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home : insight & opinion : guest columns August 16, 2017

4/26/2017 11:27:00 AM
'Globalization' may bring risks for companies
For the Daily News

General Motors and a host of other manufacturers have relocated production facilities overseas to lower costs and make more money.  The idea was that labor costs, and union woes, could be avoided by such a move. 

It was also true that a host of environmental restriction could be avoided, but that is less true now that the EPA has a new direction.

It hurt us in small towns and large cities where such things were felt.  In Mt. Carmel, the Snap-On tools facility closed and moved to Mexico.  Brown Shoe Co., Briggs Pottery and other manufacturing jobs here in Robinson closed since I worked there, and I don't know where the jobs went, but we still wear shoes and go to the bathroom so I assume someone somewhere is still doing that work, probably for less in wages than were paid here.

This has been a political issue, but this is not intended to be partisan finger-pointing.  Instead, I see with some interest that the GM plant in Venezuela has been seized by the government there.  GM has stopped doing business there officially and issued a statement:

 "[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights."

Well, I'm not sure just what rights they think they have when governments are in social turmoil, but I take this opportunity to point out that if they had stayed here, where taxpayers bailed them out to try to keep them in business, they would actually have rights and protections and we would know what they were.

Likewise the workers should have rights, but those seem to be eroding lately as union membership has become a bad label for some reason despite the good it does. Given the choice of paying a fair union wage for work in a plant protected by law, I wonder what GM would choose now?

I rather think as the world becomes "globalized" (a terms to describe what happens when you take uneducated and poor people and give them work and skills and training but only pay a fraction of what their work and skills are worth) that governments in those remote places will eventually find some excuse to take the plants for themselves just as happened in Venezuela. 

This nationalization of foreign facilities is not a new thing.  Iran took back its oil fields from British Petroleum, Saudi Arabia took its fields back from us, and Cuba took everything back but the Guantanamo naval base, which doesn't make any money.

Far-sighted people will be looking ahead at this, as I am, and see the danger in globalization as a riskier proposition than previously thought.  The world is not one big, happy marketplace as investors liked to pretend; it is still fractionalized and driven to serve self-interest first and foremost.

Perhaps that is as it should be; otherwise, the governments of the developing world will be choosing the dollars a manufacturing plant can bring them over the needs of their people.  Apparently, there is some chance to have both.  Let the gringos come and build a plant for us, then take it.  Viva la revolution.

Meanwhile, in Europe, their union is falling apart.  It is not the United States, and we are not as united as we once were.  Increasingly, we see the old ways creeping back into our vision of the future, which is a sad thing. 

Bill O'Reilly sounded like a smart guy in public, but apparently wasn't as wise as he pretended to be.  His absence, and the continuing misjudgment of men to treat women as equals will cost them dearly.

Women are now in charge in a number of these settings where home and hearth are again at the top of the priority list, and I do not find that surprising. Prime Minister May leads the way. We, too, may have a woman in the White House someday.  Some think it outrageous but... "Nevertheless, she persists."

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