Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How Low Can Wages Go?

Moving your business offshore to China is so old. Vietnam is the "in" place for free traders according to David Sirota who reports that our government is publicly pushing for a new free trade deal with Vietnam. And, as the latest issue of Businessweek indicates, a Michigan company plans to open a factory there.
"A big reason for the [new investment] is rock-bottom wages. As labor shortages in some regions of China drive up costs, factory hands in parts of the mainland can earn more than five times the $55 per month that Vietnamese workers in foreign-owned factories are paid. That differential is a big reason why Sparton Corp. (SPA ) of Jackson, Mich., chose Vietnam over China last year when it made its first investment outside North America... And Vietnam this year might wrap up negotiations for World Trade Organization membership. That would be a huge boon."
Chinese wages of $225 a month are too high? So, where does it all end? As Sirota points out:
We inked a free trade deal with the wildly corrupt government of Mexico - a deal that eliminated environmental and wage protections. Then we inked a free trade deal with communist China - a deal that eliminated human rights standards. Recently, we began finalizing negotiations to sign a free trade deal with the United Arab Emirates - a deal that ignores all national security concerns. And now our government is pushing a free trade deal with Communist Vietnam - a deal that allows corporations to not only undermine American workers, but undermine workers in our trading partners who we promised would benefit from our trade policies in the first place.
Honestly, I can't decide who's more corrupt and unethical - big business or politicians. Is there anyone who cares about the American worker anymore?


Lily said...

hey Kathy- I think I know you through Abi and Kvatch, somewhere I neglected though to link you. Sorry for that- These links are starting to escape me!!!! I love when other women are talking about finances and economic issues. Not to say its a sexist thing, but I want to see even more sisters blog-raging.

Lew Scannon said...

One of the sociopathic traits of corporate America is the inability to maintain long lasting relationships. When the standard of living in VietNam is raised too high, they'll find some other country with workers eager to be exploited, and move there. if you haven't seen the documentary The Corporation I recommend it, as it describes all the symptoms in detail.

Kathy said...

Lily, thanks for stopping by. I think its important for women to be involved in finances; partly because we earn less than men and have to fight for everything we get, and partly because we can't always depend on men to do what's right so we need to stay informed! :-)

Lew, is the documentary you mentioned available at video stores? I'll have to try and hunt in down in my area. Thanks for the tip.