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Deadly Manufacturing Mirage, Green-Red Alternative


 

 

 

10.0pt;line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"”>Companies like Ford, Caterpillar, Wham-O Inc. (Frisbees), Master Lock, Suarez Manufacturing and General Electric have recently relocated production from China and Mexico to Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, California and Michigan.”[2]

 

Three Reasons Not to Celebrate “Reshoring” 

But how excited do Americans want to get about this “reshoring” (Time) of manufacture? There are at least three good reasons for U.S. workers to be less than enthusiastic. First, China clearly remains far and away the world’s factory, along with other parts of East Asia, particularly when it comes to labor-intensive industries like consumer electronics, furniture, and apparel. There’s little chance that manufacturing will ever come remotely close to offering U.S. workers the employment opportunities it gave them during the early and middle decades of the last century, when it was understood even in the depths of the Great Depression, that ““The 200,000 sq.-ft. facility requires only 370 full-time employees, a mere 230 of them on the factory floor. The plant manager runs the operation – from lights to heat to inventory to purchasing and maintenance – from an iPad, on which he gets a real-time stream of data from wireless sensors embedded in each product rolling across the line…The sensors let the batteries talk to GE via the Internet once they’ve left the factory. Each part of the product and, indeed, the factory, including the equipment and the workers who run it, will soon communicate with one another over the Internet.”[4] 

 

 

 

 

Time might have added that the neoliberal White House has won massive concessions from labor. “The Obama administration,” left analyst Joel Geier notes in the latest issue of International Socialist Review, imposed a two-tier wage system in the auto industry, slashing new hires’ wages from $28 to $16 an hour, “as the price of bailing out GM and Chrysler.” It’s part of the American ruling class’s “template” for U.S. “restructuring” by turning the nation into “the cheap labor market of the industrialized world.” [10]. For its part, Vonnegut’s old employer General Electric took advantage of the Great Recession to slash entry level wages from $24 to $13 of its own accord.

 

 

Paul Street (paulsteet99@yahoo.comwww.leftforum.org)

 

NOTES 

Rana Foroohar and Bill Saporito, “Made in the USA,” Time (April 22, 2013), 23. 

2. Alan Nasser, “The Political Economy of Redistribution,” http://www.alannasser.org/articles/offshoring_jobs_markets.html; Foroohar and Saporito, “Made in the USA,” 23-34. 

3. Mike Davis, interviewed by Bill Moyers, Public Broadcasting System, Bill Moyers’ Journal (May 20, 2009), http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/03202009/watch2.html 

http://melanconent.com/lib/rev/bagombosnuffbox/shortcareer.html. For reference to Vonnegut’s years in Schenectady and at GE, see New York State Writers Institute, State University of New York at Albany, “Author Page: Kurt Vonnegut,” http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/vonnegutkurt.html 

5. Barry Bluestone and Bennett Harrison, The Deindustrialization of America (New York: Basic Books, 1982); Judith Stein, Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance During the 1970s (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010). 

6. Roderick was quoted in David Bensman and Roberta Lynch, Rusted Dreams: Hard Times in a Steel Community (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987), 88. David McNally: Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2011), 70. 

7. Contrary to what you hear from many muckraker critics of Wall Street’s financial capitalism, purely financial and largely parasitic instruments like credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations are normal capitalist productions no less than a ton of steel produced by a multinational corporation in Gary, Indiana or central China. For good examples of confusion on this score, see Dylan Ratigan, Dirty Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires From Sucking Us Dry (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012), 12, and Matt Taibbi, Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History (New York: Spieel and Grau, 2010), John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff, The Great Financial Crisis :Causes and Consequences (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2009); Fred Magdoff and Michael D. Yates, The ABCs of the Economic Crisis (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2009). 

10. Joel Geier, “Capitalism’s Long Crisis,” International Socialist Review, 88 (March-April 2013), 6. 

11. Alyssa Figueroa, “5 Weird and Frightening Effects of Fracking You Might Not Know About,” AlterNet (October 20, 2012), http://www.alternet.org/fracking/5-weird-and-frightening-effects-fracking-you-may-not-know-about 

11A. Geier, “Capitalism’s Long Crisis,” 11. 

12. Jill Stein, “Obama Budget Throws American People Under the Bus,” (April 11, 2013), www.jillstein.org 

13. http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2009/hp240709.html; Paul Street. “America’s Unelected Dictatorship of Money,” www.zcomm.org/america-s-unelected-dictatorship-of-money-by-paul-street 

14. http://monthlyreview.org/2012/12/01/the-planetary-emergency; Paul Street and Janet Razbadouski, “The Ecological Poverty of Liberal Economics,” ZNet (August 12, 2012), http://www.zcomm.org/the-ecological-poverty-of-liberal-economics-by-paul-street; Paul Street, “Less Than Zero: The 1% and the Fate of the Earth,” ZNet (December 9, 2011), http://www.zcomm.org/less-than-zero-the-1-percent-and-the-fate-of-the-earth-by-paul-street 

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