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FMJRA Saturday

October 29, 2011

Rule 2 in effect

Just one link to report again this week – Dustbury found the initial Occupy Wall Street post amusing enough to share.


There is dumb and then there is willfully stupid
– A reporter decides on a lark to participate in the Occupy Wall Street, then after being caught on film decides it might be a good piece for the show. Now she can’t understand why her boss had a problem with her initial participation and fired her.

Also stupid – David Weidner from MarketWatch who wrote 5 myths about Occupy Wall Street

Speaking of Occupy Wall Street – Going through The American Peoples New Economic Charter, which Mr. Weidner has obviously never read, I came across a term I haven’t heard before “neoliberal”

Countless researchers have traced the hemorrhage of well-paid unionized manufacturing jobs from the U.S. to neoliberal policies. Pitting U.S. workers and communities against even poorer communities in the developing world is a “race to the bottom” which nobody wins. In many sectors of the U.S. economy, the manufacturing base that supported a unionized working and middle class has been diminished to insignificance as production and jobs have moved to lower wage labor markets in the U.S. and abroad.

At the same time, neoliberal policies have resulted in devastating unemployment, poverty and wars in many developing countries, including American countries south of the U.S. border, leading to massive northward migration. In the U.S., jobs lost to global capital mobility have been replaced by lower paid, generally non-union work.

The cheap labor these new jobs demand is often supplied by undocumented immigrants. Most undocumented workers find work in the informal economy, where employers often ignore minimum wage, health and safety and employee benefits laws. Formal enterprises as prominent as Wal-Mart, and countless others, benefit from this exploitation of undocumented workers but insulate themselves legally by entering into subcontracting relationships with informal enterprises.

When a transnational corporation such as Wal-Mart squeezes a garment supplier so that it closes a unionized factory in the U.S. paying $10 dollars an hour plus benefits, then buys from a maquila in Mexico paying $1.20 an hour without benefits, which goes out of business because Wal-Mart can buy for less from a supplier in China which pays 75 cents an hour, which closes when Wal-Mart moves its business to a Bangladesh supplier paying 25 cents an hour, the problem of unfettered capital mobility by unregulated corporate behemoths is obvious.

The threat to democracy should be equally clear. Wal-Mart has fifty-five times the annual revenue of the entire country of Bangladesh. What hope does its government have of effectively regulating such a massive economic steamroller in the interests of its people?

Free trade agreements such as NAFTA have proved to be disastrous: lowering the standard of living for all concerned by facilitating the movement of capital and jobs across the border. We need to institute a new economic system that is based on human solidarity, meeting the needs of the 99%, with rules that are drawn up by the people themselves, rather than imposed from above. We must transform the policies, rules, norms and culture of all existing global economic institutions to reflect these values, whether it is trade agreements, international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, international trade organizations such as the WTO, or groupings of governments such as the G-20.

Remember though the protesters aren’t anti-capitalist.

BTW the date went well last night. At least for me 🙂

One Comment leave one →
  1. Liz permalink
    November 16, 2011 6:21 pm

    Yeah, “neoliberalism” is one of those things which seems to only exist in the fevered imaginations of the far left. They can never define quite what it is, apart from “everything about the status quo we don’t like” and they lump some extraordinarily contradictory groups, beliefs and individuals into it.

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