Offshoring: Should America be impoverished in order to help other populations become better off?
Last edited Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:18 AM - Edit history (1)
There are some people who believe that America should accept lower standards of living because we use too many of the world's resources, and that for us to oppose this is to be selfish.
The "reasoning" behind this is that other nations would be kept in poverty if we were to maintain our standard of living.
Of course the way I see it, the whole concept of offshoring can't even survive if other populations aren't impoverished. When they become better off, there's no supply of cheap labor. Their export-based economy will evaporate, and then what? Or better yet, our economy will collapse, and then they won't have anywhere to export their stuff to. Then what?
To rip off Margaret Thatcher: There's only so far the Third World can go by taking other people's jobs. When that blood vein runs out, then what?
And just so you don't think I'm making this up, I shall name names even at risk of censure.
I just gotta know what kind of Democratic Party I'm a part of... a family that cares about its own, or one that sells its own people out for the sake of others.
Just take a look at Iraq if you want to see how that worked out.
I agree that feeding and housing the rest of the world's population should be done equally, however finding a system that is both equitable and people won't fight about won't be easy.
We went to Iraq for oil, plain and simple.
This, in fact, reinforces my argument. Instead of going there for oil, we should have started to move to alternative sources of fuel. It's expensive, but not as expensive as it'll be when oil runs out.
Plus it's just morally bad to go into another country and "Democratize" them.
Its all about England's Upper Crust type economics
The Entitle Few presiding over the mass's wealth
Many former American Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, and even our Armed Forces fought to keep from being forced into England's Free Trade model for centuries for those very reasons I stated
When you tell Americans that they must sacrifice their livelihoods to help other nations, you are going to make them seriously turn against you.
Admittedly I have a little problem with them "Not Qualifing" themselves as foreign Citizens when interjecting opinion about how Americans should run their own affairs
Perhaps that whole "America should lower its standard of living" is a bit more self-serving than I realized?
and in a sparsely populated country where exporting Natural Resourses is a major portion of their economy I fully understand the motivation behind their position.
but coming on DU and implieing they are American citizens living in America I find disingenuinous
The same type that says if America ends free trade, the Canadians will benefit the most.
Odd, since Canada's biggest export market is America, at over 70% of its exports. That's a LOT of lost jobs if America dries up as a market for them.
Methinks their case is full of cowpies...
Most Canadians I've talked to absolutely hate NAFTA and what Mulroney did, including myself.
glad to see your maple leaf here at DU
How many nations have we exploited in the American quest to own a lot of cheaply made shit that sits in our storage units? How many nations have American corporations plundered, with no regrd for their populations, merely to meet our energy and consumption desires?
In my opinion, until recently, we've thrived off the backs of other nations, by allowing our corporations to basically rape and pillage. Now that half of us are in poverty - at the hands of the same corporations we sure as hell do not like how that feels one bit.
There is a way to make it work for all of us, but not when a few people desire it all for themselves.
All they have to be is better than us at something. They do the jobs they are better at, and we do the jobs we are better at. That way, efficiency and productivity is improved across the entire system. Of course, shipping costs and other externalities have to be factored in as well.
It hasn't worked.
Theory: The jobs "they" are better at, are manufacturing, and the jobs we're better at are research.
Reality: We're losing both manufacturing and research jobs to cheap labor nations.
Reality: Those who control manufacturing jobs, eventually control the R&D and innovation jobs.
Andy Grove of Intel predicted this; now his predictions are historical fact.
In the post I replied to, you said offshoring couldn't work if "they" weren't poor. I replied that it could still work, in theory, based on each society doing something it is better at than the other.
Now you say comparative advantage doesn't work because we lose both manufacturing and research jobs to low wage nations. But we lose those jobs because they *are* poor. If they were not poor, comparative advantage would be a much more useful way of looking at things.
Comparative Advantage has never worked in international trade, only in theory. In fact the seeds for Comparative Advantage's failure was planted by your own points: transportation costs make up one example for why it would simply be cheaper to do the work at home, if wages were equal.
In fact it is even possible that David Ricardo's Comparative Advantage has been totally misunderstood by free traders. Not calling YOU a free trader though.
I seriously doubt, the undelying wages and economics of different countries being more or less equal, that one of them would be better than us at manufacturing all or most products.
The point that you are missing is that we are really, really good at manufacturing in this country. We would contol both the manufacturing and R&D for lots of products if foreign wages were not so unnaturally low.
Don't think of the US vs India. Think of the US vs Canada. That's the type of situation where comparative advantage comes into play.
And I am something of a free-trader, but only among comparable societies that allow equal access to their markets. Unrestricted free trade with the third-world is a sellout of both the American worker and global ecology.
If wages were on the level, much of the world would be outsourcing to us because of that alone.
is vastly underestimated by most people discussing such matters. We have lots of raw materials available in-country as well. So in a level world, we would still do much better than average.
But we must fight against the race-to-the-bottom free traders who would have our workers either working for third-world wages or watching helplessly as their jobs are shipped overseas. I think we are in absolute agreement on this point.
as a means of erecting trade barriers they have only triggered devastating retaliation while achieving little to nothing. The Smoot Hawley rampage for instance accomplished little other than placing an effective world wide trade embargo on US exports as the rest of the world continued to trade amongst itself.
I am not in favor of allowing near-unlimited access to our markets in exchange for very limited access to a trading-partner's markets. Also, I think free-trade with nations who turn a blind-eye to vast abuses of American intellectual property rights is also unfair to the American worker.
The goal should be fair trade, and if tariffs have to be imposed in order to offset similar restrictions (and thefts) placed on American exports, so be it.
We have the upper hand in any trade negotiations. We're not the ones with a lopsided export-dependent economy.
There is the WTO and there are bilateral free trade agreements. The reason Free Trade is essential with Korea and Columbia is the WTO process has placed their typical exports to the US in a preferential circumstance while US exports to these countries are thus-far unaddressed by the WTO.
Free Trade agreements are necessary to balance the terms with those who are in a preferential situation with the WTO regime as it exists today. They are also necessary because as the rest of the world is much more aggressive than the US in expanding free trade the problem arises where a foreign competitor is covered by a free trade agreement and a US exporter does not.
And makes me feel somewhat better about the Colombia agreement.
(I already favored the S. Korea deal - they're pretty much an "emerged" economy rather than an emerging one.)
We export so very little in relation to our imports that an embargo on us would cut the world's nose off to spite their face.
Also, your story about Smoot Hawley is a myth. American exports dropped at roughly the same rate as the general GDP dropped. There was no global embargo and the rest of the world's trade did not just go on as usual.
Most importantly, other nations have tariffs against us. We have a God given right to have them as well.
The US has decisively lost every major trade war we have ever fought. Most recently W's steel nonsense steel tariffs of 2002-2003.
In direct retaliation to the Smoot Hawley tariffs The UK imposed a 100% tariff on US exports. Spain imposed a 150% tariff on US automobiles. The French and Swiss shut-out US goods entirely and Canada scorched earth on agriculture. Other nations retaliated in other ways but in whole the rest of the world ceased trading with the United States.
The problem with launching mercantilist trade wars in the modern age is there aren't very many goods that you can only get in one place, the rules of the fur trade and silk trade don't really apply anymore. If one country imposes preposterous trade barriers the rest of the world will just take their business elsewhere.
And the US does have tariffs on a great many imports from those nations we do not have free trade agreements with or are otherwise tariff free by way of the WTO. The purpose of these tariffs is not however to be massively punitive.
You have not provided even one cite to back up your claim.
I, however, have a few.
From the above, US imports fell -$2.9 billion, while exports fell -$3.3 billion. These are similar to the numbers provided by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
There's more evidence that you're wrong, here in DU 2.0:
Let me repeat a point that you evaded:
The US is running a massive trade deficit with the world. Cutting off US exports and imports is not a net negative because the countries that cut us off, lose a big market to export to. This is a mathematical fact. You cannot beat the math.
First of all, contrary to oft reported nonsense the US remains an intensively export dependent economy and while exports only amount to 13% of GDP that is a greater reflection of a large internal market rather than poor performance. The danger to the US of trade retaliation is that in the industries where the US exports the most high-value added products are also the industries with some of the greatest and most aggressive foreign competition. You say that won't happen - but it has happened every single time. Before Bush capitulated on the insane steel tariffs Europe was preparing massive retaliation against US agricultural and automotive exports. Japan was preparing their own retaliatory package. Brazil threatened trade retaliation over US cotton dumping and the US again capitulated agreeing to modify our export loan assistance program to be compliant with anti-dumping norms.
As for your link, the conclusions being extrapolated are ridiculous, exports falling by two thirds was a disaster. FDR was at the forefront campaigning against it for that very reason.
Export dependent economy, you say? Once again, the documented facts contradict that.
Do you even realize how much greater our imports are than our exports? Comparing exports to imports, we have NEGATIVE exports.
Our imports have been vastly outpacing our exports. The math cannot be denied. You compare tariffs on our side to outright embargoes on the other side... but if we slapped an outright embargo to match theirs, here is the hard core math.
BOOM, there goes a big chunk of the Middle East's oil exports.
BOOM, there goes 20% of China's exports.
BOOM, there goes 70% of Canada's exports.
Plus, we would IMMEDIATELY stop the flow of jobs out of this country due to imports, which is far greater than the jobs that are coming in due to exports.
My point? Raise tariffs on stuff that we're outsourcing. And if the other side decides to get nasty, BLOCK EVERYTHING from that country, period. Look at the trade deficit we're running with China, Europe and Brazil. They have more to lose.
As for my link, the conclusions were not ridiculous, you are leaving out the whole story. Imports fell by roughly the same amount as exports. GDP also fell.
The only time the US can get in trouble with tariffs is when we half-ass it.
I'm not sure what the point of your manipulation of the facts is? Are you trying to argue in favor of America having a high and ruinous trade deficit? Perhaps, and I don't even expect an answer to this because it's far too damaging to your argument, you'd rather see the US dollar continue to decline until imports are too expensive because of import price inflation. And yes, the dollar is losing value BECAUSE of outsourcing.
So you have two choices here. Tariffs, or the dollar eventually devalues into oblivion and imports stop because they become too expensive. Which will you choose? Again, I'm not expecting much of an answer to that because it so completely closes the book on outsourcing... and reality does not present an option #3.
Fortunately the Office of the US Trade Representative is a little more pragmatic. Reciprocity isn't "getting nasty" it is a completely justified and would destroy what remains of US heavy industry.
The US is where it is today because of the failure of thirty years of governments to acknowledge and adjust to a changing world starting around 1950 with the collapse beginning in the 1970's. It is the height of irony because the economic policies that set France and Germany on their present course were born out of a fear of total US industrial and economic hegemony that would eventually just roll over Western Europe. Instead the US stood dead still, allowing many industries to atrophy or collapse.
What will collapse is our currency if we continue to run these trade deficits.
Since you didn't answer my question and you are only opposed to tariffs when America does it (as opposed to other nations who are perfectly ok to start tariffs?), it must be assumed that you would rather see our currency continue to devalue.
Fine with me. When it's done, imports won't even be affordable because of currency exchange rates. Then we will be forced to move the jobs back here.
BTW you also never provided any documentation for anything you've said.
You want to use tariffs as a means of erecting trade barriers, I am completely opposed to that. The issue we tend to face with tariffs is both a failure of the US to take a more constructive role in the WTO process to bring a greater number of US exports into preferential treatment under the WTO and to enter into more free trade agreements with those countries who already have preferential treatment for their typical exports to the US.
The Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress (October 2008) reports on Smoot Hawley:
Imports declined from $5.3 billion in 1929 to $1.7 billion in 1933.
Exports fell from $4.4 billon in 1929 to $1.5 billion in 1933.
Imports dropped a LOT faster than exports and nearly reached parity. This is clearly a net gain for the United States.
I would also like to point out that Smoot-Hawley tariff levels weren't even as high as tariff levels in decades prior. Look at tariff levels in the 1870s. Smoot-Hawley didn't do the damage - the Depression did.
The question is whether the damage inflicted by the trade war that followed was worth it, the universal consensus is it was not. The differential between imports and exports following that period comes from the varied retaliation launched by other countries. Some countries only retaliated against specific high volume or high profile exports. Others just slammed the door entirely. The schedule of tariffs was also largely based on industry bribes to Republican Senator Joe Grundy so the impact of the bill was not universal to all imports.
Both imports and exports fell by roughly two thirds and a trade deficit persisted. Some accomplishment. Clearly this is a policy to be rehabilitated and rehashed with much vigor! FDR was opposed to this policy, he thought it was corrupt and insane. It is disheartening to see one of the most thoroughly discredited republican policies of the 20th Century has such a passionate following around here.
This means that American jobs came back home, more than they left the country. If we slammed the door totally on imports, look at how much we import versus what we export. We IMMEDIATELY cut off a massive bleed-out in jobs.
Also, the drop in trade was largely because of the global DEPRESSION, not Smoot-Hawley. There were fewer people producing stuff. A massive drop was inevitable.
And once again I will ask you - would you rather see the dollar devalue into oblivion and foreign imports become impossibly expensive, instead?
For "jobs to come back home" import substitution has to be occurring. If what you argue were correct and it was triggered by an economy wide drop in demand rather than tariffs this did not happen.
The collapse of the US dollar will be brought about by Republicans deliberately bankrupting the country, not the balance of trade.
Republicans can hasten the dollar's collapse, however foreign financing has merely stalled the dollar's decline; the latter can only slow the inevitable.
The WTO defends China dumping products in the US and they defend China's 25% tariffs against the United States, they oppose US tariffs against anyone, plus the WTO has also fought environmentalist protections and protections for animals, too.
The WTO has jumped the shark.
Countries that try to bully the United States should be banned from selling anything here.
As you sit here demanding a mercantilist trade war you are also saying that anyone who retaliates in any form is now a bully? Please comprehend for a moment just how ridiculous a position that is. Or as Nelson Muntz might put it "Stop Hitting Yourself, Stop Hitting Yourself, Stop Hitting Yourself"
In any event you don't understand the tariff system or the WTO or how they are linked and don't appear to have a particularly strong interest in actually learning about it either. As a matter of fact... effective tomorrow China is introducing a new round of tariff cuts. If you refer to the recent Chinese tariff on automobile imports, that is strictly symbolic retaliation of zero impact since it only applies to large vehicles such as limousines and enormous SUV's.
It is you who don't understand the WTO or the tariff system. The fact is, we didn't start any mercantilist trade war. This trade war has been started by nations like China.
China has long kept up a massive 25% tariff against imports from the United States. We don't have 25% tariffs against them. Plus China has kept its currency devalued to boot. If we do slap such tariffs on China, suddenly you are calling that a trade war.
The WTO also has a rule that allows us to impose import duties to balance out our trade deficit:
And as I said before, we've got nothing to lose here. Our currency is devaluing as a direct result of our massive trade deficits and I gave you a factual link to back that up. Eventually these imports will become too expensive anyway. Funny how you keep evading that. Obviously you are not interested in reading documented facts about trade.
These trade deficits are killing America. Would you rather see our unemployment levels rise to 25% or higher as a result of accepting "free trade"? Or would you rather see America explode in revolution against free trade when we get tired of this?
China was required to cut their 24.6% general industrial tariff as a condition of entry into the WTO, this was negotiated by Clinton in 1997. In 2011 China's average tariff was 9.8% and the general industrial tariff is 8.9% and will fall dramatically next year as the tariffs on many goods are lowered to 4.4% and 0% for imports from the least developed states. China has met or exceeded all demands in regards to tariff reduction. Additionally as China is a signatory to the WTO ITA agreement (part of the Singapore Round) as is the United States many US exports to China are completely tariff free. Under the ITA China IMPORTS about 12% of the worldwide ITA products sold - this represents almost entirely US made semiconductors. China signing on to the WTO ITA agreement was another part of the deal negotiated by Clinton and for this very reason.
Since it appears you have located the WTO website, perhaps you should avail yourself of the resources on it before commenting further.
Free Trade isn't the problem, the problem was a thirty year leadership vacuum that saw the US cling to a low-productivity and low-value added industrial paradigm as the rest of the world leaped ahead. And when this system atrophied and collapsed it somehow became the fault of third world peasants working in factories. The unquestioning embrace of American exceptionalism made it impossible to even suggest that government and industry might have had it all wrong at the time.
US productivity is 8 times as high as Chinese productivity. We're the most productive workforce in the world. Where do you get your so-called facts? Seriously, where do you get any of this?
And why do you keep running away from the fact that trade deficits devalue the dollar? You know I'm just going to keep bringing it up every time you reply. And I'm going to back it up with documentation, too, unlike anything you've said: http://www.frbsf.org/education/activities/drecon/1999/9910.html
Free trade is eventually going to lead to imports becoming too expensive. You have no counter argument against this, apparently. And absolutely nothing you've said is backed by any kind of documentation.
In the iron and steel industry for instance labor productivity only began to improve in the mid-1980's. For the auto industry it was the mid-1990's and more recent still. Non-industrial US labor productivity isn't even entirely positive since rather than automation and modernization it is largely owed to insufficient staffing and cruel workloads.
And you can run with your eccentric monetary theories to your hearts content.
American productivity was never low, relative to other countries. When it comes to non-industrial sectors like tech and R&D your argument really does not hold water, they're still 6 times as productive as workers in China, and the most productive in the world.
And... eccentric theories? Are you saying that the theory that trade deficits devalue the dollar is eccentric?
Hello, this is not Dylan Ratigan saying this, it's being said by the Federal Reserve Bank.
Do you have any documentation that shows I'm wrong when I say trade deficits devalue the dollar?
Do you have any documentation for any of your claims?
Well, do you?
either working for third-world wages or watching helplessly as their jobs are shipped overseas." you mean... capitalists? Corporate Policy Makers?
Remember, the current trend to keep corporate earnings growing is to do it by definition if there's more money coming in each month, then there's no reason to sweat the little details, like the day to day or, hopefully, the Quarter to Quarter...; but there's always the chance that heads will rollwhile there's never a chance that profits will roll or even be hinted at for the non-bosses of an organization.
Corporations exist to make money. As long as they are playing within the rules our government has set up, I find it hard to blame them for most of the things they do.
The rules should be changed.
President Obama was recently criticized for saying something to the effect that what Wall Street did was not against the law. But he was mostly right.
The laws need to be changed. The trade policies need to be changed. The U.S. needs to implement at least some rudimentary level of industrial planning. We need to rethink the wisdom of free trade agreements with third-world nations.
The Soviet Union had terrible results from the use of a planned economy. Centralized planning was used to determine everything - all the way down to how much toilet paper would be produced. But just because that was an absolute disaster it does not follow that the best thing to do is to have no national industrial planning at all. But that's pretty much what we have in this country - a libertarian free-for-all.
And the US trades more with Canada than we do with Mexico despite Mexico having more than twice the population.
For now, charity begins at home.
Assuming we were able to fundamentally re-structure our economy so as to provide a living wage to everyone, then it would make sense to consider shifting more production offshore. Dislocated American workers could be reassigned to more enjoyable tasks. Jobs that are less essential, but more rewarding to both worker and society. The extra profits made from offshoring, both by companies and consumers, could be used to pay for these new jobs. It would be a win-win, at least in theory. But only if the savings aren't hoarded by the rich.
We aren't being expected to give up our plush salaries and high standard of living so others can have them. We're being decimated to the lower standards of third world countries, while they're being kept at that status.
We're giving it up but not so other countries can benefit. It's all about the corporations. The 1%.
...has resulted in better standards of living -in general, not always- for most of the world. At the same time, the more interconnected our economies are, the less likely war becomes.
In historical terms, I wonder if the push for a truly global economy might be seen as a good thing, even though it has resulted in a reduced standard of living for many Americans. Americans still have a hell of a lot more than the poorest of nations.
of living. WORST healthcare in the developed world.
But we can't help lift up the rest of the world without sacrificing something of our own. I'm not saying that's been the master plan for the past 50 years or that it's even a good thing.
But that seems to be what is occurring in a kind of macro-economic context. I think.
We have declining standards in many areas but we also have a hell of a lot of computers and smart phones and other crap like that. Not exactly the hallmark of a nation in decline when you look at the big picture.
Again. I think.
the cumbaya excuses are of much more recent vintage.
"We have declining standards in many areas but we also have a hell of a lot of computers and smart phones and other crap like that. Not exactly the hallmark of a nation in decline when you look at the big picture. "
That isn't a strong argument.
Unemployed people don't buy stuff. That's the biggest flaw in that particular argument.
People in a Democracy generally riot in a more genteel manner.
it's going to be the worst case of civil unrest you ever saw.
Especially when currencies collapse and there's no money to pay for the riot cops.
And I'm not so sure that standards of living have increased that much, overall. Sure, the GDP and even the life expectancy of a country as a whole might go up, but I'm not sure that reflects improvements in each country as a whole, or if that's driven by improvements only among the upper strata of that country. Look at India, one of the countries that is perceived as benefiting the most from globalization: with about a billion people, there are 300 million whose lifestyles range from wealthy to what we would consider middle class, 300 million in an impoverished working class, and about 300 million who live on a dollar a day or less. The per capita income is skyrocketing, for sure, but only among those who were already well off enough to secure an education and the social capital necessary to benefit from globalization
In the mean time, huge swaths of land are being flooded to erect new dams (electricity generation being deemed a higher use for the water than its role in sustaining the local population and ecology), and the residents not sufficiently compensated for the loss of their lands. The Green Revolution that was heralded as a triumph of science and globalization is resulting in a decline in the water table, and huge economic risks for farmers who must now pay annually for seeds instead of saving them, as well as for the expensive pesticides and fertilizers, and maintenance for heavy farm equipment, in the hopes that they will not be swallowed by debt. Diversity, both cultural and biological, is being swallowed--and even the supposed benefits of such loss, such as increasing opportunity for women, are mostly among the upper classes, and not necessarily an antidote to sexual violence or domestic abuse.
And what happens when the fossil fuels that power this system become too expensive, or when global warming from the use of those fuels makes the planet uninhabitable for billions (as it is already doing in the African Sahel, for example)? I don't forswear global commerce as a whole--I can't imagine a world that functions in the way I would like it to without some degree of transnational economic activity. However, I don't hold much hope for an equitable "global village" to arise out of globalization as it is currently operating. On the contrary, I foresee large scale ecological catastrophes that may only equalize us in the least desirable of ways.
Free trade actually does MORE harm to our environment than keeping jobs here, where we in the West impose controls on resource usage and pollution.
First of all, globalization is not simply market forces unleashed. Everything takes place within a structure determined by law. This structure - including trade agreements, immigration policy, and domestic law - has the effect of putting blue collar workers in competition with one another but in fact protects the earnings of certain elites.
Remember, the lion's share of income in this country is collected by the upper quintile (or decile, even).
With that in mind, let's look at an example. The AMA has successfully lobbied congress to enact policies that restrict the number of foreign-born doctors entering the US to practice. If we had something resembling "free trade" in medicine and achieved equilibrium among doctors' salaries in the US and western European nations, the benefit (in savings to US patients) would be about $80 billion per year. This is ten times the standard estimates of the gains from NAFTA. Doctors would still make good money, just not quite as much. And other Americans would see an increase in their standard of living, as their medical costs would go down. It would be possible to structure agreements with other countries where a condition of emigrating to the US to work as a physician would be to pay a small tax on earnings (maybe for a set period of time) that is returned to their native country to fund education, research and medicine there. This is a benefit to both countries.
International trade today is engineered for the benefit of a few, and does not provide equal gains for all countries or uniformly benefit the population as a whole within any country. It doesn't have to be this way.
I realize my answer does not address issues related to sustainability regarding resource consumption, pollution, etc.
safety nets, medicare, etc here within America. One might as well ask whether or not a 1%r should accept a lower standard of living so that his fellow Americans and society in general function better.
Extreme inequality is immoral and unsustainable on large and small scales.
You really do seem to be saying "inequality is fine, as long as it's people in other countries who are worse off than me". The poster to whom you link is explicitly talking about resource use (which, to your credit, you are thinking about yourself, with your point about alternative fuel sources above), and it is clear that the world would collapse, environmentally, if all countries consumed at American (or just general 'Western') levels.
So, if you insist American consumption levels must not fall, then you are in favour of other countries never being able to do - or a worldwide environmental disaster. Offshoring does not depend on a country being 'impoverished'; it depends on the labour being somewhat cheaper. It's not an 'all or nothing' situation. Jobs move around inside the US, for instance, because some areas have a lower cost of living, and companies can get away with paying workers less there.
Other posters may regard 'their own' as being the whole world; for you, it is primarily Americans, it seems. Not everyone wants there to be a permanent class of 'others'.
We don't need to become poor, all we need to do is waste less and recycle more. Which we are trying to do.
Ironically your argument falls apart when you consider the fact that factories in third world nations pollute like crazy (See: Linfeng, China), while Western nations are enforcing stronger pollution controls. But this is one of many facts that the pro-offshoring crowd fears to address.
If we keep offshoring jobs to other countries, we will only be helping them pollute themselves to death. If you disagree with me, then try visiting a few factory-heavy cities in China or India. Try drinking their water, breathing their air. Go ahead. Experience it first, then argue it.
I must say, though, it is nice to get people to say out in the open that America needs to become poorer.
Support for offshoring is low and plummeting as it is, because America at large is seeing right through the scam that is globalism. We need more people to say what you say: it will make them wake up and see the more obvious errors, one of which I pointed out, as well as a multitude of others that exist in your argument.
As for other posters regarding their own being the whole world, fine with them. I care for my family first before my country, and my country first before the whole world.
Oh and I also take care of the world by pushing the cause of recycling, alternative and clean energy, and waging war on pollution. NOT by pushing manufacturing off to other countries where they're free to poison their air and water and screw up the planet further. Hmmm. What do you have to say about the rampant pollution in third world factories?
And the elite of the countries that vie for off-shore manufacturing and service contracts.
Most offshoring actually takes resources from the population of those countries and passes it on to the wealthy in those countries. Look at Mexico - when the poor start becoming less "desperate" and start demanding more of a share of the profits and better working conditions - and the government started siding with them, the corporations just move on to a country that will be willing to provide the same "skill-set" of labor for even less cost and regulatory rules.
India is one of the few exceptions to the rule, but that's because they have a cheap cost of living, a caste structure and cultural traditions that allow for a skilled middle class that doesn't mind being treated like servants and won't expect to become richer than is expected for their caste. The middle class and educated members that do care about their treatment and income limitations are encouraged to leave and work in other countries.
There are too many workers in India eager to work for minimal wages for those who think they deserve better to complain too much.
The problem is we started from a completely unsustainable paradigm. At the close of the second world war there were only four industrialized nations that had not been bombed to rubble, the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Out of this situation a pretty comfortable North American economic hegemony developed. While the rest of the west figured out by the mid-1960's that the world was rapidly changing and acted aggressively the US stood dead still. Germany and France are prosperous today because of policy decisions made in the 1960's.
There was bombing, of course. But the devastation was nothing like that on the continent or Japan.
That being said, Britain did have to stretch its resources to make ends meet during the war. But they didn't sustain the type of physical damage that occupied countries did.
British production continued to increase during the Blitz. It was a German failure for a number of reasons - a big one being that the German Air Force was not really suited to a sustained strategic bombing campaign.
Bombs were dropped on Britain in 1940-41, but equating the damage there to a place like Germany or the USSR just isn't possible. Those places (and many others on the continent) really were devastated. The damage in Britain was minor in comparison.
Hitler originally wanted to capture England intact, when this proved implausible he shifted strategy to bombing the British population into an armistice. That is when the British cities burned - after the invasion was called off in the fall of 1940. London for instance has never returned to their prewar population. We can debate the extent of damage forever but the point is post-war England was an economic wreck. The UK required almost five billion dollars of direct US aide in the years immediately after WW2, substantially more than West Germany.
and massacring their populations - either directly, or by proxy using tame fascists to control them -
and generally leaving them the fuck alone. they will find their own way to a proper balance.
keep US jobs here; and keep US hands off other people's wealth, or pay them a reasonable return for their resources in open markets.
and keep US armaments out of the hands of fucking sociopathic rulers around the globe.
that's all anyone would ask. most societies don't want Team America World SWAT; or, a handout from a benevolent Uncle Sam.
they just want to be left the fuck alone to live their lives in peace, with the basic necessities of food, shelter & non-violence.
they aren't so different from the majority of Americans. get out & stay out the fuck of their faces.
It is non-sensical to decimate our own country to pump up another. A strong country can always aid other countries, but no weakening of our own country should be allowed, especially when it appears it was not altruistic.
Another one that bothers me is, should we accept corporations paying their overseas employees slave wages and otherwise exploiting them just to "keep products cheap" here?
Last year I went into Macy's and bought a suit made in Canada. It really was not that much more money than the stuff that's made in a third world country.
It seems like one core problem is Wal-Mart and its desire to get products based solely on one thing: price. For some products it's so hard to find a decent sort of non-junk version anymore because Wal-Mart has driven all of the higher quality suppliers either out of business or down into junk themselves. There's the cheapest of cheap and then Neiman Marcus, but not a lot in between.
It's a general race to the bottom. Low Mexican factory wages force down US wages in the same sector, at the same time cheap US subsidized corn ruins more Mexican farmers and sends them to the cities seeking work in manufacturing, further pressuring Mexican wages. The biggest wave of Mexican immigration to the US in history started right after NAFTA, thanks to the disaster it caused in Mexico. Don't believe the lies about Third World interests, their interests are also against unlimited uncontrolled capital flows.
Where are the Mexican protests against NAFTA?
The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.
A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.
Another important factor is Mexico itself. Over the past 15 years, this country once defined by poverty and beaches has progressed politically and economically in ways rarely acknowledged by Americans debating immigration. Even far from the coasts or the manufacturing sector at the border, democracy is better established, incomes have generally risen and poverty has declined.
Here in Jalisco, a tequila boom that accelerated through the 1990s created new jobs for farmers cutting agave and for engineers at the stills. Other businesses followed. In 2003, when David Fitzgerald, a migration expert at the University of California, San Diego, came to Arandas, he found that the wage disparity with the United States had narrowed: migrants in the north were collecting 3.7 times what they could earn at home.
That gap has recently shrunk again. The recession cut into immigrant earnings in the United States, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, even as wages have risen in Mexico, according to World Bank figures. Jaliscos quality of life has improved in other ways, too. About a decade ago, the cluster of the Orozco ranches on Agua Negras outskirts received electricity and running water. New census data shows a broad expansion of such services: water and trash collection, once unheard of outside cities, are now available to more than 90 percent of Jaliscos homes. Dirt floors can now be found in only 3 percent of the states houses, down from 12 percent in 1990.
At some point Corporate America will have to pack up and follow this money offshore. It seems pretty clear they are not interested in sustaining a US-based consumer economy. The greed for infinite profits that increase every quarter obscures all other thoughts.
I do not understand how these companies expect people to keep buying things when they don't want to pay livable wages to anybody. All they want to do is enrich a small upper echelon which has absolutely no intent on letting anything of value "trickle down."
and replace these corporations with those that will produce domestically?
Right now there is only focus on the next quarter. Every other company is out to best another company in next quarter. They've done this over the past few decades by using accounting tricks, cutting jobs, offshoring jobs, cutting benefits, stacking government in their favor, etc. And somebody at the top is getting a lucrative bonus for doing these things, because in the immediate short term, it does make the company more profitable. In the long term, they are clearly eroding their own source of long-term income, the American consumer. The elite job-killing bonus-takers do not toss enough money amongst themselves to make up for the unemployed consumer base. Nobody in Corporate America cares anything about this long term view because most of their compensation is tied to how well they do next quarter.
For some of us we are all part of the same family, no one wins until we all win.
I spent almost three decades overseas.
Your flippant hubristic nationalism is just another kind of chauvinism.
It carries both elements of zenophobism and provincialism.
Here is the bottom line. If we don't find good jobs for all, including masses in China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Africa then they will follow our crass capitalism and our environmental shortcuts and like 19th and 20th century America try to get the good life by environmental degradation which will effect our Oceans, our Atmosphere and our Climate. It turns out we are, actually, in the same small boat after all.
While you're at it, why don't you explain the fact that sending jobs overseas almost always results in building factories that pollute far worse than factories here?
We seek the good life by enforcing pollution controls and recycling and alternative fuels... when we can get the Repiglicans to shut up and go away, that is. In short: we're screwing up our oceans and atmospheres MORE so by offshoring. If you did indeed spend THREE DECADES overseas then tell me, what is it like to breathe the air in Linfeng, China? What is it like to breathe the air in Pittsburgh, PA?
Oh, and spell it right: it's XENOphobia, not Zenophobism.
Until you can produce me that One World ID Card, it's my country first, with zero apology. I will never accept starving and impoverishing my people for someone else's sake.
Lots of people on here say that we pollute the world.
Y'all sure got silent - more than one person, in fact - when it got pointed out that the places we outsource production to, produce even MORE pollution.
Maybe you should have stayed overseas.
Your argument makes no sense at all.
The duty of our national government is to serve the needs of the American electorate who put them in office.
Every country on this earth looks out for its own national economic interests first--
except the US. And that's because rich people like yourself profiteer by pitting the interests of American workers and their wages against impoverished 3rd world workers.
Americans buy over 20% of the world's goods. There's no reason why working Americans should not produce at least that amount, and reap the benefits of that production.
at the expense of workers everywhere.
I don't care about what kind of party you think you belong to - what I'd like to hear is which side you're on.
Me - I'm with my fellow workers.
countries in the first place we would not be in this mess. Self-sufficiency at least as far as it was possible should have and still should be the goal. Instead we did to them exactly what we did to ourselves.
We have been building a world that is corporatized in the sense that the only goal is profit.
Wendell Berry talks about how we moved farming from nuture (care of the land and people) to exploitation of both. That is what we exported to other countries. And we did it in the name of the poor and starving. It did not and will not help them.
A friend from Africa (Nigeria) let me read one of his books regarding this in his country. Prior to this industrialization of Africa most families lived on a few acres and produced enough food for the family. THEN comes a soap making factory that offers jobs to some of the people. Families began to move off their land at the promise of a better life. Along comes the big peanut farmer and he buys their land. But it was all a lie. There were jobs in the city but not nearly enough for all that were now coming to the city so many more ended up in the ghettoes of the cities. They had no land to return to and no jobs. The IMF had borrowed the peanut farmers money to buy the land so most of the crop was exported to pay the loan and the people starved.
This is what we did in most areas. And this is what they are doing to us now. In fact in the area of farming most of the farms in the USA have already been corporatized and serve the exploiters not the people.
Our offshore businesses will never make it better for anyone but the rich - their only goal is profit. And in making a profit it will not matter that they are not taking care of the land or the people. They have turned them into a finite product like oil and coal.