America Has Become a Third World Source of Labor and Slum Landlord Ownership for Europe
Submitted by mark karlin on Tue, 05/24/2011 – 6:56am.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What a startling contrast between the jingoistic exhortations of “American Exceptionalism” and the reality that we have become a third world source of labor and slum landlord ownership for Europe.
That’s the take of Harold Meyerson in The Los Angeles Times, who writes of a shocking reality behind the US economic decline. After describing how Deutsche Bank has become one of Los Angeles’ newest large slumlords, Meyerson drops a bombshell:
But slumming in America is fast becoming a business model for some of Europe’s leading companies, and they often do things here they would never think of doing at home. These companies – not banks, primarily, but such gold-plated European manufacturers as BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Siemens, and retailers such as IKEA – increasingly come to America (the South particularly) because labor is cheap and workers have no rights. In their eyes, we’re becoming the new China. Our labor costs may be a little higher, but we offer stronger intellectual property protections and far fewer strikes than our unruly Chinese comrades.
Don’t take my word for it. Check out the study released this month by the Boston Consulting Group, which concludes that when you compare China’s soaring wages and still-low levels of productivity with our stagnating wages and rising levels of productivity, the price advantage of manufacturing in China instead of the U.S. will shrink to insignificance by 2015. Investment in the U.S., says the group, “will accelerate as it becomes one of the cheapest locations for manufacturing in the developed world.”
As many economists have noted, despite the right-wing, think-tank characterization of American workers, labor productivity has risen in the US since the ’90s, even as remuneration has barely advanced. Of course, the compensation and bonuses for CEOs and Wall Street financiers has skyrocketed – and all the latter do is manipulate money. They don’t make a thing.
Meyerson concludes: “In the new global pecking order, the decline of American unions and the steady downward mobility of American workers are making us the destination of choice when European companies want to get the job done on the cheap.”
Normally, such a situation would be a wake-up call. But the “conservative” anti-labor and pro-corporate tilt of America’s media and right-wing backers of “think tanks” have been successfully steering the middle class into the lower class, with more to come.
Meanwhile, European workers have become the envy of American labor.