Unpacking Reshoring: The GE GeoSpring Case
In 2009, the consumer appliance division of General Electric pledged to move the manufacture of its GeoSpring water heater from China to the United States. Articles in popular and trade publications, press releases, and statements from local and regional governments, positioned the decision to move manufacturing of the GeoSpring as part of a larger movement: bringing manufacturing “back” to the United States, also known as reshoring. This chapter uses the case of the GeoSpring water heater to understand how the process of relocating manufacturing is portrayed to different stakeholders through its description/depiction across media. The central argument is that the rhetoric of reshoring acts on an implicit “us and them” dichotomy which places the interests of workers and economies in the developing world in opposition to workers and economies in the developed world. This chapter contributes a perspective which is currently underrepresented in the relevant literature: It engages critically with representations of reshoring in journalistic, promotional, and government texts.
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