September 01, 2006
And Indian Chiefs

Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas has been writing guest editorials in the New York Times, ironically, only available only to “Select” online readers. A short selection follows (sorry, no free link available):

... [T]ake the “inevitability” of recent economic changes, a word that the centrist liberals of the Washington school like to pair with “globalization.” We are told to regard the “free-trade” deals that have hammered the working class almost as acts of nature. As the economist Dean Baker points out, however, we could just as easily have crafted “free-trade” agreements that protected manufacturing while exposing professions like law, journalism and even medicine to ruinous foreign competition, losing nothing in quality but saving consumers far more than Nafta did.

[Update: Dean Baker, mentioned by Frank above, has made his book The Conservative Nanny State available for free! Point your browser here to read it in pdf or here to read it in html format.]

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Posted by Buck Batard at September 01, 2006 05:31 PM
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If you get a chance the New York Review of Books Aug. 10 issue has a good article on containerization. It suggests some new lines of thought, at least for me, about the way both transport and manufacturing have bypassed U.S. cities. Header for the article is at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=19194 . Unfortunately you have to pay a few dollars if you want the whole NYRB article online but the page also links to promotional material on three books discussed in the article.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on September 1, 2006 6:34 PM

Actually, some medical procedures like radiology are already being outsourced. Financial analysis is being outsourced. I don't see any reason why elements of the law could not also be outsourced. Perhaps things like legal research and analysis already have.

For me personally, journalism has been outsourced to the extent that I frequent online a lot of different foreign publications. I consider this a good thing to get a point of view outside the U.S. MSM.

Regardless, we need to place tariffs on foreign goods to reflect social and environmental costs that would otherwise not be born. I suspect, however, that we would still have a helluva time competing with China without a drastic cut in wages. De facto cuts in wages, are happening, of course, considering that real wages have not increased since 1973. By the time we get a level playing field, the middle class will have largely disappeared.

All that aside, a more equitable society should be arranged through the tax code. Returning to the marginal tax rates of the Eisenhower years would be a good start. Other industrialized countries seem to do fine without the outrageous inequalities that exist in this country.

According to Krugman, our economy is largely based upon housing and related industries. When the bubble bursts, it's gonna get ugly. But then, I've thought the bubble was going to burst for several years now.

Posted by: tom on September 2, 2006 9:49 AM

The whole Thomas Frank piece is available at Common Dreams.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on September 3, 2006 10:28 PM

Why don't we outsource the Presidency and the Vice Presidency and the Secretary of Defense? Osama and Hezbollah could do a better job of destroying the United States. Oh wait a minute. They couldn't.

Posted by: CCRyder on September 5, 2006 11:14 PM
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