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Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  27 reviews
"Chad Broughton has written a deeply-observed and nuanced account of one of the stories of our time: the migration of a once-thriving American factory over the border into Mexico. When he learns of Maytag's plans to shutter its refrigerator plant, a move decried by a young Senator Obama, Broughton begins a decade-long dive into the drama that envelops both Galesburg, Illin ...more
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published January 2nd 2015 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 2015)
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Nancy Kennedy
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Chad Broughton's story is a modern day tale of two cities. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times -- but mostly the worst of times. For half of the book, he follows the fortunes (or not) of a group of American workers at a plant that makes Maytag refrigerators in Galesburg, Illinois. In the other half, he follows a group of workers who take jobs with the plant after the company moves it to Reynosa, Mexico. For both sets of workers, his conclusion is the same: "They have been bearing ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A look at the area and factory workers in IL where the Maytag factory once thrived before shutting down their plant and moving production to Mexico.

The book jumps around a lot in the chapters that cover what seem to be random areas in Mexico besides where the factory moved to, otherwise it covers the lives of 5-6 people during the closing of the plant and how some of them reinvent themselves afterwards.

It is kind of sad to see how a company based on high quality products and family values switc
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tells the personal stories of the some of the laborers caught up in the currents of globalization in North America. The narrative skips back and forth between a mid-western city where an appliance factory is closing down and a Mexican border city where a new appliance factory is opening.

The overarching feeling I was left with was of the workers in both places being swept along by forces beyond their control, with very little access to the government leaders or the corporate bigwigs who are decid
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities literally gave me nightmares.

I worked for a for-profit company for 20 years before quitting to go to library school and become a public librarian. Although the company still exists, it is a shell of its former self. I was never threatened with losing my job, but I watched many friends and coworkers get downsized and rightsized and otherwise –sized out of their jobs. Jobs were eliminated and outsourced overseas to
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
I was surprised at how much I liked the book. The author does a great job of telling the stories of individual Maytag employees, but really only focuses on a few (especially those with bad outcomes). For the Mexican workers, he does the same thing, although with fewer cases. I thought the stories of the Maytag workers he interviewed were gripping. But the most egregious story line to me was the one he briefly mentioned - farming subsidies and the food policy of the United States. It made me sick ...more
Amazing book written by one of the greatest professors of all time! If anybody wants to understand how globalization and trade deals have affected both rural America and Mexican migrants at the border... this is for you. Man, if everybody read this book there’d be a whole revolution.
Georgia Cowart
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Puts a human face on globalization and what it means to workers. Almost too much human detail though; would have liked more general analysis.
Chad Broughton provides an interesting look at the general decline of American manufacturing in the rust belt and the development of the Maquilas industrial zone in Mexico and the devastation that is happening to both. The first thing one has to say about this book is that it is very depressing but factual showing what has happened in the globalized economy with a earnings driven corporate culture dictated by Wall Street. The book focuses on Galesburg Illinois and the town that once was known as ...more
Andy Oram
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, history
Although we all know the outlines of globalism and its effects on communities around the world, it can be fascinating to see how the details played out in particular manufacturing places. Read this book not just for the obvious angle of "white populist resentment" or the widening of the income gap worldwide, but for observations on the environment, on the fraying of communities, on shifting gender relationships and power, and other phenomena we all live with. Broughton does a good job employing ...more
Jonathan Grabinsky
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The author does an amazing job of covering the human dimensions behind global integration. And so illustrative and engaging – I’m going to refer this book to my many economist friends, who often undermine the value of qualitative research.

I do find that author takes the anti-corporation rhetoric a little too far at times. I’m also skeptical of the equivalency the author draws between Mexico post-NAFTA and the Porfiriato. I think that one can make a strong argument that, although there is still a
Donna Broughton
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing

"Boom, Bust, Exodus is a story of intertwined lives...Connected by production and commerce, possession and dispossession, ownership and loss, profit and precariousness, the men and women and children caught in the shifting tides of a global economy have found in Chad Broughton a sympathetic and informed voice. Jacob S Hacker, Yale University, co-author of Winner Take All Politics

"In this richly reported book, Chad Broughton gives us a birds-eye view of the intended and unintended conseq
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
It took me longer than usual to get through this medium-sized book (about 300 pages of text not including copious notes and index), not because it isn't interesting (it is), but because it's necessarily depressing.

Sociologist Chad Broughton interviewed dozens of workers, executives, union officials and family members of those who were affected by the Maytag manufacturing plant in Ohio when it closed in 2004 and moved to Mexico. Workers who had tough jobs on the assembly line or in the warehouse
Bruce Fogerty
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good narrative of the impact of NAFTA in Galesburg, IL and in the Maquiladoras of northern Mexico. Also profiles the "hollowing out" of communities in Vera Cruz, Mexico as young people move north to work in the Maquilas in Reynosa, Mexico.

Good review of the good, the bad, and the ugly of NAFTA. Also covers how the poor economic structure in Mexican governmental policy and Mexican industrial structure undermine some of the benefits NAFTA would otherwise bring to Mexico. Specifically, agricultural
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Broughton superbly presents a detailed view of the the post-NAFTA economy and the people most affected by the overarching changes that have come with it. "Boom, Bust, Exodus" gives us the facts and statistics in a clear and readable way, as well as a peek into what all this means on the ground. It is a story of overarching politics and economics as much as it is those who face their real-world consequences.

Broughton focuses on the American midwest, and Reynosa and Veracruz, Mexico. The places de
Rita Moore
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was particularly interested in this book because I was born and raised in Galesburg, and I have seen what has happened to my hometown since most of the manufacturing left for cheaper labor (non-union) climes. The book is very well written and not too dry. There are enough human-interest stories in it to balance the statistics and information about NAFTA and the effects of the Maytag move on both Galesburg and Reynosa, Mexico. I recommend it to anyone interested in NAFTA, the global economy or ...more
John McCarthy
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-audio
*Loved the parts talking about Galesburg, Illinois. It was a smaller, more focused look at the exporting of manufacturing jobs than the macro level view that is typical.
*The story of Reynosa was also good and exploring how it interacts with McAllen, TX
*The book lost focus and started talking about big, macro level issues with NAFTA and the impact to farming in Mexico. It was unnecessary (it has been done better in other material) and lost touch with the core story.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Boom, Bust, Exodus is a beautiful, poignant portrait of the impact of shady trade deals that benefit CEOs and the wealthy few . . . while pitting working people from the U.S. and Mexico (and elsewhere) against each other. Chad Broughton reveals that free trade has big costs--in jobs and the livelihoods of workers in the U.S. and Mexico and in the loss of livelihoods in rural Mexico. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about working families in the U.S. and abroad.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book about the very human impact of free trade in Galesburg, Illinois, and Reynosa, Mexico. I learned a lot about the history of manufacturing in my hometown-- and the maquila zone at the US-Mexico border-- but what really stood out for me are the stories of former Maytag workers and women hired on at Maytag Planta III.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The American side of this story is well documented. Factory pulls out. Town faces increased poverty. Workers get screwed, especially when it comes to failed retraining efforts.

But the Mexican side of this book is where the insight lies. The dynamics of how migration within Mexico works, the dysfunction at border towns, the dominance of cartels and the grind at the global factories.
Punk Johnny Cash
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are interested in labor and the relationship with the US Mexican border, this book is great for you. With a focus on post-NAFTA as a dividing line, it shows the economic growth and decline of a small town under capitalism in the US bringing us to the crisis we now face. It is not very far left, but it has great material for ammunition in building a critique against capitalism.
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a well-researched and well-written book about American businesses moving operations to Mexico. It deals with the stories of American and Mexican workers as they deal with these changes. It made me mourn the loss of strong unions, because they are there to protect the workers from corporate exploitation.
Tim Hoiland
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: latin-america
A fascinating story about globalization, automation, and offshoring that complicates some overly generalized narratives around immigration and economics. Could’ve been 100 pages shorter without sacrificing any of that, though.
Jorge García-méndez
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nadie gana con las prácticas económicas neoliberales, excepto unos cuantos. La ecuación no siempre es positiva.
Nobody wins with neoliberal economic policies, but only few people. This equation does not seem to be fair.
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book provides a fascinating picture of the large scale economic impacts and personal level sociological effects of trade policies like NATO in the US and Mexico. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the transformation of the manufacturing sector from the 1970s to the 2000s.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book which finally enabled me to understand the dirty secret behind free market capitalism.
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The focus on the people and their stories reveals how globalization affects individuals, families and communities in both the Midwest and Mexico. A fascinating read!
Casey Willits
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
a lesson in the hard realities of deindustrialization.
Ashley Hansen
rated it really liked it
Oct 22, 2018
David Gallo
rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2015
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I was born to little fanfare, I'll admit, in Cincinnati, Ohio, a decisively mediocre city, aside from its symphony and ice cream. I spent much of my youth in Batesville, a small town in southeastern Indiana, which is a cool place to ride a dirt bike and skin your knees. After Indiana U. as an undergrad, I received my PhD from the Department of Sociology at UChicago in 2001 and then taught at Knox ...more

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