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America Revealed -

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(generated from captions) Welcome to the series that
takes you to the heart of America

and reveals the inner workings
of our country

as you have never seen them before.

We're going to go on
quite a journey.

We'll travel coast to coast
across this sprawling land...

..to discover the habits,
the rhythms and the secrets

you only notice when you step back
and see the big picture.

I'm Yul Kwon.

I've worked in law and government,
business and journalism.

I've even won the reality show
'Survivor'.

And in every part of my life

I've been fascinated by the same
things - systems and networks.

None have shaped us more profoundly
than the ones we use to manufacture,

to build the things that fill
our lives and fuel our economy.

Whoa, this place is hot!

In this episode,
we'll uncover a revolution,

a transformation
that's well under way,

reshaping who we are
and what we make.

We'll enter a surprising
world of constant change,

ruthless competition
and relentless innovation.

I love the robot. (LAUGHS)

Step back, just a little bit.

From the simplest steel screw
to the sleekest new car,

from a tiny silicon chip
to a behemoth aircraft carrier.

We'll explore the interlocking
chains of supply and demand,

part and assembly,
material and manpower

that make our country work.

15 seconds.
Agh!

Here, just finish it for me!
(LAUGHS)

This is the story of
how America creates.

This is America Revealed.

Manufacturing has shaped America.

From shore to shore,
our identity has been defined

by the things we make
and the way we make them.

But manufacturing is not
what it used to be.

And this place shows why.

This is Savannah, Georgia.

It's been a trading centre
since colonial times.

And today, it's one of the fastest
growing ports in the United States.

Things have changed since the days
of settlers, corn and cotton.

These giant ships come here
from all around the world

filled with all kinds
of manufactured goods

like computers, ovens,

flat-screen TVs,

and even...

..American flags.

We used to make these things
ourselves.

Now they can be made
more cheaply abroad.

So we import them, packed tight
inside these containers.

We import so much, in fact,
that these docks are loaded

with more than $130 million
worth of goods.

And they won't be here for long.

Because this port runs
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So, before you know it, every
container you see here will be gone,

headed off to stock
America's stores.

These ships will be gone too,

but what they take with them
may surprise you.

When they go, they'll be filled
with America's biggest export.

And it's not TVs
or computers or ovens.

It's something else.

This is the only warehouse
in the port

that stores American-made goods.

It's the size of seven
football fields.

And right now,
all it holds is paper.

Rolls and rolls of paper.

That's because we ship more
containers of paper to the world

than anything else - by far.

And one man is responsible
for keeping it all moving.

So, Larry, everything in here

is gonna be exported
out of the country?

That's correct.

Here in this particular facility
we do nothing but export paper.

Larry Gergacs manages
this warehouse.

He knows where all the paper comes
from, where it's going, and why.

It's gonna go to Asia,
parts of Europe.

A bulk of this goes to China.

And what do they do
with all this paper?

Well, it comes
right back to us in boxes.

All these different electronics
that we import from China

is boxed up with this paper
we send over to them.

So all this paper is going to China.

They take it,
they make it into boxes

to package stuff
to import back here.

That's correct.

It's just going back and forth.
That's right.

I would say you hit it on the nail.

Looking around, this place seems
like a sign of troubled times.

Paper is what's called
a low-value good.

It's a product -
unlike, say, a television -

that's worth little more than
the raw materials that go into it.

So for many of us,
this an unsettling picture,

a picture of a country that's
importing more than it's making,

of a manufacturing system
that's dying.

But if you look beyond this port,
you'll see something very different.

Manufacturing is not really
disappearing from America.

It just doesn't
look like it used to.

A whole new landscape is emerging,

filled with new ideas,
new people and new places.

Like here - Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This site, from a logistics
point of view,

it's a beautiful site because
it's adjacent to an interstate.

You don't have any
nearby residential.

It's got dual rail access.

It's just a terrific site.

This is Dennis Cuneo.

He works as a site selector,

helping companies find
locations for their factories.

He specialises in high-value
manufacturing -

in goods that are worth far more

than the cost
of their raw materials.

And here is what he's
so excited about.

It's America's newest auto plant,

a billion-dollar
state-of-the-art facility

filled with all of
the latest technology.

But this factory wasn't built
by Ford, Chrysler or General Motors.

It was built by Volkswagen.

And while you may not think of
Volkswagen as an American car maker,

maybe you should.

These cars are made in America
out of American-made parts

by newly hired American workers,

and have been specially designed
to be sold in American markets.

And Volkswagen isn't
the only foreign company

being drawn to our shores.

What's happening here is part
of a much bigger picture.

This is what America's auto industry
looked like in 1980.

Each dot is a factory
run by a US auto maker.

And in the last 30 years, more than
half of them have closed...

..while companies like Honda,
Toyota, BMW and Nissan

have opened new factories...

..spawning a vast network of
American-owned auto supply firms -

all these dots you see here.

It's been a major boost
to our economy

and a profound change
to our auto industry.

A change that Dennis Cuneo
has witnessed firsthand.

Most of the new plants built in the
United States over the past 20 years

have been by foreign
auto manufacturers.

They have put about $44 billion of
new investment in the United States.

They employ about 80,000 people.

A lot of people
will be surprised by that,

because I think
the common assumption is that

all these manufacturing jobs are
going overseas to places like China.

The labour-intensive, low-class,
low-wage class jobs

are going to China.

But the high value-added jobs
are still staying here.

And the fact that this large
multinational corporation -

very sophisticated, can build
these cars any place -

has chosen to put a billion-dollar
investment here

tells us that the United States is
still a good place to build stuff,

especially high value-added stuff.

There's one obvious reason

that America attracts
this kind of investment.

We're a huge market.

We buy more than 12 million cars
a year.

But there's another reason
that's far more significant.

Our factories are in the midst
of a revolution.

They've embraced a new way
of thinking about manufacturing...

..one extraordinarily
focused on efficiency.

And here at Volkswagen you can see
that thinking in action.

Businesses have always
cared about efficiency.

But this place has put
efficiency on steroids.

To be profitable, these people
need to make 500 cars a day.

And each car has about 20,000 parts.

So every movement is coordinated,
every action plotted out.

Some of this may look familiar

because the basic workflow
was established over a century ago,

back in the days of the Model T
when Ford autoworkers

first installed interchangeable
parts on a moving assembly line.

But don't be fooled.

Here at Volkswagen, the assembly
line is being utterly transformed.

And at the centre of it all

is something that Henry Ford
never dreamed of.

Robots.

There are robots everywhere
in this factory -

welding,

painting,

riveting.

They do more than half the work
in the plant,