Workers in Western countries are now paid so badly that businesses are reportedly finding it profitable to return from China – having relocated to Asia in the first place to exploit cheap labor there.
It is an astounding indictment of how capitalism has created a global race to the bottom of misery for workers – yet the Western corporate news media actively conceal this abomination.
This week a BBC business report sounded almost celebratory about the fact that Britain, the US and other Western countries were now said to be “cost competitive” with China and Brazil. The upshot is that many businesses and companies are now re-setting up in Western countries because of the “competitive” wages of workers, according to the BBC spin.
The competitiveness, said the BBC, stemmed from workers’ wages in the West being “held steady” and because they have “become more productive”.
This is Orwellian language to obscure the conditions of systematic poverty and exploitation that exist for many workers in Western countries – the scale of which is so appalling that companies are finding Western countries more profitable than other destinations that were formerly thought of as providing cheap labor.
Such companies had previously closed down, or as the Orwellian language called it “downsized”, operations in the US, Britain and other Western countries to boost their profits by taking advantage of low wages in China.
But several years with chronic unemployment driving down pay and government policy facilitating wage cuts, workers in the West have now been turned into a cheap labor army. Western governments are also using taxpayer money to give corporate tax breaks to entice them to return – in order to exploit the ordinary worker ever more intensively.
It is estimated that the value in terms of average wages in the US is less than what it was back in the 1960s – a half century ago. This has led to a huge rise in poverty and polarization of wealth into the hands of the tiny social elite. America’s top 400 rich individuals own more wealth than half the population of some 155 million people. A quarter of all American workers are officially classed as subsisting below the poverty line. The real figure may be as high as 50 percent.
In Britain, for example, the average salary for a company executive is now 120 times that of an average worker, according to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. Twenty-five years ago, the difference was 49-fold.
It should be obvious that poverty, social decay and vast inequality are not only systematically linked but that this abominable situation is an indictment of capitalism as a failed economic system.
The astonishing thing is that Western politicians and media live in complete denial of this glaring reality. It is obvious that the capitalism system of private profit for a tiny social minority should be openly condemned and that it is unworkable as a social organizing system, based as it is on massive exploitation of human beings. But when do you ever hear the subject being discussed by public figures in the West? It’s like the proverbial elephant, or perhaps we should say dinosaur, in the room being ignored.
What the Western public needs to do is to force this subject into open conversation. Politicians and corporate media need to be treated with contempt for their denial and misinformation about the most pressing reality of our time – the destruction of societies under capitalism.
Just because the political and media elites do not talk about capitalism does not mean that we should also suppress the issue. Otherwise we are conforming to “group think”.
People should realize that all existing political parties in Western countries – whether Republican or Democrat, Conservative or so-called Labor – are all, like the mainstream media, apologists for capitalism. They benefit from the system and will never acknowledge it, never mind challenge it. The same criticism applies for much of the labor union establishment, whose leadership are also beneficiaries of the system.
The time has come for a genuine socialism in which the economy is organized and planned through public ownership and where production is driven by human needs, not private profit. Historically, capitalism has become redundant as an organizing social system. Not only redundant, capitalism has degenerated into the nemesis of the world, threatening its very survival.
It is destroying human life through relentless exploitation. The system is irrational, iniquitous and unsustainable.
Moreover, the insatiable lust for private profit is also driving geopolitical rivalry that inevitably manifests itself in war. War is not just good for capitalist business; it also distracts the public focus away from the dinosaur in the room.
There seems little doubt that Washington and its Western allies are agitating for war with Russia not out of any legal principle, but simply to avert attention from the class war that is being waged against workers and the majority of people in their own societies.
Despite the effective official censorship on the matter, the Western public needs to start talking en masse about capitalism and its destruction of societies, the natural environment, and international relations to the point where a nuclear war is being recklessly risked.
Alternative media such as Press TV deserve great credit for its freedom of thought by raising this urgently needed public debate on capitalism and the pressing need for its abolishment. It is also partly why the Western public is abandoning their established media in droves and turning on to alternatives like Press TV.
It is absurd, but deeply revealing, how the Western corporate media refuse to hold any views or discussions about capitalism and its abhorrent impact of poverty and warmongering.
As former German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg once said, we face a stark choice between the present barbarism under capitalism or creating a new democratic, viable world under socialism.
A first step would be for the Western public to begin talking and thinking openly about the destructive irrationality of capitalism.
That is what Western politicians and the rich elite, including their media mouthpieces, are most in fear of. They fear that moment when the vast majority of people will start to shout out “the emperor has no clothes!”