Friday, June 15, 2012

Immigration and the Global Economy -- part 3

I'll begin by quoting from the last paragraph of my previous post:
The question that is never asked, however, is why? Why was it necessary for the prosperous, technologically advanced nations of Europe to borrow so much simply in order to provide their citizens with certain basic necessities and decent working conditions? 
The answer: immigration. Not simply the literal displacement of desperate people from places like Mexico, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, etc., though that too is a significant factor. But immigration in a more general, figurative sense. As I put it in the previous post, "a huge hoard of starving, desperate, workers is overwhelming the hitherto impregnable borders of the first world economic fortress."

Thus, the root cause of all the borrowing on which everyone is now focused is not simply moral turpitude driven by greedy bankers and their clueless marks, as real as that may be, but a much more fundamental aspect of capitalism -- its tendency to encourage the most ruthless, cutthroat, socially damaging forms of unbridled competition. In the name of "unrestricted free markets," natch. Aka liberal "reform," which of course all the major power players on both sides of the political fence are continually promoting.

Returning to the situation in the States, when we look at the reality behind the hoards of illegal Mexican immigrants and ask ourselves why they take such huge risks to get here, the answer is usually that these people want to partake of the advantages of the "American way of life." Which may be true, in a very general sense. More particularly, however, there is no denying that the great majority come to this country expecting jobs. Why? Because in fact until very recently there were a great many US businesses, both large and small, prepared to hire them. And in fact dependent on them. Why? Because of good old, American as apple pie, "free market" competition. Competition for markets, yes. But mainly competition among workers.

The more potential workers for any given job, the less one has to offer them in wages, benefits, decent working conditions, etc. So illegal immigration, over which so many of our very confused and befuddled Tea Partiers are so worked up over, happens to be very good for business. Which is the real reason why it's been tolerated and will continue to be tolerated. Of course, now that there's been such a huge slowdown in the economy, the need for such workers has diminished, which is why so many are now in fact being deported. (Why bother with them when so many US citizens are now desperate enough to take such exploitive jobs.) When the economy picks up, however, the rules will, trust me, once again be bent.

What does this tell us about the European situation? It tells us that European workers are now being forced to compete with the huge hoard of economic "immigrants" from the most impoverished regions of the third world. So thanks to the "unrestricted free market" in human exploitation worldwide, European workers (along with American workers, of course) are in effect being told, in no uncertain terms, to literally enslave themselves. Otherwise, how can they compete with all the billions of submissive wage slaves of the "developing" world? And if they refuse, as the Greeks may well do this Sunday, why then they will be responsible for the collapse of the European economy if not the world economy, an apparently "disastrous" outcome, leading to the dread EOTWAWKI (End of the World As We Know it).

From this perspective, the whole dog and pony show of recapitalization, austerity, growth, default, EFSF, ESB, TARGET 1, TARGET 2, etc., etc. is nothing but a huge misdirection, intended to confuse the workers of the world as to the true nature of what is taking place. Amidst all this turmoil, the tiny minority of plutocrats and oligarchs is doing just fine, raking in millions if not billions in profits earned on the backs of hapless human beings the world over, conned into believing they have no choice but to sacrifice their very lives to feed the enormous profit machine. What is at risk if they refuse to comply, is NOT their own well being, which will in fact be liberated, but the vast wealth of the super wealthy, whose power very literally depends on the willingness of ordinary people to buy into the swindle.

When the huge monstrosity that "free market" capitalism has become finally collapses under its own weight, the spell will be broken and we can all return to our lives as autonomous human beings rather than pawns in someone else's game.


  1. It's ironic to say the least, that the only folks truly on guard against the "spectre of communism", "the red menace", and all the other scary acronyms given to the philosophy of Karl Marx, are the so called liberals who are aware that only if we can embrace a reasonable system of social justice ("creeping socialism") can we can stem the inevitable tide of a nation wide or world wide workers revolt. Such a revolt would probably result once again in the inevitable bastardized version of Marxist ideals epitomized in the USSR and China. As usually happens when human beings get a hold of a good idea and use it to turn a profit. Why can't good people see the simple truth? And if only we could all stop dwelling in the world of catch phrases and labels ( see above ) and live in the rarified air of thought and ideas. Ahhhhh, how refreshing would that be? It's amazing that Dylan warned us about this back in '83. Its a blessing to have you now Doc, to expand on this "revolting situation". I will read on, Kat

    Union Sundown by Bob Dylan (1983)

    Well, my shoes, they come from Singapore
    My flashlight’s from Taiwan
    My tablecloth’s from Malaysia
    My belt buckle’s from the Amazon
    You know, this shirt I wear comes from the Philippines
    And the car I drive is a Chevrolet
    It was put together down in Argentina
    By a guy makin’ thirty cents a day

    Well, it’s sundown on the union
    And what’s made in the U.S.A.
    Sure was a good idea
    ’Til greed got in the way

    Well, this silk dress is from Hong Kong
    And the pearls are from Japan
    Well, the dog collar’s from India
    And the flower pot’s from Pakistan
    All the furniture, it says “Made in Brazil”
    Where a woman, she slaved for sure
    Bringin’ home thirty cents a day to a family of twelve
    You know, that’s a lot of money to her

    Well, it’s sundown on the union
    And what’s made in the U.S.A.
    Sure was a good idea
    ’Til greed got in the way

    Well, you know, lots of people complainin’ that there is no work
    I say, “Why you say that for
    When nothin’ you got is U.S.–made?”
    They don’t make nothin’ here no more
    You know, capitalism is above the law
    It say, “It don’t count ’less it sells”
    When it costs too much to build it at home
    You just build it cheaper someplace else

    Well, it’s sundown on the union
    And what’s made in the U.S.A.
    Sure was a good idea
    ’Til greed got in the way

    Well, the job that you used to have
    They gave it to somebody down in El Salvador
    The unions are big business, friend
    And they’re goin’ out like a dinosaur
    They used to grow food in Kansas
    Now they want to grow it on the moon and eat it raw
    I can see the day coming when even your home garden
    Is gonna be against the law

    Well, it’s sundown on the union
    And what’s made in the U.S.A.
    Sure was a good idea
    ’Til greed got in the way

    Democracy don’t rule the world
    You’d better get that in your head
    This world is ruled by violence
    But I guess that’s better left unsaid
    From Broadway to the Milky Way
    That’s a lot of territory indeed
    And a man’s gonna do what he has to do
    When he’s got a hungry mouth to feed

    Well, it’s sundown on the union
    And what’s made in the U.S.A.
    Sure was a good idea
    ’Til greed got in the way

  2. Hello again, Kat. Thanks for the Dylan lyrics, that's a timely reminder of what's been happening.

    "Such a revolt would probably result once again in the inevitable bastardized version of Marxist ideals epitomized in the USSR and China."

    I think a worker's revolt is our only hope, though by "revolt" I really hope not a violent one, but simply a refusal any longer to tolerate an intolerable system and organization toward independence from capitalist control. It's important to remember that both the USSR and Maoist China were born in extremely violent times, WWI and WWII respectively, so violence was already in the air and people were already acclimated to it. That isn't the case, thank God, today. Which is one reason we aren't seeing all that much violence (though Libya and Syria are certainly exceptions).

    I think we are ripe for a non-violent rebellion that could lead to a viable form of socialism very different from that of either Stalin or Mao. Let's hope.


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