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January 20, 2010

U-M Ross Business School hosts Micheline Maynard of the New York Times

Free and open to the public
4:30 pm, Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business
701 Tappan St.
Ann Arbor

Micheline Maynard, a former Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan and an adjunct faculty member at the Ross School, will discuss her newly published book, "The Selling of the American Economy: How Foreign Companies Are Remaking the American Dream." A book-signing will immediately follow the event, which will be broadcast on C-SPAN's Book TV.

Maynard has written four books, including the "The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market," which foresaw the collapse of Detroit carmakers.

When Americans refer to the "globalized economy," what they generally mean is either: us enriching the benighted, Coca-Cola-deficient, Apple-deprived, Hollywood-less masses of the world with our cool stuff; or us picking up incredible bargains on Chinese toys at Wal-Mart and French cheese at Whole Foods. But what we don’t talk about--what we’re perhaps embarrassed to talk about--is what happens when Americans, right here in small Southern towns and Midwestern suburbs, find themselves working for foreign-owned companies. This other kind of globalism is the subject of Micheline Maynard’s fascinating new book, The Selling of the American Economy: How Foreign Companies Are Remaking the American Dream. Maynard, senior business correspondent for the New York Times, begins by recognizing the fear and shame traditionally associated with foreign companies employing Americans. There has been a suspicion that these foreign competitors are undermining American companies, and that their American workers are a kind of fifth column, betraying the national interest. Maynard brilliantly shows how these ideas are not merely outdated, but utterly wrong. Painting a portrait of four foreign companies--Tata, Haier, Airbus, and Toyota--and, more vividly, some of the Americans who work for them, Maynard shows how overseas firms have been a godsend for the U.S. They bring consumers better products--who thinks Pontiac makes better cars than Toyota? As importantly, they’ve enriched the lives of their American workers and host communities. Maynard doesn’t ignore the challenges of foreign ownership--implacable union opposition, most notably--but she catalogs the opportunities, such as steadier employment, more job skills training and opportunities for promotion, diffusion of best practices to other, American companies. At a time when Americans are skeptical of foreign entanglements and foreign ideas about health care, Maynard’s book is a lively reminder of how much we can learn, and how much we can benefit, when the world comes here. --David Plotz's guest review, Amazon.com

Posted by zzhu at January 20, 2010 11:02 AM