Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Even Jon Stewart Won't Tell You

This is a funny and terrifying clip from "The Daily Show" about the workers at the Chinese factory Foxconn.  They make many of the electronic entertainment gadgets that we always use, like the iPhone and the Xbox, among other things (full disclosure:  I own an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle, the PC I'm typing on, a laptop, and numerous other things that were made at either Foxconn or a similar Chinese factory).  The workers also toil under horrific conditions; as is noted here, the average wage is 35 cents an hour, and union organization is punishable by up to 12 years in prison.  Conditions have gotten to where suicides are taking place, and the factory owners have even installed nets in order to prevent them.

Accurately, but predictably, Stewart takes subtle jabs at the many Americans who own these products, and point out that they would cost much more if they were made elsewhere.  True enough.  But what I found most interesting was the very beginning, in which a series of politicians try to point out the job situation in America, why they think it is the way it is, and what they'd do about it if elected President.  They all feel that they need to give endless "incentives" to "the job creators" in order for them to innovate and want to "create jobs" here in America.  The incentives are always the same, they take place in the form of tax cuts.

All one needs to do is view this clip to see that the imperatives of the candidates are full of crap; who knows, maybe that's what Stewart was implying, but he couldn't well say it.  After seeing this clip, one should come away with the impression that in order to bring the jobs back to America, it won't be via tax cuts (many corporations already don't pay taxes).  Jobs will only come back to America, when we are willing to work like the Chinese people work.  When we are willing to work for 35 cents an hour, for up to 34 hours (if not more), with no union representation or collective bargaining rights or child labor laws, that is when the jobs will come back.  Obviously, no politician seeking office will tell us that, but in my mind, it is the truth.  But I do find that they do tell us this, in code.  When they say we have to "be more competitive with the Chinese", many would think that this is meant in terms of innovation or education.  No, I believe that they mean this in terms of living and working standards.

We will rue the day when our politicians signed our jobs away by exporting them via free-trade agreements.

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