Nov 3, 2003
Since the economic recovery officially began two years ago, jobs losses have continued to mount. According to the official explanation, economic growth was not strong enough to produce more jobs. Well, last week, the U.S. government reported that the economy had expanded at a 7.2% annual rate from July through September, officially the fastest three month expansion in over two decades.
And still we lost jobs! This is especially true in manufacturing, where another 101,000 jobs were cut during the last three months.
Why is this happening?
Union officials and all those politicians who pretend to be "pro-labor" have been telling us for years that U.S. manufacturing jobs are being exported overseas. Our jobs are going to Japan – supposedly – or to Mexico or to China, etc.
Of course, if that were the case, we should see big increases in manufacturing jobs in those countries. So take a look at what happened.
According to a new study reported on in the Wall Street Journal (October 20), over two million manufacturing jobs were lost in the United States between 1995 to 2002. That's 11% of the total. Did manufacturing jobs increase by two million in the other countries to account for these losses? Not at all. Just the opposite. Other countries also lost manufacturing jobs, and in most cases, much more than here. In China, 15 million jobs disappeared – 15% of the total. In Japan during the same period, 16% of its manufacturing jobs were lost. As for Mexico, there was only a modest increase in manufacturing jobs over this entire seven-year period. But during the last two years, the maquiladoras, which were blamed for taking so many U.S. jobs, lost 21% of their total jobs – proportionately a bigger decline than anywhere else.
In fact, manufacturing jobs are being cut all over the world, 30 million of them in just seven years time, according to the same study. And this is not because of a drop in production. On the contrary, worldwide, production INCREASED by 30% in the same period.
Despite all the propaganda from union officials and politicians, we are not losing jobs to other countries. We are losing them to the bosses' drive for ever higher productivity. While production increased in this county by 15% over the last seven years, the number of jobs decreased by 11%. Working harder, faster and longer, we are working ourselves out of our very own jobs.
When someone tells us that our jobs are going to other countries, not only are they distorting reality; they are disarming us for the fight we have to make – right here at home against our own bosses who are pushing us for more production so they can accumulate still more wealth.
So long as we do not fight to take the benefits of increased productivity – ALL the benefits – we doom ourselves to more job losses.
Work harder still so that someone else can get richer? Nonsense! Given the enormous increases in productivity, we could all be working six hours a day, four days a week – and still enjoy a much higher standard of living. IF we took a good part of the benefits of productivity increases for ourselves.
We should enjoy the fruits of our own labor ourselves.