Saturday, 4 February 2017

Made in the USA is good not just for America

This article was written jointly by Roger Froikin and Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks

One of US President Trump’s policies, which he is already in the process of implementing, is to support American businesses and American jobs.

For far too long, outsourcing has been the common practice on which many of us thrived. Cheap labour resulting in cheap merchandise is a dream come true for many. Our consumptive nature thrived on it. Yours truly, likewise, enjoyed it benefits, selfish and mundane benefits.

Has anyone of us ever stopped to wonder what it took to lower the costs of the goods we purchase? How about questioning the motive behind the constant flow of outsourcing while we were roaming through malls, spending our money and probably never stopping to contemplate the issue?

The answer is clear. It all boils down to cheap labour.

We have seen that cheap labour in countries like Egypt. We witnessed it in countries like India and China. It came in the form of young children sitting in factories instead of attending schools. Rotting in dark rooms instead of playing outdoors in the sunshine. It came in the images of women toiling and bent over for machines. It was reflected in the reflected shadowy images of men whose sad eyes continue to haunt us until this very day.

But America and the rest of the Western world continued to enjoy the cheap merchandise.

Some will come back and say, “But we provided work for those poor souls. We helped improve their lot.” Nice excuse, we say, for those who enjoy their cushioned existence, refuse to remove their blinders for fear of rattling their comfort zone. Life is beautiful as it is, so why change it, why acknowledge some truths?

Wake up people, the only lot you have improved is that of the rich who got richer. Those pour souls whose life outsourcing was allegedly supposed to improve remain in the perdition. They never left it, not even for one second.

But America and the rest of the Western world continue to enjoy the cheap merchandise.

There is, unfortunately, a cost to all this consumerism that goes beyond the price of the latest pair of jeans.   In every Western Nation, unemployment and under-employment has become a serious problem, cushioned only by the growth of welfare systems that have driven Western nations into unbelievable levels of debt that at some point becomes a vicious cycle of economic and social decline following which come other problems.

One such problem is the importing of cheap foreign labor to replace higher cost local workers without consideration of social consequences.   In the USA, companies have fired American workers while exploiting foreign workers imported at a fraction of the wages, providing them with barely livable places to sleep, through a misuse of the H-1 B visa guest worker program, a program designed to fill gaps where American workers were not available.  Those favoring illegal immigrants and mass immigration tend to be those who want cheap labour; ignoring the social problems this may lead to.    In Europe, ghettos of non-Europeans, somewhere police refuse to go, have been the result of big business and industry seeking cheap labour, also ignoring social and cultural consequences.

But America and the Western world continue to enjoy the cheap merchandise.

What we believe is even worse is the fact that cheap labour, in foreign locations or imported into advanced countries, is counter-productive to the development of technologies.  Why seek cheaper and better solutions, when one can find it expedient to just fire American or European workers and ship their jobs elsewhere?

What Roger and I fear is that we might end up with are societies, whole nations, with the middle class disappearing, the poor getting poorer, the wealthy getting much more wealthy, and a vastly growing national debt. We already see it happening.

But America and the rest of the Western world continue to enjoy the cheap merchandise.

For now, however, the problem is that this kind of economics has a limited life span.  Unless Western nations start to turn matters around and worry more about their future than about how many pairs of jeans they have in their wardrobes, the point will come where the whole economies will grind to a halt. That is, in our view, exactly what President Trump aims at preventing.

Of course, matters and attitudes can change direction.  A bit less narcissism.  A bit less consumerism.  A bit more hard work and pride in work.  This might just prevent catastrophe.

As many economists in Europe and the USA have said, the US is the economic engine of the world, and if there is no growth in the USA (which has been the pattern of the last 8 years), Europe, Japan and other countries will have less than no growth. Conversely, if the US economy grows, if the size of the pie grows, then the world will have a chance to grow as well and solve problems for the benefit of all.

With that in mind, the world should be looking to any US President who wants to do what is necessary to encourage faster growth --- whether its elites currently exploiting it like it or not.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot follow the comment that Europe..and other nations are lost without the USA. Absolutely shortsighted. Other countries have an economy as well. And they are not dependent from America.