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View Diary: In Race to the Bottom, General Electric Shipping 1,000 Union Jobs from Erie, PA. to RTW Texas (40 comments)

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  •  It's not GE (1+ / 0-)
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    Utahrd

    It's Pennsylvania.

    If you, personally, could make a bunch more money by moving, I'll bet you would move.

    Blaming people, or in this case, GE, for following their own self-interest is silly. It's like being mad at gravity. Go ahead, if it suits you, but you can't avoid the laws of nature. People, or groups of people, will always do what is best for them.

    It's up to states (and nations) to attract businesses to operate within their borders. If you create an expensive and unfriendly environment, you can expect businesses to leave and new ones not to start.

    The anger at GE is misplaced. The problem is in Harrisburg.

    I'm afraid that my signature won't match the mood of my comment.

    by heybuddy on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:07:18 AM PDT

    •  Texas is an exceedingly unfriendly place (1+ / 0-)
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      Mentatmark

      for workers....and most living things.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:15:24 AM PDT

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    •  That's the "race to the bottom" (1+ / 0-)
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      Mentatmark

      referenced in the title. States are "us." We need to work through the state to improve the quality of our lives instead of chasing breadcrumbs to the benefit of a tiny minority. Eliminate tax loopholes and tax benefits of relocating, for starters.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:53:26 AM PDT

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    •  That's the key -- shift the paradigm (1+ / 0-)
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      Mentatmark
      People, or groups of people, will always do what is best for them.
      There was a time, not long ago, when corporations in this country (and all over the world) considered their responsibility to workers and the community as significant factors in their decisions. In the past few decades (mostly since Reagan) they've been encouraged to sacrifice these and other long-term considerations at the alter of short-term gains and stock prices. Executives compensation changed to reflect the new emphasis, and we see the world that results.

      The key to change -- to restoring the idea that corporations have certain responsibilities beyond simply maximizing shareholder gains -- is in finding ways to make these short-term, wealth-aggregation-driven calculations no longer serve the corporation's or the executive's interests. Behavior will follow, just as you said.

      It's not really up to the individual states, or their constituent communities, to "attract businesses" in ways that drive down the standard of living for the entire society. That is exactly what the diarist calls it -- a race to the bottom. What we need to do is convince corporations of something they once knew: that business is about more than the bottom line and squeezing a few more bucks out of the workers on behalf of the shareholders, and that long-term interests are ultimately far more important than short-term gains.

      Like Henry Ford so famously believed: if his workers couldn't afford his cars, the business was doomed.

      "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

      by pragmaticidealist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:55:57 AM PDT

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      •  GE shreds the Social Contract is the theme nt (0+ / 0-)

        Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

        by Mentatmark on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:03:43 AM PDT

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        •  Sure it does (0+ / 0-)

          Corporations generally will, given the chance. They're economic actors without moral constraints.

          But they're often abetted by government and social constructs that encourage immoral actions.

          For instance, I live in a county with a ridiculous amount of empty retail and office space. We already had a lot when the economy was strong; since the collapse, it's mushroomed. Yet more space is being built, even though both existing and new buildings lie empty in the next parcel. Why? Because the lack of regional cooperation has created a free-for-all environment in which each county vies to be most amenable to developers for fear that they won't get their "fair share" of growth. Add to that a tax structure that makes a vacant building far more advantageous than vacant land, and you have space it will take years (or decades) to fill, with even more being built.

          States compete in much the same way. So do nations.

          The answer isn't just to attack and condemn corporations for being acting like the greedy organisms they've been permitted to become. That's part of the solution -- but the only lasting answer will require more than just shaming the inherently shameless. We have to return to a social paradigm in which there is a respect for the social contract, and that takes changes at the community and regulatory levels, as well as within the businesses themselves.

          "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

          by pragmaticidealist on Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 12:24:03 PM PDT

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    •  Exactly, what has Harrisburg done (1+ / 0-)
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      Mentatmark

      wrong? Please enlighten us.

    •  No, it IS GE (1+ / 0-)
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      JayRaye

      I remember watching Neutron Jack talk about wishing all his factories were on barges, so he could move them to wherever labor was cheapest at the moment. They also announced the closing of 5 other factories, in various other states.

      Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

      by Mentatmark on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:32:26 AM PDT

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      •  So if you relocate to take a better (0+ / 0-)

        job, for more money, who gets to criticize you for not caring about your old town?

        I'm sure if you owned a business that you wouldn't care if it was profitable or not. GE is just like every other company and person on the planet. Their self-interest isn't special or unique in the slightest.

        I'm afraid that my signature won't match the mood of my comment.

        by heybuddy on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:23:14 PM PDT

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        •  Invalid comparison, I think (1+ / 0-)
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          JayRaye

          The extent of self interest that is appalling and the willingness to shred the Social Contract is immoral and unethical, and should be illegal. But they have bought and paid for laws and politicians so that it is only immoral and unethical, and not a hanging offense.

          Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

          by Mentatmark on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 03:52:49 PM PDT

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