Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Best For All or Best For Me

One of the two blog posts which brought this one to mind is on littlebitofsonshine's site linked here where she refers to difference in machine and hand made products.

I was total gringo during our first extended trip to Mexico. My head was spinning in culture shock wonder of discovering a decent society which contrasted sharply with the USA in which to that point I'd spent my life. That the amazement was pleasant and well accepted was probably because of having battled as an activist the USA's more disgusting aspects during most adult years.

I pulled our trailer off the highway for a glass of fresh pineapple juice as we left the city of Veracruz while journeying back north. The large and busy intersection was undergoing hand construction repairs by many workers. I had worked as a highway engineer for a while as a younger man. That prompted me in unrealized but typical brash gringo arrogance to say to a Mexican at the juice stand "That work would be done in no time if you had the machines we have". I felt shrunk to the size of my juice glass when he responded "If we had the machines you have, we'd have the same problems. Everyone would be out of work. Look around you".

Chinese goods are considered of higher quality here in Mexico and certainly more affordable than those of the US. Prole explained well in the Chat Room contrast between hand production in her China and USA use of machines. Machines cost less than a factory of high paid hand workers. The price of items produced remains high and more of the income flows upward to owners, stock holders, and bosses. Much of their excess income goes to purchase of other non productive ownership, ie stocks of other similar companies. Less flows to workers who would otherwise further distribute to those personally encountered. The overall social effect is that the rich who do nothing become more so and the few workers and those with whom they interact receive in sum a smaller portion of producton income.

Contrast that to China (and other nations) utilizing hand production. Pay per individual is low but there are many workers. So is the overall cost of production and that is reflected in prices. The social impact is more of the income is distributed to a broader portion of the society's people and less to bosses, owners, or stock holders who do nothing in the making of goods. The bottom line is the reverse of that of the USA in terms of who benefits.

Repercussions from movement activity had twice caused me to be out of work with no income in sight. One way or another, two children would be fed. I flirted in frustration with possibility of a pistol point convenient store jackpot. Both times I lucked into jobs on society's underside. Those kept us going and were accepted though they were ones which would be rejected by most concerned with social and legal propriety. Kids' stomachs beat propriety every time.

Coyote's blog post linked here reflects a similar job loss situation. I understand his feelings on a personal level and in empathy wish him the luck that kept a pistol out of my hands. On larger social and political levels however I cannot sympathize with the current dismay of Americans over job loss. We hear "They are sending OUR jobs over seas" with always the unspoken implication of an appended " THOSE kind of people". It rings as being other than THOSE kind of people should automatically grant to Americans title to whatever they want?

It is only by looking beyond selfishly drawn borders of situation and birth if there is to be fruit from efforts to increase life's quality and decrease conflict. For us to think and act otherwise is tantamount to promoting continuance of that we claim to oppose.

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