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Data Source: U.S. Census
Chart by MB
Technologically induced productivity whose benefits are only partially (if at all) passed along to workers. Union busting. Squeezing workers to do more with less (which was something some hotshot facilitator at a management seminar once called "work smarter, not harder" before that insulting slogan went viral). Erosion of the buying power of the minimum wage. A deteriorating manufacturing base abetted by "free trade" agreements that pit Americans against workers in China, India and elsewhere who earn 10 percent at companies which can compete without bothering with safety and environmental regulations. The sum? One of the plagues of the U.S. economy during the past few decades: stagnant wages.

Combine that stagnation with high unemployment and it produces the crash that can be seen in the chart at right. Between 1999 and 2009, the last year for which complete Census Bureau data are available, median household income fell 5 percent when adjusted for inflation, about $2600, to $49,777. Note: That's household, not individual income. The situation likely did not improve in 2010, nor will it this year:

[Median household incomes] probably dipped last year to $49,650, estimates Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and a board member of the National Association for Business Economics. That would mark a 0.3 percent drop from 2009. And incomes are likely to fall again this year—to $49,300, she says.

Much of the reason for this can be seen in some other statistics. In January 2000, there were 130.781 million payroll jobs in the United States. Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 130.738 million payroll jobs. During the Great Recession, 8.8 million people lost their jobs. Millions more kept their jobs but were pushed into part-time work.  Despite individuals' stagnant wages, many households had made some gains as a consequence of becoming two-income families as more women entered the workforce. But during the recessions of 2001 and of 2007-2009, they lost ground from lay-offs and shifts to part-time work of one, sometimes both, spouses.

Since the beginning of 2010, about 1.6 million new jobs have been created, according to the Department of Labor's most recent survey of businesses. But we're still 7.2 million short of where we were when the recession officially began in December 2007. And that doesn't take into account the increase in the working-age population since then—variously estimated at anywhere from 125,000 to 200,000 a month. If the current rate of job growth does not improve markedly, it could take until 2017 or later to reach reasonable unemployment levels of 5 percent. And that doesn't take into account the quality of the jobs being created. So far, the greatest increases have been in lower-paying positions.

Bottom line: That median household income isn't likely to return to where it was in 1999 any time soon, much less grow beyond that level. In other words, business as usual for as long as most of today's working-age Americans have been alive. Not only have they spent decades coping with what a business would call a flat revenue stream, they are pinched by the rising prices of commodities, including energy and food, as well as tuition and health care. If they're lucky enough to be employed, they live paycheck to paycheck while corporate profits set new records and corporate bonuses rise again.

When even some of the staunchest supporters of globalization are pointing out these interrelated problems, we ought to be hearing more than crickets in response from Congress and other leaders. One working paper proposing a response, The Evolving Structure of the American  Economy and the Employment Challenge, written by Nobel Memorial Prize-winner A. Michael Spence and Sandile Hlatshwayo for the Council on Foreign Relations, was published last month. You can't get much more establishment than that. Among other things, Spence is an adviser to the Chinese government on globalization. Not exactly a protester who storms meetings at World Trade Organization get-togethers; rather someone who sits on the conference panels inside.

In summary, the CFR working paper notes that almost all of U.S. job growth in the past two decades has been in "nontradable" arenas, that is, goods and services that must be produced and consumed in the same country. For example, retail, hospitality and leisure, restaurants, government and health care. In fact, 40 percent of the non-tradable growth was in government jobs and health care. Pressure on public spending means there will likely be little if any future growth there, and health care already absorbs nearly a sixth of gross domestic product, meaning that it is not likely to expand much either.

In the "tradable" sectors of the economy—manufacturing, finance and insurance, consulting and pure services that can be produced in one country and consumed in another—growth has been flat since 1990. Moreover, competitive pressures from foreign-based operations have driven wages and salaries downward in these arenas and are likely to do it even more in the coming years. Consequently:

To create jobs, contain inequality, and reduce the U.S. current-account deficit, the scope of the export sector will need to expand. That will mean restoring and creating U.S. competitiveness in an expanded set of activities via heightened investment in human capital, technology, and hard and soft infrastructure. The challenge is how to do it most effectively.

In the view of multitudes of corporate CEOs and the folks at the American Enterprise Institute and its ideological compatriots, the market is working just fine. As traditionally measured, that's true. A multinational operation that maintains efficiency and manages, for instance, to sell plenty of cars at a good profit around the planet is doing what such enterprises are supposed to do. It's no skin off a shareholder's nose if new employees are hired at half the rate their predecessors were and the benefits they receive are trimmed. If they can no longer afford, as they could working for Henry Ford, to buy one of the cars they make, so what? And it doesn't matter to shareholders if jobs are exported where workers paid 20 percent of what Americans receive can build cars just as efficiently. Or computers. Or televisions. Or software. You name it. If it doesn't matter to those own the stock, it certainly doesn't matter to the CEOs.

While this decades-in-the-making manufacturing shift makes goods cheaper, it doesn't help if low- and middle-income people no longer make enough money to afford them. As Spence and his co-author point out:

One possible response to these trends would be to assert that market outcomes, especially efficient  ones, always make everyone better off in the long run. That seems clearly incorrect and is supported by neither theory nor experience. It is true, as in the United States, that many goods and services are less expensive than they would be if the economy were walled off from the global economy, and that the benefits of lower prices are widespread. But these cost savings do not necessarily compensate for diminished employment opportunities, and it would be presumptuous in the extreme for policymakers to tell voters what their values and preferences should be. People might trade cheaper goods for assurances that a wide range of productive and rewarding employment options would be available, now and in the future, for themselves and their children and grandchildren, even if the cost of goods they consume were to rise.

A second position acknowledges the distributional effects. If we want to use the market system in the context of an open global economy, distributional implications are inevitable, but we have to accept them. Why? Because, the argument goes, the alternative is not having an efficient market system operating in a relatively global open economy, which would be far worse. However much one might wish otherwise, it is impossible to fully compensate those whose employment opportunities or incomes are adversely affected. This stance is more realistic than the first one. There probably are real choices between aggregate income levels and efficiency on the one hand, and distributional equity and employment opportunities on the other.

But, to complete the assessment, one needs to explore policies that may improve the trade-off. In principal, one could restrict access to the domestic market by foreign suppliers. This generally falls under the heading of protectionism, risks reciprocal action, and sets an escalating pattern almost certain to cause more harm than good. Further, it raises prices for many goods for the whole population. It is not a good idea when carried out aggressively on a broad front. The G20 is right to caution repeatedly about widening protectionism. A preferable approach is to accept globalization but to look for domestic policies that will reduce the distributional impact at home.

One can argue over whether protectionism, for which there are growing calls, is the (or an) appropriate response to this predicament. Or to take a grander approach, whether 21st Century capitalism itself can and should be controlled to deal with the negative distributional effects of economic globalization. For some, merely tweaking the existing system instead of shifting to some form of democratic socialism is a waste of time, and political parties that fail to drive in that direction a waste of votes. But advocates for such a move have yet to show a politically viable means of reaching that objective short of a revolution in American attitudes that seems remote.

Unfortunately, even mere tweaking seems not to be on the agenda of very many liberal leaders. Some are decent fighters when it comes to right-wing attacks on the social safety net and other outbursts of class warfare. But when it comes to a positive agenda—adopting an industrial plan, for instance—they are all but silent.

Where are the champions of rank-and-file Americans with the willingness and clout to do something about the off-shoring of jobs and the failure of our economic system to deliver the fruits of productivity gains to workers? Where are the foes of two-tiered hiring systems that mean new workers will never do as well as those who preceded them? Where are the congressional leaders—and, more to the point, where are the foot-soldiers—willing to say Enough! and actually do something to prove they mean it?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Industry and Infrastructure, Jobs Wages and Community Investment Working Group, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Income Inequality Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommended!!! Recommended!!! (30+ / 0-)

    This is a brilliant diary and very true. Just bought a book by economist Ian Fletcher about free trade. I planned to write a diary when finished, if I felt it would be received well.

    I agree - flat wages are here to stay until we solve this problem. The solutions aren't easy. I listed a few in my last diary (but they may not be practical).

    And flat wages combined with high unemployment will mean a continued diminished tax base giving those who want to destroy Medicare, Social Security, and other gov programs plenty of ammo.

    It will all be sad and we will all have to work very hard and work together (not divided) to protect people.

    "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

    by joedemocrat on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:08:20 PM PDT

  •  There's been little discussion (24+ / 0-)

    about one reason for Trump's rise in the polls. It's not only due to his racist birthism. It's also because he has a tough-on-China trade message, which resonates well with people across the political spectrum.

    Meanwhile the President and Republicans will come June be pushing three unfair trade deals, which will unite pro-labor Democrats and some teabaggers types. Just what the country (and the Democratic party) needs.

    •  I agree with you on that.. (9+ / 0-)

      He is talking about trade - a topic that's long neglected.

      "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

      by joedemocrat on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:11:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a proxy for jobs (14+ / 0-)

        People hear "China" and hear "my job's gone."  It's shorthand for the economic anxiety many if not most Americans are feeling, and politicians simply aren't addressing.

        Where is the Democratic jobs plan?  What's wrong with a carbon tax on imports, to make them more expensive?  Or finally closing those corporate tax loopholes to subsidize the service jobs that can't be offshored, like teachers and home health aides and social workers?  How about finally getting around to fixing and updating our national infrastructure, before more bridges fall down and dams collapse?  

        A little jujitsu with Republican deficit trolling can be done, to insist on raising taxes on the rich to pay for rebuilding America and the American economy.  A brave party that advocated for this would win in a landslide.  This bullshit left-right kabuki performance about what to do about the deficit is so beside the point of most peoples' lives that it's no wonder more people have tuned out of politics.

        Capitalism conquered communism, and now it's got democracy on the ropes. (JP Barlow)

        by Dallasdoc on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:48:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is from pages 266-267 of Ian Fletcher's book (7+ / 0-)

          In the 2010 mid-terms, Democrats who ran against free trade were 3 times more likely to retain their seat. And a record 75 Republicans ran opposing free trade, and 43 of them won.

          Also, surveys indicate that 61% of tea party members believe free trade has hurt the U.S.

          "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

          by joedemocrat on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:05:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes it has great Brand Power (2+ / 0-)

            And like most "brands", it's the same old soup in a new can.

            If there is one thing Americans agree on these days is that the US is the world's victim and that is powerful political stuff.

            Worked in Germany. Worked in Rome.

            The funny thing, however, is that trade isn't really free never has been and as long as the US was enjoying an advantagous position and imposing it's will to perpetuate that, the kingdom was happy and the sky blue.

            Now that the bill for over-reach is coming due suddenly the world is unfair?

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:32:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not the world's victim (0+ / 0-)

              I think we're saying we're 'victim' to crony capitalism.

              Nothing was ever fair or free about the 'free trade with China' deal.  No American can compete with labor at $3 a day or whatever the current rising cost of labor is in China, Bangladesh, India, wherever.  We also know the trade wasn't always good for the countries and laborers who were exploited.

              Are we blaming China's laborers? No. At least, I don't read that here.

              I didn't blame Mexicans for coming here to get a better life, either.  I did blame those who exploited undocumented workers for cheap labor and then most likely went into rants about the 'illegal alien' problem.

        •  And one argument for higher taxes on the most (5+ / 0-)

          wealthy that is seldom made, is that the principal beneficiaries of globalization and free trade are not those in the working class, for whom the lower retail cost of imported goods does not come close to equaling the huge profits and bonuses that go straight to stockholders, bankers and corporate execs. That discrepancy in the benefits of globalization is even more pronounced when stagnant wages and horrendously  increasing unemployment are factored in.

          If we want to make the argument that globalization raises all boats, but the boats that are being raised the very most are those that are already above all others, then the prime product of globalization is dramatically increasing inequality of income and wealth.

          Unfortunately, we have yet to figure out how to put a dollar value to the real human cost. How can we compare lost jobs to increased profits, and put numbers to the human cost that we are paying? But somehow, that human cost must be reckoned for, and repaid.

          All that being the case, there is an incredibly strong argument to use the progressive tax code to distribute the benefits of globalization more fairly, and much less painfully, than they are being distributed now. That would allow everyone to benefit more equitably from globalization, without having to resort to wholesale protectionism, and of course, without paying the highly destructive social and infrastructure costs of austerity imposed by the application of the "shock doctrine".

          "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

          by flitedocnm on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:18:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And I'd add: why do we never see Dems going (4+ / 0-)

            bonkers over the fact that the Republicans routinely kill any attempt to reform the tax code to close the loopholes that make offshoring of jobs even more lucrative to those at the very top? There was Democratic sponsored legislation late in the last Congress that would have accomplished exactly this kind of reform, and of course the Senate Republicans filibustered and killed it.

            This should be a HUGE campaign issue. Yet, it's never even mentioned.

            "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

            by flitedocnm on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:21:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Trump lies his ass off. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The fundamental problem, here, is that the dollar and the renminbi are grossly malpriced.

        -- High school graduate in China gets $1.50/hour over a career.

        -- High school graduate in America gets $17.00/hour over a career.

        Same high school graduate.

        What you got is Trump whining his ass off, blaming democrats for the effects of exchange rate distortion.

        The effects of our fiscal and trade policy insanities go on and on and on.

        -- $1,219,000,000,000-a-year for military-plus-spying when you include every single dime of it.

        -- $700,000,000,000 a year energy cost. And endless whining about nuclear energy -- despite that driving a car 100 miles with gasoline costs $20,00 while electric costs $3.46. (Replacing 20% of coal with nuclear is also the single strongest step we can take, now, that reduces global warming.)

        We use 4,000 million megawatt hours of electricity a year. Add 540 million MWH more and we could replace 100 million cars.

        Fuck over oil sellers big time.

        Funny thing, Trump. He's about the limit for narcissism with minimal real contribution to society.

        BTW: Melania knows why she's there

        So does Donald

        Financial criminals + Angry White Males + Personality Disorder dreamers + KKKwannabes + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base (-4.38,-3.74)

        by vets74 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:34:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  BTW - I've wondered for some time.. (9+ / 0-)

      The last 10-15 years both parties were free trade. That can't continue forever due to political realities.

      I sometimes wonder if we aren't near the breaking point and you'll see an increasing number of both Republicans and Democrats reject free trade?

      I know it may be unthinkable now, but it does happen..

      "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

      by joedemocrat on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:14:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this looks like a good place for this: (8+ / 0-)

        From my diary series on the history of multinational corporations (now also a published book):

        The Democratic Party And Fair Trade

        The Democratic Party had always been ambivalent about free trade agreements. The party leadership has, since the days of George HW Bush, been enthusiastic supporters of the New World Order, including globalized free trade. It was, after all, President Bill Clinton who passed NAFTA and who helped form the WTO framework.

        There was, however, some Democratic resistance to NAFTA and, subsequently, to new free trade deals. This opposition usually took one of two forms; one group of Democratic legislators objected to free trade agreements on protectionist grounds. Most often these were from districts where industries were located that depended heavily upon being shielded from cheap imported products, such as automobiles, textiles, steel or agriculture—or legislators who received heavy funding from labor unions that shared the protectionist views of their corporate “partners”. Another group of Democrats, who often referred to themselves as “fair traders”, were not protectionists and didn’t object to free trade agreements in principle, but were opposed to the lack of environmental and worker safeguards in these agreements, and wanted stronger regulations written into the treaties before they would accept them.

        By 2006, moreover, the actual effects of NAFTA on both American workers and on the country of Mexico had become painfully apparent, and many political candidates found it to be good politics to speak out against trade agreements. In the 2006 elections (in which the Democrats won big), no incumbents lost who campaigned against expanded free trade agreements, while in 7 Senate races and 28 House races, “fair trade” candidates either beat “free trade” incumbents or won open seats formerly held by free-traders.

        Yet the Democratic Party’s approach to trade pacts remained schizophrenic. In 2004, the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was opposed by both Republicans and Democrats. The treaty barely squeaked through the House of Representatives on a 217-215 vote. In 2006, however, Congress refused to ratify an agreement with Vietnam which would have granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations to that country, and would have led to a bilateral free trade pact and endorsement of Vietnam’s entry into the WTO. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and much of the party leadership voted in favor of the agreement.

        When the Bush administration began a new series of bilateral trade negotiations with a number of countries, the Democratic party leadership announced in May 2007 that it would support those efforts—despite the apparent lack of enthusiasm for such agreements on the part of many Democratic legislators. And when the free trade agreement with Peru came to a vote in 2007, it passed with bipartisan backing, despite active lobbying against it by environmental and labor groups.

        Obama Administration and Trade Policy

        When Barack Obama assumed office in 2009, the schism within the Democratic Party over trade policy was forced into the open. Obama had himself, as a Senator, been a “fair trade” supporter, and had criticized the existing free trade agreements for their lack of worker and environmental protections. As a candidate he said, “It is absolutely critical that we engage in trade, but it has to be viewed not just through the lens of Wall Street, but also Main Street, which means we’ve got strong labor standards and strong environmental standards and safety standards, so we don’t have toys being shipped in the US with lead paint on them.”

        As President, however, Obama surrounded himself with advisors who were former Clinton officials and who, along with the          supra-national corporations, viewed the end of protectionism and the expansion of the free trade network as an absolute necessity. And Obama himself had supported this view during the campaign: “There are some who believe that we must try to turn back the clock on this new world; that the only chance to maintain our living standards is to build a fortress around America; to stop trading with other countries, shut down immigration, and rely on old industries. I disagree. Not only is it impossible to turn back the tide of globalization, but efforts to do so can make us worse off.”

        In addition, a number of conservative supporters of the globalist corporate framework, who had been driven away from the Republican Party by the neocon agenda of unilateral American nationalism, had now turned to the Democratic Party instead. Obama had received far more corporate campaign funding in 2008 than the Republican candidate; they now expected that he would support their rules-based free-trade agenda just as Clinton had. And since the resistance of the G20+ bloc to the Dohan Round had made it politically impossible (at least for now) to expand the multilateral WTO framework, the only remaining option was to continue the neocon strategy of pursuing bilateral free trade pacts between the US and individual nations.

        The other alternative—dropping free trade agreements altogether—was utterly unacceptable to nearly everyone. The corporations wanted to avoid, at nearly any cost, the lethal trade wars that had characterized the 1980’s, and nothing was more to their interests than a stable uniform set of global trade rules that everyone played by. Even critics of the WTO framework realized that international trade rules were a vital necessity. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim pointed out that simply repealing trade agreements would lead to “the law of the jungle” in which the economically powerful countries would simply run roughshod over the weaker, with impunity. This sentiment was echoed by British economics writer George Monbiot, who noted, “The only thing worse than a world with the wrong international trade rules is a world with no trade rules at all.”

        At the same time, Obama signaled that both new and         already-existing trade agreements needed to be modified along “fair trade” ideals, and that under his administration progressives would have at least some input on trade policy. When the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy selected a subcommittee to look at the portions of trade agreements dealing with the investment market, the group was co-chaired by the AFL-CIO’s Policy Director, and included Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies. Although the opinions of the private sector lobbyists carried the most weight, Anderson noted, her own presence was “one of many signs of the new opportunities for advocates of progressive change in Washington.”

        But in many cases, the Obama administration has not gone further than talk. During the campaign, Obama pointed out “NAFTA’s shortcomings were evident when signed”, promising that he would reopen the treaty to add “binding obligations to protect the right to collective bargaining [and] binding environmental standards so that companies from one country cannot gain an economic advantage by destroying the environment.” But by the midterm elections in 2010, no attempt had been made to resubmit either NAFTA or CAFTA with strengthened labor or environmental protections.

        In January 2010, Obama announced that he planned to move forward on three of the Bush bilateral free trade agreements, with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. During the 2008 campaign, Obama had criticized some provisions of the South Korea agreement, and in a June 2010 meeting with South Korean President Lee Myuk Bak, Obama asked that the renegotiations be finished by the time of the November G20 meeting in Seoul. Two of the acknowledged sticking points were South Korea’s strict emissions standards, which make it hard for US automobiles to enter the market, and its restrictions on American beef, imposed after the 2003 mad-cow disease outbreak. In December 2010, it was announced that a       newly-tweaked agreement was reached, and the treaty would be submitted to Congress for approval.

        The reaction was swift. The changes being accepted by Obama were minor, and while they benefited the politically-powerful auto workers union and a few large American industries, the altered proposals did nothing to strengthen the agreement’s treatment of labor or environmental protections, and the enforcement procedures continued to give unelected trade officials, meeting in secret, unilateral power over democratically-elected governments. In other words, the new agreement contained none of the “fair trade” improvements that Obama had pledged himself to obtaining, and was substantially the same agreement presented by Bush back in 2007. The Public Citizen Global Trade Watch group noted, “The current text includes the extraordinary investor rights that promote offshoring and expose domestic financial, environmental and health laws to attack in foreign tribunals. Signed before the financial crisis, the pact calls for financial services deregulation that is at odds with the lessons we’ve learned from the economic crisis and that may conflict with recent reforms made by both the U.S. and Korea. The pact also explicitly forbids reference to the International Labor Organization’s conventions that establish internationally recognized core labor standards. During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Obama pledged to chart a new course for American trade policy that could create jobs. In speeches, town hall meetings, questionnaires, mailings and paid advertisements in key swing states, Obama said that he would exclude from the pact language the damaging foreign investor rights and their private enforcement that threaten public interest safeguards and promote job-offshoring. He also said he would include strong, enforceable labor and environmental protections. The Korea pact fails on all these scores.”

        Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, the sponsor of the proposed TRADE Act (which would re-examine all existing trade agreements to strengthen them according to “fair trade” principles), also rejected the Korea deal, calling it another “NAFTA-style” agreement: “I continue to believe it is a dangerous mistake to pursue the same kind of trade deals that ballooned our deficit and led to massive job loss. We simply cannot keep barking up this tree as American companies fold and American workers face prolonged unemployment.” Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud, Chairman of the House Trade Working Group and sponsor of the House version of the TRADE Act, also condemned the agreement: “We had what I thought was a productive meeting just a few weeks ago at the White House on changes we’d like to see in the agreement. At the time, we told the President that we believe the agreement as it exists now has several fundamental problems that go beyond the issues with beef and autos. But after talking to Ambassador Kirk today, I learned that these concerns were not addressed. I had hoped for more from this White House, which campaigned on a need to change the way we negotiate trade agreements so that they truly benefit American workers and businesses. The deal reached today, while beneficial to the auto industry, falls far short of that goal.”

        Significantly, neither the White House nor the Democratic Congressional leadership had, by the time of the midterm elections, supported the TRADE Act (“Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment Act”). According to some reports, however, Obama did express support at the G20 meeting for restarting the stalled Dohan Process talks to expand WTO’s authority.

        Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced his support for the Korean trade agreement: “This is an important step forward to expand the reach of American exports, which will help create more American jobs.”

        A number of groups and interests, including key Democratic constituencies, remained adamantly opposed to any more free trade agreements, just as they had been opposed to NAFTA and CAFTA.

        •  and now for the Repugs . . . . (6+ / 0-)
          As the Republican Party and its Teabagger base descends deeper into nuttiness, the traditional pro-business agenda of the party, including its staunch support of the corporate rules-based trade system, has begun to fall away. Recent polls indicate that 61% of     self-identified Tea Partiers think that free trade agreements have hurt American interests (compare that with the 64% of labor union members who agreed). In the 2010 elections, the Republican slate, heavy with Teabaggers, was also heavy with opponents of free-trade agreements; according to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, defenders of free trade agreements ran in 37 races, and half of them lost. By contrast, 75 Republicans ran as critics of free trade agreements, against pro-free-trade opponents, and 43 of them won; in another 60 races, both the Democrat and the Republican candidates ran as critics of free trade agreements.

          For most of them, it appears as though it’s not actually free trade the Teabaggers oppose, but simply the global political structure which interferes with the free market. As Tea Party favorite Ron Paul says, “I consider myself the strongest advocate of free trade. I don’t want any tariffs and I don’t want any barriers. I want to really trade. But I just don’t like the international government organizations, because that becomes managed trade for the benefit of some companies. So I’m not much into nor do I support WTO and NAFTA and all these agreements, because those are only tools for when you're being undermined, you go there to get your tariffs put on, to try to get fair trade, so to speak. But that’s managed trade.”

          Conversely, several Tea Party favorites, including Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, and Marco Rubio, have all been vocal supporters of free trade agreements. Teabagger goddess Sarah Palin, in an “open letter” to the newly-elected Republicans, declared, “There in the insulated and isolated Beltway you will be far removed from the economic pain felt by so many Americans who are out of work. Please remember that if we want real job growth, we must create a stable investment climate by ending the tidal wave of overly burdensome regulations coming out of Washington. Businesses need certainty–and freedom that incentivizes competition–to grow and expand our workforce. . . You will also have the opportunity to push job-creating free trade agreements with allies like Colombia and South Korea.” More to the point, the prime money supplier of the Tea Party organizations, the corporate front group Americans for Prosperity, has long been a cheerleader for free trade agreements.

          The leadership of the Republican Party still favors expanded free trade agreements, but is no longer sure if its new influx of rank-and-file legislators will go along. (Ironically, that is a problem also faced by the Democratic Party, whose pro-free-trade leadership also faces rebellion from its members.) McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin notes, “The question is how will newly elected Republicans behave? The leadership and think tanks in Washington may support free trade and open markets, but if you go out to real America, it's not there.”

    •  in fairness, the US does not set its own trade (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joedemocrat, truong son traveler

      policies, and neither does any other nation.  WTO does.

      Several countries (including the US) have already attempted to defy the WTO.  All failed miserably,and ended up abjectly surrendering.

      No nation, not even the big mighty US of A, has the power to stand economically against the whole world.

      •  Can I ask you a question? (0+ / 0-)

        You seem to know more about this.

        I talked about a few possible solutions  here

        In your opinion, would the WTO strike down these ideas and would they work?

        Also, there are people like Dennis Kucinich who want the U.S. to withdraw from the WTO. Is that a viable answer?

        And if none of that works, I have no other ideas.

        "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

        by joedemocrat on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:39:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, a couple of points . . . (3+ / 0-)
          In your opinion, would the WTO strike down these ideas and would they work?

          The WTO does not answer to any government. It has veto power over any government, its hearings are in secret, its rulings are not appealable and it doesn't need to explain its decisions to anyone. I.e., it can do whatever the hell it wants.

          Would tax breaks for companies who locate in the US be struck down by WTO? Probably not IF those tax breaks were given to EVERY company that built a plant in the US, including all the foreign ones.

          It should be noted that many foreign companies, particularly from Germany, Japan and the UK, are already locating here.  Part of that is simply because we are their largest market and they like being able to produce our products close to our market. A larger part of it, though, is because those countries have very large and powerful labor movements, and we don't.  We are basically a low-wage economy with not many environmental or safety regulations. I.e., we are to Germany and Japan what Mexico and China are to us--a source of cheap unregulated labor.

          As for withdrawing from WTO, it won't happen, ever. The American corporations themselves would all universally oppose it--the last thing they want is another global trade war like the one that killed so many of them in the 80's. They like the WTO system so much that they even opposed Obama's plans to introduce a "Buy American" provision into the Stimulus Bill. The WTO system was deliberately designed so that NO nation, not even the "only remaining superpower", has the ability to effectively challenge it. Every country that has tried--including the US--surrendered abjectly. No nation is strong enough to defy the whole world economically. Nobody.

          I have two proposed solutions of my own: (1) the "fair trade" movement, which acts as an international movement that attempts to protect safety, environmental and other human rights by writing those protections into the WTO agreements themselves, and  (2) an international labor movement based on company, not on country; this one is important because it is the ONLY organization that has the potential to hit the multinational corporations where it really hurts them the most--by completely cutting off their flow of money.

          For more details, I again invite you to read the diary series, particularly the last six parts.

          The last part, along with links to all the others, is here:

      •  But ... but .... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        The US has held a dominant and leading position in the the WTO and the World Bank for many years, and the rules were agreed mostly by wealthy nations that held the political and economic cards, and used them to their advantage.

        And now that others have got their foot in the door, these rules are suddenly no good?

        Seriously, if you want to suggest that for most of it's existance GATT and the WTO have not been esentially dominated by wealthy nations you are going to make me fall off my chair.

        The good thing about the WTO is the degree to which it has functioned as you suggest; to moderate and bring some order and disapline to world trade.

        In global terms, it has not been a complete failure, but if we look at the historical inbalances the greater ones have been in favor of the rich and powerful as it always is, eg, while farmers in poor nations have starved agricultural subsidies in wealthy ones have persisted enabled by the WTO negotiating process.

        What we have today is a lot of wealthy nations in debt and poor or developing nations in accent and acting as their creditors.

        And that makes people uncomfortable. And the rules suddenly unfair, I suppose.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:47:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not any more (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, truong son traveler

          WTO can't do shit any more unless the G20+ bloc agrees to it.  And the G20+ are not wealthy nations.

          Unfortunately for us, they are not progressives either--they are simply defending the interests of their own national economic elites (such as they are).

          •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)
            The US has held a dominant and leading position in the the WTO and the World Bank for many years, and the rules were agreed mostly by wealthy nations that held the political and economic cards, and used them to their advantage.

            And now that others have got their foot in the door, these rules are suddenly no good?

            Multi-polar world. Really.

            I notice you have posted some other sybstantial comments and I ill revie and comment, but at work now so maybe later.

            Complex issue.

            But this wiki page provides some interesting historical perspective.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:35:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  another unnoticed problem is the steady (10+ / 0-)

      reduction in the proportion of the workforce that is actually needed, by means of automation and mechanization.

      In olden times, nearly all the population was engaged just in producing food, and the agricultural sector dominated the entire economy.

      Then came industrialization and machinery, and we were now able to produce all our food with just 10% of the population, freeing up everyone else to work in factories.

      By the 1960's, mechanization and automation had reduced factory manufacturing to a small portion of the workforcve, just as it had done earlier to agriculture.  Now, we needed only a small fraction of the workforce to actually make all our industrial products. The rest of us were shunted into service sector jobs instead.

      And now, the service sector jobs are being automated and mechanized out of existence too.  It started when ATM machines replaced bank tellers. Today, Home Depot is already replacing its cashiers with "self-checkout" machines--leaving just one or two people where 15-20 used to work before. Even my local library has a computer terminal where we can check out our own books--meaning 2 or 3 librarians now no longer have jobs.

      Within a few years, it seems likely that service sector jobs in massive numbers will simply disappear--not outsourced, not sent to China or Vietnam or Somalia, but simply no longer necessary, as automated computerized machines replace everyone from the counter girl at your local dry cleaners to the cashiers at the US's single largest employer--WalMart.

      On top of that, we now have automated robot systems that can hunt a warehouse for inventory and fill orders entirely on its own.  So we won't even be able to get jobs stocking shelves.

      In a society where people's basic living depends entirely on job income, what will happen when half or two-thirds of the entire service sector job market disappears through automation?  How can we have a society based on job income when a huge part of its citizens find themselves simply not needed, with no job and no hope of ever getting one?

      Previously whenever this happened, there was always some other developing sector of the economy there to absorb those "unneeded" workers.  Now, though, there is nothing--unless we are going to make them all government employees or draft them into the military.

      Drastic changes coming in the very near future, folks. . . .

      •  THIS IS A GREAT POST (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        People love talking about tech and robots. Who the hell is building these things? The Plutocracy! They're being designed to replace YOU. That Watson computer on Jeopardy? They built it to replace doctors. When the robotic tech gets sufficiently advanced they will just come through and execute everyone, keeping the resources for themselves.

        TR me or call me crazy... Its your future. Robotics and AI are great enemies of humanity, powered with money from the plutocrats who want YOU to go away and stop using "THEIR" resources.

        •  The flaw with this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          New Rule

          theory is that if there are no people working, there will be few people shopping.  Then these businesses will not be needed.

          •  indeed, that is a fatal flaw (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roger Fox

            One that a market - economy based on wage labor can never solve. On the one hand, every business owner needs his workers to be paid as little as possible to make the most profit.  On the other hand, every business owner needs everyone ELSE'S workers to be paid as much as possible so they can all buy his products.  It's an unsolvable inherent conflict.  

            The problem was best illustrated by a story told about UAW Prez Walter Reuther.  Reuther and Henry Ford, the story goes, were touring a new prototype factory that was completely automated, and replaced all the workers with computerized robots.  As they walked among the whirring robotic arms, Ford turned to Reuther and asked triumphantly, "Well, Walter, how do you plan on getting these robots to go out on strike?"  And Reuther shot back, "Well, Henry, how do YOU plan on getting these robots to buy cars?"

            When I read about the new automated Volt factory, this story was the first thing I thought of.

            The business owners can only make money by reducing wages--but they can only sell products by raising wages. Currently, we are trying to do both at the same time, by having our products manufactured in low-wage havens like China or Cambodia, and SELLING them in high-wage areas like Europe and America.  Alas, as we are now finding, that is an inherently unstable situation--inevitably the wages equalize.

      •  yes, but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        While automation has decreased demand for line workers, we have lost the tooling component as well. As production moved overseas, so did the automation industry.

        Everything from industrial controls (Siemens, Fanuc, etc.) to automation pneumatics (SMC, Festo) to machine tools (Mori Seiki, DMG, Mazak) is largely designed, made, and used overseas. There is a US industry, but it since we don't make a lot of what we consume here, there isn't nearly what there could be.

        If you look consumer electronics largely consumed in the US (iPhones, x-box, etc.), you will see some design work done in the US, if the company is based here, perhaps 5-10% of components made in the US, Maybe as much as 10-15% of the manufacturing tooling made here, and that's it.

        Factory support, manufacturing engineering, the tooling industry...That hurts even more. We need those jobs. They lead to innovation, and patents, and efficiency.

        Yes, automation has played a part, but the white collar/white-blue-striped-collar type jobs (skilled manufacturing engineers, specialist technicians, PLC programmers, line quality control, manufacturing metrology), they've largely gone overseas, following production.

        •  those white collar jobs will be removed too (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica, RJDixon74135, fritzi56

          and it will be dome the same way that skilled factory workers were removed.  They are either replaced by a machine completely, or they are broken down into a number of simpler jobs that any minimum-wage schmuck can do.

          Remember one thing and remember it always----workers are not "people" to businesses, they are "expenses".  And the never-ending motivation for any business is to cut the expenses.

          That means YOU. And the high-paying white collar jobs are next on the hit list. Enjoy em while you still got em.  

          •  Until computers can (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fritzi56, Roger Fox

            I will write a diary on this in the future, but companies that view their workers as brainless expenses are obsolete.

            They've been obsolete for the past half-century, but we are only now getting to a point where the differences are becoming obvious.

            Brains are the most valuable assets a company has, and few use them. Those that do, do very well.

            An example:

            Toyota's Kyushu plant is the most profitable auto plant in the world, based on a $ per vehicle. They do a thousand vehicles a day. The plant, however, does not have the cheapest labor costs across Toyota's plants, despite being the most profitable.

            Why? Well Toyota realizes 1 simple fact: machines do exactly what they are told. They have no ability to inherently improve, suggest improvements, or analyze sub-processes in the context of the whole. Humans have to do that. Turn more of the process back over to brainz, and the process can be improved. That means more profit.

            Automation for the sake of labor cost reduction pushes costs up elsewhere. It only works when the end goal is a cheap, rather than value-based product.

            Until robots exhibit AI and the ability for self-improvement, creative thinking and innovation, the human brain will still be valuable.

            At least, for those companies who choose to use it.

          •  The high-paying white collar jobs are absolutely (0+ / 0-)

            next. Just a couple of years ago, Forbes was extolling the future job potential for accountants. It seems to me that accounting can be outsourced as easily and with more cost savings than "customer service" thanks to the internet.

            Heck, I can remember when petroleum engineers still thought Iranian people couldn't engineer an oil well.

            Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

            by RJDixon74135 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 06:33:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  10 years ago (0+ / 0-)

              The accounting profession has been outsourcing to India for 10 years at least.

              Now, lawyers are outsourcing much of their work, too.

              The white collar jobs have been going overseas for a long time - tech guys, programmers especially.  Now, there's a blend of bringing the foreign labor here under special visas.  Bill Gates went to Congress and blamed it on our education system not spewing forth enough geniuses.  

              Actually, now - we have Indian companies forming a US corporation and then bringing their own labor here.  :)

              All sorts of scenarios going on.

      •  Thats it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        New Rule

        If we don't figure out what kind of jobs, doing what, for the bottom half of the country, at least 7 million jobs! You could build all the solar panels needed and all the wind turbines with 20-30k people, all the construction jobs would need another  40-50k, even if my estimates are 90% short; 200-300k and 400-500k. I just don't see where we could employ as many people as we have.

        •  I can't see where we will have any alternative but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          New Rule

          a massive extension of the "welfare state", to an extent far greater than FDR ever thought of.

          If people can no longer get the things they need to live through job income, then they simply MUST be able to obtain it somewhere else, from a source that does NOT depend upon job income.  There would have to be a decoupling of income and consumption where people can get what they need whether they have money or not--and government programs seem to be the only way to do that.

          The only other option is to just let them all starve--which will quickly lead to social revolution and all sorts of other unpleasantness.

          The corporados aren't stupid. They will do what needs to be done to protect their necks (even though they might squawk and weep about it).

      •  Thats a productivity increase (0+ / 0-)


        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:09:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Despite conventional (D.C.) "wisdom" (12+ / 0-)

    What's good for business is almost never good for the worker or the consumer. I wish somebody would tell our president that because he's carrying on Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush economic policies. Our government is of the rich, by the rich and especially for the rich.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:13:03 PM PDT

  •  Would love to see a graph of the median (10+ / 0-)

    ratio of household income divided by household productivity, a measure of how well labor is doing at getting a fair share. (Answer: shitty)

    Gotta have been going down for decades, one would think, since productivity has been rising a lot faster than income.

    Or a graph of the median of household income divided by household hours worked, which is a better measure of standard of living (Answer's also gotta be pretty shitty there too, my guess is the number's been going down since about 1971)

    (For those who can't read graphs, these would be proof that no matter who was President, or which party controlled Congress, workers were taking home less of what they produced... throughout basically my entire life)

  •  Globalization Is Mostly Neoliberal Economics (11+ / 0-)

    Give capital supremacy over sovereign states and their citizens.
    Neoliberalism is essentially a mafia shakedown dressed up in Ivy League suits.

    Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

    by frandor55 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:14:31 PM PDT

  •  economics are not a zero sum game (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, shaharazade, fritzi56

    both high paying countries and low paying countries can benefit from trade, but the problem is many US laws artificially penalize US workers.  If the US stipped paying companies to ship jobs overseas US workers would be able to compete just fine.

  •  Globalization (7+ / 0-)

    is the arterial gash that all the "McJob" band-aids in the world can't fix.

    Until we get some pols that can realize that, we better get used to flat (or falling) wages and so-called "jobless recoveries".

  •  the real bane of the two-tiered hiring systems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am off my metas!

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:16:58 PM PDT

  •  I would think of something intelligent to say but (5+ / 0-)

    it's after midnight and I have turned into a pumpkin, so i wrecked instead.

    Night night

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:18:54 PM PDT

  •  Go ahead and call me names (0+ / 0-)

    but a completely open-door immigration policy is part of this problem. American wages are undercut by people right here.

    Let tyrants fear.-Queen Elizabeth I

    by Virginia mom on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:21:59 PM PDT

    •  Will not call you names... (5+ / 0-)

      I am not going to call anybody names or treat them disrespectful just becaue the have a different view..

      I haven't studied the issue of how much open ended immigration has depressed wages. I've viewed that more as conservatives trying to get people to direct their anger at something besides corporate greed...

      But if you have information on how this has depressed wages I'm open to reading it.

      "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

      by joedemocrat on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:26:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's possible, but who knows? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Presumably, if they enforced immigration laws on all employers, they would all be at least paying minimum wage and there would be less of a race to the bottom.

        In fact, all things being equal, the employers would probably avoid hiring immigrants just because of the hassle, and because there'd be no financial incentive for doing so.

        Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

        by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:37:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, at least you are somewhat consistent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For my own part, I don't agree with you or MB.

      I am not better than any immigrant. And I have no more intrinsic right to work than any impoverished Mexican.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:29:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As long as goods, services, capital... (9+ / 0-)

        ...and financial capital are allowed (encourage) to cross borders freely, but if people are stopped from doing so, the consequences will always result in unfair outcomes. The ultimate objective should be worldwide solidarity with working people (which is most people). But telling Americans (or Chinese when their new jobs are soon exported to Chad) that it's all about finding the cheapest labor market is not a solution to anybody's impoverishment.

        Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:38:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I believe that people should be free (0+ / 0-)

          to cross borders, just like my great grandparents did 100 years ago. Surely you don't believe that would solve the problem you identify in this diary?

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:41:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          NAFTA and WTO have as their ultimate aim the elimination of economic borders, and that means that if jobs are free to cross borders, workers too must be free to follow the jobs. And of course national political borders are already utterly irrelevant to multinational corporations who have plants, offices and workers literally all over the world.

          It is inevitable that the very idea of a political border will disappear, as economic globalization inevitably leads to political globalization.  In the not-distant future, crossing the US-Mexico border or the China-Russia border will be no more a matter than crossing the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border.

          We no longer live in a world of nation-states. Inevitably, they will disappear.

    •  I don't think so. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joedemocrat, shaharazade, fritzi56, Balto

      I don't think the jobs that immigrants do, from software writing all the way down to orange picking, would pay substantially more than they do already.

      What we have to do is get back to basics: making things and selling them for both domestic consumption and international markets.

      What we need to do is what every other nation does: practice economic nationalism.

    •  an excerpt from my diary series on that point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fritzi56, truong son traveler


      One of the most common refrains heard in the US—largely from rightwing nationalists but also from many labor unions—is that immigrants (particularly illegal immigrants) are flooding into the US and “taking our jobs”. In Arizona, draconian laws were passed targeting illegal immigrants, and several other states considered similar measures. The Coalition for the Future American Worker, a conglomeration of anti-immigration groups who advocate limiting both legal and illegal immigration, ran ads proclaiming, “With millions jobless, our government is still bringing in a million-and-a-half foreign workers a year to take American jobs.” Republican Senator Jim DeMint announced, “South Carolina has already passed laws to crack down on illegal immigrants. Many other states are also under a lot of pressure because of high unemployment to not let illegal immigrants come and take jobs,” while Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan opposed legal immigration as well as legal immigration, saying, “I don’t think you need a professor to understand that when you import substantial cheap labor, it displaces American workers.”  

      Most economic studies have rejected the hypothesis that immigration, whether legal or illegal, displaces American workers, raises unemployment, or hurts the economy. A study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think-tank funded by corporations, foundations and international organizations, concluded: “The impact of immigration remains small, for several reasons. Immigrants are not competitive in many types of jobs, and hence are not direct substitutes for natives. Local employers increase demand for low-skilled labor in areas that receive low-skilled immigrant inflows. Immigrants contribute to demand for goods and services that they consume, in turn increasing the demand for labor. And immigrants contribute to labor market efficiency and long-term economic growth.” A study carried out by the Bush White House found, “The foreign-born are associated with much of the employment growth in recent years. Between 1996 and 2003, when total employment grew by 11 million, 58 percent of the net increase was among foreign-born workers… Employment of natives as operators, fabricators, and laborers fell by 1.4 million between 1996 and 2002, while employment in such occupations grew by 930,000 among the foreign-born. This should not be taken as evidence that the foreign-born displace native workers; rather, it reflects the fact that immigrants have made up all of the growth in the low-skilled workforce.” Other studies have noted that the primary effect of immigration is to push down wages among low-wage jobs held by natives without high-school diplomas, by an average 7%—wages for higher-paying jobs were unaffected.

      When, during the Bush Administration, a law was introduced that would provide a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants which would allow them to stay in the US, the measure was opposed by the anti-immigrant American nationalists. It was also opposed by most American labor unions (the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, United Auto Workers and the construction worker unions), who clung to their traditional attitude of defending only “American” workers and treating “foreigners” as enemies. Only the Service Employees International Union, the United Farm Workers, and Unite Now (which represents hotel, restaurant and textile workers) supported the bill, arguing that if immigrants were going to be here anyway, it was better to make them legal so they could be organized, rather than forcing them to become a pool of cheap exploited labor without rights.

      To the corporations, the entire debate was irrelevant. National borders no longer mattered to them, and as they moved factories at will all across the globe, free trade agreements that allowed uninhibited movement of jobs across borders also guaranteed that workers too would follow the jobs across the borders, legally or not. In many cases, instead of exporting jobs to Mexico or China, it was easier and cheaper for American business to import the Mexican or Chinese workers here instead—a form of “internal outsourcing”. It simply doesn't matter to the corporations whether the cheap workers move here, or whether the jobs move there to the cheap workers. Either way, the corporations get to pay people low wages for unregulated work, and make boatloads of money. Which is of course all they care about.

  •  Here's the problem MB: (6+ / 0-)

    I can't think of any remedy to this situation that doesn't cut off the developing world from achieving a much better standard of living. No, paying crap wages for backbreaking work won't create that now, but it clearly provides a path--the one we took.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:25:09 PM PDT

    •  Why is that true? (7+ / 0-)

      Why does the developing world have to produce goods for export instead of for their own domestic consumption? There's two halves to the model. The first half is here we insist on exploiting cheap labor to make profit margins go up. The other half is in the developing world where credit is provided by us only for an export-driven economy.

      These are political choices, on both sides; not laws of physics. (though often there is little choice for developing countries since credit is needed to get businesses started)

      Whatever happened to the idea of workers being able to afford the things they make?

      •  The answer to that question is simple, really (4+ / 0-)

        The developing world is astonishingly, tragically, painfully poor.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:33:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think most Americans realize (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          andgarden, Sparhawk, Matt Z, fritzi56

          that despite our problems, we are all pretty rich relative to the average person living in India, or Mali, or Nicaragua. What has basically been happening over the past 50 years is that the poorest have been catching up with the richest. Unfortunately, they have a long way to go. It is absolutely the case that this seismic shift is causing much pain in the developed world. But was there really any alternative, was this not inevitable?

          I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

          by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:47:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know if it was inevitable, (5+ / 0-)

            or if it really has to be so bad for the developed world. But I cannot in good conscience insist that the poorest people in the world stay in their place just so I'm paid a little bit more.

            This is a really hard problem with serious consequences for everyone.

            Ok, so I read the polls.

            by andgarden on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:50:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is a very liberal site. (3+ / 0-)

              Yet many of the commenters are basically against allowing the foreign poor the opportunity to come to our country to enjoy what we have, and against the foreign poor taking "our" jobs. When it comes to protecting what's mine, liberals and conservatives begin to sound very much alike.

              I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

              by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:57:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think that's exactly right (5+ / 0-)

                In principle, this debate is rather like that about progressive taxation. The problem is that, relative to the rest of the world, we are all really quite rich.

                Ok, so I read the polls.

                by andgarden on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:59:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  doc2, andgarden, Matt Z, Balto

                  People are majorly in favor of things like humanitarian aid to Africa, but when it comes to really helping those people out by (for example) siting factories there, they don't like it at all.

                  People are far more willing to do 'feel good' altruism (look, I sponsored a family!) than to make any serious sacrifice. The serious sacrifice should always be made by the rich(-er than me).

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:16:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  an argument made of straw (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                New Rule

                First off there's no "we" of which you speak.

                There's rich people with a fuckton of money. And there's everybody else. And the gap is growing bigger every day.

                The rich people get that way by off-shoring things to places that don't have as many laws protecting people (their health, their right to organize, etc). Child labor? Lock the people in factories without fire exits? Allow people to stand over a smoldering pile of toxic waste extracting precious metals? Come one, come all, it's a free for all out there.

                Arbitrage is used destroy the protections that working people have fought for against the ravages of capitalism. There are lots of political choices in the margins of what some folks here are passing off as "inevitable"... choices that radically affect the lives of billions of people.

            •  the corporados are already solving that problem (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rexxnyc, Meteor Blades

              for you. In their own interests, of course.

              As they keep moving all the jobs from one low-wage haven to another, they will equalize everyone's wages everywhere.  Ours will go down, most others will go up.

          •  not really (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Meteor Blades

            The gap between the richest and the poorest has been growing larger all across the world. And our richest are not even THE richest anymore----an increasing number of "the richest people in the world" are not Americans.

            •  In the poorest countries, the gap (3+ / 0-)

              is less important (to the poor) than the standard of living of the poor. And that standard (in Asia and in parts of S. America) has risen dramatically.

              I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

              by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:22:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  and it will continue to go up (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                truong son traveler

                Indeed, it will inevitably equalize itself with ours.

                That's the whole intent of globalization.

                •  It is not the "intent" of globalization. (4+ / 0-)

                  This isn't being driven by people trying to eliminate poverty. This is being driven by the profit motive, and by the motive of we consumers to buy products that are cheaper and better. We want inexpensive products from China, thus Walmart exists. If China and Walmart didn't exist, we would still want inexpensive products, and there would be some other China and some other Walmart.

                  I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

                  by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:36:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  it's not the direct intent (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    truong son traveler

                    The direct intent is to continually move to the lowest wages.

                    But the effect of that is to equalize all the wages. And the corporados know that is a necessary consequence.

                    •  You seem to blame them for this. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      truong son traveler

                      But trying to produce products at a lower cost is their job. And it is what we, the global consumer, demands from them. This is not being driven by a bunch of evil people who are different from us. This is us; we may not see it as obvious, but this is us.

                      I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

                      by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:33:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  not at all (3+ / 0-)

                        The problem is inherent in the social structure itself, not in the motives of the people who live in it. The problem is NOT that business people are greedy selfish bastards (though of course most ARE since the system rewards those who are greedy and selfish). The problem is that those who are NOT greedy and selfish lose out in competition to those who are, and therefore the effect of the system's structure is to drag everybody down to the lowest common level whether they like it or not.  If we replaced all the economic managers and owners tomorrow with clones of Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama, within weeks they'd all be acting the same as before. They have no choice. The very structure of the economic system--the very set of rewards and penalties it imposes--makes everyone evil whether they want to be or not.

                        That is the true tragedy of that social system.  It removes the humanity even of the people who benefit most from it.

              •  Right (3+ / 0-)

                Chinese laborers couldn't give a rats ass how much richer Bill Gates is than they are. What they see is "A factory job! Now I'll have metal pots and pans, and steady food supplies to cook with them!"

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:32:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now I have a toilet. (4+ / 0-)

                  Now my family will not starve. Now we will not die of rickets or malaria or African sleeping sickness.

                  This is what our jobs mean to the desperately poor all over the world. It sucks for the displaced American, absolutely, and the pain is real. But there is another side of this, which is that truly desperate people are getting to make their first step up the development ladder.

                  I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

                  by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:38:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  they are making the second step too (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Once they see rich people living large on their backs, they organize to demand more.

                    Which is of course exactly what the companies moved there to avoid in the first place.  So they move to another low-wage haven--and start the same process all over again.

                    Eventually they run out of countries.  Then they're fucked.

                    •  No, they're not. When labor costs (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      cannot be kept down any longer, prices will rise.

                      I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

                      by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:35:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  prices will rise. profits won't. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Meteor Blades

                        Big difference.

                        A fatal difference.  "The free market" can't live without continuously increasing profits.

                        All businesses must be like Rome--"expand or die".

                        •  Flat profits are not going to kill (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          the "free market". If/when total profits flatline, there will still be lots of companies growing quickly while other companies are dying. That's all the market needs.

                          I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

                          by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:24:03 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  you are quite mistaken (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            New Rule

                            When economic entities are the size of nations and cost trillions of dollars to set up, there will absolutely NOT be "lots of new companies forming quickly while other companies are dying".

                            That may have been true of 19th century Adam Smithian economies made up of lilliputian English shopkeepers.

                            It is absolutely not true in an economy  where a handful of gargantuan multinational megacorporations dominate every industry.

                            The Adam Smithian world of free market economic theory simply does not exist any more.  The corporados killed it over a century ago.

                            And that is precisely why free market libertarian economics always fails--it simply does not correspond to the real world.

                          •  Okay. We'll see. (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

                            by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:49:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  we can already see . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            When's the last time anybody formed a new global car manufacturer that could compete with Ford or Volkswagen?

                            Or an oil company that could compete with BP or Exxon?

                            And if YOU were to give it a try, what bank do you suppose would loan you the gazillion bucks you'd need to do it?

                          •  Chery Automobile (0+ / 0-)

                            a Chinese firm. And in five years

                            "Our brands such as Roewe and MG will have a reputation and fame similar to the international brands like Buick and Volkswagen," by 2015, SAIC Motor Co. President Chen Hong said at the exhibition.
                  •  This is an interesting discussion in ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    ...the abstract of generic Chinese moving up and generic Americans moving down. But I rarely hear any of the people making this argument willing to be one of those displaced Americans. Or offering any answers as to what reasonable policies can be built to smooth the transition to full globalization. Instead, it's usually some version of that's the way the cookie crumbles.  

                    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

                    by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:18:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      doc2, truong son traveler
                      Instead, it's usually some version of that's the way the cookie crumbles.  

                      I don't know, can you think of a kindler, gentler way for Americans to take a huge standard of living hit in favor of foreigners?

                      No one wants to lose their job or make extreme sacrifices for other people. This is a natural thing, but there is no helping it now. Jobs that can be done by machines or lower-cost labor elsewhere will be done by machines and lower-cost labor elsewhere.

                      I'm in favor of retraining/education, unemployment insurance, at least partially socialized health care, all those other liberal programs we all support, etc but at the end of the day it sucks to lose your job and everyone on this probably-50%-overpopulated planet isn't going to come out of this situation smiling. The resources to support such an outcome do not exist.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:24:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  the resources do exist (3+ / 0-)

                        IIRC, the total per capita global GDP is something like $10,000/year for every man, woman and child on the planet.  Enough for a good living for everybody.

                        The problem of course is that one half of one percent of the world's population monopolizes that wealth, while most of the world lives on two dollars a day.

                        Our problem has never been that there aren't enough resources for everybody.  Our problem has always been that a small minority has most of the resources, and the rest of us live on the crumbs.

                        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                          In 2006, the "real" (adjusted for inflation) median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00 according to the Census Bureau.[4]

                          According to Wiki, US median income was $50,233 in 2006 and mean income was $60,528. Assuming those numbers are roughly the same as today, that implies that USians need to take between a 20-40% pay cut before we're in line with your own global GDP estimates. And that implies no inequality at all, something that even in a perfect world would probably be undesirable.

                          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                          by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 09:33:37 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh come on. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      You are saying that it is not reasonable for a person to support a policy requiring some randomly distributed sacrifice, without volunteering to be the sacrificee. Every policy represents tradeoffs.

                      Would it soften the blow to a laid-off US worker if he were given a couple of photos of families who took his job in say, India, and told how much they were grateful for it? No, of course not. But that doesn't mean that it may not have been for the collective good. What if one negatively impacted American family resulted in ten VERY positively impacted Indian families - is that not worthy of even a thoughtful pause?

                      I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

                      by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:24:46 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  until they see the Chinese equivilent of Bill Gate (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  with solid gold pots and pans, and steady supplies of caviar prepared with them by imported French chefs----all bought with the wealth that THEY produced.

                  And that's when the strikes and work stoppages and other such unpleasantness begins.

      •  what will happen is (0+ / 0-)

        that as the multinational corporations move their plants to a low-wage haven, it will inevitably spark a movement among those workers for better pay and better conditions. At first, the corproados will grant them, in an attempt to buy off any problems.  But sooner or later the corporados will give up, and simply move the whole kit and kaboodle to some other low-wage haven, where the process begins anew. Alas for them, though, the world is only so big. Eventually, the corporados will move through every country on the planet, leaving behind a string of organized workforces with a standard of living higher than they had before.

        At which point the corporados are screwed.

        •  Your theory would be nice (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          if it corresponded to reality.
          In Mexico they did not leave behind anything but drugs lords, kidnap, and murder before moving on to lower wage pastures.

          The political/social rights simply aren't there for organizing a workforce, most places where corporations want to exploit the most. The part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where workers are guaranteed a right to join a labor union is ignored most places (even in the USA, to a large extent)

  •  Some degree of protectionism is the only answer. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joedemocrat, badger

    Unfortunately, nobody wants to deal with it.

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:25:46 PM PDT

    •  I'd also like to debate some possible solutions (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, Gravedugger, fritzi56

      I've found the WTO is a pain in the ass when it comes to solutions...

      I've read about a VAT that would tax based on where the value was added to a product. If added in the U.S., low or no tax. If overseas, a much higher tax. But would the WTO strike it down?  I've read contrary views on it..

      Then Ralph Gomory wants to tax corporations based on the value they add per capita per U.S. employee. He has said that information is readily available. The goal is to penalize companies that don't invest in America, and to reward those who do...

      And Warren Buffett had an idea he wrote about in a Fortune article a few years ago...

      Public opinion continues to sour on free trade and I feel that will continue.

      "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" - Dorothy Day

      by joedemocrat on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:32:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  and yet another excerpt from my diary series (0+ / 0-)

      (Y'all should just read the whole series.)


      A favorite tactic utilized by protectionists is the punitive tariff. Tariffs are surcharges that are added to the price of cheap imports in order to artificially raise their selling price to match those of more expensive domestic products.

      As the global economy declined in 2008-2010, calls for protective tariffs became increasingly common from both Democrats and Republicans, even those who had formerly supported tariff-free “free trade”, as a measure to “help the American economy”. In 2009, Obama, bowing to pressure from the United Auto Workers union, imposed a 35% tariff on imported Chinese tires, which had captured about 17% of the US market. Some American tariffs actually double or even triple the price of particular imported products; the American synthetic-textile clothing industry is protected by a 32% tariff, most imported automobile parts have a 25% surcharge, imported sneakers and sport shoes pay a 48% tariff, some European meats and cheeses pay a 100% import tax, and the American tobacco industry is protected by a whopping 350% tariff. In 2010, the House passed, with heavy bipartisan support, a bill empowering the Commerce Department to impose a new round of tariffs as retaliation for China’s policy of manipulating its currency to keep the value of the yuan artificially low and thereby make Chinese imports cheaper for other nations.

      The whole intent of the WTO’s free trade framework is, of course, to eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers, and WTO has the authority to unilaterally invalidate protective tariffs passed by any member nation. The WTO agreement, however, does not cover all areas of trade, and the WTO does not have any jurisdiction over tariffs in economic areas that fall outside of those covered by GATT.

      Even in areas where the WTO cannot invalidate a trade barrier, however, it is unlikely that protective tariffs will actually play any effective role.

      Tariffs can be justified in certain cases. For decades, small nations in the developing world suffered as predatory corporations, most of them American, dominated their economy, crushed domestic industries, and turned the country into a virtual economic colony—and tariffs were seen as one weapon to gain economic independence. The “Asian Tigers” (Singapore, Korea, Taiwan), for instance, used tariffs to protect their infant industries until they were strong enough to compete in the world market and become economic powers in their own right. Developing nations in particular are still anxious to utilize protective tariffs to protect their small-scale farmers who are incapable of competing with the heavily-subsidized American and European agribusinesses (though the developing nations would prefer instead that the wealthy economies stop subsidizing large agribusinesses and drop their own protective tariffs against the small farmers in poorer countries). In cases where smaller and weaker economies are protecting themselves from larger and wealthier ones, tariffs may indeed have a progressive role to play.

      Most tariffs, however, have the purpose of protecting those large wealthy industries from competition by cheaper products in developing nations—not of protecting the weak from the strong, but of protecting the strong from the weak. The American industries with the loudest calls for protective tariffs—steel, textiles and auto parts—are formerly-huge rich industries who now face the stiffest competition from younger foreign companies. I.e., they are industries who are desperate to protect their formerly privileged position. Not coincidentally, they are also industries who still have large and politically-powerful labor unions.

       As the furor over the “Buy American” provision in the Stimulus Bill demonstrated, however, most corporations still reject protectionism and embrace the free-trade framework, making it difficult for the US to pass protective trade barriers. American corporations opposed tariffs not only because they did not want to  re-ignite the destructive trade wars of the 80’s, but also because most American corporations now had large portions of their productive capacity located overseas. For instance, at least 60% of all the products exported to other countries from China actually came from companies that are owned by Americans, Europeans or Japanese. Critics point out that tariffs to keep out cheap imported Chinese products are pointless when it is American companies themselves who are making and importing them. The American corporations do not want tariff “protection” from low-wage unregulated Chinese products—they are the ones who have been flocking to China to make them, and they want to be able to continue importing them back into the US as cheaply as possible.

      Other critics point out that measures to “protect American industry” are useless in a global economy where there are no “American industries” anymore. As American-based corporations move productive capacity overseas, the “foreign” corporations are locating more and more of their factories in the US. When the US used tariffs and import quotas in the 1980’s to try to keep Japanese cars out of the American market, Toyota and Honda responded by simply moving their factories here—today, most of the Japanese cars sold in America are actually manufactured within the US. In 2009, the German steel industry responded similarly to protectionist sentiments in the US by building a huge production plant in Alabama.

      Finally, progressive critics point out that protective tariffs don’t help American workers, and don’t help workers in developing countries either. Although tariffs raise the prices of imported goods, they don’t raise anyone’s wages, including those of the American workers they are supposed to be “protecting”. Indeed, by artificially raising prices and denying consumers access to cheaper imported products, tariffs actually hurt American workers by forcing them to pay more for products that they could otherwise get less expensively, thereby pushing their purchasing power even lower and decreasing their real wages. And, since the indigenous workers in developing countries do not get any of the money from the increased price of their product, they continue in the same low-wage poverty as before. The situation helps no one except the particular American corporations whose profits are being artificially protected.

  •  I'm wondering if the chart above includes in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "median" income figures the households of the ultra-wealthy.  If so, the picture is likely even more grim, as the income of the top has skyrocketed in that same time frame.  
    For example, if I'm in a room with just my coworkers, and we calculate the median income of everyone in the room, it's going to be significantly lower than if Bill Gates walks into the room and we recalculate the median income of everyone in the room then.  Once he walks in the room, judging by our new median income, we'd all be making a very healthy income.  In actuality, all our children still qualify for free lunch at school.

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:29:52 PM PDT

  •  Remembering back to the early '70s (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joedemocrat, Pluto, Matt Z, fritzi56

    there was a segment of liberals (and I think there was no such thing as "neoliberal" at that time) who held the concern, rightly so, that the US prosperity was based on world-wide exploitation.

    I don't recall exact numbers but it was on the order of: The US consumes 65% of the world's energy; 60% of it's natural resources; makes 70% of the pollution; makes x-ty times as much as a worker in the poor world, even the industrialized West, etc.

    So it was part of liberal thinking that there would have to be a balance in the world economy, and this would surely hurt people Stateside. But it was inevitable.

    At that same moment, however, it was conceived that new technology would relieve people of the burden of labor and production. That people would work 20-25 hour weeks, and have plenty of leisure time, and income enough to use it, in the Arts, traveling, and in personal improvements.

    I believe neo-liberalism grew out of that, making it's accommodation to capitalism to get that balance. But of course, the capitalists never really let go of their dream of having our children work for their children for free.

    Which is the inevitable outcome of globalization, as slave wages becomes the standard all business strives to achieve.

    Not really making a point here, just trying to recall the circumstances which led us to this pass.

    I do recall reading that the medieval peasant on balance worked 20 hours a week. That might be 80 hours at sowing and harvest time, but much less the rest of the year. It does seem odd to me that we've not realized the 20-hour week, but with a modestly gracious life, for all our supposed advancement since those days.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:33:33 PM PDT

  •  While Americans have suffered constant (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andgarden, Sparhawk, rexxnyc

    or declining real wages, hundreds of millions of people in places like India and China have been lifted out of abject poverty. So, fellow progressives, the question is, are we for progress for human beings, or for progress for Americans only?

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:34:20 PM PDT

    •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:35:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm all in favor of lifting people out of poverty (7+ / 0-)

      but I'm not in favor of doing it by exporting all of our jobs, foreclosing on millions of homes, and having high unemployment rates, higher underemployment rates and ever-increasing wealth disparities between the top 1% and the rest of us.

      Nor do i believe any of those are necessary to lift the third world out of poverty.

      You go first.

      We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

      by badger on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:58:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The foreclosure crisis had zero (0+ / 0-)

        to do with US trade policy.

        I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

        by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:20:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but it will have a big effect on it . . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The WTO's authority only extends to industries and products that are covered by the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). Fortunately for bankers everywhere, the financial industries are not yet covered under GATT, so WTO has no legal authority over international finance. There was an attempt to do so, and to expand WTO's authority to cover finance, but it got bogged down when a coalition of small nations known as the G20+ bloc shut down the negotiations because of complaints about the US and Europe's subsidies of large agribusinesses.

          Because of the mortgage crisis and its snowball effect on the world financial system, though, the effort to expand WTO' authority to international finance has gotten a new shot in the arm--there are persistent rumors that Obama plans to work with the Europeans and the Chinese to restart the stalled process.

        •  I disagree, respectfully (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Trade policy certainly dragged US economy down in late 90s; collapse of Tech bubble led Fed to stoke the real estate bubble with low rates and lax/no regulation of an ease in lending standards

          •  I should have said negligible impact. (0+ / 0-)

            The foreclosure crisis would not be a crisis if not for Alt-A, subprime, and option arms. The default rate on prime loans is less than 10% nationwide. So when people say foreclosure crisis, I attribute it to people doing those loans, which drove up home prices, which led to people borrowing at bubble prices. And we know where that always leads to...

            I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

            by doc2 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:27:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  the unfortunate thing, though, is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, New Rule

        that we're not the ones who get to decide that. The people who own the jobs, are the people who decide where the jobs go. And that is not me, you or the US government.  Its American business owners.

        Or more correctly, it's the FORMERLY American companies who have now become multinational and owe loyalty to NO government or nation.

        •  True at the moment (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe something like the WI protests and similar actions will lead to something where we at least get to participate in those decisions.

          Or maybe not.

          We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

          by badger on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 09:49:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's not the question (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, Randian

      Our trade policies were never sold to Americans as, "sure, YOU might lose YOUR job, but think of the GOOD you'll be doing for people in other parts of the world!"

      Instead, we've been given various versions of free trade will bring a rising tide that will lift all boats. Dislocation would be offset by expanding opportunities in other industries. It is obvious from the results that certainly a few yachts have been lifted to new heights, but most boats are in a downward spinning gyre.

      The question, among others, is what can we do about it?

      I can agree that in answering that question, we ought not accept predatory trade policies as an answer.

      "We are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil's bargain, and we got to get ourselves back to the garden." - Joni Mitchell

      by shaggies2009 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:13:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there is only one way to raise wages . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The same way our grandfathers did in the 30's.  Unionize.

        And since the economy is now based on large multinational companies who are not limited to single countries, that can only be done now by an international union, one that includes every employee of the company no matter what country their plant is in. One company, one union, one contract, one wage scale, for everybody. No matter where you are.

        It used to be that "workers of the world, unite!" was just an idealistic political slogan.  Now, it is our only survival strategy.

        The companies are not EVER going to raise everyone's wages out of the goodness of their benevolent hearts.  Ever.

        •  Well, we certainly have to redistribute the (0+ / 0-)

          wealth back to the middle-class and poor and away from the fatcat individuals and corporations. Or in other words, most of our present policies are marching in the wrong direction.

          Improved productivity creates more wealth, who's going to share the wealth in future is the question.

          Galbraith suggests lowering the full-retirement age and increasing benefits allowing space for our graduating young people to have work while providing a spending stimulus to the economy. This is a solid idea to help us along the way a little.

          Raising taxes dramatically on the wealthy is another way to assist leveling the playing field but this means more government and frankly more government with this kind of rational is what we need..

          Let's call it pragmatic capital redistribution...

          "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

          by smiley7 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:43:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  NAFTA made Mexico rich (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric0125, Meteor Blades, shaggies2009

      Not.  The "trade makes poor countries rich" is generally wrong.  Countries grow from building institutions within their borders.  Strong laws, tech development, property rights.  Unfortunately, we're learning that democracy is not necessary for development (China is communist).  Autocratic capitalism does just as well.  

      But the U.S. is better for the world with balanced trade, not massive deficits.  Offshoring U.S. industry and making our workers poor has no relationship to poor people getting rich.  

      Governments and voters need to concentrate on making their own economy strong with balanced growth in both production and consumption.  The U.S. overconsumes in relation to production.  We import more than we produce.  We need to produce more of what we consume.  Then you will see millions of jobs and much wealth come back.  And the world economy will be stronger as well, because the world economy (and individual countries) does poorly with persistent trade imbalances.

  •  Phenomenal work, MB. Outstanding. (6+ / 0-)

    I am sharing this broadly.  Substantive, clear, concise, cogent - you just can't argue with any of the points you've made.  Globalization has led to catastrophic US job losses and income disparities.  Democrats and Republicans seem unable to recognize the trends, and if they know what's going on, they either don't care or don't know what to do about it.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:38:28 PM PDT

  •  A few things (7+ / 0-)

    The economic debate in this country is not going well, because most Americans (and most Politicians) fail to grasp how things have changed. Issue framing is not helping either.

    1) Employment is going to stay low because the people at the top of the economy no longer need to have people working for them to make money. The big casino of the financial sector has pretty well succeeded in divorcing itself from the physical world of goods and services, making its money on trading and 'innovative' finance.

    2) There IS a long term problem for some of the people at the top though - they still need people to BUY crap, even if they don't give them jobs to make the money needed. Cheap credit and borrowing is kind of running up the limits with the collapse of the housing market.  That's why the MOTUs who still deal in physical goods have such a Jones on for getting into Chinese markets.

    3) Revenue - this is always taken to refer to taxation, as in "the Revenue Problem" which the tea baggers say we don't have. The REAL revenue problem is that ordinary people aren't making enough money any more. If we just put people back to work, that would make a huge dent in the deficits because more money would be coming in through taxes of all kinds, including the ones paid by poor people. Cutting government spending won't do anything about that.

    4) Inflation - not the kind where money doesn't go as far is it used to; the kind meaning "Too big too fail". IF the government would get serious about anti-trust again, the overgrown behemoths trampling our economy flat could be broken up, and merger mania would become a thing of the past. Every time two or more companies merge, A) people lose jobs, B) competitiveness takes a hit, and C) that's one less company that might come up with the Next Big Thing.  The excuse that they need to be big to compete globally could be thrown out if we had sensible trade policies.

    Want to make a huge difference? There's one minor change the biggest employer in the country could make that would help millions of Americans. It wouldn't  require new taxes; just a minuscule bite at the cash register. It's a story you will NOT hear the mainstream media promoting at all. (PDF here)

    And if you want a bit of economic justice that would have an immediate impact on millions of households, here's an issue that keeps getting shoved to the back.

    The fact that none of this is being talked about by the assorted gangs of (pick a number) or serious people in Washington shows how badly our government is working, and how corrupted the economic debate has become.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:42:49 PM PDT

  •  S & H quickly discard "protectionism" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, lostinamerica

    as a solution, but isn't it true that every economic power today became that way through positive policies "protecting" national manufacturing and production capacities?

    I believe the economic history is that both the USA and most of Europe had protectionist policies for the past century or longer. And those policies enabled them to build up strong economies with good wages and benefits while strengthening their own defensive capacity.

    "Free trade" is really a license for corporate capitalism to rape the planet.  Exploit the weakest workers in the most oppressive countries. Pollute as much as they like wherever they can best get away with it. Harvest natural resources with whatever damage they wish to inflict on ecosystems without recourse.

    "Free trade" is about corporate welfare:  federal funds propping up corn growers and ethanol production, while exporting artificially low-cost grains to destroy the livelihoods of subsistence farmers in other nations.

    "Free trade" was essentially an invention of the 1980s:  If communism had central government-planned economies and communism failed, then the opposite must be the formula for success = unregulated, free trade.

    But that's a lazy person's shortcut thinking. We know that without controls or regulations or trust busting, Capitalism leads to monopolies and competition disappears.  In fact, the elimination of competition is the very goal of Capitalism as it seeks to maximize profits regardless of the effect on society.

    Far, far too many people think of "capitalism" as an economic system, as a political system, as a social contract, and as a model for personal behavior (i.e., almost a religion). (Leave out the "almost" for people like Greenspan).  

    It is NOT: a political system - it is an enemy of the public good.

    It is NOT: a model for society - people must come together and learn to live among one another, not see each other as simple "profit centers" for exploitation.

    It is NOT:  by any means a model for personal behavior.  

    In fact, this is yet another lie of the radical right that has taken over the Republican Party.  An shared risk mutual assurance insurance system actually needs LESS money to assure all its members of good coverage (life, health, old age pension, etc) than individual private accounts. In fact, it is nearly 23 to 26% more money.

    So, if we eliminate Social Security in favor of Private Savings Accounts, an additional 25% funding will have to come out of the economy into savings, hurting both economic activity and the very people it is supposed to be helping.

    The current model of wide-spread international trade is one that has been proven by history to be temporary.  War will intervene, regardless of how much we do not want it.  And where will the USA be without the ability to produce our own clothing, our own products, to sustain our economy without continual imports.

    (Doubters may wish to read up on the history of the Dutch East Indian Company - the first modern corporation - and the wars large and small that have occurred since its creation over 400 years ago. We are most definitely not in a permanent condition of "world peace." And the USA can scarcely afford to continue our level of military spending = more than all other nations in the world combined.)

    Anyone who believes the current situation of more or less world peace will be continuously maintained by the USA as "the world's police force" is sadly mistaken. Anyone who thinks that alliances such as NATO can similarly perform the task is equally mistaken.  NATO is already suffering ammunition shortages (and failures of aged, decrepit equipment) in its little air superiority campaign against pissant tin-horn dictator Quaddafi in Libya!

    Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

    by YucatanMan on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:43:35 PM PDT

  •  A terrific essay, MB (5+ / 0-)

    Speaking of globalization -- I don't know if it can be a "cause" of a nation's collapse of the Middle class. It may have more to do with the way nations build their economic policies around that reality.

    As a point of contrast, let's take a look at that globalized giant, China. Here are two stories this week:

    Could we have done these things. Or are we on different paths of the national evolutionary spectrum?

    China to Double Employees' Wages in 5 Yrs

    China has vowed to raise enterprise employees' wages by 15 percent annually, in order to reach the goal of doubling their wages within the 12th Five-Year-Plan period, the Beijing Times reported.

    For the benefit of more employees, the government prescribed that growth of wages must go in line with the increasing rate of a company's revenues, stated Yang Zhiming, vice minister of Human Resources and Social Security in a working conference.

    On the other hand, more efforts will be made in controlling exorbitant salaries of CEOs and general managers in state-owned enterprises (SOE).

    Ninety percent of these CEOs and general managers received an average annual salary of more than one million yuan in 2009, Yang pointed out.

    Meanwhile, in the hopes of attracting more workers, 13 provinces and municipalities have raised the minimum wage by 22.8 percent on average this year.


    China plans tax cuts for lower income earners

    China is set to raise the monthly personal income tax threshold to 3,000 yuan (US$459) and trim tax brackets to relieve the burden on low and middle income groups.

    The tax proposal includes cuts in tax brackets to enable more people to enjoy lower tax rates.

    "The new system shows a clear aim to cut tax levies on lower income groups while increasing the tax levy on more affluent people," Freeman Bu, an Ernst & Young partner, said yesterday. "The focus is on taxes as a means of creating a fairer society."

    China currently levies personal income tax in nine brackets, from 5 percent to 45 percent.

  •  It's the ultimate fascinating issue (4+ / 0-)

    The world as a whole, in strictly utilitarian terms, may well be better off with globalization.  There are a LOT of Chinese and the improvement in their standard of living may trump everything else.  But we're not Chinese.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:46:32 PM PDT

  •  I would be very interested to see regional data (0+ / 0-)

    on this issue.  I'm curious about it - wondering what it looks like when it's broken down by rural v. urban, state-by-state, etc.

    My sense is that, because of internet accessibility (not merely globalization, but the web and its power to decentralize operations centers), some communities are able to attract business and it's less important to live in certain urban centers (like, say, Los Angeles).  The impact of this is that some regions are really taking the hits harder while other regions are attracting jobs and business in new ways.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:47:04 PM PDT

  •  While this should be a national emergency (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, badger, New Rule

    In Versailles it's simply the positive effects of the free market in action, to which all our collective needs are subservient.

    No nation can be great if it allows its elites to loot with impunity and prosecutes its whistleblowers. Geithner is destroying the things that made America great. -- Bill Black, white-collar criminologist & a former senior financial regulator

    by jboxman on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:52:27 PM PDT

  •  big mistake when we set congressional pay (5+ / 0-)

    We should have defined it as a multiple of the mean, so if the average person did less well, so would congress.

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:55:52 PM PDT

  •  Sad But True (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What a super informative article! Too bad those who produce all those productivity gains don't generally get to have any benefit from them, other than some crumbs.

    What is amazing is that some people think that this trend can go on forever and perhaps even accelerate. But these are rates, and the results of these rates over time  are exponental.

    When workers can no longer afford to buy the products of thir labor, things don't get better...


  •  Putting the Genie back in the bottle is out! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Rule

    I see a lot of analysis (which is completely necessary) but the path forward is completely murky.

    1). We can't go back (obviously!) as they say, the genie is out of the bottle and turning back the clock isn't going to make a lick of difference in our situation. We can't even figure out a clear point where things broke down and who got all what from whom. So we are stuck dealing with the fallout.

    2). Protectionism, or whatever you want to call it is a knee-jerk reaction everyone runs towards. But that will only slow down the flood that has destroyed our economy. And it is broke guys! The markets are only smoke and mirrors to our real economy. We can't tariff or subsidy our way out of this situation. It's a breakdown across the board. Every industry is impacted. If it were simply one segment of the economy then we could manage something, but everywhere? Not a chance.

    3). Job Creation, well isn't that the keyword of the decade. But what jobs are we going to create? "Do you want fries with that?" seems to be the big job of the year. But that won't pay a living wage. So what jobs can we create? And who will generate these jobs? So far the Banks and Wall Street have been standing on the sidelines while we all stew in high unemployment. They don't want to risk a dime on the economy. And the government bailout that was supposed to kickstart the economic recovery just got siphoned off by those same Wall Street types. They just can't pass up a sweet pile of money and steal it for themselves.

    What we need is a revolutionary idea. A new way of doing business that can get everyone back to work. Damn the past business structure of Wall Street. Those vultures are only in it for their bank accounts. We need a grassroots business structure that can generate a real change in our economy. We can't wait for the Government or Wall Street to give us jobs. We need to make them ourselves.

    We need to push back against the large businesses that got us into this mess and boycott their goods. The real economy is local. We need to start buying local and selling local. Work with small companies and forget the big boys. Go Green and innovate with our local companies to create products that are smart and useful, not wasteful and luxury goods.

    We need to make a new golden!

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:01:34 PM PDT

  •  Where are they? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They went out and knocked on doors, rang phones and voted straight-ticket Dem for Obama.

    They were promptly rewarded with lame excuses, being sold out by the blue dogs and business as usual.

    This IS the new America. The old one isn't coming back. As soon as we realize that China and India are our enemies and wish only for our demise we will all be better off.

    The middle class is dead, we just haven't accepted it yet. Globalization means you're a serf, a consumer or a capitalist. Those are the new classes. God help you if you're a serf.

    •  China and India are not our enemies (3+ / 0-)

      We are their markets. They are our labor force. And they are also our markets.

      We are joined together more closely than any military alliance ever has been.

    •  Dude, India and US have a fairly balanced (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      New Rule, truong son traveler

      trade relationship, and India is the world's largest democracy with which the US should be nurturing healthy, balanced and expanded trade.

      China isn't an enemy of the US either (at least not yet, but we'll have to wait and see how their regime behaves over the next 5 years) in the conventional sense, but the Chinese regime does use tactics such as currency manipulation to wrack up huge trade surpluses over the US, and thus continue to severely damage US' manufacturing sector and economy.

      You can find detailed trade numbers for 2010 and a chart below: US has HUGE trade deficits w/ China, not w/ India

      Dirt poor people anywhere on the planet should not have to remain dirt poor forever.

      by iceweasel on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 12:31:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  India isn't yet the economic power that it will be (0+ / 0-)

        Give it a few years.

        •  What does that even mean? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          New Rule, truong son traveler

          That all "economic powers" are supposed to be US' "enemies?" That would mean that Japan, Germany and maybe even Canada are currently our "enemies." Are you saying that? Assuming you're not (i.e. that you're sane. Are you? :)), only those "economic powers" whose people don't look in some given way (or for whatever other reason you may not like them) are supposed to be our "enemies"-in-waiting?

          India was an economic power (and many rulers of Ancient India were great military powers as well) for 2000 years before the European colonizers settled in and rendered it impoverished:


          Yet, India, which has had a cultural and economic presence of 3000+ years (and, as somewhat of an aside, made enormous countributions to our human civilization, including the number system that we use, and countless other mathematical and other types innovations), has never invaded other countries, or sought to make enemies of others otherwise. In fact, such is not even in India's cultural ethos (Dharma and all.) Perhaps this quote characterizes India and its place in the world well:

          "History is full of empires of the sword, but India alone created an empire of the spirit."
          -- Michael Wood, contemporary English historian (in The Story of India.)

          I haven't seen your (or others') preceding comments (but I am assuming you have been naughty in those as well, have you been? :)), but what exactly is your point?

          Dirt poor people anywhere on the planet should not have to remain dirt poor forever.

          by iceweasel on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 07:14:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  GDP1999=$10.6T GDP2010=$13.1T (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All in 2000 dollars. We have seen a large increase in GDP and a large increase in income in the top 10% and much larger in the top 1%. So the economy is growing despite trade with developing countries. Do you still think that Globalization is the problem? I see it as one issue, but the real problem is income disparity and the lack of movement toward a social democracy to solve this problem.

    •  What Do You Suggest Ordinary People Could (0+ / 0-)

      extract income from doing?

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:22:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  but here's the difficulty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The economy is global, and it is made up by huge multinational corporate entities that are also global.  If any single nation does anything the multinationals don't like, they can pull up stakes and move everything they have to some other country, without affecting their global operations in the slightest. Which leaves EVERY single nation utterly powerless against them--even the big mighty US of A.

      There is only one potential solution--the same one that Benjamin Franklin proposed when the 13 colonies were faced with the global might of the British empire.  "Join or die". Either all countries and nations everywhere work, together and multilaterally, for social justice and social democracy, or none will ever achieve it.

      Our opponent is global and multinational.  We must be too. If we continue to attempt to fight them one nation at a time, they will continue to simply swat us like flies.  They are richer, larger, more powerful and have more direct control over people's lives than ANY national government.  Including ours.

      Our old national-government-based methods of doing things are now obsolete and ineffective.  They must change.

      •  Not quite... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Multinationals will gladly base factories and assets in countries if that is a condition of their access to the market.

        Cases in point:

        China promises to buy Boeing planes, if parts are built in CHina. Boeing builds factory in China.

        China promises to buy more locomotives if EMD moves some production to China. EMD sells knock-down engines to the Dalian Locomotive Works.

        Japanese car companies built plants in the US, partly out of the fear of import restrictions.

        Mori-Seiki is building a factory in California, to be closer to customers, and compete, in part, with Oxnard's Haas.

        If companies risk losing a market, they will change their behavior.

        But that's a demand-side solution, so it's evil.

      •  Right, Lenny Flank (0+ / 0-)
        If any single nation does anything the multinationals don't like, they can pull up stakes and move everything they have to some other country, without affecting their global operations in the slightest. Which leaves EVERY single nation utterly powerless against them--even the big mighty US of A.

        Who had the power to stop Cheney/Halliburton from doing business in and with Iran in 2005? Nobody. WaPo link

        Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

        by RJDixon74135 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:22:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My uncles didn't fight and bleed defeating Hitler (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randian, vets74 order to facilitate the installation of a worldwide proto-fascist regime based in America.

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:36:12 PM PDT

    •  You're sure ? (0+ / 0-)

      I woulda sworn that for years Dick Cheney had an office in the White House.

      Alongside Prescott Bush's grandson.

      Financial criminals + Angry White Males + Personality Disorder dreamers + KKKwannabes + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base (-4.38,-3.74)

      by vets74 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:44:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Alrighty then (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        When they went to "War" - they didn't plan on fighting and bleeding in order to facilitate the installation of a worldwide proto-fascist regime based in America.

        Stupid heroic soldiers. They were under the influence of Mom and Apple Pie.

        I think Meteor Blades hit a home run with this diary. But then again - Back in the pre-steroid days.. People were baseball fans for the lack of other means of entertainment

        Watching video of a Chevrolet Volt assembly line the other day on cable television where the robots do all the welding sans much human labor had me mentally correlating today to those of the Luddites.

        Wondering who is going to write the next generations' 1984.

        An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 06:08:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's redonkulous is what it is. (0+ / 0-)

    Been layin' low online m'self cuz the wife is going to murder me in my sleep if I seem to be spending more time on activism and less time on finding gigs and workies, but hells bells it's slow going.

  •  This is why I once supported Nader (0+ / 0-)

    I know Ralph Nader is widely hated here, but while I have mostly been a Democrat, I did support him and the Green Party in 2000 in part because of Bill Clinton's support of Nafta, GATT and "welfare reform." The Democrats are, I am sorry to say, somewhat complicit in the form of class warfare on workers. I went to hear Chris Hedges give a book talk about a week ago and he said pretty much the same thing.

    Randian for me means "Prince Randian" from the 1930s horror classic Freaks and is not a reference to libertarianism.

    by Randian on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:42:01 PM PDT

  •  Companies were moving operations (0+ / 0-)

    ...out of the country long before NAFTA, and would not have even been slowed down without it.

    Free trade has been a progressive position since the days of FDR and probably before. Consoder this from Truman's memoir:

    We also, of course, had a bunch of economic royalists who controlled much of the trade of the country and wanted to keep outside trade from coming in and giving them competition. In that line of thinking, too, it took them a long time to realize that, in order to maintain our status as a great commercial and world power, we had to carry on trade with the rest of the world. Cordell Hull, who was Roosevelt's secretary of state from 1933 to 1944, the longest period of service of any secretary of state in our history, helped a lot in that direction, with his Reciprocal Trade Act in 1934, which increased our trade enormously with other countries by allowing us to reduce tariffs on their goods in return for reductions on ours, and with his work on our Good Neighbor Policy, which increased our help toward our immediate neighbors, and strengthened our friendship with them and the united stand of the Western Hemisphere against our enemies in World War II.
  •  Beware their awesome supercomputer! (0+ / 0-)
    Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "Nous sommes un groupuscule"

    by annieli on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 04:59:49 PM PDT

  •  The worst phase may be over (0+ / 0-)

    Guangdong province finally has more demand for labor than supply; wages have gone up 20% since the Foxxconn suicides, people are now turning down low pay jobs far from home. Wages and the Renminbi will have to rise.

    Multi-nationals have finally woken up to the idea that it's too risky to have their whole supply chain in China. Exchange rates, shipping costs, Communist Party Kleptocrats, acts of God, and responsiveness to customers are causing supply chains to be revived in Europe and America.

  •  Nonsense! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    I wonder if the writer - or any of the folks commenting - know anything about economics? Here are some facts for you progressives/marxistst/communists/social justice/behavioral economics fetishists

    1. No lesser a luminary to you wankers than Paul Krugman did his PhD in trade and, amongst other things, confirmed that trade does indeed create wealth for both parties. It's axiomatic, when free exchanges happen - and the fact that the author and the readers here appear to not even know this is damning. It's the basis of all wealth creation, and these exchanges (whether international or not) are what keep an economy growing and efficient. This is Econ 101 folks. Wake up, and get a clue.

    2. Contrary to the assertion by the author that we are only creating low level service jobs (with the carefully worded statement that almost all domestic growth comes from stuff that isn't tradeable), one of the major engines of economic growth in the U.S. is technology. We also manufacture more IN THE U.S. than ever - just with less people. The author's discussion of the industrial breakdown of our growth is at best incomplete, and more likely intentionally misleading.

    3. Smoot-Hawley in many ways turned an economy that was trying to stabilize into the Great Depression. If you look at bank failures and the timing of our protectionism, you will see correlation and causation for accelerating the bank failures that deepened a recession into major depression in 1930. Protectionisim doesn't work to improve living standards - it never has and never will. If it is tried, it will most hurt those at the bottom of the ladder, who the author seems to fancy himself as advocating for. He is a fool.

    4. The answer for Americans who are stuck in dead end jobs? Get a specific skill set in a field that is growing like hi tec, pharma, media, etc. No Progressive babbler is going to ever help you, and we will never return to the middle phase of our industrial explosion in which skilled labor was required in massive quantities to support our manufacturing. It simply will not happen - no matter how many aparatchiks try and order it to be so.

    Finally, this article was far to verbose in making it's flaccid point. Pithy and correct would be much more enjoyable reading.  

    Glenn Individual Sovereignity is the right of every human being.

    by ScribblerG on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:10:30 PM PDT

    •  **belch** I know a fellow who used to make (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dmnyct, New Rule

      $65,000 a year at a paper factory...raised his kids, sent one to college at NorthWestern.

      ...the paper factory closed down after 100 years in operation and his job went along with it.

      He went back to school for some medical profession, I believe something in radiology and makes around $20,000 a year, now. About as much as the new hires at a steel alloy casting company.

      •  And the real kicker is...his daughter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        who was the first and only one in the family to go to college can't find ANY work, still. She now lives with her father again.

        This future you paint where all people have to do is get a better education or work doesn't exist.

        •  So what? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler

          And what do you attribute this state of affairs to? Globalization goblins? Let me offer you at least one possible hypothesis based on economics, not stories. One of the problems with the boom and bust economy (created by Keynesian economics in the first place) is that capital is allocated inefficiently during the boom. It creates a false, unsustainable prosperity and also reduces real growth rates over the long term. People like you have some hazy memory of a halcyon time when everyone had a good job, house and two cars. As well, despite the folklore, the regulation of our financial sector actually allows the bankers to rip us off, leading to financial services, which now accounts for 17% of GDP versus 4% 40 years ago. Going off the gold standard, crony banking (and it's all crony because you have to get a state license to operate one), insurance, brokerage - all are clients of government, and accordingly have exploited the system to suck out huge amounts of wealth for themselves and their brothers at the helm of large public corporations. The very condition occurs because of government interventions - not the reverse. I have a suggestion, stop reading Kos, and maybe read Robert Heilbroner (world class economist and long supporter of socialism), who at least in '89 had the class to admit that socialism/marxism/communism are completely unworkable. The ignorance posing as knowledge on this sight is breathtaking.

          Glenn Individual Sovereignity is the right of every human being.

          by ScribblerG on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:44:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Outstanding analysis, MB, on a topic we should be (0+ / 0-)

    discussing more, and about which I admit to some ambivalent feelings.

    While we rail against the effects of globalization on our economy, to some degree global competition for work and rising commodity prices benefit workers in other parts of the world. People who build cars in Mexico, for example, need to feed their families, too, and are as deserving as we are of better standards of living. The same is true for people who mine copper in Chile, or pick cotton in Pakistan, or fish in the waters off Vietnam.  To the degree, however, that their ability to win the competition for jobs we once called American jobs is the result of their exploitation by unscrupulous and greedy business owners, including those who are American, I'm not sure it's correct to consider the problem one of "globalization." Rather, it's just a different variety of the same greed we see on Wall Street, the same willingness to steal from the poor.

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

    by RJDixon74135 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:11:40 PM PDT

  •  Labor arbitrage is not fair trade, the way to... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, New Rule

    raise worldwide standards of living is not to create low wage kleptocracies in the 3rd world that benefit oligarchical ruling and managerial classes by exporting "assembly" work. The "manufacturing" is done by computer controlled machine tools, process instruments and positional robotics, not people. The assembly work: hand finishing, sewing, fastening prefabricated parts or subassemblies together, fitting, inspection, testing, documenting, packing and stacking, the hand work, is also as highly automated as possible.

    People, as part of the production process, are being eliminated as quickly as businesses can eliminate them. Depending on the industry labor can be as little as 13% of the cost of a procuct, and in no case, in the manufacturing environment, is labor more than 20% of the cost of a product. Therefore, in order to get real profitability improvements you cant save 10% on wages and have that translate to significant improvements in profitability as 10% of 20% is only a 2% improvement.

    As a corporate manager, if the only way to lower costs  is by lowering labor costs and you also have to defray the costs of moving and reestablishing a manufacturing operation, then the cost savings must be significantly higher to justify moving a factory, typically on the order of at least 60% of current labor costs. When this equation is taken into account, then the argument that you will "raise" the standard of living in the rest of the world by "flattening" wage rates is just laughable. Three billion people in this world live on less than $2 per day after thirty years of "globalization", that is a higher rate of poverty in absolute terms than there was prior to the start of this grand experiment.

    The planet is more polluted, less politically free, more impoverished, less economically equal, America is militarily committed in at least 5 countries where there is active warfare, Africa and the Middle East are exploding, while Europe and America are economically anemic and the "ideal" economies are the BRIC countries, two totalitarian states, China and Russia, an "emerging" economy in India with a 30% unemployment and a 50% poverty rate and another "emerging" economy in Brazil with 8.7% unemployment and 26% of its people living under the world's poverty line.

    While America's average standard of living declines, authoritarian governments and oligarchs are held up as models of economic progress. The people who live under these regimes chafe for basic freedoms and the rest of the world is under economic and political stress and anxiety, these are the gifts of thirty years of globalization.    

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:11:58 PM PDT

  •  How many discounted Ross Perot (0+ / 0-)

    When Ross Perot ran in the primaries for president way back when, he made the statement that if America went along with NAFTA, it would be the ruination of this country as we know it.

    In hindsight, I think he was spot on.

  •  I think the income data is simply following the (0+ / 0-)

    business cycle.  The peaks and troughs line up nicely with recession and recovery.  Or am I wrong?

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:40:34 PM PDT

    •  I was under the impression that the business cycle (0+ / 0-)

      itself is now acknowledged by most economists to be the result of periodic demand crunches, where productive capacity outruns the ability of wages and income to absorb it, and has to slow down until the incomes catch up.

      Producing a billion pairs of shoes doesn't do any good when the population doesn't have the income to BUY a billion pairs of shoes--hence the factory produces fewer shoes, and the economy shrinks.

      •  Could be, but if you look at the graph, incomes (0+ / 0-)

        peak at the stock market tops (early 80's, 2000, 2007) and fall at the stock market lows.  The economic cycle lags, but not far behind.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:51:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One of your best MB, thanks for the good work. (0+ / 0-)

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:52:35 PM PDT

  •  Radical changes often appear remote (0+ / 0-)

    until they happen. Then in retrospect they are viewed as having been inevitable. I generally agree with your statement:

    For some, merely tweaking the existing system instead of shifting to some form of democratic socialism is a waste of time, and political parties that fail to drive in that direction a waste of votes. But advocates for such a move have yet to show a politically viable means of reaching that objective short of a revolution in American attitudes that seems remote.

    But recent events in the Middle East and in Middle America have me reconsidering this. If the Tea Party could be seen as having made a significant contribution to moving the range of acceptable discourse to the Right then would not even more massive turnout in the streets by our side potentially move the policy debate to the Left? Particularly if the Left is waving the flag of economic nationalism.

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 06:00:45 PM PDT

  •  A country specific capitalism doesn't scale (0+ / 0-)

    to a global capitalism. An analogy would be Windows and Unix. Windows was designed for the desktop where Unix was designed from the ground up for the network. Capitalism was designed for one self contained country. It doesn't scale globally. It's the reason why China is going to kick our asses. We're competing against ourselves in the US while China's system is competing against other countries. We so fucked as a COUNTRY it's not even funny if we let the "free market" people win the argument.

    If Kasich says State Troopers are assholes, What does that make me?

    by buckshot face on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 06:58:28 PM PDT

    •  Just an add on, (0+ / 0-)

      Windows is designed as a stand-alone just like our version of capitalism. What's happening is that the corporation structure is designed for globalization where the rules that control the game are for a stand-alone/ uni-national corporation. It doesn't work. What is going to happen to the US will keep repeating itself thru other countries as the multi-national corporations keep tossing the next cheap labor market on the trash heap. Eventually, when the US becomes poor enough to provide the cheapest labor in the world, the corporations will be back.

      If Kasich says State Troopers are assholes, What does that make me?

      by buckshot face on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:06:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are partly right (0+ / 0-)

        The existence of multinational corporations is indeed incompatible with economies that are based on nation-states.

        That, alas, is why nation-states have already been superceded, economically, by the international economic structure centered around the WTO. WTO's system is deliberately designed so that any multinational can have equal access to any market in the world, with no multinational having any special privileges anywhere. A uniform set of rules, enforced by an external authority, that everybody has to play by.

        The corporate version of "democracy".

        And you're right that they'll continuously chase the lowest wages all around the world, until they run out of countries.

        •  It's why Glenn Beck is a shill for the corporation (0+ / 0-)

          He warns about political globalization or one world gov't when the globalization has already occurred except it's a corporate globalization instead of a political one and it's Glenn's  job  to protect it.

          If Kasich says State Troopers are assholes, What does that make me?

          by buckshot face on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:58:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  America IS protectionist - for Republican 'values' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    like defense (50% of world's "Defense" spending is US Defense spending

    Big Pharma - with massive subsidies built into Medicare that can't "negotiate" prices

    Oil and Gas  - huge tax breaks for domestic refiners and producers

    Banks - trillions in low interest loans...

  •  Question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jmknapp, truong son traveler

    Globalization is nothing new. It has been around for centuries. Millenia, actually.

    The US as a nation would not exist if that had not been the case; the European explorers that stumbled upon North American were on missons financed by Empires and Merchant Nations in the service of trade that enriched the nations that sponsored them, most particularly the elites of government and their merchant retianers who accumulated vast fortunes.

    Typically, as these nations rose as economic powers the societies benifited by rising wealth to a point, and then declined as growth matured (infinate growth is not sustainable) and forces of competition including wars that drained Treasuries intervened to disrupt the system.

    And seemingly without exception, nations at the top assume a belief in manifest destiny and entitlement including in the resources and land of others until they are knocked from the pedistal.

    The US is not different.

    As long as the system works to one's benifit it is good; when that is no longer the case it is evil.

    History repeating.

    Before they were invaded by Europeans with superior military power, India and China were the most wealthy nations on earth. They were educated, innovative productive societies, the economic engines of regional and eventually global growth, but also sufferend from the delusion it would last forever and from the political stagnation too much success brings.

    The chart in this article, aptly titled Hello America illustrates the point (a better chart would include the total aggregate global GDP (have one but can't find the damned link).

    The data tables in List of regions by past GDP (PPP) per capita is even perhaps more interesting as it show a bit more about relative wealth verses size, and that for example, merchant nations such as Italy have done better for longer.

    What is different, about the past couple of centuries is that technology has accelerated these economic cycles but it really hasn't changed them.

    So I have to ask: Given history, and given the current economic state of the world, why shouldn't the US economy be experiencing a decline at this point?

    It is simply unrreasonable to expect that the advantages the US has benifted from, particularly the accent and dominance of the US in the 20th Century, would last forever and if we look at the unsustainablitly of US Government and Private Spending over the past 2 or 3 decades including the wars, the materialist binging and ultimately, the over-reach, it fits the general trend.

    The US is still a wealthy nation, just not as.

    Welcome to middle age as history defines it. Maybe it is time for a little excercise?

    Given the climate of Daily Kos these days I'll probably get HR'd for saying this, but ....

    Isn't it about time the US stopped blaming the world for it's problems (sorry but the "Globalization" meme is one flavor of that) and got down to addressing the strutural problems and inequities in the US system so it could avoid falling further?

    MB, I think that is what you are trying to say, putting the populist Globalization" label on it really misdirects attention to the wrong places and makes out the US to be a victim, and I think some of the comments on this thread bear that out.

    Nations, like people, tend to be their own worst enemies and given the relative wealth of the US there is atually pleanty to go around if the system is corected in time.

    Or, true to historical archetype, Americans could just blame outsiders for wrecking their good thing - that's a tried and true bromide.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:24:15 PM PDT

    •  here's what IS new, though . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      A global economy that is made up of entities that belong to NO nation, and are larger, richer, more powerful and have more direct effect on everyone's lives than any national government does.

      That has never happened before.

      It is not merely the US as a nation that stands at the brink of extinction---it is the very idea of nation-states, period.

      We have never had a supra-national world before.

      We have one now.

      And we have no idea how to cope with it.

      •  I think a currency market that is realistic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and not at the mercy of speculators would be a start.

        If Kasich says State Troopers are assholes, What does that make me?

        by buckshot face on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:01:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  inevitably we will see one single global currency (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, truong son traveler

          It is just a matter of time.

          •  Sooner the better (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            truong son traveler

            But not very soon and not a simple process.

            A year+ ago I was discussing this with respect to Currency Baskets or an IMF Index as bein interum steps and was accused of insanity, but since the last G20 in Korea where Obama et al staked their ground, it is looking more than less likely to happen withing the next 10 years which even I was pretty sckeptial about 1 or 2 years ago when I viewed it as being maybe 20 years out.

            In very short order multi-currency indices will become reality ans the number of large bilateral trade deals in non-Dollar eschanges increase, whih in tern forces the trading nations to agree on a regime to index their currencies on an agreed basket.

            Trade between BRICs is headed there very fast.Not sure if most Americans have visibility of this but it is happening.

            US Treasury is not happy.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 09:01:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Judging from Bernanke's actions UR right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            truong son traveler

            Bernanke is pushing the dollar off a cliff.

            If Kasich says State Troopers are assholes, What does that make me?

            by buckshot face on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:22:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I somewhat agree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        And that is, in fact, a significant challange for nations around the world as corporations vie with governments for economic control. However, the current economic crisis, which has roots in this phenomina (eg, capital flows, tax avoidance, etc) has set the pendulum swinging back somewhat particularly in the BRIC economies which have been the benificiaries, to some degree, but are not really in command of markets (save Russia and it's EU oil market) to the extent that the US, Japan ans EU are (which dominate multinational business).

        Where I disagree is in the area of global enterprises of former and present colonial powers; they have often had private enterprises that were originally the instruments of national policy but ultimately supereeded them creating multinational entities with different and sometime conflicting interests.

        The great trading houses of the Dutch, British, Spanish and Japanese colonial empires outlived governments wars and economic revolutions, in some cases are today as powerful as ever. Not to mention certian US Multinationals.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:52:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  solidarity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    You may believe that the developing nations that gain jobs under globalization benefit from it, or that their populations would do better under some other international economic regime. But either way, you have to admit that as long as huge inequalities persist between nations, the workers of rich nations will never unite in solidarity with the workers of poor nations to resist globalization.

    Whether globalization is good or bad, it's going to continue until wages, conditions for workers, and environmental laws all over the world are close to identical. The corporations driving globalization have their power base in the wealthy, developed nations, and the relative advantage all citizens of these countries have over citizens of developing nations functions as the bribe that prevents us from effectively opposing globalization.

    If you think globalization is bad, just refuse to buy things made abroad. Then at least you won't be personally complicit in it. But if you think Americans in general are ready to go there, you're dreaming.

     I would say, work for more modest but more achievable goals than the elimination of globalization, and accept that the harm done to Americans by globalization is the karma for decades of economic imperialism. There is no real world in which we defeat the corporate plutocrats and have a real democracy in this country, but also get to keep our outrageously disproportionate share of consumption of the world's resources. Come the revolutions, we (Americans) are all going to be a lot poorer.

    •  didn't read anything I said, huh ;) (0+ / 0-)
      •  what you said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler
        Where are the champions of rank-and-file Americans with the willingness and clout to do something about the off-shoring of jobs and the failure of our economic system to deliver the fruits of productivity gains to workers? Where are the foes of two-tiered hiring systems that mean new workers will never do as well as those who preceded them? Where are the congressional leaders—and, more to the point, where are the foot-soldiers—willing to say Enough! and actually do something to prove they mean it?

        They are all at the store, buying goodies that were made in China while furiously repressing the thought: "OMG, what if I had to work in the factory where this was made?!?" Only once they have nothing left to lose, will they begin to seriously oppose the system that up until now has coddled them in the lap of cheap crap from China.

        •  um, that wasn't me who said that (0+ / 0-)

          And of course the reason why people buy cheap crap from China is because our wages have gone down every year since the 70's and we can't afford to buy the good stuff---unlike the business owners who have been living large since the 1890's. So we're already pretty close to having nothing left to lose.

          Our largest obstacle to fighting back effectively, alas, are our own labor unions, who are stubbornly nationalist in outlook (just like their corporate partners) and who treat "foreign workers" as enemies and threats, not as allies and common interests.

          Inevitably, though, reality always wins--we are all, everywhere, fighting the same corporate bosses. And inevitably we will all, everywhere, band together to fight them effectively.

  •  US has HUGE trade deficits w/ China, not w/ India (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    The following is a table of US' goods trade in 2010 sorted by trade deficits. The data for it comes from's 2010 goods trade tables (text, excel).

    As can be seen from the table, US' goods trade deficit with China was a whopping $273 billion, while that that with India was a far, far smaller $10.3 billion, and India ranks 18th on goods trade deficit (China ranks 1st, of course.) For a comparison, Africa, which has a population and development status similar to those of India, had $56.7 billion trade  surplus with the US in 2010. Many countries that are tiny compared to India's gigantic size (in population, second only to China, which has about 10% higher population over India) have a higher trade surplus over the US:

    2010 US Goods Trade

    All Numbers in Billions of US$
    Negative Trade Balance is Trade Deficit.

    Trade Balance    Exports    Imports    Country/Area

    -633.938    1278.1147    1912.0527    TOTAL

    Countries (with $1 billion or higher trade surplus with the US)

    -273.0655    91.8783    364.9438    China

    -66.3339    163.3208    229.6546    Mexico
    -59.8023    60.5455    120.3478    Japan
    -34.4784    48.2012    82.6797    Federal Republic of Germany
    -27.6659    248.8119    276.4778    Canada

    -26.6258    7.272    33.8978    Ireland
    -26.4762    4.0397    30.5159    Nigeria
    -22.1138    10.6609    32.7747    Venezuela
    -19.8291    11.591    31.4201    Saudi Arabia
    -19.7172    5.968    25.6852    Russia
    -14.2719    14.1914    28.4632    Italy
    -13.7121    8.9745    22.6865    Thailand
    -13.3236    1.1944    14.518    Algeria
    -11.9228    13.9819    25.9047    Malaysia
    -11.5408    27.0101    38.5509    France
    -11.1576    3.7102    14.8677    Vietnam
    -10.6553    1.2916    11.9469    Angola
    -10.4958    1.6459    12.1417    Iraq

    -10.3084    19.2227    29.5312    India

    -10.0159    38.8438    48.8596    Korea, South
    -9.8795    26.0273    35.9068    Taiwan
    -9.7033    11.2715    20.9749    Israel
    -9.5342    6.9427    16.4768    Indonesia
    -5.8653    4.7061    10.5715    Sweden
    -4.6949    1.9256    6.6206    Trinidad and Tobago
    -4.4043    2.4276    6.8319    Austria
    -3.8805    2.1253    6.0058    Denmark
    -3.8488    3.0998    6.9486    Norway
    -3.7165    0.5772    4.2937    Bangladesh
    -3.6033    12.044    15.6472    Colombia
    -3.5214    5.1855    8.7069    Costa Rica
    -3.0615    0.2545    3.316    Congo (Brazzaville)
    -2.6045    2.7775    5.382    Kuwait
    -2.577    5.6267    8.2037    South Africa
    -2.1476    0.1534    2.301    Cambodia
    -2.0031    5.4474    7.4504    Ecuador
    -1.9691    0.2429    2.212    Gabon
    -1.9559    0.0882    2.0441    Chad
    -1.9441    0.2717    2.2159    Equatorial Guinea
    -1.7353    0.2533    1.9885    Azerbaijan
    -1.6893    2.1812    3.8705    Finland
    -1.6094    1.8998    3.5092    Pakistan
    -1.5689    0.178    1.747    Sri Lanka
    -1.4514    0.6654    2.1168    Libya
    -1.2588    48.4967    49.7555    United Kingdom
    -1.1992    1.2902    2.4894    Hungary
    -1.1349    0.7369    1.8718    Kazakhstan
    -1.0772    1.065    2.1422    Portugal
    -1.0465    1.4156    2.4621    Czech Republic
    -1.0256    0.9798    2.0054    Nicaragua
    -1.0142    0.1626    1.1768    Cote d'Ivoire


    -460.4699    774.6597    1235.1296    APEC
    -327.3268    326.4788    653.8056    Pacific Rim Countries

    -225.6609    807.675    1033.336    OECD

    -96.0538    286.1391    382.1929    Europe

    -95.6454    54.3241    149.9695    OPEC

    -93.9998    412.1326    506.1324    North America (NAFTA)

    -79.7801    239.8147    319.5948    European Union
    -71.1644    255.1528    326.3172    LAFTA
    -66.5282    485.4528    551.9809    NATO Allies
    -65.9162    176.738    242.6542    Euro Area
    -63.9771    287.0265    351.0037    Twenty Latin American Republics

    -56.691    28.2995    84.9905    Africa

    -37.3374    70.4336    107.7709    ASEAN
    -25.9134    48.5762    74.4896    Asia Near East
    -15.1679    24.0584    39.2264    Asia - South
    -2.4111    17.6624    20.0735    Central American Common Market
    0.4605    24.2169    23.7564    CAFTA-DR
    7.543    138.5231    130.9801    South/Central America
    14.0412    120.5902    106.549    NICS

    Source: 2010 US Goods

    Full year Service trade data ("outsourcing" transactions are included in services trade) is available from BEA. India numbers:

    2010 US Services trade with India:

    US exports to India: 10.6 billion
    US imports from India: 13.5 billion
    Source: BEA

    From these, it follows that US' trade with India is small and relatively well balanced in both goods and services, whereas that with China is huge and it is heavily unbalanced (as it has been for the last one to one and a half decades: Trade in Goods with China (1985-2011)).

    As with 2010 (first table), China, Mexico, Japan, Germany, Canada and Oil producing nations (incl. OPEC) have been the primary sources of US' trade deficits over the past two decades (and hence they have been the greatest contributors to the loss of jobs that's attributable to trade deficits.)

    Dirt poor people anywhere on the planet should not have to remain dirt poor forever.

    by iceweasel on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 11:24:32 PM PDT

  •  Yeah but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Rule

    family income.... are women forced to work to keep the house? Over 30 yrs we've seen family income go up... some... while median Ind income has not kept up with inflation since Nixon was elected.

    I'm not sure but I'll bet you a cup of coffee that more women were in the workforce in the last decade than previous decades.

    Median Ind income shows a much fiercer picture, since peaking during the Clinton yrs @ 38k, its down to like 26k. Since 1968 the only period of real wage growth was during the Clinton yrs.

    Either way, median family or Ind income, the decline paints an extremely troubling picture. Families are less and less able to take care of their own and are more reliant on unemployment insurance, welfare, homeless shelters etc.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 02:04:52 PM PDT

  •  That's totally it: 1)Invest 2)Build 3) Export (0+ / 0-)

    Since "non-tradeables" have produced vitually all the growth, "tradables" need the boost.

    And since isolationism/protectionism will only put more squeeze on the econmy (here and abroad) overall, we must build what hasn't been invented yet.

    Investment in education and tech: gets you new technologies, new things to build and the skilled workforce to build them, the ideas/technologies which, if when stolen by over seas knock off markets, will still be years ahead of that inevitible trend*.

    Build: Jobs, and all that makes society thrive

    Export: balance the trade deficit, resulting in national debt repayment and the fiscal means to support social programs ie. SS, medicare, infrastructure etc.

    Total: Peace and prosperity

    The challenge is how to do it most effectively.

    Challenge: Discover/invent something more powerful than money. Then we too have a lever to pry our government loose from the ones who want it small enough to keep for just themselves

    *trend: overseas technology infringement can be overcome if the investment in new tech is sustained, keeping the lag time between new products made here and the duplication overseas ever increasing

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