Sunday, July 29, 2007
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 8 Comments
What ties together the immigration bill controversy, Chinese poisoned products, the outsourcing of American jobs and the destruction of entire sections of American industry and the decline of small business and family farms?
It's sales in the end. We want everything cheaper. We want it now and we want it for as little as possible. But the cost of cheap turns out to be pretty high.
To get something as cheaply as possible you have to reduce the cost of manufacturing, distributing and selling it as possible. To manufacture products as cheaply as possible, you need to pay employees as little as possible. That inevitably means one of several possibilities.
1. Outsourcing jobs by moving American factories overseas where the labor is dirt cheap.
2. Buying from overseas companies that employ dirt cheap labor
3. Using illegal aliens in America to do the work dirt cheap
Either way the result is that Americans lose jobs. When jobs are outsourced, American companies move abroad. When you use illegal aliens, you import a hostile population into the United States that sooner or later becomes legalized, requiring that you import yet more illegal aliens.
When you buy from foreign companies, you wind up creating a competition for who can produce a product as cheaply as possible. China has been winning that competition by doing anything imaginable to reduce costs. The rash of poisonings in pet food and toothpaste are inevitable and it's a widespread practice in China.
At the sales end, it means that you end up doing business with massive companies like Wallmart or Kmart which can buy products in true bulk quantities and cut large scale deals that squeeze manufacturers into producing the products at even lower cost. Product quality drops even further and small businesses and stores wind up being forced out of the game. The same pressure that drives cost-cutting also insures that these same stores will shortchange their own employees in any way they can. The end result is a system that deprives and enslaves everyone.
These days America is caught in between. On the one hand we've extensively regulated our own country to protect employees and worker and product safety. This of course also makes us non-competitive in the global market. On the other hand we're still capitalistically determined to get everything at the lowest price. But we can no longer produce things at the lowest price.
Our manufacturing sector has been beaten to a bloody pulp. Our service sector will increasingly go the same route as thanks to the internet and global telecommunications, you have to deal with an employees who are physically on the spot less and less. Service is in the end just another product and half the world speaks english anyway.
A country with a billion people which is willing to use them as cheap labor to produce our consumer goods will beat us time and time again. The amount of American jobs 'created' by corporations profiting from this are ultimately irrelevant because there's a limited amount of jobs that can't be outsourced, shipped abroad or done by illegal aliens. There's only so many lawyer positions out there and we're already importing large numbers of doctors and computer people from India and Pakistan. Tax returns are being processed in India. So are X-Rays. The internet makes all this absurdly easy.
Our only real advantages are our values, our creativity and our native intelligence. American Know How. But the technology we produce, we increasingly buy back from other countries by way of their manufacturing sector. In the end pursuing cheap destroys our economy and our own job prospects. As technology further interlinks the world, the result is a death by a thousand cuts. The end result of a great nation that turns its interests over to foreigners can be seen in Rome or London. And our economic strength, which has the potential to liberate, instead becomes a tool for giving the advantage to the nations that can best combine a disregard for human rights with skill and industriousness.
As with any other addiction, in the end the cost of cheap is everything.