In order to counter the greatest economic crisis in nearly eight decades, the U.S. Congress passed three laws of historical significance. The first law, dated Feb. 13, 2008, disbursed $152 billion. The second law, of Oct. 3, 2008, determined expenditures to be $700 billion and the third law of Feb.17, 2009, indicated $787 billion. After having released quantities of money that defy imagination, the U.S. economy managed to return to the path of growth: 3 percent in the last quarter. However, the return of economic growth has not been accompanied by a recovery in employment figures.
It was estimated that 540,000 jobs would materialize in the month of May, but only 431,000 were created. Of those 431,000 created, 411,000 were temporary jobs with the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite this misleading increase, the unemployment rate stands at 9.7 percent, equivalent to 15 million people of working age. Who is responsible for this situation?
The truth is that jobs are moving to the developing world, with China and India in the lead. The first case involves blue-collar jobs (manufacturing), while the second case pertains to white-collar jobs (service). For the United States, these are frightening predictions. According to the World Bank, in the year 2030, more than 65 percent of world manufacturing will come from developing countries ("Global Economic Prospects," Dec. 13, 2006). Alan Blinder, director of the Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton University, says that at the same time, the area of interpersonal services — those which can be provided at a distance by electronic means — is destined to disappear in the developed world, relocating to developing countries ("Offshoring: The Next Industrial Revolution," Foreign Affairs, New York, March/April, 2006).
The reason for this migration of jobs is clear. Under the impact of productive competition without borders or restraint, cost reduction has become a dogma for businesses. The pressure to respond to the demands of immediate profitability, represented by quarterly reports, is the key to this fierce competition. Large corporations face off to attract the favor of millions of anonymous shareholders, shedding anything that might be a weight on their bids for higher yields.
But who is the anonymous shareholder determining the dynamics in advance? This is none other than the actual worker or clerk who trembles at the prospect of being fired in the next group of jobs being moved to Asia. Through trading and seeking the best performance in pension funds or mutual funds, or through small investments in stock, the worker has become the central axis of the very economic process that threatens to exclude him. By way of a curious circular process, victim and assailant have thus become the same person.