Sunday, February 19, 2012

Does Globalization Have To Impose Its Race To the Bottom?

David Sirota observes that manufacturing jobs previously offshored are starting to return to the United States:
"But now at least a few manufacturing jobs are suddenly coming back to America, and the same CEOs, economists and politicians who have tried to squelch any honest discussion of exploitation are inadvertently admitting that exploitation has always been the manufacturing economy’s invisible hand. They are admitting it when they concede that jobs are returning primarily because American wages are precipitously dropping at the same time Chinese minimum wages have slightly risen–from awful (in some places, $100 month) to a mere terrible (still just a $240 a month).
This is not some fringe theory. It’s a widely acknowledged fact.
President Barack Obama admitted it when in his State of the Union address he said jobs are returning because “it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China.” Economists at the Boston Consulting Group underscored it when in August they said employment growth is happening because rising Chinese wages are “eroding China’s cost advantages” while the United States “is becoming a lower-cost country” as American wages decline. And GE Consumer & Industrial CEO James Campbell reiterated it when he recently told The New York Times that “making things in America is as viable as making things any place” because domestic labor costs are now “significantly less with the competitive wages”–read: far lower wages–now accepted by American workers.
Now that this consensus is finally out in the open, the real question for America is simple: Do we accept an economic competition that asks us to emulate China?"
The answer to that is "no." The solution to offshoring isn't to lower wages and benefits to third world levels so our workers are "competitive" in a global economy. Nor is it to insist that workers get greater training in an attempt to maintain a competitive edge. The solution to offshoring is democratic socialism -- democratizing corporations so that workers run the company and elect their own management. After all, who's going to vote to send their own job overseas? 

No comments:

Post a Comment