Archive for November 6th, 2011

November 6, 2011

Globalization – A Horror Story

The minimum wage in Indonesia is one dollar a day, about one half of what is estimated to be a living wage.

In some areas of China and in other Asian countries the wage is even less.

The program linked below is about an hour long and you don’t have time for it. And either does anyone else. But – is it even remotely possible that children in the United States, perhaps your own or your grandchildren, will live like those depicted in the documentary?  It’s not a pretty picture or a comforting thought.  Don’t be too sure it won’t happen here.  Wall Street investors would love it.

Picture showing dramatic improvement in living conditions in China.

A committee of Wall Street executives traveling in China today praised the improvements in wages and living conditions for the teenage labor force in Asia.

Asian wage slaves typically are young teens who can labor for long hours and receive wages of as much as twenty-five cents an hour.  Considering that these teens often work twelve hours a day the salary they receive often reaches three dollars daily and by working seven days they earn as much as twenty-one dollars a week.  These circumstances are rare but not unknown.  The usual wage is about a dollar a day in most countries.

During the Christmas rush when orders are at their height the teens are permitted to work two to three hours extra per day thereby increasing their daily wage by fifty to seventy five cents.

The Wall Street executives predicted a bright future for these hard working young men and women.

The teens live in company barracks that are protected by ten-foot chain link fences topped with strands of barbed wire.  The gates are always locked and guarded to add further protection for the young workers. Because of the vital role these teens play in the global economy, illness is not permitted.  The Wall Street visitors were impressed by the responsibility the young work force showed for its duties exhibited by the fact that no one ever gets sick.

The company charges a modest rental fee of fourteen dollars a week to live in the barracks.  The wage slaves however live in relative comfort in a friendly atmosphere with twelve teens to a room.  The company provides at no extra charge a mat for the teens to sleep on, a well pump in the rear of the barracks to provide water for all to share and has added several additional outhouses to care for personal needs.

The teens are fed two bowls of rice a day.  The amount of rice was recently increased from four to five ounces per bowl.  On Sundays the rice is now cooked in chicken broth to add extra nourishment and working hours have been strictly limited to twelve even during the busy Christmas season.  The teens are also given two cups of tea per day.

The cost for each bowl of rice is twenty five cents.  The company now provides the tea free of charge as a benefit which it is able to deduct from its taxes.  At the end of an eighty four hour week each teen receives a net pay of three dollars.

The company generously offers a savings plan to the teens also without charge.  Teens are required to participate in the plan.  The minimum deposit is three dollars or the entire amount of the weekly pay which ever is greater.

Wall Street executives praised the living conditions under which the young teens lived and are eager to remind Americans who buy products made in Asia that they are helping to support millions of hardworking young men and women throughout that rapidly developing region.

File:Dharavi slum, Mumbai, India - 20081220.jpg

Committee of executives impressed by improvements in living conditions throughout Asia.

(Photos by Patrickshichuan and erin from Evanston).

November 6, 2011

Ex-Pres. Pens New Tome

I voted for Bill Clinton twice, the second time somewhat reluctantly because of his support for NAFTA. And while he may be a likeable fellow, his actions as president did great harm to the country.

Official White House photo of President Bill C...

Always liked the guy. And no one can say he wasn't faithful to his wife and many mistresses. Image via Wikipedia

He’s published another book, his third. I haven’t read it yet but reviews indicate that his latest effort focuses on the country’s economic problems.

Whatever his solutions may be, Bill Clinton can’t ignore his own contributions to the mess the economy is in today.

He appointed two of the worst secretaries of the Treasury in the country’s history – Robert Rubin and Larry Summers – both of whom were compulsive deregulationists.

He signed off on two of the worst pieces of legislation ever to befall the country: The Financial Services Modernization Act (also known by the names of its Republican sponsors, the notorious Phil Gramm and fellow Republican extremists in the House Jim Leach and Tom Bliley). And he signed into law the now infamous Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Taken together, these two laws led directly to the massive abuses by the financial industry and were a leading cause of the meltdown.

In addition, he foolishly reappointed Alan Greenspan, a Republican, to the Fed Chair at a time when a Democrat might have brought a more disciplined approach to Fed policy.

He, and his DLC companions, convulsed the Democratic party, turning it away from the common men and women who have supported it for decades and transforming into the corporate toady that it is today.

And last but not least there is the NAFTA disaster, a pact which he should have vetoed. Barring that action, he could have insisted on revisions to make the agreement more favorably disposed to the needs of working people.

For these blunders, Clinton must answer to history.

***

The Nobella Prize Committee has just announced the nominees for its newest award: The Shit Eatingest Grin of the Decade.

And the nominees are 1) Phil Gramm; 2) Alan Greenspan; 3) Robert Rubin; 4) Lawrence Summers; 5) And some Chinese guy.

For the first time in its history the Nobella Committee is permitting public voting. You can cast your vote below.

.

Rubin-greenspan-rongji

Image via Wikipedia

White House portrait of Lawrence Summers.

Image via Wikipedia

http://bioguide.congress.gov/bioguide/photo/G/...

Image via Wikipedia