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Ear to the Ground

American Companies Fight For Right to Bleed China

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Posted on Oct 13, 2006
Chinese beggar
flickr/Rivard

In the face of vast poverty and exploitation, the Chinese government is about to enact a labor law that would strengthen the role of unions and protections for workers.  But American corporations, eager to maintain their fiefdoms in the middle kingdom, have lobbied fiercely against the proposed legislation.

A group called the American Chamber of Commerce has led the charge against the humanitarian reforms, representing companies that include Dell, Ford, General Electric, Microsoft and Nike.


New York Times:

Under China’s “iron rice bowl” system of the 1950’s and 60’s, all workers were protected by the government or by state-owned companies, which often supplied housing and local health coverage.

But by the 1980’s, when the old Maoist model had given way to economic restructuring and the beginning of an emphasis on market forces, China began eliminating many of those protections—giving rise to mass layoffs, unemployment, huge gaps in income and pervasive labor abuse.

The worst off have been migrant workers, most of them exiles from the poorest provinces who travel far from home to live in cramped company dormitories while working long hours under poor conditions.

Migrant workers in virtually every city complain about abuses like having their pay withheld or being forced to work without a contract.

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By Bob Sayers, October 29, 2006 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hunting for “Made In the USA” labels will not have much effect upon the trade deficit - so what can I do to save my children from the biggest depression in our nation’s history? “I’m mad and I can’t take it anymore!”

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By felicity, October 13, 2006 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A boycott of all products represented in China by the American Chamber of Commerce would be an effective support of Chinese (and American) labor.

Rememberimg the historic pattern of capitalism - an economy which survives on cheap labor, cheap resources and impoverished workers needing jobs - rather explains our present domestic and foreign policies, doesn’t it?

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By Mad as Hell, October 13, 2006 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For years the “capitalists” and the “marxists” worked together to use the Chinese people as slave labor—not just low-paid, but slave labor.

Now that the “marxists” are proposing to treat the workers decently (150 years after Marx proposed that), the “capitalists” are squawking bloody murder!

I say “capitalists” rather than capitalists because they really believe in elitist socialism—a variety of modern feudalism.  They don’t believe in Capitalism, which is a MERITOCRACY at all.  If they did, why was George Bush EVER allowed to run a company, a state, and now our nation? The man couldn’t run a corner convenience store without going belly-up in a month!

Or Michael Eisner: Looked like a genius until one of his sidekicks got killed in a plane crash.  For the next 8-10 years Eisner made a TOTAL mess of Disney, but STILL got a 9 figure buy-out!  9 figures—he got something between 150 and 200 MILLION DOLLARS for nearly of decade of totally screwing up!

And people hate unions for protecting workers??? I want to belong to the Eisner Bush Union and be FILTHY rich even if I’m TOTALLY incompetent.

And let’s not forget “Saint” Ronald Reagan: Who instituted a tax incentive for companies to go off-shore with jobs so that they could get around all the US laws against exploiting workers.  Who gave away ALL the gates at all the airports to the airlines for FREE! Gates that we, the taxpayers built and paid for.

So now that squawk because China is FINALLY developing a facsimile of a conscience in its laws.

Too friggin’ bad!  Some other dictator will be HAPPY to enslave and brutalize his people for them.

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By Bluestocking, October 13, 2006 at 9:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why should anyone really be surprised? Have American corporations been showing as much concern as they should for workers right here at home? Outsourcing work overseas, underpaying on 401K’s, defaulting on pensions, an ever-growing discrepancy between top executive salaries and the vast majority of employees, golden parachutes for chief execs who run their companies badly…need I go on? If American corporations are willing to take undue advantage of people within their own country for the sake of profit, what makes you think they’ll care about people overseas? Let’s remember that the primary reason why corporations outsource in the first place is because many of these other countries don’t have such stringent governmental regulations regarding such things as pollution, employee safety, and pay—things which inevitably cost the corporation much more money here.

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By kevin99999, October 13, 2006 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
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Who thought they wouldnt. They bleed workers at home and everywhere else, not just china. That is the underlying logic of the corporations.

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