There is more to this than "just jobs"
Campaign for America's Future has an interesting story up on how free trade has been integral in crushing our economy. In discussing his book, “The Betrayal of American Prosperity,” author Clyde Prestowitz hits on many issues like the incentives that China has used to draw in manufacturing jobs and their many investments in big ticket infrastructure items as well a combination of other lesser factors that are driving the industry to set up shop in China:
On the website of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, an article confirms that the Chinese government was “influential in persuading Intel to setup its semiconductor manufacturing plant in Dalian,” and notes that, among other things, the Chinese government is building high-speed rail links, new highways and port facilities that would support new industry in Dalian and surrounding areas.
These are just some of the many economic investments that China is making in revamping their entire economy.
Recently, during our world wide economic disaster and our own ongoing Healthcare Reform debate, I and many other Bloggers had noted that China was making a major investment creating a new Single Payer healthcare system partly as a way to drive down the costs for Corporations and partly as a long term job creation strategy in order to create an entirely new economy for their nation of higher paying medical jobs that repay not only the government in the tax base they create as a means of recouping some of the initial investments but also repay the Corporations that may have shoulder some of the burden's of healthcare costs with healthier workers that will, in the long run, be more productive. Sick workers have always been a drain on any economy where workers have little to no access to Doctors and have to show up to work sick or miss more days of work because they can not afford the proper treatment. Never mind the burdens on governments when, like in the USA, people that can not afford healthcare walk in to Hospitals when they are so sick they are often at a point where treatment is more costly than if they had been able to access treatment earlier on.
There are so many factors that may be lesser or greater but the combination of all of the incentives China has created for drawing in manufacturers can not be denied. And this has become an increasingly serious problem for the USA and our need to address it is not all about securing the jobs that we have been bleeding for decades, as glaringly important as that particular issue clearly is. And China, by no means, is not the only "enemy" in this fight for good jobs.
For one thing, it is also, in my humble opinion, a very serious matter of National Security. Case in point? Intel's decision to build a manufacturing facility in China:
Intel is indeed the sponsor of the latest act of the betrayal of American workers, who were told by the apostles of free trade and conservative corporatism that it’s OK if nitty-gritty manufacturing jobs went overseas; our supremacy in technology would create opportunities that would more than make up for the blue-collar jobs that were being rapidly exported.
But later this year Intel will open a $2.5 billion plant in Dalian, China that is just the latest example of how the free-traders’ line has proven false. The plant will serve China’s huge demand for lower-end processors, but there is speculation that if Intel can work around U.S. technology export controls, it would move higher-end production to the new facility as well.
At a presentation at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington May 18, Prestowitz used Intel as Exhibit A in how American workers are losing as a result of misplaced faith in free-marked orthodoxy and failed American economic policy. “The Betrayal of American Prosperity” details the history and consequences of this failure and offers policy recommendations for rebuilding the country’s job base.
“We’re in a world in which all of the incentives are such as to facilitate the movement of production of tradable goods and the provision of tradable services out of the United States,” Prestowitz said. “It doesn’t matter if they are low-tech, high-tech or medium-tech, they are all moving out.”
More and more of these high tech jobs are bleeding overseas and over time we have seen more and more production of sensitive items that have become vital to both our financial infrastructure and our military infrastructure go, as well.
We already outsource the manufacturing of important military equipment to a great extent, but can you imagine the what may happen to much of the backbone of that equipment if the high tech weaponry, communications, etc., and the means used to co-ordinate our modern day military are all being produced in the hands of those that have no regard for our national security?
In China's case, and at this point in time, the USA has developed a somewhat self-destructing symbiotic economic relationship while simultaneously draining our production jobs in exchange for cheap goods and creating a financial dependency on both sides of the trade divide that could easily threaten our economic place in the world.
If this economic relationship were suddenly cut off China's ride would become bumpy as all heck. But they would likely have the easier ride out of it than we would because they have a real economy, a growing economy that actually makes things, to help keep them going.
But destabilization of this particular relationship for the USA?
It would likely leave us stuck in a bankrupt state financially, and unable to provide some of the most basic products we need for the American people to eat, live and survive. Never mind being even able to defend ourselves militarily.
This issue is really that big and that important. And I am not sure that the American government even knows what to do regardless of whether they are in a position to do anything about it anymore.
Given the actions of our own three branches of government; the Executive (President), the Legislative (Senate and House of Representatives) and Judicial (Supreme Court and lower Courts) over the last four or five decades, we know that Corporations have a stranglehold on our government and have only strengthened their grasp.
In a way, these Corporations have become super-human behemoths in their rights, while slowly and completely taking over the executive and legislative branches and they have controlled them so long that they have ensured to slow takeover of our judiciary through corporate friendly judges being appointed without regard to the real people - Just look at the recent and ludicrous "Citizens vs United" to prove that point.
Corporations already have more power than you and I because they have all of the money and all of the politicians in their pockets, and in order to ensure they continue things this way in perpetuity they have managed, over time, to put themselves in a position to acquire more rights than you and I.
I know this is kind of straying from one subject to another... And there are serious issues we need to resolve at home before we will ever be in a position to solve the international ones that affect us, as well.