Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Globalization and Its Discontents (1/2)

Many people in Washington and in business pretend to be surprised at the backlash against Globalization, which is sometimes presented with the code words “free trade”.  If the politicians are genuinely surprised at a backlash then they are genuinely stupid.  But I do not believe that they are that stupid, I think that one more time they are lying to steal the money.

Globalization has a very clear historical track record at least here in the West.  What is human slavery but an economic alternative to having to pay one's fellow citizens a living wage?  One can just "requisition" labor from the "dark continent" and use them on your sugar plantations without having to pay benefits or for that matter salary. Just a little room and board. And no unions either! Just imagine how much profits were improved for the shareholders. It was a good system until a bunch of do-gooders got involved and ruined everything, making business pay good hard money to the workers.

Globalization serves a similar purpose: increase profits through lowering costs of labor by sending the work to a part of the world where labor laws do not exist. And if it has a result of impoverishing Americans, well who cares? They are not shareholders and the poor have no impact on the political process, as we all know so well. 

Does this mean that I do not want America to be part of the “Global Economy”? No of course not. What I want is for the burden that Globalization imposes on the citizens of this country to be shared with the people who make the profits, and to see that there are legal restraints on their power.  And I believe that the Government can do many things to bring Globalization and its negative side effects under control.  I believe that they are morally obligated to do so.

Why does our government believe that they can put that many Americans out of work and not do something to help them find new work?  If these workers need to be retrained for another job, they are not likely to be able to afford it. The money they would have spent in the local economy, all that money that is being sent overseas, is now not spent in the local, American economy, causing other business to go out and release even more workers. And the improved profits go to the top 1 percent who already had enough money, so the average American sees none of this. The corporations and the rich do not even pay their fair share of taxes, putting even more burden on the middle and lower classes.  How can our government think for even one second that this is fair?

Of course the profits that remain do not just go to the 1 percent, some of that is shared with the politicians that enabled these activities with legislation that impoverished so many of their constituents. Payment for services received, as it were.

So now Americans are finally waking up to what has been done to them. It is reasonable to ask when does unintended consequences become merely the 800 pound chicken that comes home to roost? When is it merely the greed and stupidity of our business and political elite at the expense of any responsibility to long term consequences?  Long term consequences? What long term consequences, you may ask.

Here is one. Even the most shallow observer of recent history is aware that when the United States won World War 2, it was in large part because they had the manufacturing power to win it.  Now that we have destroyed our manufacturing in order to increase the profits of the rich, it makes it unlikely that we will be able to win another World War, should one happen. Do I believe that the United States has a strategic economic plan to see that this does not happen?  Thats a joke, right? 

Here is another.  A generation of young and old Americans who can not achieve financial security or their goals in life because they and their families were impoverished by this economic policy. When will Washington get it through their heads that enriching the 1 percent is not the same as providing economic security to Americans?

But the worst part of this is that our elected representatives lied through their teeth about the results of Globalization and do so to this day, but do nothing to help the disenfranchised or impoverished.  Their job is to represent the interests of the American people, and to tell them the truth about the policies that they are proposing.  And Clinton, Bush and Obama lied to the American people on an issue that is vital to the well being of their constituents.

Can anything be done about this? Isn't it all just water under the bridge by now? The answer to that is no, not even a little bit. Yes, 20 years of people's lives have been destroyed but there is a lot that our elected officials can do to improve the situation and return some wealth to the other 99 or so percent that they have "inconvenienced".

This will be the topic of part two of this post.


  1. Actually the government does represent the interests of the American People. You just misunderstand the definition of People with a capital (no pun intended?) P. Paper people, corporations, are the constituency. Meat people are obsolete and on their way out. Metal people are on their way in, but will always be slaves and never citizens.

    If not for the untimely demise of Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court would soon deny the franchise to meat people. That would clarify where we all stand, wouldn't it?

    That's another advantage of paper people over meat people, they don't die.

  2. Actually one of the more interesting comments made on this blog so far, thank you. This particular post/rant is going to be toned down a little bit as my blood pressure returns to normal as the election proceeds, or maybe it wont. Also it has a part two on what to do. But you make a good point.