Friday, March 03, 2006

Talk To The Hand

President Bush is in India today where he said the United States should welcome rather than fear competition.
"People do lose jobs as a result of globalization and it's painful for those who lose jobs," Mr. Bush said at meeting with young entrepreneurs at Hyderabad's Indian School of Business, one of the premier schools of its kind in India. Nonetheless, the president said, "globalization provides great opportunities."

Mr. Bush, reiterating a theme of his trip, strongly defended the outsourcing of American jobs to India as the reality of a global economy, and said that the United States should instead focus on India as a vital new market for American goods. [Emphasis mine]
What American goods? At the rate outsourcing is going, there won't be any goods left to export. Just ask the people who will be working their last shift today at the Electrolux plant in Greenville, Michigan.
Sweden-based Electrolux announced in January 2004 that it was closing the 1.7 million-square-foot factory, whose 2,800 employees produced 1.6 million refrigerators annually under such brands as Frigidaire, Kenmore, White-Westinghouse, Gibson and Kelvinator.

Electrolux has been transferring Greenville's work to a new refrigerator plant in Juarez, Mexico. The Juarez plant, which will pay assembly line workers about one-tenth of the salary of their Greenville counterparts, is to eventually have 3,000 employees. [Emphasis mine.]
The Greenville workers aren't the only ones feeling the effects of globalization:
Electrolux, the world's biggest white-goods maker, said yesterday it had reached a deal to end a strike at its AEG plant in Nuremberg, Germany, confirming the 2.3 billion crown ($438 million) closure of the plant.

Workers have been on strike at the German plant since late January over Electrolux's plans to close the factory, cutting around 1750 jobs, and move production to Poland and Italy.

Electrolux has said it will relocate about half of its plants in Europe and North America to Asia, eastern Europe and Mexico.
By the way, manufacturing wage costs in Germany are the world's second-highest. That seems to be the trend. Take good-paying jobs away from people with children, mortgages, etc., and give them to countries where people are willing to work for one-tenth of the wages. I'm all for raising the living standards of people across the world, but it needs to be done incrementally, equitably and fairly by people at all income levels. So far, most of the sacrifice seems to be coming at the expense of the lower and middle classes.


Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker said...

I mentioned this elsewhere today, but recently I was listening to those hippies at NPR and learned that 70 MILLION people in India were born into the "profession" of collecting the vast amounts of human excrement that is to be found everywhere...with their hands! Aside from the "ick" factor, how are we to compete with a people who will do this task for the equivalent of $20 per month? I mean, even Democrats won't stoop that low!

Kvatch said...

People do lose jobs as a result of globalization and it's painful for those who lose jobs,

Ah...yet again Bu$hCo demonstrates the touchstone of his administration...the ability to reduce the manifestly complex into one simplistic, scintilla of stupidity.

abi said...

A letter in yesterday's Boston Globe made an interesting point about outsourcing from India's perspective:

"[I]t is all too obvious that India has become a colony for foreign corporations. If the Western world ever changes its mind about doing business in India, the consequences will be calamitous."

Rex, thanks for that delightful imagery. It allowed me to revisit my yummy Sunday morning breakfast.

Kathy said...

Thanks for the link, Abi. I never looked at it from that viewpoint, and it goes to show you how fragile people's lifestyles are the world over.

Danger, I was wondering if Republicans would stoop that low? I already know they can dish out the excrement.

Neil Shakespeare said...

Certainly India is a nice market for goods manufactured by Bush's friends, who pay their workers, as you quote "one-tenth" of wages paid to workers in North America or Europe. "The New Slavery", it's been called, and I can't see it being called anything else. We are all becoming not citizens of nations, but corporate slaves.