Manufacturing Poor People

Published on Global Research.ca, by Vi Ransel, April 27, 2011.

Even as the overall population of the world continues to increase, the increase in the number of poor people outstrips that growth.  How is this possible?  Are the poor simply breeding like rabbits, increasing their numbers geometrically in a suicidal, lemming-like production line of poverty-stricken people?  Or are they getting some outside aid in their catastrophic endeavor?

In just the past 50 years, the Rich People of the “First”, or Western World have invested heavily, through their banks, industries and other corporations, in the poorest regions of the “Third” World in Africa, Asia and Latin America, home to the majority of the world’s poor. 

Transnational corporations are attracted by the richness of these people’s natural resources, the richness of profits off cheap labor, the near total lack of environmental and worker safety regulations and the non-existent benefits for said labor.

U.S. transnationals were given a push toward this pregnant profit source, this attractive and waiting richness, by the U.S. government, which subsidizes (read gives taxpayers’ money to) corporations in the form of tax breaks on foreign investment and even helping them to pay their relocation expenses at the expense of not only the taxpayers, but those taxpayers whose jobs are outsourced by this support for global U.S. economic dominance.

Local businesses in the “Third” World are destroyed as U.S. transnationals penetrate and overwhelm their markets like species imported to get rid of pests which turn out to be even bigger pests themselves.  Taxpayer-subsidized cartels of transnationals dump their cheap, surplus goods in these countries at below their own cost to undersell local producers, thus forcing them out of business and allowing the U.S. corporations to take over the market.  (This is also Wal-Mart’s favorite technique for killing the competition in local markets right here in America.)

In the case of Big Agriculture they also take over/expropriate the best pieces of land, monocrop them with products for export, and douse them with oil-based, chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides, destroying the soil.  Think Dust Bowl.  This leaves less land for use for those run-out-of-business farmers and their families to produce the food to feed the local population, who, along with the displaced farmers, are forced to go to work – for next to nothing – on those monocropped plantations to grow food that will be shipped out of the country or to work in American sub-contracted sweat shop factories.   This also forces them to buy what food they can afford from these same Big Ag corporations.  This is exactly the same scenario as in the U.S., since the bulk of the U.S. population consists of dependent consumers, unable to feed themselves, who must go to a supermarket to feed off the tit of Big Ag.

Robbing local people of self-sufficiency creates a perfect profit-making mechanism based on a labor market flooded with desperate people who can be herded into a neat, ready-to-use package, labor in a box, in slums and shanty towns which they will leave to slave for token, poverty wages – if they can find work – which are most often in violation of their own countries’ minimum wage laws.  This is thanks to the overarching authority of Western-created “Free” Trade Agreements enforced by the World Trade Organization in its private, unaccountable courts.

Since the U.S. is one of the few pariah nations which refuses to sign the international convention for the abolishment of child labor and forced labor, Wal-Mart, Disney and J.C. Penny were able to pay eleven cents – 11 cents – an hour in Haiti in 2007.  This allows these transnational corporations, not only in the “Third” World, but here in America, to have workers as young as 12 – twelve – sustain high rates of fatalities and injuries while working for less than the minimum wage.  Talk about your right to work! … //

… Transnational corporations use the U.S. government and corporate lobbyist-written “free” trade policies, which are designed and work very well, to prevent “Third” World nations from ever “developing” sufficiently to become serious trade competitors.  And this is because U.S. corporations learned the lesson of the Marshall Plan very well.

After World War II, America’s major trade competitors were flattened, economically as well as physically, and America, in all its beneficence and magnanimity, offered money to Europe and Japan so they could rebuild shattered industries and infrastructure by using this “aid” money to purchase American goods and services, profiting hugely in the process.  And while Europe and Japan were rebuilding, the U.S. was busy establishing itself as the world’s global economic and military behemoth.  Following Word War II, and up to the mid-Seventies, the United States experienced the most prosperous period, overall, in its history.  And then things began to go south, as former flattened economic competitors began to recover enough to give the behemoth a run for its money, and actually overtaking the once supremely, economically dominant USA.

Well, U.S. transnationals didn’t intend to ever let that happen again.  There would be no more giving a real leg up to potential competitors.  And thus we arrived at where we are today.  And, in fact, the ruse works so well, that since the Seventies the plutocracy has been using the very same template here at home, – with an increasingly heavy hand.  See U.S. auto workers, healthcare, the bank bailout, foreclosed homes, 600,00 jobs a month jettisoned, the murder of state governments, et al.  Who, or what, will be next? (full text).

(Vi Ransel is a frequent contributor to online political newsletters. Articles by Vi Ransel).

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