Archive for January, 2012

Indonesia Doesn’t Have Enough People?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

A while back, when Chinese workers were striking for higher wages, CNBC had an expert on to discuss the event. Where could the multinationals move their sweatshops to maintain maximum profitability? During the course of the conversation, Indonesia came up, and the expert said that the nation didn’t have enough people.

I thought: “That’s weird. As I recall, Indonesia has a rather large number of people, nowhere near as many as China, of course, but still up there.”

So, I concluded that the supply of workers must be very, very huge to meet the demand of China’s massive industrial base while keeping wages down.

But now I think that it is more than just simple supply and demand. It also has to do with working conditions. A Foxconn executive said that their monthly turnover rate is 5%. So, with one million workers, they are burning through 50,000 workers a month.

With the punitive working conditions required to make profits under the harsh demands from Silicon Valley to keep costs down, a vast pool of downtrodden peasants is required.

How many cities in the world could accommodate Foxconn? How many cities have 600,000 people to churn-and-burn through each year? Not many, I suspect.

So maybe Indonesia really doesn’t have enough people to keep the sweatshops churning out obscene profits – even if it is the fourth most-populous nation in the world. (China, India, and the USA, are the top three.)

And I think this also can explain why immigration into the USA was run at a record rate straight through the Great Recession, unlike during the Great Depression when immigration was shut down.

They are building up our population in preparation for bringing the Foxconn sweatshop model here.

See also:
Immigration Armageddon.
There’s a Sweatshop in Your Future.
Here Come the Shanty Towns.
List of nations by population.

American Gulag

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

I’m glad to see the burst of news stories about Asian sweatshops. Maybe it’s just a campaign to deflect blame for the high unemployment rate on behalf of President Obama. If so, I’m not so sure that it’s a good strategy. I mean, what did Obama really do to bring jobs home, or put an end to sweatshop production?

In any case, what these stories leave out is that the working conditions in the American Gulag (a.k.a. Asian supply chain) are no accident. The global trading system was EXPLICITLY designed to facilitate “military style” sweatshops where hapless third-world peasants are burned to a crisp in easily avoidable industrial accidents.

The fact is that the multinationals architected the World Trade Organization (WTO) to deliberately have no rules about working conditions or wages.

That’s what happens when corporate lobbyists are allowed to write legislation. It comes out all fascist-y.

So, keep that in mind when you read stories like this one. Companies like Apple wouldn’t be experiencing a good-or-evil dilemma in a properly-constructed global trading system.

On a related topic, I haven’t heard any Republicans advocating the elimination of the minimum-wage laws recently. Maybe I turned them back when I wrote: “There’s a Sweatshop in Your Future.” Prospects for bringing the Gulag to the USA seem to have dimmed.

At least for now.

Jon Stewart Enters the Matrix

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Very few people get what I’m talking about. After all, subjects like global labor arbitrage, and the yuan-dollar currency peg are arcane and complicated. However, when a person finally does get it, they exhibit a panic reaction. You can see what I’m talking about at 5:13 into this video when John Stewart vents some panic:

Why does this happen? You see, we Americans go around thinking that we are citizens of the most powerful sovereign nation on earth. So when a “citizen” realizes that he is just a pleb living in a conquered, and colonized, province of a global sweatshop empire, you can’t blame him for feeling a little panicky.

Taking the red pill is no fun.

No fun at all.

Welcome to the matrix, Mr. Stewart.

Food-Stamp Growth by President

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

I have added two new charts to my food-stamps page showing the breakdown by presidential administrations (click to enlarge):

Sorry Democrats, but last night on MSNBC, Al Sharpton said that more people were added to the food-stamps program by Bush 41 than by Obama, so I felt compelled to reply to that blatant lie. Of course, Newt Gingrich acts like everybody on food stamps is black. But that is literally impossible. We have 46.2 million people on food stamps, but the African-American population of the USA is only 37.7 million! There’s got to be some white people in there too, no?

This is all a moot point though. In the bad old days of “protectionism”, the food-stamp rolls would expand during recessions, and recede during recoveries. But here in our fabulous, futuristic, free-trade utopia, poverty just grows and grows. Is it a coincidence that the food-stamp rocket blasted-off shortly after China was admitted to the World Trade Organization? I don’t think so:

Not only was the launch of the food-stamp rocket a tri-partisan project, but so is the rocket’s continued flight. Newt Gingrich was one of the chief rocket scientists, President Obama rubber-stamped more free-trade laws, and Ron Paul’s libertarians provide the moronic ideology.

Narco NAFTA

Friday, January 20th, 2012

I want to repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to bring home all the factories and jobs that were sucked down to Mexico. But it might also be a good way to defuse the Mexican drug wars.

The day that NAFTA went into effect, January 1, 1994, the Zapatista Army launched its revolution on the Mexican government in Chiapas. It didn’t take the Mexican army very long to defeat the Zapatistas, but that wasn’t the end of it because the Zapatista were right.

The Zapatistas knew that NAFTA would allow American agricultural exports to flood the country and wipe out Mexico’s small farmers. And so they did.

What did those betrayed farmers do? Many became NAFTA refugees and flooded into the USA, but some turned to growing alternative crops. Drug crops.

Today, Mexico is the #2 producer of opium in the world after Afghanistan, and is wracked with drug violence.

When the British repealed their Corn Laws, and wiped out their farmers, they had a plan. They had factories ready to exploit the new source of cheap, desperate labor. Sure, it was an evil plan, but it was better than no plan at all.

Thanks to NAFTA, Mexico now has chaos, and we have 46.2 million people on food stamps.

Another “triumph” of libertarian ideology.