“A future where unmanned surveillance drones zip through the skies keeping tabs on civilians is no longer relegated to dystopic novels. The panopticon has arrived and privacy rights are in danger.”—Hello Drones, Goodbye Privacy by Eugene K. Chow @ huffington.post
Over the past half century, these global oligopolies have been offshoring whole sectors of production from the rich/high-wage to the poor/low-wage countries, transforming global labor conditions in their search for global low-cost position, and in a divide and rule approach to world labor. Leading U.S. multinationals, such as General Electric, Exxon, Chevron, Ford, General Motors, Proctor and Gamble, IBM, Hewlett Packard, United Technologies, Johnson and Johnson, Alcoa, Kraft, and Coca Cola now employ more workers abroad than they do in the United States—even without considering the vast number of workers they employ through subcontractors. Some major corporations, such as Nike and Reebok, rely on third world subcontractors for 100 percent of their production workforce—with domestic employees confined simply to managerial, product development, marketing, and distribution activities. The result has been the proletarianization, often under precarious conditions, of much of the population of the underdeveloped countries, working in massive export zones under conditions dictated by foreign multinationals.
Two realities dominate labor at the world level today. One is global labor arbitrage or the system of imperial rent. The other is the existence of a massive global reserve army, which makes this world system of extreme exploitation possible. “Labour arbitrage” is defined quite simply by The Economist as “taking advantage of lower wages abroad, especially in poor countries.” It is thus an unequal exchange process in which one country, as Marx said, is able to “cheat” another due to the much higher exploitation of labor in the poorer country. A study of production in China’s industrialized Pearl River Delta region (encompassing Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong) found in 2005 that some workers were compelled to work up to sixteen hours continuously, and that corporal punishment was routinely employed as a means of worker discipline. Some 200 million Chinese are said to work in hazardous conditions, claiming over a 100,000 lives a year.
”—The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism
“I believe that one day hydrogen and oxygen, which together form water, will be used either alone or together as an inexhaustible source of heat and light.”—From “The Mysterious Island” by Jules Verne, 1874
“In 2035, the average real price of crude oil in the Reference case is about $145 per barrel in 2010 dollars, or about $230 per barrel in nominal dollars.”—Projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2012
“It is both greedy and irresponsible for American corporations to allow untaxed cash to pile up on their balance sheets while American infrastructure crumbles, public education suffers, the unemployed struggle to survive and shareholders lose their investments. It’s time for America’s “job creators” to do their job.”—Carl Gibson (via azspot)
“The only problem for libertarians is that they cannot point to even a single current or historical example of a government that functions as they imagine it should. They have no concrete, real world examples, so they ply their arguments in a theoretical construct. Each and every example of places with little centralized government is dismissed by libertarians as an anarchistic situation, not a “true” Libertarianism. It’s the “no true Scotman” fallacy, Ron Paul edition. The hellish situation in Afghanistan is blamed on 30 years of war and tribal anarchy, rather than the lack of a central government. The case of Somalia is blamed again on war, on American intervention, and again on tribal anarchy. Historical examples of feudalism arising in the absence of a centralized state, or the repeated Dark Ages that arise after civilization collapses, are dismissed as either irrelevant to the modern world or invalid because of war and anarchy. The fact that corruption and the Mafia are more prevalent in southern Italy where tax collection and central government are weaker than in the North, is again dismissed as a cultural or anarchistic issue. It’s always the same argument.”—Hullabaloo (via azspot)
“Most popular web-based businesses are deflationary. They substitute expensive forms of content consumption for cheap ones, they make it logistically easier to deliver discounts to people who will respond to them, and they create numerous financially cheap forms of social status. As more activity moves on to the web, the main effect on the economy will be broadly lower prices and less need for employment.”—The Growth of the Internet and the Happy Recession
“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences…”—Winston Churchill, November 1936