'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Death of Detroit (Part 4) 

Canada will suffer severely if the Big 3 automakers don't receive assistance:

A whopping 582,000 direct and indirect jobs would be lost in Canada over the next five years if the ailing Big Three US auto makers shut down their Ontario operations, said a study Tuesday.

If output is reduced by 50 percent, 296,000 jobs would be lost nationally, said the 11-page report prepared for the Ontario Manufacturing Council.

"The economic consequences of either a partial or total shutdown of the Detroit Three are stark," said the report.

"Either scenario is sufficient to push Ontario into a deep recession while the nation may barely escape one in the 50-percent reduction scenario."

Initial job losses of between 157,000 and 323,000 at assembly plants, parts manufacturers and others, depending on the scenario, would rise to between 296,000 and 582,000 by 2014, said the report.

The job losses would continue to mount after the first year because a weaker economy would depress investment, discourage immigration and half new housing construction, leading to a negative economic spiral.

To quote Gaius again about the perverse opportunity created by the global recession: Played right by the globo-capitalists, wages would collapse, unions would disappear, and America could be pushed into ending Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a lot more of what social democracy we actually have.

But Gaius is actually too optimistic. As this article suggests, the globo-capitalists have ambitions that are go far beyond the US. In the 1970s, finance capitalists exploited stagflation to impose the neoliberal model on much of the world, a model that has persisted to the present day. There is no alternative, as Margaret Thatcher famously declared.

Now, they intend to push the model to its logical conclusion. They intend to destroy all protections for labor, consumers and the environment, with the exception of those few that facilitate commerce. They are especially targeting workers who retain a residue of collective solidarity created in earlier times, as they are here with the United Auto Workers by withholding financial assistance to the US automobile industry after releasing trillions for Wall Street. Meanwhile, much of the work force is going to simultaneously discover that their access to credit has been sharply curtailed, if not eliminated, while social spending for health, education and other social services is reduced to to pay for the debt incurred to bail out financial institutions.

It is a quite alarming development because of its global character. The imposition of neoliberal policies from the 1970s to the present day required ever escalating levels of state violence, the military dictatorships of South America, death squads in Central America, sanctions against Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of children, two Gulf Wars, and ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. One shudders to think about the intensity of the violence required to force through this anticipated tranformation of the world economy. Obama, you say? I doubt that he is going to be of much help.

Labels: , , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?