Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cost of Empire - Sword and Dollar: excerpt 4

we already noted how overseas investments have brought increasing misery to the Third World - of interest here is how some of that misery comes home as a visitation upon the American people - we have heard much in our media about the "refugees from Communism"; we might think a moment about the refugees from capitalism - driven off their lands, large numbers of impoverished Latinos and other Third Worlders have been compelled to flee into economic exile, coming to the United States, many of them illegally, to compete with American workers for entry-level jobs that are becoming increasingly scarce - because of their illegal status and vulnerability to deportation, undocumented workers are least likely to unionize and least able to fight for improvements in work conditions - so they serve as a reserve army of labor, further depressing the wage market for American workers -- not all immigrants are impoverished, unskilled workers - harsh economic conditions in many nations tend to encourage the exodus of the younger and more educated without whom development is impossible - the result is "brain drain," as the rich nations siphon off the trained talent and skills of the poor nations, further adding to the differential between rich and poor countries and to the downward spiral of the Third World.

other injustices inflicted by the empire upon poorer nations come home to take a toll upon ordinary Americans - for years now the poisonous pesticides and hazardous pharmaceuticals that were banned in this country have been sold by their producers to Third World nations where regulations are weaker or nonexistent (In 1981, President Reagan repealed an executive order signed a half-year before by President Carter that would have forced exporters of such products to notify the recipient nation that the commodity was banned in the USA) - with an assured export market, these poisons continue to cripple workers in the American chemical plants where they are made, and then reappear on our dinner tables in the fruit, vegetables, meat, and coffee we import - these products also have been poisoning people in Third World countries, creating a legacy of sickness and death that is starting to backfire on us.

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