free trade

Manufacturing Monday: The so-called Big Three, and the taxpayers' money

Greetings folks, the start of new week and thus we kick off another episode of Manufacturing Monday! Never a dull moment when it comes to covering stuff that either goes into the products you buy, or the impact that that consumption leads to. Now originally, I had these other items on bio-fuels, hydrogen cars, China and oil, and a few other things. But I see now that my section on the bailout of the US automakers is so big, that the whole thing is too long. So, if it is OK with you, I will post those items tomorrow.

A road often driven by these three

Globalization's Biggest Most Dangerous Lie

Over at TPM Cafe, this week Fareed Zakaria's new book, "The Post American World" is being discussed. In it, Zakaria repeats the theory of globalization's most toxic and unproven claim: that countries which participate in trade together do not make war upon one another. So if you want to prevent war, just participate in deep and interwoven trade with the other country and everything will be hunky-dory.

It's a lie.

Zakaria claims that We're Living in Scarily Peaceful Times":

On "Free" Trade

One of the key axioms of the "Washington Consensus" is that international trade is good for both parties and is the only viable road to development in the third world. They have been promoting this vision, in one form or another, for 50 years.

There are many critics of this view who illustrate their objections with a large number of case studies. These generally fall into two categories. In the first are the examples of states which have been the object of much international advice and intervention and still haven't done well. Much of Africa falls into this category. The second are those states which have done well, but have ignored most of the policy prescriptions promoted by entities such as the World Bank and IMF. Examples include South Korea and China.

Bill Gates is at it again

What is it with the super wealthy in this country? They make their billions in this country and instead of just retiring and disappearing, they keep pushing economic policies that continue to run the middle class into the ground? And they continue to do this even though the economy is going into the tank.

Bill was up in Canada claiming Microsoft forced to look for talent in developing countries. Once again Gates spreads the "technology worker shortage myth" claiming that poor Microsoft, the alleged victim of the "strict government H-1B policy" cannot hire enough technology workers in the U.S. This is his big lie that he continually repeats.

If hiring talent was a problem for Microsoft, I would probably be working there right now, instead of working temporary contract jobs with weak benefits and no hope of being able to save for retirement. If Microsoft has a problem hiring talent, it is due to the age discrimination that they practice, along with all the other big corporations based here in Washington State (and across the country). Also, they need to fix the way that they deal with contractors. They hire thousands of contractors, which make up most of their workforce now days. The contractors also have a limit of 1 year on the job, after which they are forced to leave Microsoft and seek employment elsewhere. If Microsoft was really having trouble hiring, they would put a stop to this practice as well.

Reasons to feel hopeful

Two news stories caught my eye.

1. An op-ed by Robert Reich in today's NYT titled "Totally Spent". He writes:

The only lasting remedy, other than for Americans to accept a lower standard of living and for businesses to adjust to a smaller economy, is to give middle- and lower-income Americans more buying power — and not just temporarily.

The only way to keep the economy going over the long run is to increase the wages of the bottom two-thirds of Americans. The answer is not to protect jobs through trade protection. That would only drive up the prices of everything purchased from abroad. Most routine jobs are being automated anyway.