There is no “American economy” anymore: The Left must act globally

by Jehu

The Economic Populist blog has a post written by Robert Oak that is very good, “Corporations Hoard Cash While Americans Go Without A Job”. The main aim of the post is to show how American corporation are using various means to fatten their bottom lines. The subtext of the post, however, is that, contrary to the assumption of most Leftists, there is no longer such a thing as an “American economy”.

child-labor-2Much of the time Leftists spend in discussions and activism focuses on how Washington policy can influence the “American economy”. However, if Oak is to be believed, much of what might be called an “American economy” is simply a local pool of labor in a much larger labor market. That pool of labor is being “arbitraged” against other pools of labor in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to the disadvantage of all workers globally.

According to Oak, American corporations have been exploiting that huge labor market to fluff up their profits by taking advantage of both low wages and favorable state policies:

“U.S. multinationals managed to reduce their United States employees by 0.9% in just a single year. In 2011 only 66.3% of their total staff was located inside the United States. In 1989, that figure was 79%. The below graph shows how U.S. corporations are expanding their hiring abroad while flatlining the U.S.”

Meanwhile many foreign corporation are expanding into the US., in hopes of doing the same thing. There is now a single global labor market and, as a result, no longer any such thing as an “American economy”.

The point should be cause for concern, given the rather poor results of the Boeing contract negotiations last month. The union at Boeing essentially capitulated to Boeing’s demand for severe reductions owing to its explicit threat to relocate its operations. Having made that explicit threat, nearly two dozen states began competing against one another to entice Boeing to relocate to their area — essentially, two dozen states were giving material support to Boeing’s position in the negotiations and making the company’s threats real with every sort of economic inducement.

Now, just scale that threat up to the entire planet with some 7 billion competitors divided up among 200 or so competing national capitals. The conclusion should be obvious: the American working class is toast — just as the Boeing workers folded in a critical negotiation under the pressure of competition from two dozen states, American workers will be scrambling to cut their own throats to save their jobs.

Which means the Left can pretty much write off all workers’ rights, environmental protection, social spending, etc. We will soon have no more protection from capital than can be found in West Virginia. What the Boeing workers conceded to under duress will be studied long and hard by every corporation operating in the US and every department and subdivision of the fascist state. The American worker is now in direct competition with the African child laborer working in conditions of semi-slavery. As corporation are arbitraging the various regions of the global labor market, American workers will be arbitraging food versus heat.

I am really not being hyperbolic. We are, after all, living in a world where, by some accounts, 85 people control wealth equal to the poorest 3.5 billion — and the goal of those 85 people is to have 100% of the world’s wealth in their hands. As the Boeing negotiations proved conclusively, the chief weapon in favor of these 85 people is competition among 7 billion workers, each of whom needs a job to physically survive.

The god-damned Left in this country has spent entirely too much time fighting for its First World concerns of food stamp socialism. Your competition are 7 billion workers, most of whom are living in the most dire conditions, and who must offer themselves up on the most reprehensible terms for pennies a day.

Your struggle for food stamp socialism is a lost cause; it is time to think globally about how to put an end to competition within a global working class.