Thursday, April 10, 2008

Harold Meyerson gets it:
What's been missing in America's trade policy is a preference for Americans. The object of trade in China is to help the Chinese nation. German trade is designed to help Germany; Scandinavian, to help the Scandinavian nations. This is not the case here. General Electric goes abroad to lower costs and boost profits. Goldman Sachs invests abroad in the same kind of low-wage, high-profit enterprises. That's the mission of such businesses. But the U.S. government has never taken on the mission of defending the American economy, or the American people, in the global economy. That is not the only reason the broadly shared prosperity of the three decades following World War II is now a distant memory, but it is a certainly a major reason.
Of course, that sentiment is something "liberal" Brad DeLong disagrees with since he likes trade policy that helps folks elsewhere, even if it comes at the expense of domestic workers.

A comment in the thread for that OpEd reads:
When I was in France one of my teachers explained the difference between the anglo countries (UK and USA) and the non-anglo countries (the non-English speaking western European countries). And I think he is correct.

In the non-anglo countries, the middle class has a strong class identity. They know who they are and they watch out for their interests. Most have recently been hurt by nobility and there is a recent history of strikes and revolutions. If you read LeMond you see the constant strikes and the constant struggle for wages and decent living standards.

In the anglo countries, the middle class has no class awareness. Only the aristocracy is aware of the class structure of the society - and they tell the peons that the peons live in a classless society. And the peons buy into it.

In this situation, the anglo aristocracy is very successful at watching out for the interests of their class. They sooth the peons over the great inequality in wealth that exists in anglo society by saying that some of the wealth will "trickle down" .... someday.
Is that true? It's certainly true that when people talk the way Meyerson does, they are often attacked for waging "class warfare" (which is seen as the precursor for a socialist agenda), especially by the right wing media.


Post a Comment