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A thought-provoking documentary that is very well-done
25 August 2019
The Americans and Chinese shown in the movie "American Factory" represent a segment in the vast societies of the US and China. That is, the movie tells a story mostly about the workers in the American and Chinese manufacturing sectors, about the mindset of a businessman from China who have built manufacturing factories, and about the managers who operate the factories. These characters are not representative of many businessmen, management, and employees in other sectors in the US and China, nor do they reflect the sweeping social, political, and cultural diversity in both countries.

While it is great to see the discussions about the economic and culture-related issues, such as:

  • How much of FGA workers' 50% wage-drop in Ohio is due to the emergence of technology and how much due to globalization?

  • how come the FGA workers in Ohio and in China have such different values and cultures;

  • how the workers in China are not individualistic, and they seem ok to work 12 hours daily and only visit their family once per year, and sync their every step to the corporate choreography;

  • what the labor union's role should or should not be;

  • how to view the businessman/the Chairman's life's shrine being "just work";

  • how robots are replacing humans in doing repetitive jobs;

the bigger questions at the society and humanity level beg for deeper discussions, such as:

  • Who are these workers on the manufacturing floors in Ohio and in China?

  • Should corporations be held accountable for the long-term welfare of the employees and the community, other than the profitability interest of its shareholders?

  • What is the right society that we all should aim at in the near future, as the emerging robotic technologies are projected to replace over 375 million jobs globally within the next 10-15 years?

The workers on the manufacturing floors in the US and China are someone's mom/dad/daughter/son, and they are part of our fellow earthlings, and what they want is similar to what all human beings want: to provide for their family, and many of them did not and do not have much choice which put them where they were and where they are. Everyone deserves a fair chance to start with their life, and deserves a life with basic dignity and with basic needs met.

Then how do we build a society that gives a fair chance to all for a decent life with dignity along their life journey on earth?

In today's fast-evolving technology-driven society where robots are replacing humans for better efficiency and profitability, corporations are operated to optimize profit without adequate regulations that hold them accountable for the long-term welfare of employees and the community/society. How could we enhance and improve our regulations to avoid a dystopia society where hundreds of millions of humans will end up having no access to resources or fair opportunities to provide for a decent life or for their family?

As the clashes continue to escalate among major economic powers for gains to one's own country, we all owe to ourselves and our children a better/safer/healthier/more efficient future by finding a solution for countries/ethnic groups/religious groups to co-exist in peace, to collaborate instead of confrontation, to progress toward a better society that provide basic education and a fair chance to everyone, treat each other with decency, dignity, respect, mutual understanding, and love one another who all dwell on earth as all Gods ask of their believers.

The critical question is: can we, or are we, the so-called most intelligent species on earth, capable to set ourselves to the right pathway before too late when we may end up destroying the good life and potentially the entire earth that we live on?
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