American Gulag

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.