Sunday, March 26, 2006

More on Dubai Worker Conditions

I want to make it clear that I favor better internatonal relations. I wish Bush were in favor of better international relations too. Urging the United Arab Emirates to pay honest wages to foreign workers in Dubai would be a step in the right direction. It is wrong for Bush and his Republican friends to define better relations with other countries as something restricted to holding hands with the powerful and conservative elite of other countries if the policies of the elite brings everybody's labor standards down and fair wages are thrown out the window.

The United Arab Emirates is a wealthy region in the middle of a building boom because of profits from high oil prices. They are building a number of projects to improve their prestige in the world. Paying rock bottom wages sends a dangerous signal about what is valued these days. Bush talks about values but he doesn't live up to them or urge others to do so in a way that is meaningful.

By way of the Seattle Times, here's part of a New York Times story on the lives of Dubai workers brought in from other nations:
Far from the high-rise towers and luxury hotels of Dubai, the workers turning this swath of desert into a modern metropolis live in a Dickensian world of cramped labor camps, low pay and increasing desperation.


Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Those with wealth and corporate power hold nearly all the cards in many countries. They leverage their economic power to gain political power, too.

Not surprisingly, sky-high value is attached to capital and entrepreneurship, while labor is being forced down and out in value.

The shorthand term is "race to the bottom," but what's at work is economic Darwinism.

The scary part is that all the impetus is toward the rich becoming somewhat more numerous but inexorably wealthier, while more sink from working and lower middle class into poverty.

People on the low end of things are going to have organize, in unions and politically, in the U.S. and elsewhere to reverse this.

3:48 PM  

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