Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-year Quest for Cheap Labor

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Cornell University Press, 1999 - Business & Economics - 273 pages
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Find a pool of cheap, pliable workers and give them jobs—and soon they cease to be as cheap or as pliable. What is an employer to do then? Why, find another poor community desperate for work. This route—one taken time and again by major American manufacturers—is vividly chronicled in this fascinating account of RCA's half century-long search for desirable sources of labor. Capital Moves introduces us to the people most affected by the migration of industry and, most importantly, recounts how they came to fight against the idea that they were simply "cheap labor."Jefferson Cowie tells the dramatic story of four communities, each irrevocably transformed by the opening of an industrial plant. From the manufacturer's first factory in Camden, New Jersey, where it employed large numbers of southern and eastern European immigrants, RCA moved to rural Indiana in 1940, hiring Americans of Scotch-Irish descent for its plant in Bloomington. Then, in the volatile 1960s, the company relocated to Memphis where African Americans made up the core of the labor pool. Finally, the company landed in northern Mexico in the 1970s—a region rapidly becoming one of the most industrialized on the continent.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - benfulton - LibraryThing

An interesting view from the left wing of RCA's progression from New Jersey to Indiana to Mexico in search of cheap labor. I found much of the language to be needlessly antagonistic to capitalism, but ... Read full review

Capital moves: RCA's seventy-year quest for cheap labor

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Cowie (industrial and labor relations, Cornell Univ.) highlights the power of financial capital in his examination of four RCA factory sites: Camden, NJ; Bloomington, IN; Memphis, TN; and Ciudad ... Read full review


Camden 19291950
Bloomington 19401968
Memphis 1965 1971
Ciudad Juarez 1964 1978
Bloomington 19691998
Ciudad Juarez 1978 1998
The Distances In Between

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