Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bush, Dubai and American Labor

It's hard to read this article in the Los Angeles Times about labor unrest in Dubai and not think of Bush's many anti-labor positions:
Asian construction workers in Dubai angered by low wages and alleged mistreatment smashed cars and offices in a riot that caused an estimated $1 million in damage and interrupted work around what is meant to be the world's tallest skyscraper.

About 2,500 workers on developments surrounding the Burj Dubai tower beat security officers Tuesday, then smashed computers and files, witnesses said. They said about two dozen cars and construction machines were wrecked.

The laborers, mostly from South Asia and China, demanded better pay and employment conditions and refused to return to work. Skilled carpenters earn $7.60 a day, and laborers get about $4
The United Arab Emirates is one of the richest per capita areas in the world but it seems Dubai offers somewhat low wages for such a major prestige project (I freely confess I thought the wages were a bit low until I realized it was $7.60 a day, not $7.60 an hour; ouch!). Is there prestige these days in paying such low wages? I suspect there may be more to the story and it would be interesting, as just one example, to find out how much of their income workers are able to keep after their expenses.

If there are multinational corporations, it seems there should be multinational labor movements; if globalization is only about corporations, then it's a myth to say that consumers win from globalization since consumers are also workers. Americans workers and their stagnant wages are the proof that globalization needs to be modified. Allowing Republicans and their corporate campaign donors to define what globalization means has been a mistake.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"Mistake" is one word for it, an exceedingly polite one.

I liken our current set of official attitudes, policies and treaties as the economic equivalent of playing with matches in a dynamite factory

We're engaged in an experiment unlike anything that's been tried before in all of history. It's especially dangerous given the incompetence of our current set of leaders.

2:12 PM  

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