Monday, December 11, 2006

Pattern recognition

David Sirota has a good post about the effects of and drivers for globalisation and what those "free trade" deals are really all about: outsourcing to cheap labour markets. The Vietnamese agreement is only the latest of many, with companies salivating over Vietnam's "rock-bottom wages."

Th0ugh I noticed the interesting juxtposition of two stories at WaPo earlier, Sirota's article reinforced what seems now an even more notable alignment of events.

1) Dupont cutting 1500 jobs
2)New Enlistment Age Brings Army Older Recruits

As universally viewed by Wall Street, Dupont's job cuts are hailed as a necessary step to boost the "4Q outlook." During the six years of the Bush administration, the United States has seen the loss 3 million manufacturing jobs and the manufacturing sector of the job market now sits at its lowest level in the last 45 years. Dupont's lost jobs are just the lastest in a long list of labour cuts that American business have embraced as the quick fix to the quarterly bottom line.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon's need of fresh meat for the war machine must be met and increasing the recruiting age is one way to widen the net. One cannot help but wonder how many of the new recruits will come from the ranks of the newly and not so newly unemployed.

What is fascinating, and frightening, is how the WaPo story extolls the virtues of joining up, detailing the anguish of selected new recruits who cited their need "to do something" in the wake of 9/11. In fact, the entire story reads like an Army recruitment poster, celebrating the discipline that will be conferred upon individuals who sign up, individuals who were "in a rut" and dissatisfied with the drudgery of civilian life. Come one, come all, you mid-life crisis victims! The Army will make things exciting and new. Sign on the dotted line and bring your own body armour.

Is it just me, or is there a pattern here?


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