Declining to 3rd world
Edward Luce demonstrates in his Financial Times article today the true magnitude of the problems facing the US population. He points out that disappearing manufacturing jobs are not being replaced by high-value jobs in the service sector and singles out as an example a large US manufacturing company, Take Applied Materials, which this year shifted its chief technology officer and research and development operations to China. “The company said it needed its R&D to be close to the source of its manufacturing operations and to its biggest future market”. Luce also notes that
“far from importing low cost manufactured goods, the US is buying high-tech stuff from such countries as China and Brazil, including aircraft engines, computers, turbines, and heavy duty trucks. And it is exporting growing volumes of low-tech stuff, including pulp and paper, oil seeds, and other commodities. People who lose their jobs in the US are on average moving to jobs that pay roughly a fifth less than their previous jobs. Others are having difficulty finding jobs at all.”
This is a totally foreseeable trend incorporated into the very logic of globalized capitalism. The political process and corporate media are incapable of addressing the problem and perpetually frame it, as Luce does in this article, as a question of how to “restore America’s declining economic competitiveness”. It’s a fake question, though, as there’s no deep puzzle. Within the globalization paradigm, there’s simply no solution other than an equalization of global wages. The only other alternative is a fundamental change in the system itself. That, however, is inconceivable without a near revolution since all of the elites in this country benefit enormously from the status quo. The conflict of interest between the majority and its rulers has probably never been greater.
Thomas Friedman, uber-cheerleader for globalization, asked yesterday why things aren’t the same as in his childhood when we “built highways, dams, and put a man on the moon”. The answer, Tom, is that globalization is turning the US into a third world country.