Introduction to <i>Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor</i>
[Excerpt] This book examines not just RCA's most recent move to Mexico but a whole series of relocations of the company's radio and television manufacturing from the 1930s to the 1990s. Revealing a much longer and more complicated history of capital migration than we tend to hear about in the "global era," the story moves through four very distinct places and cultures as it examines the remarkably similar experiences of all of them with a single industry. Beginning with Southern and Eastern European immigrants in industrial New Jersey during the Great Depression, RCA moved production to employ ethnic Scotch-Irish workers in rural Indiana in 1940, briefly employed a combination of African American and white wage earners in Tennessee during the 1960s, and, since 1968, has employed Mexican workers in the border state of Chihuahua. Taken together, the chapters that follow comprise a comparative social history of industrial relocation that explores community life, gender, and labor organization across time and space. Placing the impact of capital migration on these working-class communities in a context that is both historically and internationally comparative, this book shows how social changes at the local level drive the relocation of capital investment.
RCA; labor markets; industrial investment; capital; migration; employment