Thomas Friedman Damns The Average Person
- 8 August, 2012
- 10 notes
- thomas friedmanone world for allflat worldglobalismhatred of the working classgermanyblaming the victim
Freidman is shameless, but I guess he is stuck with the angle that globalization is a given — almost a law of physics — and not just the result of political and economic connivance between business and political interests. After all, he wrote the book ‘The World Is Flat’. So he continues to write these terrible op-ed pieces ostensibly about how America needs to change its educational institutions or how business has every incentive to moves jobs wherever the work can be done ‘best’. But what he is doing is blaming the victims of this flattened world for their lot, the average person with average education, turning his back on them, and saying that in the next generation we’ll need to get those testing scores up! But for the current working slob: nothing.
Thomas Friedman, Average Is Over, Part II
The trend is that for more and more jobs, average is over. Thanks to the merger of, and advances in, globalization and the information technology revolution, every boss now has cheaper, easier access to more above-average software, automation, robotics, cheap labor and cheap genius than ever before. So just doing a job in an average way will not return an average lifestyle any longer. Yes, I know, that’s what they said about the Japanese “threat” in the 1980s. But Japan, alas, challenged just two American industries — cars and consumer electronics — and just one American town, Detroit. Globalization and the Internet/telecom/computing revolution together challenge every town, worker and job. There is no good job today that does not require more and better education to get it, hold it or advance in it.
We set up an economic system that handed most of the returns on productivity to the owners of the companies, factories, and farms and less to the workers doing the work. They took those profits and invested in factories in China, and farms in Mexico, and mills in Thailand. Oh, and lined their own pockets like never before.
And when there is a downturn — based on the fatally interconnected financial house-of-cards where the bankers gamble with more than they have, knowing the governments will bail them out while cutting their tax rates — then apologists like Friedman wave their arms, saying that these unemployed blue collar workers are a structural problem, they lack the right skills, they want too much health care and pension money compared to someone in the Philippines, and man, doesn’t it look bad for the next generation of underachievers, too.
He is so deeply twisted around the axel of this unrepentant Calvinist hatred of the unfortunate and alienated that I can’t even see his photo without cringing. He is the human face of Wall Street and corporatism. He seems to be suggesting a course of action to better the lot of the poor and working class, but it’s a shell game: another swindle.
He is saying they deserve it. ‘Too bad, but that’s the way it is. Wish it was different but…’.
What about work, today, for unemployed Americans? Are we supposed to forget the tens of millions of underemployed and unemployed? Don’t push it off for a generation, because you, or someone like you, Mr Friedman, will be writing the same bilge then that you are now.
Where is the social contract? Where is the return on American productivity? Isn’t the obvious proof of the much touted American exceptionalism that everyone who wants to work should be able to? How can Germany employ the overwhelming majority of its people, have a sounder economy, and offer better social benefits, all at the same time?
Because the German wealthy do not despise the working class: they know that enduring wealth — for the country and for them — is derived from the efforts of all. They would never outsource everything to overseas workers and hollow out their economy and society. That’s why they have serious on-the-job training and industrial apprenticeship programs, and keep manufacturing at home.
In a sane world, our government would be underwriting training of the unemployed in today’s skills, and businesses would get the benefits of that so long as the work stayed in country, and the profits were reinvested locally. But we aren’t in a sane world: we are in the post-normal, where everything conspires to tear things apart, and it will take everything we have to keep it together. And our political scene has fallen into ideological trench warfare. A new wave of angry populism might wind up being the innovation — like the tank was in WW I — that will break open that mired and barb-wired front. It doesn’t look like the current political coterie — either the left or right ends of the single political party that runs things in the US — are ready to do much.
Friedman and his constituency flirt with being world citizens, so long it is a world with an uneven playing field, with huge disparities in income, benefits, environmental regulations, and customs. That allows huge opportunities for arbitrage, with the profits made being considered extranational. But this is not the vision of one world for all, it is the mindset of looters.
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joelgvt reblogged this from underpaidgenius and added:
Great insights from Stowe. We are not living in a sane country or world and our leaders have turned a blind eye to the...
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