Monday, 20 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • The Shell Game of Contingent Employment

    When subcontractors, freelancers and independent contractors get hurt or abused on the job, these workers are finding it harder to hold employers accountable. This is no accident - it's a direct result of a neoliberal labor agenda.

  • Paying the Price of Tar Sands Expansion

    Despite all the reasons to keep tar sands in the ground, the refining equipment tax credit has helped put tar sands development in the US on the rise, accelerating climate change at the expense of US taxpayers.

Japan's Earthquake Jolts Shreveport

Monday, 04 April 2011 04:30 By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

Globalization's "efficiency' is nothing but a cross-your-fingers fantasy.

The corporate chieftains who've relentlessly pushed American factories and middle-class jobs offshore rationalize this globalization of production by declaring that it's all about efficiency, as though that's the highest value to which a civilization can aspire.

Values aside, however, the problem with corporate efficiencies is that too often they are simply not efficient. The corporate scheme of moving stuff from A to B to G to Y to achieve the narrow goal of maximizing profits can look so simple, sensible, and even slick in a boardroom Power Point presentation. This is largely because it ignores inconvenient realities, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear meltdowns.

For example, Shreveport, Louisiana has been jolted by the horrific one-two-three blow that has pummeled Japan. What hit Shreveport was not a seismic aftershock, a tsunami, or a radioactive nuclear plume--but the inherent fragility of the distant supplier networks built by profiteering globalizers. A GM truck plant in this city has shut down because one truck part, made at a factory in a devastated area of Japan, isn't presently available. One part. Amazing. Cars and trucks have about 20,000 parts, but the inability to get even a single one delivered from abroad can bring an entire assembly line to a halt.

GM's bean counters had decided at some point that they could have this gizmo made in and shipped from Japan a bit cheaper than making it here. So GM and other globalizers have made themselves--and all of us--dependent on an unreliable, far-flung network of foreign factories. Moreover, these scattered suppliers also are at their suppliers' mercy--a plastic gadget-maker in Japan, for example, might rely on a Chinese factory for the chemical to make the plastic.

Globalization's "efficiency" is nothing but a cross-your-fingers fantasy.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


Japan's Earthquake Jolts Shreveport

Monday, 04 April 2011 04:30 By Jim Hightower, OtherWords | Op-Ed

Globalization's "efficiency' is nothing but a cross-your-fingers fantasy.

The corporate chieftains who've relentlessly pushed American factories and middle-class jobs offshore rationalize this globalization of production by declaring that it's all about efficiency, as though that's the highest value to which a civilization can aspire.

Values aside, however, the problem with corporate efficiencies is that too often they are simply not efficient. The corporate scheme of moving stuff from A to B to G to Y to achieve the narrow goal of maximizing profits can look so simple, sensible, and even slick in a boardroom Power Point presentation. This is largely because it ignores inconvenient realities, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear meltdowns.

For example, Shreveport, Louisiana has been jolted by the horrific one-two-three blow that has pummeled Japan. What hit Shreveport was not a seismic aftershock, a tsunami, or a radioactive nuclear plume--but the inherent fragility of the distant supplier networks built by profiteering globalizers. A GM truck plant in this city has shut down because one truck part, made at a factory in a devastated area of Japan, isn't presently available. One part. Amazing. Cars and trucks have about 20,000 parts, but the inability to get even a single one delivered from abroad can bring an entire assembly line to a halt.

GM's bean counters had decided at some point that they could have this gizmo made in and shipped from Japan a bit cheaper than making it here. So GM and other globalizers have made themselves--and all of us--dependent on an unreliable, far-flung network of foreign factories. Moreover, these scattered suppliers also are at their suppliers' mercy--a plastic gadget-maker in Japan, for example, might rely on a Chinese factory for the chemical to make the plastic.

Globalization's "efficiency" is nothing but a cross-your-fingers fantasy.

Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus