Material World

“Material World,” written a year ago, is an indicator of what I’ll be writing more about in the future.

There is no way America, or the rest of the developed world, can compete with China on cost, if only because many Chinese who work in the export section are not paid, and others are grotesquely underpaid, and because China has minimal environmental safeguards. Nevertheless, I think (and I think many Americans would agree with me) that it is wrong for this country to make little but porn, entertainment that is more and more pornographic, software and weapons. The only way we can compete is on quality.

As for those folks who believe in the virtues of this sort of “free trade” (certainly some of those Chinese are working for free or at pitiful wages, although the goods they make are not shipped here for free, or given away for free), along with the virtues of uncontrolled immigration, let me pose a question. What kind of government would rather import almost everything its nation needs, often at enormous environmental cost, rather than keep its manufacturing base here, making necessary goods at decent pay rates, in ways that do not damage the environment, while importing immigrants, mostly illegal, to do the work that remains and remitting much of their low wages, rather than employ citizens who keep the money in the country? And what does it say about us as a society and as citizens, that we are willing to tolerate this arrangement?

“Material World” was published by Seattle Magazine, August 2005.MaterialWorld


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