Ford Motor Company announced On January 23 that it will be cutting as many as 30,000 jobs and will shut down 14 factories as a result of continuing losses.
Ford, now hires about 123,000 workers in North America and lost $5.5 billion in those operations in 2005.
General Motors Corporation last year decided to close all or part of 12 plants and 30,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2008.
With China’s recent introduction of a car selling for $10,000 in the U.S., Ford and GM have hit the wall. They have been building big SUV’s in recent years and now that gas prices are rising dramatically their sales are dropping significantly. The workers on the China car are making $3.50 an hour compared to the good wages and benefits at the unionized auto plants in the U.S.
Television manufacturing in China pays workers there about 50 cents an hour. Thus TV manufacturing is virtually non-existent in the U.S. any more. On and on the story goes ……
Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld has a “strategy guy” by the name of Thomas Barnett. Barnett’s job is to teach “military transformation” to high level Pentagon officers and CIA operatives. I’ve seen Barnett on C-SPAN several times during the past year saying that we are not going to have industrial jobs in the U.S. anymore. The big corporations will move overseas where production costs can be significantly lowered.
America’s role in corporate globalization will be “security export” says Barnett. We will build the weapons systems and send our children into endless war in order to protect the profits of the corporate elite. Under corporate globalization, Barnett says, there are places called “the non-integrating gap” that have not yet submitted to the authority of the new world order. The job of the U.S. will be to go into the “non-integrating gap” and make sure these countries comply with the dictates of corporate globalization.
Barnett has identified the gap as the Middle East (where we fight in Iraq today), Central Asia (where we are now building six permanent bases in Afghanistan), Africa (where Barnett says the U.S. will be fighting for oil 20 years from now), and Latin America (where you have Venezuela and others not carrying the water for big business).
Barnett says that the U.S. won’t do international treaties anymore because they would limit the ability of the Pentagon to do preemptive first-strike attack on any country that is not complying with corporate globalization.
What does this mean for social spending back home? As the job base dries up in the U.S. so will the tax base at the local-state-federal levels. There will increasingly be cuts in social programs. Education will be cut and privatized so that only the children of the rich can afford, without incurring massive debt, a college education. Thus the only real job prospects for many young people will be in the military – endless warriors. Thus the Pentagon’s statement that there will be no need for a draft. When the military is the only job around legions of poor and working class kids will have few other options.
This is the not-so-bright picture that the corporate dominated government of the U.S. is creating for us. It will become a reality if we don’t begin to protest now against this re-introduction of feudalism. We must fight to have a fair tax system in the U.S. that does not let the rich, powerful, and corporate elite get away with not paying taxes. We must fight for public education and affordable college options for our kids. We must fight to create new jobs in manufacturing sustainable technologies like solar, wind power and public mass transit systems. We must fight for health care for all. And we must escalate our educational work and action now, before it becomes too late.
BRUCE K. GAGNON is Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org