Offshore Worker Quotes

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The impact of AI and robotics on labour markets is expected to grow, both in developing and developed regions. In the United States, estimates range from 10% to nearly 50% of US jobs at risk of computerization.[135],[136] In China, Foxconn replaced 60,000 workers in factories with robots over the course of two years.[137] Automation could undermine industrialization in developing countries by undercutting their labour cost advantage: production once offshored by developed countries is now being reshored.[138
Klaus Schwab (Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution)
The turnaround is being driven by automation technology so efficient that it is competitive with even the lowest-wage offshore workers.
Martin Ford (Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future)
Domestically, we do not allow child labor, or unsafe labor, or labor that pays less than a minimum wage. Those policy choices reflect a century of domestic political struggle. To allow the fruits of such labor to enter via the back door of trade was a conscious political choice by elites. The orthodox view is that these shifts resulted from changes in the nature of the economy. The market, naturally, rewarded those with more advanced skills and education, while routine workers whose jobs could be done by machines or by cheaper labor offshore lost out. The basic problem with this story is that the postwar blue-collar middle class did not have college degrees, and most semiskilled factory workers had not graduated from high school. Yet the social contract of that era called for paying them decently. For a century, markets have often been wrong, and good social policy has overridden their verdicts. The US, on average, is more than twice as rich as it was in the postwar era. But those riches are being shared very differently today.
Robert Kuttner (Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?)
Corporations had to manipulate the process to attack the public sector in similarly clever but different ways from when they set out to destroy the private-sector unions. They sought to offshore the most heavily unionized jobs in the 1970s as they increased spending to fight unions workplace by workplace. Today, driven by Silicon Valley, they are weaponizing technology, using AI and robots not only to help rid the country of the remaining unions but—hell—to eliminate the need for workers at all.
Jane F. McAlevey (A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy)
automation technology so efficient that it is competitive with even the lowest-wage offshore workers.
Martin Ford (Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future)
Now, there obviously is a white working class in the u.s. A large one, of many, many millions. From offshore oil derricks to the construction trades to auto plants. But it isn't a proletariat. It isn't the most exploited class from which capitalism derives its super profits. Far fucking from it. As a shorthand I call it the "whitetariat". Unfortunately, whenever Western radicals hear words like "unions" and "working class" a rosy glow glazes over their vision, and the "Internationale" seems to play in the background. Even many anarchists seem to fall into a daze and to magically transport themselves back to seeing the militant socialist workers of Marx and Engels' day. Forgetting that there have been many different kinds of working classes in history. Forgetting that Fred Engels himself criticized the English industrial working class of the late 19th century as a "bourgeois proletariat", an aristocracy of labor. He pointed out how you could tell the non-proletarian, "bourgeois" strata of the English working class – they were the sectors that were dominated by adult men, not women or children. Engels also wrote that the "bourgeois" sectors were those that were unionized. Sounds like a raving ultra-leftist, doesn't he? (which he sure wasn't). So that this is a strategic and not a tactical problem, that it has a material basis in imperialized class privilege, has long been understood by those willing to see reality. (the fact that we have radical movements here addicted to not seeing reality is a much larger crisis than any one issue).
J. Sakai (When Race Burns Class: Settlers Revisited)
41 percent of all Americans believe the Second Coming “probably” or “definitely” will happen by the year 2050. Images of the rapture that believers have posted on the Internet suggest a growing gulf between those who rise to Heaven and those who stay on earth. In one image, svelte, well-dressed adults rise to a blue sky. Perhaps the rapture speaks to shared and understandable anxieties about an earthly economy, it occurs to me. For many congregants, well-paid, union-protected jobs through which a man could support a stay-at-home wife are gone for all but a small elite. Given automation and corporate offshoring, real wages of high school–educated American men have fallen 40 percent since 1970. For the whole bottom 90 percent of workers, average wages have flattened since 1980. Many older white men are in despair. Indeed, such men suffer a higher than average death rate due to alcohol, drugs, and even suicide. Although life expectancy for nearly every other group is rising, between 1990 and 2008 the life expectancy of older white men without high school diplomas has been shortened by three years—and truly, it seems, by despair. In their tough secular lives, life may well feel like “end times.
Arlie Russell Hochschild (Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right)
Today, although many such strikes continue—the Walmart strike of 2012, for example—many industrial work sites have been moved offshore to Mexico, China, Vietnam, and elsewhere. Other forms of social conflict have arisen in different theaters. One theater animates the politics of the left. It focuses on conflict in the private sector between the very richest 1 percent and the rest of America. Occupy Wall Street has such a focus. It is not between owner and worker over a higher wage or shorter hours of work. It is between haves and have-nots, the ever-more-wealthy 1 percent and the other 99 percent of Americans. What feels unfair to Occupy activists is not simply unfair recompense for work (the multi-million dollar bonuses to hedge fund managers alongside the $8.25 hourly rate for Walmart clerks) but the absence of tax policies that could help restore America as a middle-class society. For the right today, the main theater of conflict is neither the factory floor nor an Occupy protest. The theater of conflict—at the heart of the deep story—is the local welfare office and the mailbox where undeserved disability checks and SNAP stamps arrive. Government checks for the listless and idle—this seems most unfair. If unfairness in Occupy is expressed in the moral vocabulary of a “fair share” of resources and a properly proportioned society, unfairness in the right’s deep story is found in the language of “makers” and “takers.” For the left, the flashpoint is up the class ladder (between the very top and the rest); for the right, it is down between the middle class and the poor. For the left, the flashpoint is centered in the private sector; for the right, in the public sector. Ironically, both call for an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.
Arlie Russell Hochschild (Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right)
Over a generation, America has grappled with one problem after another that could be said to have contributed to the decay of its politics and many people’s livelihoods. The American social contract has frayed, and workers’ lives have grown more precarious, and mobility has slowed. These are hard and important problems. The new winners of the age might well have participated in the writing of a new social contract for a new age, a new vision of economic security for ordinary people in a globalized and digitized world. But as we’ve seen, they actually made the situation worse by seeking to bust unions and whatever other worker protections still lingered and to remake more and more of the society as an always-on labor market in which workers were downbidding one another for millions of little fleeting gigs. “Any industry that still has unions has potential energy that could be released by start-ups,” the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Paul Graham once tweeted. As America’s level of inequality spread to ever more unmanageable levels, these MarketWorld winners might have helped out. Looking within their own communities would have told them what they needed to know. Doing everything to reduce their tax burdens, even when legal, stands in contradiction with their claims to do well by doing good. Diverting the public’s attention from an issue like offshore banking worsens the big problems, even as these MarketWorlders shower attention on niche causes. As life expectancy declined among large subpopulations of Americans, winners possessed of a sense of having arrived might have chipped in. They might have taken an interest in the details of a health care system that was allowing the unusual phenomenon of a developed country regressing in this way, or in the persistence of easily preventable deaths in the developing world. They might not have thought of themselves at all, given how long they were likely to live because of their tremendous advantages. “It seems pretty egocentric while we still have malaria and TB for rich people to fund things so they can live longer,” Bill Gates has said.
Anand Giridharadas (Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World)