Sunday, March 6, 2011

Need A Job? Learn Cantonese or Mandarin...

...then move to China. That's what the Republicans (and corporate CEOs) are telling the unemployed to do. Acquire new job skills (language skills) and become more mobile (be willing to move to China).

But isn't it China who's supposed to be ran by evil dictators, who are the world's biggest human rights abusers, using forced abortions to control their population growth? Isn't it China who is constantly launching cyber attacks against the United States, and hasn't China caused the death of so many American soldiers in two major wars? Haven't American politicians been rewarding China by allowing American corporations to build so many factories in China, putting millions of Americans out of work, and causing our nation so much debt? Are average American citizens now being forced to learn the Chinese language if they want a job just to survive? Didn't America once fear that the Chinese might some day dominate the world, and hasn't corporate America been enabling them to do this for the past 40 years, just so these American CEOs could get rich today? Does any on this make any sense you?

A nation's economic health depends entirely on one thing only: Having or making something to sell to others. This could be:
   1) natural resources (like raw materials such as oil, ore, lumber, chemicals, etc.)
   2) food (something grown or bred like wheat and cattle)
   3) goods (something manufactured in factories using raw materials).

And whoever dominates these markets in global trade, also dominates the language used. Trade requires labor, which the American labor force seems to have an overabundance of as of 2008. The United States doesn't need any more people to mine gold, grow wheat, or build cell phones. There is no shortage of labor, the job market is over-saturated. That's why such low wages are now being offered in America: An over-supply of anything brings the price down. America doesn't export, it imports. America doesn't make goods, it just buy goods from overseas.

With a workforce of only 150 million people but a U-6 unemployment rate approaching 20%, I find that rather odd when compared to the rest of the world. China has a workforce of 800 million people but with an unemployment rate of only 4% - why is that?

Cheaper labor. Had American corporations NOT moved their factories overseas, and instead stayed in America and paid their workers a living wage, they could not have produced cheaper goods to sell to other countries (emerging markets). Companies are never satisfied with a fixed or finite amount of income, like our stagnant salaries and wages. CEOs could never be expected to NOT receive a cost-of-living increase. Investors (stockholders) always need to see a return on their investments - and as a marketplace, Americans can only buy so much. So companies must constantly grow until a bubble is formed (market saturation), and then collapses. Then we start the process all over again, with a new business cycle in capitalism and global trade. We've seen these bubbles over and over again just since 1929 - stocks, savings and loans, dot-coms, housing, credit default swaps, etc.

The United States still has farms and grow lots of corn (while paying many not to grow anything at all), but we're running out of raw materials (oil production peaked 40 years ago), and most of our factories have already moved overseas.

So where does that leave us now? America now has a "service" economy: Serving cheeseburgers to people who work for companies that import products from China for sell to people who serve cheeseburgers in America. That's where we are now, and that's where we'll be for a very long time.

After watching Ali Velshi's segment on CNN yesterday, all my suspicions have been confirmed. For the current 15 million unemployed Americans, and especially for those 8.5 million people who lost their jobs during the Great Recession, there's only two things you can do going forward in 2011 to survive.
   1) Open your own business (such as making and selling cheeseburgers),
   2) Or learn "new job skills" then become more "mobile".

This has been verified; and this means that you either become an entrepreneur in America, or learn a manufacturing skill, such as those needed to become a production manager, and then learn Chinese (a language skill) and relocate to China (being more "mobile").

The discussion on Ali's show yesterday emphasized the fact that if you live in America, you can no longer just have a high school education and expect to work in a factory earning enough to buy a home and live a middle-class lifestyle (as we once could in the 1950s, like a steelworker once did back then). Those days are over, they are long gone - and those 8.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession have been permanently lost.

It's not that average high-school educated Americans can't adjust (like going back to school, etc.), or that they are any less intelligent, or that they are any less hard-working than Chinese workers, we just can't afford to be paid the same salaries as they earn in China...whether you're college educated or not.

Labor unions were formed to protect worker's wages, but companies just moved to China to avoid being fair.

American corporations don't build things in America like they once did it the 1950s, their factories were moved to China - - - so therefore, those job skills aren't needed in America any longer. So in essence, it's not necessarily our "job skills" that are no longer needed, it's our labor that's no longer needed. Without using a Chinese-to-English translation dictionary, I can easily interpret this to mean that "new job skills" translates into "new language skills".

People in other countries like China once educated themselves and learned English, then came to America for their better paying jobs. Now they just have to walk across the street and apply at an American company. A production manager in China might earn what an employee at McDonalds might earn in America. A steelworker, much less. And an employee at a McDonalds in China might be considered to be earning a "living wage". But who can live on $7 an hour in America?

That's what the CEOs meant when they said we need to learn "new jobs skills"...they meant language skills. That's what they meant when they said we have to become "more mobile"...not just be willing to relocate to another state, but to move to "where the jobs are"; by having the means and the will to move to the other side of the globe, to places such as China, where American corporations have moved most of the jobs.

In other words, as we go forward from here, unless you're willing to work for Chinese wages in America, then never expect to find a job in America paying a middle-class wage. This has been confirmed. You'll need new "skills" and need to be more "mobile". Those are the new code words.

Young people in the United States have always been encouraged to learn a foreign language, even when English was once the international language of business, because America was the economic powerhouse of the world. First, it was Spanish, because places such as South America had been the big "emerging market". But because China is now predicted to overtake the United States in GDP within the next few years, and they will also exceed America's middle-class as consumers (as it already has in Japan), Chinese will become the new international language of world trade.

While watching Ali Velshi's show today, the caption at the bottom of the screen had said it all: "Restoring the American Dream". Evidently some in the media have already conceded that yes, the American Dream has already been lost. But unless you're willing to learn to read and write and speak Chinese, and then move to China, that "American" dream is most likely lost forever. It will never be restored.

I just wish that all those American CEOs (who had outsourced all our jobs) would surrender their U.S. citizenships and move to China too. They can learn "new job skills" like reading, writing, and speaking Chinese...then they can live among all their employees, those who are now living the "Chinese Dream".

* Here's list of companies that sent work to other countries. It might have been much easier to compose a list of companies that DIDN'T outsource jobs.

1 comment:

  1. Actually Vietnam is the new paradise for the slave-dependent employers, not China. Seriously, the trade policies of the past thirty years, which have been largely as a result of the WTO and other neoliberal organizations, must be reversed to avoid almost certain bloodshed in this country. Bloodshed is going to happen in the United States if our elected officials refuse to do what is necessary.