The Global Economy and The 21st Century Robber Barons
The outsourcing of American jobs and formation of a global economic structure is not a natural evolution of market capitalism. Many a pundit proclaim that this growing global economic system is a manifestation of the efficiency of capitalism and what they call free markets. These same people attempt to convince us that the elimination of the American middle class and the economic destruction of entire communities will, in the long run, be good for our country. The reason or driving force behind both the outsourcing of American jobs and the formation of a global economy is the opportunity for the 21st Century Robber Barons to regain control. At the beginning of the industrial revolution the Robber Barons of the 19th century, had complete control over all the components of production and distribution. Their companies were completely unburdened by unions, environmental laws or safety concerns. They were allowed to pursue the acquisition of wealth with no regard to the consequences of that acquisition. Gradually, the workers in what we know as, the (post-industrial) countries of the world, rose up to form Brotherhoods. One of the first functions of these Brotherhoods was to provide small death benefits to the widows and children of men killed on the job. These Brotherhoods over the years eventually grew into labor unions. It was this union movement that pressured for the enactment of laws to control and regulate the Robber Barons unrestrained pursuit of profits. Universal free education for our nations children was an early union cause. Not only did the workers of the time want their children to benefit and have a right to a basic education, but they also knew that public education in combination with child labor laws would completely remove children from the factory floors. Most of the basic worker protections that we take for granted today are a direct result of these first worker Brotherhoods.
As a result of this natural evolution of workers rights and the enactment of laws to protect the environment, the post-industrial countries of the world no longer provide fertile ground for unrestrained exploitation and profit. The Robber Barons of the 21st Century have redirected their resources to the fertile ground of the many Third World countries of the world that are just beginning their own industrial revolutions. These countries are willing to sacrifice their people, their resources and their environments for what they see as the lavish rewards of unrestrained profit taking. What makes all this possible is the relatively inexpensive shipping systems that have made the efficient movement of merchandise around the globe a daily reality. Without this shipping system, the exploitation of these emerging Third World countries would be just a gleam in a Robber Baron’s eye.
It has been a 100 years since the first workers of the post-industrial countries of world rose up to demand change. It has been 100 years since the Robber Barons have been able to rape and pillage the land and its people without restraint. Now, at the beginning of the 21st Century they move their campaigns to the Third World. They begin again their unfulfilled mission; to exploit the planet’s resources and its people, for the maximum profit possible.
Labels: global economy