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View Diary: Irish Workers Occupy Waterford Crystal Factory (277 comments)

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  •  Re (0+ / 0-)

    I grew up in rural Maine, went to a 2 room school house, had no indoor plumbing until my late teens, and ate tomato soup with rice for dinner for weeks on end, many times, and at other times simply had nothing to eat, because we were beyond dirt poor.

    Then you'll understand perfectly. Would your parents have taken a factory job to triple or quadruple your income? Would they have been concerned with keeping their "Maine character" or whatever if offered such a job?

    I'm merely playing devil's advocate here. I don't like seeing industries leave the West either, but I can see it from both sides.

    •  The only jobs available in Maine were (25+ / 0-)

      factory jobs, such as Bass Shoe, which is gone, and Dexter shoe, which is gone. Forster Mfg. made toothpicks, and they are gone, too.

      Where did they go?  China.  

      We see how their standard of living is so much better now, I guess.

      I see both sides of the problem too.  The problem is corporate America has a bottom line that only wants to continue to expand, while cutting out decent wages, healthcare, retirement and all things that pertain to a decent standard of living, here or anywhere else.

      If you can't fix it with a hammer, then you've got an electrical problem.

      by panicbean on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:19:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)

        You are assuming that Americans are entitled to a "decent" standard of living (your definition of "decent" will be much higher and more resource intensive than "decent" for China or Africa).

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        The above is a New York Times article describing how Chinese wages are rising (though, it's from 2007, so things might have changed in the last couple of years). Why are we entitled to a decent standard of living when they are willing to work for so much less? Who determines what "decent" is, and how do we enforce it?

        •  I read all your comments. (11+ / 0-)

          And I really have issues understanding how anyone can defend what you are trying to.

          Lemme see.....

          Kill jobs in the US and Ireland and elsewhere and drive all those into poverty, so that a few in China can make some bucks, and the poor in China can move up one or two notches.

          Not to mention the environmental damage that is caused by shipping all this crap to places that could have just made it in the first place.

          Libertarian? No.

          •  Re (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jxg

            Kill jobs in the US and Ireland and elsewhere and drive all those into poverty, so that a few in China can make some bucks, and the poor in China can move up one or two notches.

            These "one or two notches" you refer to are actually a huge amount! Chinese gains relative to their previous salaries in percentage terms, I'd argue, are probably greater than the losses of westerners who lose their high-paying jobs and must take lower paying ones.

            Again, I'm merely pointing out the other side of this story here. It's easy to identify with Western workers because you live here and are accustomed to Western living standards. If you were Chinese, you'd be accustomed to their standards.

            •  So. (7+ / 0-)

              DOOOOO tell. Why are they so special in your heart and so much more deserving of jobs? And I do not buy that crap about the Chinese workers being so much better off either. Try something not so easily disproven by like......facts.

              Such claptrap you are spewing. Seriously deranged.

              And Walmart treats people so well here, why not there too?

              What it boils down to, is you would like to decimate jobs here, and give them to another country at substandard wages. And that is that.

            •  You are illustrating... (10+ / 0-)

              ...the overall point of the argument against globalization quite well, actually.

              And the weakness in your argument is the one that has been swept under the rug by those who are moving the jobs...

              This has nothing to do with increasing wages or providing better living conditions to those poor old Chinese. Nothing at all.

              This has everything to do with building a better bottom line - maximizing profits - to deliver on promises to "shareholders". Read ANY corporate annual report. Every decision is made and justified by executives who are "beholden to stakeholders". There are no social justifications, nor are there efforts to stabilize regional, national or global working conditions. While Sparhawk's argument looks great on paper, it simply doesn't match the realities of how today's business decisions are made.

              How do I know? I spent 11 years consulting with my clients at Arthur Andersen and then Deloitte Consulting on these very decisions. I sat in on board meetings and behind closed ocnference room doors. I drew up the plans that illustrated tax savings and impact on bottom lines, and I was there when the rationale for making the moves was discussed. And I never once - not once - heard even a single word uttered regarding the impact on the Asian worker, nor any consideration about the impact of the local economy being departed. Simply on the bottom line, and the availability of "dependable" and "affordable" labor in the new locations.

              You see, when companies move these operations overseas, they have never once caused overall wages to increase where ample labor is available. Sure, in several areas of Asia - India, China, Hong Kong - specialized labor with particular skills grew scarce and wages flourished. But companies are solving that problem by flooding the market with cheaper labor and fresh skills - propping up training and education facilities overseas, sponsoring foreign work programs and overseas university programs, and continuing to work foreign governments for offsetting tax breaks and incentives to offset any labor increases in the future. All investments, and planning, not afforded to domestic operations, due to the inevitability that these moves will be made now or in the future.

              Overly generalized? Sure, to illustrate a point. But much much less so than you might think. To suggest some sort of lasting positive impact on these Chinese workers (or wherever) is naive and erroneous - when conditions settle there, the same sort of wage pressures and deleveraging of labor rights will occur there as has already begun in earnest here and in Ireland, etc.

              Good try Sparhawk. I didn't much like how the responses to your points were crafted, but their conclusions ring true - your "other side" argument fails to recognize that real wages in China or India aren't going anywhere north over time, and while our standards of acceptable living eorde quickly, the offsets abroad will grow much less slowly, if at all. As long as our collective "pockets" have holes in them - corporate greed, societal acceptance of padding the bottom line at all costs, total commitment to the "shareholder" versus communities, socieities, etc. we will all continue to fall further and further behind.

        •  Corporations and greedy CEO's are making those (8+ / 0-)

          decisions for us--our workers are losing to the outsourced workers; not at our request, but only for the CEO's desire for profit.  They could care less about our standard of living--and even less so about Chinas'.  

        •  "rising" wages... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marie, mimi9, Philpm, theunreasonableHUman, BYw

          and no more government health care, and no more free education, and they're now paying exorbitant rates for water they still have to boil to drink.

          300 million Chinese are debatebly better off than they were 20 years ago, while 800 million are dramatically worse off.

          Call it "progress" if you like.

      •  When did Forster Mfg. go to China? (8+ / 0-)

        I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but I was a paralegal who worked on the initial sale of the company back in the early 90s.  I left the law field about a year after that transaction and was horrified to learn later that the company was essentially gutted for obnoxious profits for a select few.

        If I knew then what I know now...

        In a world of asses that are dumb, you are a smart one.

        by TigerMom on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:00:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I found an article that states it (8+ / 0-)

          was a few years ago, and since I no longer live in Maine, I can't say when it happened exactly.

          I do know that Wilton had a factory there, and lots of folks made a decent living, as they did at the shoe factories, now that part of the state has very little industry left, except for the paper mills, which offer contract labor as much as possible, to keep from paying the salaries and bennies from days gone by.

          The Glorious Toothpick  

          pb

          If you can't fix it with a hammer, then you've got an electrical problem.

          by panicbean on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 12:16:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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