Posts Tagged ‘Labor’
By Joe Bageant Deer Hunting with Jesus
July 6, 2010 Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
As an Anglo European white guy from a very long line of white guys, I want to thank all the brown, black, yellow and red people for a marvelous three-century joy ride. During the past 300 years of the industrial age, as Europeans, and later as Americans, we have managed to consume infinitely more than we ever produced, thanks to colonialism, crooked deals with despotic potentates and good old gunboats and grapeshot. Yes, we have lived, and still live, extravagant lifestyles far above the rest of you. And so, my sincere thanks to all of you folks around the world working in sweatshops, or living on two bucks a day, even though you sit on vast oil deposits. And to those outside my window here in Mexico this morning, the two guys pruning the retired gringo’s hedges with what look like pocket knives, I say, keep up the good work. It’s the world’s cheap labor guys like you — the black, brown and yellow folks who take it up the shorts — who make capitalism look like it actually works. So keep on humping. Remember: We’ve got predator drones.
After twelve generations of lavish living at the expense of the rest of the world, it is understandable that citizens of the so-called developed countries have come to consider it quite normal. In fact, Americans expect it to become plusher in the future, increasingly chocked with techno gadgetry, whiz bang processed foodstuffs, automobiles, entertainments, inordinately large living spaces — forever.
David Brin writes in: Space Exploration, Methane Blurps and Podcast Rants
… See a thought provoking snippet from the Globalist: “In the 1980s and 1990s, workers from China, India and the former Soviet bloc contributed 1.47 billion new workers to the global labor pool — effectively doubling the size of the world’s now-connected workforce, bringing little capital with them. Even Marx knew that the capital/labor ratio is critical. The more capital each worker has, the higher their productivity and pay. A decline in the global capital/labor ratio shifts the balance of power as more workers compete for working with scarce capital.”
This ratio of scarcity explains some of the strong position of capital today and even (perhaps) the present hard push toward revived oligarchy, restoring the normal human governance model, recently displaced by the Enlightenment. That push may be all the more intense because new capital is forming at a furious rate, especially in Asia. Hence the ratio should correct itself within a couple of decades, especially as population levels off. The would-be restorers of that ancient pattern may feel they only have a little time….
June 17, 2009 “The Providence Journal” — It isn’t quite fair to call Barack Obama a liar. During the campaign he carefully avoided committing to much of anything important that he might have to take back later. For now, I won’t quibble with The St. Petersburg Times’s Obamameter, which so far has the president keeping 30 promises and breaking only six.
And yet, broadly speaking, Obama has been lying on a pretty impressive scale. You just have to get past his grandiloquent rhetoric — usually empty of substance — to get a handle on it. I offer a short, incomplete list, which I’m sure others could easily enlarge.