American business has focused the last 30 years on eliminating the cost of labor. With massive downsizing, outsourcing of work to countries with low standards of living, and new efficiencies in automation, American business has very significantly reduced the need for much of a work force. American business was quite willing to relinquish manufacturing, in which America led the world when it was creating the worlds most successful and powerful economy, in order to eliminate its reliance upon labor. So, now we are faced with perennially anemic jobs reports that portend a feeble economy and a descent into poverty for the American work force. This is what American business has striven so mightily to achieve. It succeeded. So, why do business leaders and politicians express wonder at the weak, depressing job reports? The economy is in the shape that three decades of concentrated effort to subjugate the working class put it in.
The U.S. has compiled a record of 30 years of wage stagnation and job losses. It has all the financial statistics showing the burgeoning growth of wealth for the top financial 10 percent of Americans with the top 1 percent holding a phenomenal percentage of the nation's wealth and garnering earnings just as phenomenal. I repeat those statistics, here, and they should be repeated until Americans understand that they mean America the democratic republic is no more:
- The top 1 percent of Americans hold 23.5 percent of the wealth.
- The top 10 percent of Americans hold 83 percent of the wealth.
- The top 1 percent of Americans gather 10 percent of the income.
- The top 10 percent of Americans gather 49 percent of the income.
- The bottom 90 percent of Americans share 27 percent of the nation's wealth.
- The bottom 90 percent of Americans divide 51 percent of the nation's income.
If real, live human persons did the things that corporate "persons" do they'd be charged as traitors, subversives, bribers, organized criminals, and sociopaths.
The outsourcing of jobs was a ploy to get around labor contracts and health and safety regulations. Apple's use of Foxconn in China and the conditions under which its iPhones were manufactured is evidence of how global corporations view their workers. The workforce in China is so impoverished (the top workers at Foxconn earned $450 a month) that they were willing to endure almost anything for a chance at subsistence survival. The workers cannot strike or bargaining collectively for better conditions. They threatened mass suicide, following an alarming incidence of suicides in the plant, as a better option to their working conditions and compensation. Southern America enjoyed a life of opulence and power on its slave-based economy. Corporations find a personnel policy based upon gratitude from workers for allowing them to live at all is the best. Labor negotiations and health, safety, and environmental standards are an irrelevant nuisance to what is regarded as good business. If America is to compete, in the minds of the corporate hierarchy, its workers must accept a new ignominy if their lords decide to allow them to live.
Another aspect of American business is that the financial sector has become the dominant force. Venture capitalism is intertwined with speculation and manipulation of junk bonds and derivatives, which are totally divorced from productivity and functional economic exchange. In the ecosystem, we know that nature will collapse when parasites and predators become the dominant factors at work. And that, essentially, is what has happened to the American economy. Those who create and produce have been relegated to expendables by those who leech and prey. An economy geared to the subsidiary and derivative business schemes will not produce jobs. It will produce only carcasses.
President Obama has a huge weakness. He clings to the idea that maybe he can compromise with his opponents to find ways to produce jobs. The financial sector and the manufacturers, such as the auto-makers, were very willing to accept bailouts and loans. But when asked to restrain destructive and predatory business practices and accept rules that contribute to the health, safety, and well-being of the working classes, they turn against him.
There is a growing number of working people who really don't give a shit whether Obama gets re-elected. It doesn't matter if Obama or Romney is president as long as corporations operating under the current anti-worker attitudes and philosophies control the government.
The only option workers really have is not between Democratic and Republican candidates; it is in choosing between countries or governments. This country is trending toward Wisconsin's Scott Walker, who envisions America becoming a Foxconn, where workers have no voice, only the ultimate act of suicide to express their discontents. The other choice is in assessing whether our current Constitution actually provides the means for freedom, equality, and justice.
Those concepts are not in the corporate vocabulary.
[For a quick review of American trends for workers, check out this piece on public workers and this one on restaurant workers.]