Showing posts with label Global Middle Class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global Middle Class. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No Easy Answers

With the passage of the right to work law in Michigan, it's clear that there are no easy answers to protecting the middle class while also protecting a company's right to make money. On the surface, it seems tremendously unfair to make someone pay union dues. If they don't want to pay, that should be OK, right?

Similar to the health care issue, however, the problem arises when the people that don't pay then free ride and enjoy the benefits of what the unions do for laborers. In many ways, unions are all that is left in this country in protecting the rights of the individual versus the billions of a corporation and, more importantly, from keeping inequality from getting even worse. We have many states in this country that have had right to work laws in place for years. Wages have not gotten better and the owners have reaped the benefits. They've stagnated and gotten worse so Governor Snyder is mistaken when says this will help workers. It won't.

Of course, the larger picture says that nothing is going to help laborers because of globalization. When you spread free market ideals and capitalism around the world, this is what you get: a giant pool of cheap labor. In the long run, this is a good thing but in the short run, people are having to make do with less money and it really, really sucks for most Americans. Further, it has inhibited our growth economically and made the middle class a vapor of what it once was.

There are no easy answers and I know that I don't have them. My initial thought is we need some fresh, new ideas in place of the old and stale arguments being fought out in Michigan right now. I was absolutely appalled to see the fights that had broken out and the violence, largely instigated by the union protesters and supporters. There is no excuse whatsoever for this sort of behavior and it only hurts their cause. It's likely going to be worse until some one or several someones put on their contstructivists caps and start answer some questions.

How do we support these laborers who are unintended victims of globalization, if at all? Just tell them to ride it and out it will get better (which it will, eventually)? Remember, that it stands to reason that if people are making less here that some people are making more elsewhere (more, of course, than the absolute shit they used to make). I'm not trying to diminish the exploitation that goes on by MNC's around the world but we shouldn't ignore how they have raised prosperity in many Global South countries. This doesn't help our own laborers, obviously.

And what of the issue of inequality? No doubt, right to work laws make it worse. This is where the federal government could help by eliminating the avenues of rent seeking that so many of the top earners and private firms take advantage of every day. With the fiscal cliff talks going nowhere everyday, this seems unlikely so our march to look more and more like a Third World country is being realized.

I don't know...I really don't. Honestly, I don't think anyone does and that's the problem.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Wish That Will Likely Never Be Filled

As we draw nearer to election day this year, I want to reiterate one of my main complaint about the president. He (and Mitt Romney) need to be honest about the jobs that were lost in 2008. In short, they aren't coming back.


Well, here's a very good explanation. 

The middle class in the developing world is rising. The only question is how high it will go and how fast it will get there. About 85 percent of the world's people live in developing countries, yet they accounted for only 18 percent of global consumer spending just a decade ago; today, they account for nearly 30 percent. Consumer spending in developing countries has been increasing at about three times the rate in advanced countries, and we're not just seeing a growing demand for necessities, but also for middle-class staples such as meat, toothpaste, cell phones, and air-conditioners.

When you spend nearly 70 years spreading the word of free markets and capitalism, you markets and capitalism. 

So when politicians complain about jobs being shipped overseas (and this is a case where both sides really are the same), it's basically a lie. If you want freedom and prosperity around the world, then you have to be able to put up with the increase in the labor pool which will result in unemployment at home.

The good news for our country is that we are providing much of the world with these products. Granted, the labor is coming from places like China and India but the higher end roles in private organizations are being filled by Americans. Bottom line...if you are unemployed, you need to continue your education so you can be more marketable in the world.

As Thomas Friedman noted last January, it's Made in The World now.