Along the road of the past 30 years, productivity has been soaring (and technology has been a minor part of that) while wages have been flat -- thanks to de-unionization and a simple corporate decision to cut wages even when profitable. And, despite that assault on wages, the main line of concern was over outsourcing -- that is, jobs going abroad because wages in other countries were dramatically lower. We have now reached, at least in one industry, the reverse phenomena.
From the front page of today's Financial Times ($):
Call centre workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the US as they are in India, according to the head of the country's largest business process outsourcing company.
High unemployment levels have driven down wages for some low-skilled outsourcing services in some parts of the US, particularly among the Hispanic population.
At the same time, wages in India's outsourcing sector have risen by 10 per cent this year and senior outsourcing managers based in the country command salaries above global averages.
"We need to be very aware [of what's available] as people [in the US] are open to working at home and working at lower salaries than they were used to," said Mr Bhasin. "We can hire some seasoned executives with experience in the US for less money." [emphasis added]
This is a logical step in the relentless pace to cut wages in every industry for the sake of "competitiveness" or "efficiency" or whatever other buzzword you want to grab from the endless blizzard of corporates-speak that has, sadly, infected our society.
Mix a financial crisis created by the Goldman Sachs fools and charlatans and their ilk, with the Wall Street-driven leveraged buyout, wage-cut, job-cuts mania of the past several decades and add the foolish so-called "free trade" agenda that pushes down wages everywhere -- and, presto...
The U.S. is becoming a low-wage country.
This is a drive for corporate profits, pure and simple, and to hell with the people. Corporations have used the recent economic crisis to toss off hundreds of thousands of workers and are preparing to run their businesses with fewer people in the future. An on-going strike in a different industry shows where we are headed--Mott's is looking to bludgeon the American Dream, despite raking in profits:
The union movement and many outsiders view the strike as a high-stakes confrontation between a company that wants to cut its labor costs, even as it is earning record profits, and workers who are determined to resist demands for wage and benefit givebacks. [emphasis added]
The professional politicians of our own party are scratching their heads, trying to figure out why the people seem angry and ungrateful at all the efforts undertaken on behalf of the people. If they would take their hands out of the corporate lobbyists pockets and stop regurgitating the catch phrases of "free trade" and "efficiency" and "lower corporate taxes" maybe, just maybe, we could have a serious debate about the undermining of the American Dream -- and how the dysfunctional and corrupt political system has aided and abetted that undermining.