Globalization: Watching America Unravel

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Sep 282010
 

The time line for the demise of America can be measured in decades. A number of human caused problems are having an adverse effect on our planet, problems that will bring a violent change to what was once, at least, manageable. Overpopulation by humans and a consumer driven economy is resulting in the predicted shortage of resources that are essential for life on earth; food, water and energy. There should be no more than a billion people living on earth at the current level of comfort. There is no way we can continue living with nine billion by 2050. That verdict is in and we are about to pay for our neglect.

Plenty of people, to CEOs, mean more customers to “grow their business”, a project that will never end. But it will end, and soon. In a globalized world, filled with billions of potential cheap employees, workers in the developed nations are losing their good-paying jobs to these pliable new workers under trade agreements. American workers are being hit hard as corporations (Microsoft for example) are firing Americans and hiring imported workers from India and other nations or moving their operations overseas.

Trade agreements, the rules for governing member nations, have no mechanisms for the enforcement of fair treatment for the environment or workers. Unemployment is high because American multinational companies can ship jobs overseas or bring in workers to the U.S., then fire their American employees. A current example is Whirlpool, which closed its plant in Indiana this summer and moved 1100 jobs to Mexico. Corporations want to maximize profits by keeping costs of production low. And shopping the world for cheap labor is the easiest way to do this. CEOs don’t have allegiance to any one nation, just to their business worldwide, their bottom line.  Every company in America can leave for foreign shores if they decide it’s in their best interest. (The first link above is the best explanation of why Americans won’t be getting many jobs.)

Bill Clinton is responsible for all the wonderful benefits NAFTA has brought to the American workers.Many millions of jobs that have been harbored safely within the borders of the U.S. as an active part of the U.S. economy have been moved to distant locations outside the U.S. where labor costs are significantly reduced… or at least, that is the theory. The outsourcing of U.S. jobs, often referred to as ‘offshoring’, while not new, has become quite prolific since the advent of NAFTA by the Clinton administration.”

In 2004 I was talking with my friend Don about globalization, NAFTA and shipping American jobs overseas to cheap labor and bringing in cheap workers on work visas, especially from Mexico and India, to replace Americans. The goal is to lower the wages of American workers in order to compete with the third world. I said that globalization, based on cheap labor and cheap oil, would destroy our nation.

Corporations want to replace American workers with foreigners on a temporary contract basis with little or no benefits. They want a global workforce that they can utilize anytime, anywhere. They want a world in which the wealthy and their partners in Congress and the White House rule and the workers serve at the pleasure of of the corporations. Wages for Americans are going to be driven down to a level more compatible with the third world  when our leaders can finally integrate North America and open up the continent to everyone. The more workers available, the lower the wages drop.

Don asked, “Well, if you put Americans out of work, no one will be able to buy anything. What then? Everything collapses. That doesn’t make sense.”

I said, “Exactly. Evidently no one has considered the consequences or they don’t care.”

That economic collapse came true in 2008. James Howard Kunstler predicted in 2005 that the bogus mortgages made out of thin air and mortgages given to millions who could not afford them, would cause the economy to run off the tracks in three years. And soon we would be running out of enough energy and other resources to sustain the system and globalization would collapse. This scenario will play out over the next two decades as the world’s merchants, caught up in the chase for easy money, say full speed ahead. They don’t see the abyss in the distance that scientists are predicting.

We won’t be able to meet the demands from a world with two billion more people and a growing ‘middle class” in places such as China, Brazil, and India. Britain’s chief scientist, John Beddington, “said that food reserves are at a 50-year low but the world requires 50 per cent more energy, food and water by 2030.” But we won’t have it. And this perfect storm “would create war, unrest and mass migration.”

The world’s experts seem to be in agreement that, indeed, the facts are lining up and predictions are that we are quickly approaching this moment of truth. Most Americans will be here to experience it up close and personal. But no help is on the way.

Kunstler said this would be America’s long emergency.* This long emergency has no end date. He predicted that resource shortages would put an end to suburbia and big box stores (Wal-Mart). We will be stepping back to a simpler time. So the next three decades are going to be the most important period in the history of the world (at least the human phase of it).

And much higher unemployment will be the norm from now on. Any job you have will not be secure. CEOs don’t give a rat’s derriere if you have a job or not. That social contract doesn’t exist anymore. These are multinational corporations and most of the money they make comes from their overseas operations. American workers will find it extremely difficult to find a job without taking a pay cut. Workers are just part of the process, as in transportation, equipment and buildings. A tool of production.

Foreigners are the weapons used to bring America’s wages down. It has been called “the race to the bottom” because there is no final wage scale. The goal is how low can you go. A corporate type on CNBC recently complained that they need to get rid of the unions, then we can compete.

Except he did not say that corporations would then hire workers or that they would be American workers. Since the business sector fought for NAFTA and paid off a number of congressmen and women to pass it and increase work visas for importing millions of workers yearly to replace Americans, does anyone think CEOs will be looking to hire their fellow citizens?

Do you think Wal-Mart is a great company because they sell items cheap? This is one company that you can put the blame on for Americans permanently out of work. Back in the 1990s Wal-Mart led the move to China and other nations that offer cheap labor (back then 14 cents per hour and a 90 hour work week). Suppliers and stores (Sears, Target) had to abandon the United States in order to sell to Wal-Mart or compete with it.

When Wal-Mart opens a store in your town, some of your hometown stores go out of business because they can’t compete. And once that’s done, sometimes Wal-Mart CEOs aren’t satisfied with their store’s performance, so they shut it down and leave town also. Now that town has no more stores to supply them with their needs and more jobs are lost.

Americans. This is where your jobs will continue to go. Unless you can live on $3.50 an hour.It’s true that unions have sometimes negotiated excellent agreements with corporations. Workers were able to buy houses and nice cars. Life was good. But if you abolish unions, there is no bottom; except the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. Mexican automakers produce GM autos for a maximum of $3.50 an hour (2008). So you can kiss the American middle class goodby forever. That’ what the corporations want. And your Mexican neighbors are going to make it happen.

Robert Pastor, the inspiration for the plan, Building a North American Community, said that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) “was merely the first draft of an economic constitution for North America.” The rules and regulations of NAFTA, an “economic” integration of Canada, Mexico and the United States, trump all conflicting laws and ordinances at every level of government in all three nations. And the appointed NAFTA trade tribunal is, in its area of competence, the court of last resort in the United States. Even over the U.S. Supreme Court.

The tribunals have already exercised sovereignty in all three NAFTA nations. Trade agreements essentially run North America. And CEOs from all three NAFTA members have presented legislation to their leaders for the “deeper” integration of North America, including a new border (2005) for the continent which will open the internal borders of Canada, the United States and Mexico so that citizens of North America can “live and work” anywhere on the continent. Massive, growing and permanent unemployment is guaranteed for Americans.

Globalization is a failure but corporations are not backing down. They want the government to keep hands off. They want the freedom to operate without restraints and Congress seems content with that. Do you like the present economic meltdown? There’s more where that came from.

Julian Cribb, scientist and author of “The Coming Famine” has this worst case scenario:

He “describes a world where famine has broken out in several locations, leading to wars and hundreds of millions of refugees wandering the globe looking for food and shelter” His forecast is likely to happen since the time for preventive action has passed.

As the situation deteriorates over the next few decades, hunger will be a major threat to world order as food supplies can’t keep up with demand. Mass migration will put the United States in peril.

Mexicans claim 20,000 Brown Berets in America. They say they will reconquer their stolen land.The countries at risk will be Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. They will go to the same place for relief as before, only in huge numbers. Haitians know the way to America and they will empty their island. Florida will be ground zero. In addition to 100 million more people in America by 2038 (current rate is over 3 million a year), Mexico will inundate the Southwest U.S., creating or intensifying  a major food crisis, settling in an area that can no longer supply water for this region. Many illegals will go east. Phoenix and Las Vegas could be abandoned, according to some projections, well before 2050. There are many possibilities, all bad.

Kunstler wrote “The Long Emergency” four years before George W. Bush assigned a combat unit (2008) to permanent duty in North America for the first time as part of a tri-national response force under NORTHCOM (Northern Command), consisting of Canada, Mexico and the United States. One of its duties will be to respond to civil unrest throughout the continent.

He also wrote about the problem with the Mexican desire to reconquer the Southwest United States, the land that was “stolen” from them in 1848. In this period of turmoil caused by resource shortage, Kunstler sees a long conflict with what we Americans call, Mexican invaders.

Kunstler:

The battle for the Southwest will be a “tragic and quixotic historical event because the inevitable falloff in oil and gas supplies will drastically reduce the carrying capacity of the ‘Aztlan’ region for all human life, whatever its race or national origin. Two groups will be fighting for control over territory that will be unable to support either. It could take decades for that tragic scenario to play out. In the meantime, we can expect mounting friction between the newcomers (Mexican invaders) and autonomous American paramilitaries, with the federal government rendered ineffective to deal with either immigration or the violent reaction to it.”

This may all seem unreal outside of the structured and restricted worldview of some but the documentation supports it. The world is changing quickly and not for the better. Several years ago I rode out three major hurricanes in six weeks. The last one took out the power. There was no gasoline, no banks open, grocery stores were empty. One gas station was open for a few hours and ran out. Tempers were starting to flare. Mosquitoes were everywhere and sleeping was impossible because of the heat and humidity. I had enough food to carry me through five days but I lost ten pounds before supplies came in.

Now think about this. In the future described above, your survival will be your responsibility.

*The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler, Grove Press, New York, 2005.