Bernie Sanders has a poster on his Facebook wall.
What Bernie Sanders says here is on the edge of what I can support. For years, I have been saying other people in the world deserve to have good jobs, too. We have no right to tell other people what is an acceptable level of pay for them. They should have the right to decide that for themselves. We also have no right to a standard of living that is far higher than what exists in developing countries. For historical reasons, we do have a higher standard of living, but in a fair world, this cannot go on forever. We should be working for a solution that raises other peoples’ standards of living to come up to our level rather than trying to depress our standard of living to match theirs.
American exceptionalism has given us in the USA an exaggerated concept of the right to the exceptional standard of living we enjoy. If people in other countries are willing to work for lower wages and yet do a good job, then there is justice in the work flowing to them. The key is their “willingness”. The only thing we should be negotiating in trade agreements is a certain standard of human rights. Beyond that, we have no right to complain about the other people willing to do our jobs as well or better than we can, and at a lower wage. We may not like it, but the world does not owe us the higher standard of living that we enjoy.
In the adjustment of our standard of living that seems inevitable to me, we don’t have to choose a method that puts all the pain on the backs of American working people. Letting the value of our dollar weaken as it should do, will let all the people in the USA, the wealthy included, share in the pain of the adjustment. If we don’t compare ourselves to other countries, the relative adjustment could be almost unnoticeable to us. In other words the rise in standard of living in other countries could be much larger than the fall here. If we were really lucky there would not have to be any fall here, just a huge rise elsewhere.
The people who call for maintaining the strength of the dollar, are asking for the most painful way to have the adjustment to occur. Well, painful for us average folk, but good for the richest among us.