We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

Click here to access 39 minute audio program (and transcript) from This American Life program from WBEZ in Chicago. "Act Two, Act One" is a followup by the program on this performance. 
...31 years ago, when Deng Xiaoping carved this area off from the rest of China with a big red pen, he said, this will be the special economic zone. And he made a deal with the corporations. He said listen, use our people. Do whatever you want to our people. Just give us a modern China. And the corporations took that deal, and they squeezed and they squeezed. And what they got was the Shenzhen we find today.
This excellent portrayal of the Chinese workers who make IPhones and all the other stuff we consume and purchase from global corporations gives you a vivid picture of what neoliberalism means for workers who produce this stuff. These same corporations would like American workers to compete by asking for the same wages and conditions of the Chinese workers or else--or else they will keep shipping their factories to people in such places all over the world. These US corporations were all built on the sweat and imagination of American workers, but under the rules of capitalism they have no control over what they have created. Under the rules of capitalism the One Percent "owns" the corporations. But, who made these rules?