What if every working age person in your town disappeared?

Imagine if you woke up one day and all of the working-age men and women in your town were gone. They’d disappeared practically overnight. How would that change your town’s culture, its lifestyle — your life?

Now imagine that everybody is back in your town, but all of the commerce has disappeared. There are no stores, no offices, no places to work. How would that change your life?

That first scenario, the one where everybody disappears, is exactly what happened in towns all across Mexico starting in the late 90s. Meanwhile, the second scenario, in which entire towns go out of business was playing out all across the central United States.

And get this: both happened for the exact same reason.

This is the story of what happened when the U.S. all but stopped making things on a big industrial scale. It’s about how that manufacturing moved south to Mexico, where factories hum day and night.

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