Monday, July 6, 2009

Prescient quote of the day.

"Is that to say we are against Free Trade? No, we are for Free Trade, because by Free Trade all economical laws, with their most astounding contradictions, will act upon a larger scale, upon the territory of the whole earth; and because from the uniting of all these contradictions in a single group, where they will stand face to face, will result the struggle which will itself eventuate in the emancipation of the proletariat."

-K. Marx

We have a globalized economy. The contradictions are there. Governments around the world are scrambling to shore up the scaffolding to prop up this (metaphor comparing capitalism to an unstable structure), but financial crisis after financial crisis cause the (see previous metaphor) to crumble a little bit more every time.

Ask yourself: why was it that 50 years ago, General Motors could afford to pay its workers a decent wage, health benefits, and pensions, and today it can't even pay them a decent wage? It's not all about the quality of cars. It's not even entirely about alleged corruption or unreasonableness from the UAW. So what's the answer?

Ask yourself: why can't you find a pair of sneakers made in the United States by unionized workers?

Ask yourself: where are your Levi's jeans made?

In a globalized economy, capital can move around the world. Labor cannot. Thus, capital can plunk itself down in Malaysia and pay workers 13 cents an hour to make shoes that American consumers will pay $100 for. But if those American consumers don't have a job, because capital is going where the labor is cheapest, then what is our economy based on?

Is this kind of system sustainable?

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