Last Sunday morning was a typical Sunday. I walked the dogs and then scooped up both their droppings and The New York Times sitting on my lawn. My wife's dawdling at the computer allowed me to scan the headlines before she glommed the paper.
The left two columns of the front page read, "How U.S. Lost Out On iPhone Work." It was a fascinating article, and one which has sparked quite a bit of conversation among the talking-heads. I won't spend time restating the piece. If you are curious, use your iPhone, iPad, Droid, Blackberry or other not-made-in-the-U.S.A. smartphone and checkout: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?pagewanted=all.
The central point of Mr. Duhiggs and Bradsher's investigative piece was as follows:
"It isn’t just that the workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple's executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and the industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that 'Made In the USA' is not longer a viable option for most Apple products."
I am quite aware that my liberal, jogging, organically fed, well-educated friends love their Apples. They spend more time lauding praise upon these possessions than speaking to their moms and dads. Aps are their daily bread. Mircosoft is the pits. Everyday the mass of ap-addicted devotees in Apple Stores surpass the headline-making queues of the annual Filene Basement Bridal Sale.
Continuing to peruse this blog may irritate and infuriate Apple fans' Apple hackles. No one likes their central identity challenged, but simply said, "Apple is rotten to the core."
Back to Mr. Duhiggs and Bradsher's conclusion. The key word in those few sentences is " VIABLE.." According to www.thefreedictionary.com
" Viable" is an adjective meaning:
1. Capable of living, developing, or germinating under favorable conditions.
2. Capable of living outside the uterus. Used of a fetus or newborn.
You see, it's simple, Apple, in order to live, in order to survive, must have its products made in China or in other employee-oppressive nations. It is a matter of survivability, of corporate life or death. If it those little apple seeds are to sprout into those ubiquitous battery powered devices we so depend on and get mugged for, they need to go overseas where workers are treated worse than cattle destined for MacDonalds.
I visited a friend in the hospital; the place hummed with activity. It had the latest machines that went beep. Fish swam in the beautiful aquarium located in the surgical waiting room, and the doctor’s parking lot was full of BMWs and Land Rovers. But the three cashiers at the parking lot exit where no longer present. They had been replaced by an automated attendant. They were unnecessary.
The genie cannot be put back in the box. My dear readers, jobs ain’t comin’ back! We all know it, but we just won't admit it. President Obama, Congress, the FED can jump up and down, promise the world, but jobs ain’t comin’ back.
I heard recently that China is replacing industrial workers who work for pitiful wages with. machines…their jobs ain’t comin’ back. The construction industry might have been our last gasp. Homebuilding is in actuality a service industry. Workers build on site (it's tough to outsource that to the Far East) using mainly US manufactured concrete, wood, steel, wire, paint and drywall. The workers' old favorite hammers might even have been made in the USA. I know power tools and some materials are now being imported, but home building is on site, and manually delivered as ordered; sounds like a service to me.
So wadda we do? Do we just have 20% unemployment, and the world’s economy slowly grinds to a halt? Do we have more and more have-nots and a few have-everythings ? I don’t know the answers, and regrettably, we are probably on a path of no return. But. being full of myself, I propose some answers:
Unionize everyone (a suggestion stolen from Michael I. Niman , The Humanist Magazine, May-June 2011) - everyone has health benefits, vacation time, living wages, money to spend, guaranteed pensions, and job security.
Create jobs that cannot be done well by machine
Let's hang more wallpaper
Let's build energy efficient abodes for everyone
Let's keep delivering mail on Saturday.
Let's care for the elderly,
Let's go shopping for those who can’t
Let's teach our children to be ethical and moral
Let's provide health care for all
Let's have life guards on beaches
Let's have cops walking the beat
Let's fix the plumbing
Let's walk the dog
Let's get those dents out of the junker
Let's appreciate and purchase handmade crafts
Let's count birds
Let's monitor our water quality
Let's shovel everyone's walk in the winter
Let's shine up the statuary
etc etc etc… you add more
The question is who pays… the answer is the receiver of the service. Where do they get their money? From the person who pays for the human service they provided. Simply put, if we humans provide services for other humana, then humans don’t become unnecessary; they become necessary; and the world goes round, and I can get some necessary relief from the worry I live with.