Friday, December 02, 2005

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.



Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Thank you for the lesson that we all too often forget, that the life we take for granted at the end of every week, we owe to the great sacrifices of the workers who came before us. We stood by while the Robber Barons turned to underdeveloped countries in order to pursue their lust for money and now we are paying the price. Our negligence has allowed for our country to yet again become fertile ground for the Robber Barons and we are faced with fighting a war we thought was already won.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous OHenry said...

At one time communities would seek counsel from the elders on matters of import. More experience usually translated into lessons learned. Having survived my share of crises, I am still around to share a thought or two. The main lesson is to never stop learning. Reading is good as is seeking other points of view and new ideas like visiting your blog. Finding what is ultimately important leads one to appreciate actuality, efficiency and mindfulness. Helping others to see some of the forest through the trees is another. happy thoughts

3:11 PM  

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