The Globalisation Collapse Edition

The Globalisation Collapse Edition

It has only been a few days since Donald Trump saved a thousand jobs or so at Carrier, a company that makes air conditioners and other appliances. I have heard a great deal of criticism directed at the deal but I cannot agree.

It’s just a thousand jobs!

Oh, the criticism is generally quite correct. It’s just a thousand jobs they say and to many like Paul Krugman, that’s just a drop in the bucket. Apparently the damage done to the surrounding community is just collateral damage. There is this assumption that the forces destroying American jobs, American communities and American lives are caused by natural economic forces and simply are a matter of time. This is nonsense. Virtually every aspect of economics is either man-made or a set of policy decisions made by human beings.

The simple fact is those jobs could have been moved to Mexico at any point during the modern era to workers making a fraction of their American brethren. Why didn’t it? Because the belief system that money was a value that trumped patriotism and national borders had not yet taken root and put into policy. The current philosophy of business is that of predators and prey and it is unworthy of America and Americans.

Yeah, Trump’s agreement is a bad deal. It sets a bad precedent. And yet there are a thousand jobs that aren’t going to Mexico. Which part is history going to remember, that this is where the destruction of the American working class might be slowed or even stopped or that is was a bad deal?

i_00i_077_tnAnd that simple fact is very important. It is a gauntlet thrown in the face of classical economics and the neo-liberal elite who are either cheering on or actively participating in the destruction of the American middle class. And it has been a very successful war for their side. There is hardly a middle class job that offers any form of job security or bright future. It has been taken away.

Paul Mason writing for the Guardian suggests that liberal democracies may be on the edge of collapse comparing them to the Soviet Union in 1989. He writes

Since Trump’s victory in November 2016, it has become possible to believe a similar collapse will happen in the west, to globalisation and liberal values.

The parallels are obvious. We too have lived for 30 years under an economic system that proclaimed its own permanence. Globalisation was an unstoppable natural process; free-market economics simply the natural state of things.

But when the country that designed globalisation, imposed it and benefited from it most votes against it, you have to consider the possibility that it is going to end, and suddenly. If so, you also have to consider a possibility that – if you are a liberal, humanist democrat – may be even more shocking: that oligarchic nationalism is the default form of failing economies.

The values of lifetime employment, job security, regular hours, pension and medical insurance are doable policy. They are the policies of good people who take their responsibility to their fellow citizens, their fellow human beings seriously.

And that is business ethics, not a careful examination of the narrow subject of shrinkage on the job although that has its place. If we don’t talk about this subject from a moralistic global perspective we are always going to be losing to the amoral scum who assume the Easter Bunny like chimera of the free market will justify their evil.

James Pilant

Poor Youngsters as Happy as More Affluent Peers (via Thriven’s Blog)

Poor Youngsters as Happy as More Affluent Peers (via Thriven’s Blog)

!!@@#dddddd444plate16-thIs happiness determined by the size of your wallet? I’ve never thought so. But I do believe that debt pressure can make a good life into a living hell. I worry that millions of Americans saddled with debt they can never pay are never going to have a chance at the happiness that the last generation had.

Americans owe 2.4 trillion dollars in consumer debt. Than doesn’t count real estate. The big pieces of that are student loan debts coming in at about 730 billion dollars, credit card debt at 962 billion dollars. That leaves 708 billion for things like auto loans.

In good times, that wouldn’t be that big of a problem. If you have good jobs and a thriving economy, those kinds of debts are manageable.

These aren’t good times.

These debts translate into hardcore misery: lost homes, spousal abuse, alcohol and drug use, crime as well as mental illness.

When the debts are larger than your income, you lay awake at night. It sits in the back of your mind like a dull pain that never goes away. You feel it when you talk, when you read, even when you take a step.

You can’t buy a can of pop on the way to work. You can’t buy coffee when you’re cold.

You put gasoline in the car and pray hard that it works okay, even though you have been due for an oil change for three months and the tires are getting bald.

Your life moves away from logic and you rely on luck. Will the car keep running? Will one of us get sick? Can we get some part time work or maybe sell something? That’s what life is when it’s just a matter of luck. Things just happen.

There are millions of Americans out there feeling that kind of pain.

Read the article. It’s well thought out from a good web site.

James Pilant

  An important article in today’s Guardian. For many of us who grew up poor or who have close contact with young people and families in the low income category, we would hardly be surprised that life can be as good without much in the way of money. Indeed, in many cases it is better. The genuine positive closeness of people – family, partners and friends – is almost certainly the key factor to feeling secure and happy. There’s nothing like l … Read More

via Thriven’s Blog