
When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, The Times reported, his car was stuck in a river of employees streaming past. "The scale is unimaginable," he said.
Foxconn employs nearly 300 guards to direct foot traffic so workers are not crushed in doorway bottlenecks. The facility's central kitchen cooks an average of three tons of pork and 13 tons of rice a day. While factories are spotless, the air inside nearby teahouses is hazy with the smoke and stench of cigarettes.
Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world's consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.
The scale is unimaginable. "They could hire 3,000 people overnight," said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple's worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. "What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?"
Let's cut to Amazon, who is setting up its first so-called "fulfillment center" in India. Amazon, seeking to make inroads into the world's second most populous nation, is going to build giant warehouses in Mumbai to store and ship its products.
In case you're looking for work, Amazon has an "immediate opening for the a manager in our first Fulfillment Center," one recent listing said.
Amazon has spent a lot of money last year setting up more than 10 new mega-warehouses in the U.S., but going full-bore into India, where there exists a $550 billion retail market, is a huge move.
Does anyone remember George McGovern's campaign slogan in 1972 any longer -- Come Home America?