The United States of America is unquestionably one of the most economically developed countries in the world. Apparently, with the riches come the self-interestedness and indifference towards the difficulties of others (try the 90-100 billion dollar’s worth of food gone to the trash every year (What) when millions around the world are dying of hunger).
This indifference is not only for citizens abroad, but also for citizens within our country. With the availability of work for the labor force of our country steadily declining due to profit-seeking American corporations and the tip of the money-making pyramid becoming smaller and smaller, the poor are bound to get poorer, and the rich, richer.
In his expositive essay, “Why the Rich Are Getting Richer and the Poor, Poorer,” Robert Reich makes a very convincing argument stating that the growing discrepancy between the wages of white and blue-collared workers in America is due to an inevitable declining of the workforce in the country. With irrefutable data, he speaks of attributive factors such as cheaper labor abroad and advancing technology, which has been replacing many breathing, living human workers, to substantiate his claims.
Being one of the most developed countries in the world, America has a more costly standard living compared to other countries. Consequently, the people of those countries can live a comfortable life in their countries with a relatively much less income than the average workers of America. The result: cheaper labor abroad for large American corporations. The more profitable choice is painfully clear- why pay American workers to do simple, routine production when there are many others all over the world willing to do the same work for a fraction of the original wage? With transporting goods becoming more and more available and less pricey, it’s no wonder American companies are setting up factories worldwide for mass production.
... solely on the unfounded fear of white Americans. World War II created both a positive and negative ... employment and productivity. The war jump started America after its long depression by giving factories something ... of the war were almost all positive. The country's GNP (gross national product), the total ... not to weekly earnings. By working overtime, workers could still earn a good deal more money. ...
To deliver his point more effectively, Reich lists plenty of “big-named” corporations. The easiest to follow is AT&T, a magnate in the telephone industry. According to Reich, AT&T hired routine producers in Louisiana to assemble standard telephones until it realized that workers in Singapore would cost much less. Then, as the company once again discovered an even cheaper labor force in Thailand, the Singaporeans were out of the job just as the earlier Lousianians (397).
It’s not simply manufacturing industries that seek lower wages. Routine data processing, requiring just as little skill as routine production, is equally open to any worker anywhere in the world willing to bid the lowest for it. As data base connection world-wide becomes ever easier through satellite internet connections and other rapidly advancing technological gizmos, data-processing firms, such as Saztec International, have found it practical to hire much cheaper and willing workers abroad, leaving many Americans jobless (397).
As if competing with fellow human beings isn’t enough trouble for American workers, machines have begun to take over as well. “Automated tellers, computerized cashiers, automatic car washes, robotized vending machines,” (Reich) and many more substitutes for actual in-person servers have come with the new waves of technology. The machines give companies the advantages of efficiency and lower costs, which can label breathing in-person servers as obsolete.
Of course, how can you blame a company for wanting to spend less money? That’s what the white-collared workers are paid for: finding more efficient and quicker ways for their companies’ productions. These “strategic brokers,” as Reich calls them, don’t go out on hunts for cheaper labor merely to ruin the lives of their blue-collared workers; they’re doing what they’re paid to do. As their ingenious plans prove profitable to their companies, their salaries are bound to rise. The more money one helps a company save, the more money he/she deserves. Doesn’t that make perfect sense? Never mind that you’re helping millions of fellow American citizens lose jobs; you’re making a bundle for yourself.
... the rich. Nineteenth century American industrialization relied upon poverty and immigration for its success. Industrialization grew due to an increase of workers and ... of 1893, the leader of the Pullman Palace railroad Car Company, George Pullman, laid off 3, 000 - 5, 800 employees, ... so large in number that they would take almost any job for any wage. Large owners of factories and business tycoons ...
Apparently, it’s not simply American dollars that are flowing out abroad. American engineers, scientists and researchers are highly sought after all over the world for their ideas and works (404).
They have no reason to confine themselves to the borders of their country when they have more enriching opportunities abroad. In that, many more job opportunities for Americans go to foreign nations.
Perhaps these millions of jobless workers can be seen as compensation to the world as global economy seeks to balance itself. A country can only be so rich and powerful alone for so long. Perhaps the seemingly indifferent America is unconsciously being very generous to the needy world so freely selling ideas and jobs.
As American dollars and ideas flow out into foreign nations, those countries are bound to develop. One day, American corporations’ strategic brokers may begin to notice a higher wage demand from foreigners who were once very content with their underdeveloped standards of life, by then probably much improved from America’s unwitting generosity. That could begin to create more jobs for average Americans in their homeland. Perhaps then, the growing discrepancy between the poor and the rich will begin to get smaller as the first would have more jobs, and the latter, less. But as facts stand now, that day seems quite far away. For a while, the rich will get richer and the poor, poorer.
Reich, Robert. “Why the Rich Are Getting Richer and the Poor, Poorer.”
The McGraw-Hill Reader: Issues Across the Disciplines 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. 395-407.
What a Waste! 28 Mar. 2005. < http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s1256017.htm>
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