The Pauperization of America’s Middle Class is being accomplished by a concerted effort by American-based Corporations who are moving industries and jobs to low-wage, no-benefits foreign economies along with local efforts to bust unions and destroy communities. In the longrun, America will be destroyed but the Power Elite care not because they intend to own the wreckage.
Below will be found an excerpt from Richard Wolff’s essay in THE GUARDIAN (July 9, 2013)
Manufacturing moved first, but within two decades, service capitalism joined the exodus. Capital first abandoned the Detroits, Clevelands, and Camdens of the US. Now, it abandons the country more generally. Similar moves afflict the more developed countries in Europe and Japan as well, although in ways that reflect their different histories, including the greater strengths of their working-class organizations. Even Germany, despite its special price, legal and other advantages within the European Union, confronts growing pressures from German capitalists relocating to places with lower wages, benefits, and government social services.
Capitalism is now reconfiguring centers and their hinterlands on a truly global scale. The US increasingly approaches the formerly “third world” pattern of a few centers surrounded by vast layers of more or less desperate hinterland dwellers. In the language of US politics, its “middle class” disappears.
Capitalism’s great relocation places a remarkable political question on history’s agenda today: can the system survive its relocation?
Capitalism grew successfully in its old centers despite working-class oppositions, expressed by labor unions, socialist and communist parties, anti-capitalist intellectuals and artists and by the resistances of its colonized subordinates. Part of that success – a basis of its 200-year global hegemony – was the ability of its working classes to wrest rising wages and/or standards of living.
In sharp contrast, capitalism’s great relocation now underway both presses and enables capitalists to cease raising wages and standards of living in its former, old centers (Europe, North America and Japan). Indeed, it is lowering them.
Competition requires capitalists to raise wages instead in the newer, growing centers, where new sections of better-paid workers arise.
Will capitalism in its old centers of North America, Europe and Japan be able to hold the grudging support of their working classes, as it now delivers long-term declines of wages, working conditions, and living standards? Can capitalism achieve the social acceptance in the new centers that its first 200 years found in the old centers?
Even if it can, the working classes in the old centers may soon withdraw their traditional acceptance. If they do, monumental social struggles pitting supporters against opponents of capitalism are our future.
Richard D Wolff’s latest book is “CAPITALISM HITS THE FAN: THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN”