I may have hinted at these facts before in this blog, but it is time to bring them out, and boldly state them.
There are millions if not billions of people in this world in other countries who are as smart as we are, as educated as we are, and who are willing to do our jobs as well as we can for less money and under more difficult conditions.
Those are the facts right now, and they won’t change instantly. As with global climate change, we can deny the facts, but we cannot avoid them. So sit yourself down, take a deep breath, and now start to think about what we are going to do about it that is non-violent and recognizes the brotherhood and sisterhood of people all around the world.
The corollary to the above is that we enjoy a superior standard of living to the people who are competing most strongly for our jobs that has no justification when you look at the facts without blinders.
There are going to have to be some adjustments to our expectations that we must make. We have a range of options in the adjustments we choose to make. There is a set of choices that will spread the pain reasonably fairly across all segments of the American population. There is also a set of adjustments that will exempt the rich from having to share any of the pain, but will concentrate it even harder on the rest of the population.
The rich know which set of options they are willing to fight tooth and nail for. Do most of the rest of us have a clue as to what the fight is all about?
Oh, one thing the rich may not know, or maybe they do, is that there are potential CEOs in other countries that are just as smart as our CEOs, but they are willing to work for lower salaries and under more difficult circumstances. There is no reason why the CEO jobs won’t leave this country and move to China, India, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and all those other countries where the rich people also want the TPP. You can bet our corporate executives who are writing the TPP rules are working overtime to protect their asses from the competition of the executives in these other countries. That may be the only reason there is any resistance at all from the other countries.
Once the rich people in our country can make it clear to the rich people in other countries that all the rich people will do exceptionally well with the new scheme (and there are plenty of billionaires in the emerging countries, too), then their will be nobody left to resist the rest of us from being driven into poverty.
So what are some of the things that we can do? Here is a list in no particular order. In fact we can do many of them at the same time if we can muster the political will.
- Get the government to spend more money to get us all back to work at reasonable wages for this country. That means investing in the infrastructure we all know we will eventually have to pay for anyway. Investing in making our own education affordable as they do in all the countries that compete with us. Invest in the research that corporations will not pay for on their own, and don’t then give it away to the corporations without extracting something for the rest of us in return.
- Let the value of the dollar sink so that there will be more parity on income levels internationally. It won’t be as painful or maybe even as noticeable to our own standard of living if we all adjust in about the same way relative to people in the rest of the world. Moreover, it will bring the balance of living standards across the world to a more sustainable level. It will also tend to fix trade imbalances.
- Work cooperatively around the world to get all people labor rights and human rights. That may raise other people’s standards of living so ours won’t have to drop so much to reach parity.
- Try to fix the laws around the world that encourage the mal-distribution of wealth and income. We must warn developing countries about the dangers of allowing wealth to be concentrated in the hands of the billionaires in their own countries.
- We must stop allowing our oligarchs to use this country’s military might to help them hold onto their own untenable advantages in life.
- Make sure the technological advantages of workplace automation are shared equitable among all classes of people in all countries. We can make technology the friends of all of us, instead of just some of us.
That ought to be a good list to start with. Let’s have a discussion around our issues rather than around the issues our oligarchs want us to focus on. They can’t use us as cannon fodder to protect their privileges while they are taking our privileges away.