I apologise in advance for this. I just feel like ranting. I always feel better after I rant.
America is on the path to destruction. Not because of Iraq, not because of terrorism, but because of something much worse: global business.
Very few major companies perform the majority of their labor within the United States. Instead, they outsource labor to other countries – China for example. In the US, there is a federal minimum wage. There is some semblance of competitive wages. Businesses have to provide benefits – like health insurance – to their full-time workers. They have to maintain a safe, clean and comfortable work environment. All these things cost quite a bit of money.
Or, they can send the work to China. They only need to pay $3/day instead of $6/hour, there are no benefits, there are no days off, the workers are productive and the business doesn’t ask questions.
Businesses don’t even try to rationalize this. It’s simply “good” business – reducing costs to increase profits. The benefit to the American public is lower prices. but what is the real cost?
American jobs. These companies are leeching money from the American people without adding money back into the economy. That is no good way to do business. Every early western country used to realize this. In order for a country to prosper, it must have resourses that it can sell to the world, while minimizing imported resources. That is, Maximize exports, minimize imports. The US has immense resources. The huge population of people in poverty make up a giant work-force. Many of these people would work if they qualified – but the restrictions and shortness of US jobs makes it hard to get a job when you don’t already have one.
The US government used to try to keep goods within the US by imposing tariffs and import taxes. These taxes were meant to encourage self-sufficiency – they were a penalty of sorts. Now organizations like the World Trade Organization are making tariffs difficult. A country that tries to limit trade is shunned and excluded by other countries, effectively bullied into compliance with a destructive policy. The WTO doesn’t support human rights. They don’t care. China is in good standing, despite the deplorable conditions and massive violations of human decency. Simply put, abuse is good for business. The US is afraid to be cut off from world trade. The US is desperate to keep businesses in America, even if 98% of all business operations are performed in 3rd world countries. The government will do anything to keep businesses’ PO-boxes in the United States. They offer massive tax breaks. They loosely enforce environmental protection laws. They give corporations more rights than individuals. And any small change for the good of mankind evokes complaints of lost profits – the majority of which end up the the pockets of worthless executives.
The world needs to change. It won’t, but it needs to. Unless the US governments gets some balls, people will continue to be enslaved by corporations who pay them just enough for it not to be official.
To do it, the government needs to:
1. Significantly increase import penalties. So much so, that it is not nearly so profitable to import goods.
2a. Outlaw, or severely limit the export of labor. A US-based company’s products should be produced (almost) entirely within the US. Exporting labor that could just as easily be done within the US should be illegal.
2b. Require that outsourced labor receive the same protections as those working within the US. Chinese employees of an American company must get paid the US minimum wage, must get overtime pay, must have safe working conditions. If a company is not directly employing the laborers, the rules must still apply.
This way, relocating the company overseas is not profitable – keeping the business here, and outsourcing is not profitable – keeping the jobs here.