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Short reflective response page . A page response on Michael Zweig (2012: Ch.7) Power and GlobalizationThe page response should include one page answering :what the reading tells us about structures of inequality?**Please use the reading and highlight key points to answer the question on the paper**Easy vocabulary.Do not summarize reading, its more of like what you got from the reading and what it reminds you at the present day or past so please relate it to other people or historic events or current social issues in the U.S(current events).USE READING ONLY.I will provide the pdf of the reading which is a chapter.

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Trade Is Trade, Foreign and Domestic
Copyright © 2011. Cornell University Press. All rights reserved.
Working class power sometimes seems impossible in the “global economy.” The
fact that a capitalist can pick up shop and move overseas is a formidable challenge
and a common threat when workers start to organize. But we sometimes forget
that the global economy is just the capitalist economy operating across national
boundaries. There is hardly any difference between international and interstate
trade, between domestic and international competition.
Often people think of the U.S. economy as somehow separate from the global
economy: our domestic economy is here, globalization is “out there” in China,
India, Honduras, and other countries now producing goods and services we used
to produce here. But global supply chains exist in which parts are made all over
the world and assembled somewhere into final products. Finance flows freely
across borders. People cross borders all over the world to find work, not just
into the United States. Trillions of dollars of goods and services are traded every
year beyond their countries of origin. With all this going on worldwide, we will
be better served to understand the global economy as an increasingly integrated
structure of markets in which people in the United States and in most other
countries engage in economic activity that draws us all into a common global
capitalist process.
All too often, critics of this global system divide the world into two broad
camps: the “global north,” representing the advanced capitalist countries, and the
“global south,” representing the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin
Zweig, Michael. The Working-Class Majority : America’s Best-Kept Secret, Cornell University Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook
Created from cunygc on 2019-01-21 19:16:41.
Copyright © 2011. Cornell University Press. All rights reserved.
America. These critics see the global south as victim of the raw self-interest
asserted in world politics by the powers of the global north. But this way of looking at the world confuses countries with classes. It conceals the fact that developing countries have elites within them that support global capitalism because
they benefit from it, sharing interests and aspirations with their counterparts in
the industrial countries. At the same time, the countries of the global north have
working classes whose interests challenge those of capitalists in all countries, and
who might ally with their counterparts in developing countries. On the global
stage, as well as within single countries, understanding class clarifies a political
question: Who are our friends and who are our enemies?1
One feature of globalization is the ability of capital to move across borders to
find cheap labor. Within the United States, workers have been dealing with the
problem of “runaway shops” as long as owners have moved business from one
city to another. Long before business moved from the United States to Mexico,
business moved from Massachusetts to South Carolina. From the point of view
of the worker whose job is leaving town, it hardly matters if it goes to a different
state or to a different country. Despite the power advantage that capitalists have
in their ability to move, workers have historically been able to make gains even
with capital moving between states. Today they are beginning to find the ways to
make gains in the global economy as well.
Media and financial analysts usually discuss international trade as though it
is a separate world from the domestic economy, but it is not. The same capitalist
principles and values that operate domestically operate globally, although the
fact that different countries are involved, with different currencies and economic
policies, creates complications. As we deal with globalization, it will be helpful to
keep careful track of what is similar and what is different about international
trade compared with the domestic economy. Although the differences tend to get
the attention, the similarities are more important.
The most important similarity is that trade can generally improve our lives,
including the lives of working class people. The first lesson of economics, going
all the way back to Adam Smith and still true, is that trade allows for specialization and the division of labor, which allow us to create more with limited
resources. This is a reason to welcome opportunities to trade. But two questions
arise about the benefits of trade: Who gets the added wealth made possible by
trade? And how can workers survive the instability caused by trading competition, which destroys some jobs as it creates others?
These problems appear in domestic trade just as much as in global trade. Jobs
cannot be saved from international competition any more or less than they can
be saved from domestic competition and economic change. The problem in each
case is how to deal with the transitions and the risks of trade, and how to use
Zweig, Michael. The Working-Class Majority : America’s Best-Kept Secret, Cornell University Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook
Created from cunygc on 2019-01-21 19:16:41.
Copyright © 2011. Cornell University Press. All rights reserved.
some of the gains from trade to pay for the costs. The techniques we can use to do
this domestically are available to handle international trade as well. But thus far
we haven’t solved these problems domestically any better than we have in global
trade, because the principal winners in both arenas, the capitalists, are reluctant
to give up their gains, and have done so only when push has come to political
and economic shove.
It makes no more sense to solve the problems created by international trade by
stopping that trade than it does to save jobs by stopping all trade between Oregon
and Nebraska. Pat Buchanan draws support for limiting international trade by
appealing to U.S. super-nationalism, and the militarism and racism that go with
it. For him, international trade is bad while domestic capitalism is good.2 But
why would a beef packer in Oregon feel better about losing her job to a worker
in Nebraska than to a worker in Argentina, except that one is North American
and the other is not?
International trade and capital flows present the same problems as domestic
trade and capital mobility, except that nationalism complicates the understanding people have of what is happening. Workers lose their jobs; that’s a problem. It
doesn’t matter who got the job or why. Make new jobs and train the workers for
them. That is part of a solution. When there are problems caused by international
trade, the focus needs to be on fixing the problems, not stopping the trade.
In 1980, I spoke with a group of workers in Minneapolis. International trade
was just coming into focus as a problem for American workers because of the
Japanese economy’s rising strength at the time. The workers from a local Ford
plant argued for high tariffs or import quotas or some other means to limit Japanese car imports, to save their jobs. Other workers in the room built thermostats
for Honeywell. They were sympathetic to the UAW people, listened carefully, and
wanted to find an answer. But they also pointed out that two-thirds of what they
made went to Germany. They wondered if saving auto workers’ jobs through
a quota would cost them their own jobs if the German government somehow
decided to restrict imports of Honeywell thermostats.
For a moment we counted jobs, comparing those that might be saved at the
Ford plant with those that might be lost at Honeywell, but it soon became clear
that the problem couldn’t be solved with that calculation. Why should one group
of workers be asked to sacrifice their jobs to save the jobs of another group? No
one thought that made sense.
The same issues come up in the continuing debate about the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that links the United States with Canada and
Mexico. Both advocates and opponents have spent a great deal of time comparing
the number of jobs lost to imports to the number of jobs created to supply new
export markets. But that comparison isn’t the point. Trade creates some jobs and
Zweig, Michael. The Working-Class Majority : America’s Best-Kept Secret, Cornell University Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook
Created from cunygc on 2019-01-21 19:16:41.
Copyright © 2011. Cornell University Press. All rights reserved.
wipes out others. Some winners will be U.S. workers, some Mexican and Canadian. The same is true for the losers. The point is to help those who lose their jobs,
not to complain about those who get them.
The problem that U.S. workers face isn’t caused by Mexican or Canadian
workers, any more than it is caused by workers in another state or city in the
United States. The problem comes from the capitalists who take the gains from
trade and then put workers into competition with one another, instead of using
some of those gains to smooth the difficult transitions that any change in trade
will cause. NAFTA is grossly unfair to workers. But the measure of that unfairness is not the number of jobs created or lost. It lies in the greater power NAFTA
gives to capitalists, while undermining the power workers have to join in the
gains from trade.
One indication of this inequality is the different way NAFTA treats capitalists
on the one hand and workers and the environment on the other, when disputes
arise. If a capitalist feels his or her business interests have been violated under
the terms of the treaty, enforcement mechanisms can result in fines and punitive tariffs against the offending party. But worker interests and environmental
protections are not part of the treaty. They are discussed in “side agreements”
that the Clinton administration negotiated on top of the basic agreement, which
it had inherited from the first Bush administration in a form that was completely
silent about labor and the environment. The side agreements state good intentions, but offer no enforcement mechanism. Violations go unpunished if workers
or the environment are injured.
We saw a vivid indication of this power difference in the days just before
NAFTA went to a vote in Congress in November 1993. Many industries jockeyed
for favors in the final package, lobbying intensely through their trade associations
to have their products made exempt from the treaty. Unions strongly opposed
the whole deal because of the weakness of the side agreements. Even though the
Clinton administration and treaty advocates bitterly criticized labor’s opposition as the pursuit of narrow special interest, at the last minute Clinton gave
special assurances to sugarcane and citrus growers. Their products would continue to have specific protections and not be subject to more intense competition
from Mexico. Why did President Clinton insist on these last-minute changes in
the agreement and win them from Mexican negotiators? Because he needed the
votes of the Louisiana (sugar) and Florida (citrus and sugar) congressional delegations, and he got them.3 Sometimes, it seems, special interests are not called
“special interests.”
When NAFTA passed, an academic economist I know who is a strong supporter of free trade muttered, “If it’s really free trade, why is the bill over two
thousand pages long?” NAFTA and other trade treaties contain hundreds of
Zweig, Michael. The Working-Class Majority : America’s Best-Kept Secret, Cornell University Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook
Created from cunygc on 2019-01-21 19:16:41.
Copyright © 2011. Cornell University Press. All rights reserved.
provisions and exceptions that favor interests powerful enough to gain protection. “Free trade” isn’t free, any more than tax time means it’s time for everyone
to pay taxes. With both trade and taxes, class differences in power play the dominant role.
In 1993, the labor movement was largely powerless to shape trade arrangements. By 1997, with new leadership and better organization, the story had
begun to change. The AFL-CIO successfully lobbied to block Congress from giving “fast track” approval to future trade agreements, thus leaving proposed treaties open to amendments that could win concessions for workers. The business
community was alarmed, and newspaper editorials worried about the prospect
of trade being “held hostage” to union demands. But from the point of view of
the working class, what happened was that trade, for a change, was not entirely
hostage to corporate demands. These disputes continued through the George W.
Bush administration into the early Obama years, where standoffs between
labor and capital have until 2011 blocked passage of free trade agreements with
Colombia, Panama, and Korea.
Just as workers need to take wages and safety standards out of competition
in the domestic economy, they need to do the same in international trade. The
problem with NAFTA is that it encourages the kind of competition that takes
advantage of low wages and weak labor and environmental protections in Mexico. Trade is not the problem. The problem is trade without standards to block
the effects of greed.
NAFTA has had significant effects on immigration as well. According to
authors of an Institute for Policy Studies report, it “almost certainly contributed to the sharp increase in the number of Mexicans living in the U.S. without
authorization, from 2 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.2 million in 2005. With
barriers to agricultural imports lifted [by NAFTA], Mexican farmers have found
themselves competing with an influx of cheap, heavily subsidized U.S. agricultural commodities. Facing dire poverty in the Mexican countryside, millions
have made the wrenching decision to leave behind families and communities
and head northward.”4
Immigration, the movement of workers across borders, is inseparable from
the more general movement of capital across borders, and international trade in
goods and services. Capitalism has been an international system since the earliest days of European exploration and conquest that coincided with the development of markets, from the sixteenth century onward. New immigrants to
the United States from Ireland and central, eastern, and southern Europe were
treated harshly by native-born whites descended from earlier waves of English
immigrants, but there were no legal restrictions on entry to the United States
(except for people from China, and for reasons of disease) until 1924. After the
Zweig, Michael. The Working-Class Majority : America’s Best-Kept Secret, Cornell University Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook
Created from cunygc on 2019-01-21 19:16:41.
Copyright © 2011. Cornell University Press. All rights reserved.
Russian revolution of 1917, fear of radicals, communists, and anarchists entering the country led Congress to create strict immigration quotas and impose
political tests to keep new people out. These restrictions, as amended in major
immigration reform legislation in 1965 and 1986, generate seemingly insoluble
social and personal problems.
We saw in chapter 4 that immigrants are subject to a variety of attacks based
on myths and faulty stereotypes. But international movements of working people
are a natural part of global capitalism. Corporate executives generally support
immigration to have the largest available pool of workers. But the corporate preference for various “guest worker” programs, in which workers enter the country
legally for a limited period on condition that they work for specific employers, creates a three-tier labor force: native-born and permanent-resident workers, guest
workers, and undocumented workers, each tier with different rights and degrees
of economic and social vulnerability. These divisions weaken working people’s
ability to join together for common standards and rights of employment—wages,
working conditions, ability to limit the power of the employer—and common
political action.
Increasingly the capitalist class constitutes itself on a global scale.5 The capitalists remain powerful within their own countries, but, as Chrystia Freeland
writes, “the real community life of the 21st century plutocracy occurs on the
international conference circuit.”6 Major capitalists from around the world and
the senior managers, academics, and media personalities who operate in those
circles come together at such places as the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Bilderberg Group, and the Boao Forum for Asia. They form the networks and common
understandings that play a central part in drawing individuals of like circumstance into a coherent economic and social class. “They are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with each other than
with their countrymen back home,” Freeland writes. In 2010, the CEOs of two of
the five largest U.S. banks (Citigroup and Morgan Stanley) were immigrants, as
were the CEOs of Pepsico and Pimco, the largest bond-trading company in the
United States.7
Capitalists want the greatest freedom they can win for themselves. They tend to
think they are entitled to go anywhere and do anything that makes a profit. Their
demand to be able to invest internationally without restriction just expands
their demand to be freed from burdensome labor and environmental restrictions
in the United States. The same motive, to get rich by any means available, at any
cost to others, drives them at home and abroad. That is why, in international trade
as well as in the domestic economy, we need enforceable standards to keep the drive
for profit from going over into greed. The problem for working people is to find
Zweig, Michael. The Working-Class Majority : America’s Best-Kept Secret, Cornell University Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook
Created from cunygc on 2019-01-21 19:16:41.
ways to limit the power of capital and to promote competition through better
productivity and quality, not through a cross-border hunt for the lowest wages.
With limits in place, working people could more easily capture some of the gains
from trade and higher productivity, in higher income, cheaper products, or a
shorter work week. To secure those limits, workers need to overcome the threetier labor system that business seeks to impose through immigration policies that
divide the workforce according to immigration status. And workers need to form
global networks that can enforce these limits on an international scale.
Copyright © 2011. Cornell University Press. All rights reserved.
Enforcing International Standards
We are back to the question of who will bell the cat. Just how are these standards
going to be drafted and applied? How will they be enforced? At the international
level, solving these problems will involve three things: asserting the standards of
the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, enforcing these standards through government action,
and bringing to bear the power of a labor movement organized across international boundaries.
In 1948, following the catastrophes of world war, the United Nations adopted
a statement of universal human rights, to assert an international moral standard. Workers are human be …
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