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Made in the USA


Preferring goods which are Made in the USA is understandable, but it
isn’t an adequate response for someone who wants to keep jobs here.
See for the logic beyond this (a really good book): Paul Krugman,
‘Pop Internationalism’, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 1996. You might consider
it patriotic to buy goods made by fellow Americans, however, the
decisions to delocate plants to low labor cost countries are not made
in New Delhi, Djakarta or Mexico City, but in the USA itself by
Americans. And although firms indeed exist to make profit, the logic
which drives them has shifted deeply during the past 10 to 15 years.
Several indications document this shift. First, look at the evolution
of the wages and the salaries for resp. workers, white collar
workers, managers and CEO’s. These differences have become truly
staggering. Why and how did this happen? Second, look at the number
of convictions against firms in the USA during the last 15 years. Of
the 538 most important firms in the USA, 67 % has been convicted of
some sort of a tax evasion crime. I am talking about convictions, not
investigations (see Chomsky, ‘Manufacturing Consent’). Thus, so far,
Enron is not part of this list - indeed, who still talks about? Here
the hypocrisy of the new conservatives speaks: these people
constantly talk about the nation, the compassionate patriot, the
respect for the community, the integral (and integrative) city, but
when the CEO’s of a plant decide to relocate, then suddenly only
’economic rationality’ can play. The thing is that there are many
economical rationalities and, by consequence, there are a lot of
avenues open to the working people in the USA and in Europe to deal
with globalization and delocalization and in ways which does not
exclude the working populations from the ‘rest’ of the world - after
all, wouldn’t you like to want a fair share of the pie? - the problem
is the specific way corporate capitalism in the first world has
decide to take,eager for profits, blind for other considerations.
This is exactly what a lot of smart economists in the USA are saying
at the very moment. Best, Will