Mr. China Thinks of Becoming Mr. America

Our new issue is out. (Say it with me: give the best gift of all, a combined print-and-online subscription!). Although I've worked for the magazine for a very long time, I make a point of not looking at in-process versions of the articles or the ever-shifting story lineup but instead reading each new issue as it arrives. That lets me react in real time as other readers would -- and to be freshly enthusiastic (most of the time) rather than jaded about what it contains.

This new issue contains a lot in the freshly enthusiastic category, but if you're looking for a guiltily easy way in, I will suggest James Parker's column on the alarming end-times genius that is Daniel Tosh. Parker's reaction to the tosh.o spectacle is very similar to mine, so naturally I think his column makes good sense. You should look for it on page 36 of the print issue. OK, I'll add a link down below. I'll point out some other stories as the month goes on.

I also have an article in this issue, describing a set of simultaneous complex changes (a) in China's economic, workplace, and social situation, (b) in America's economic, workplace, and social situation, and (c) in the manufacturing, design, and distribution technology that connects the U.S. and the international (especially Chinese). The surprising upshot is that after decades in which "new phase in the globalized economy" essentially meant "new problems for American workers," several of the trends are moving in favor of US-based manufacturing. Charles Fishman has an accompanying article on some of the larger international forces pushing in the same direction.

We've also put up a video, based on photos I've taken in Chinese factories starting six-plus years ago and as recently as last month, plus "real" photos by professional photographers. It gives you a brief look-and-feel introduction to the trends I'm talking about -- and the man, Liam Casey, whom I jokingly gave the title of "Mr. China" in a cover story five years ago and who is directly involved in many of these changes. He's just now opening an office in San Francisco as an aid to US-based manufacturing startups. ("Mr. China," by the way, is a longstanding, informal, usually half-jokey honorific, similar to People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" title. Jokes aside, right now Casey is as good a contender as any for the title.) 


My new article is here; Fishman's is here; and, as promised, James Parker's is here. Enjoy.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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