Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dubious on Dubai

The latest controversy is the sale of US port systems from control by a British company to the country of The United Arab Emirates and a company called Dubai World Ports. Politicians from both parties are jumping on Bush in opposition to the sale.

I wish I could garner some outrage or even some mild disgust but I don't find this unusual in the world of global capitalism. Nothing is very sacred as to who owns what anymore. I don't understand why we didn't question ANY foreign country running our ports. So what if Britain is considered a friend, does that mean that all the employees of that British company were are friends as well?

But we've sold out long ago. Free trade has mixed up every industry here in the US. Cross country ownership backed up by World Trade Organization rules that Bush and Clinton both liked. Here in Michigan thanks to free trade rules FORCES my state to take Canadian garbage to despoil more of our land occupied as landfills. The state has tried to stop the importation of the trash, but the WTO has rules and the US is a signator to the WTO.

The last two US auto companies (Ford and GM) are hurting from unbalanced trade where Asian countries restrict American imports, but the US allows all foreign cars for sale in the US. So, we will respect the WTO when it comes to garbage, but not when it comes to autos. We allow foreign auto companies to build cars in the US but the same isn't true for the American auto companies as to Asia unless it is through a government coalition company like in China.

We have a German company now owning what used to be a member of the "big three" auto companies, Chrysler. So, what difference does it make if an Arab country is running some of our sea ports? Does it make any difference when we know that only about 10% of containers are checked? Does it matter if those containers don't get checked by that British company or this United Arab Emirates company?

Now, I think it makes a difference, but most Americans haven't seemed to care that foreign companies run things all over the US. Most Americans don't care that our huge national debt is paid for by foreign countries. Most Americans don't care that we are trading decent paying manufacturing jobs for lower paying retail jobs.

Most Americans aren't aware that history has a few lessons about this. Going back to the other dominate economic nations in the past, giving up the manufacturing and craft industries was a precursor to economic decline. Before us it was Britain, Spain and The Netherlands that lost their production strength. They as us started relying on the world to be their workers and creators of new technology, products and new ideas. We are about halfway (just a guess) to becoming a declining economic power. We are giving away our strength for one simple reason, greed at the top of the economic food chain.

It wasn't enough to make millions for the elites of the business world, they wanted much more. But when the day comes that most Americans finally understand what we've been giving away, they need to blame themselves for laying down or falling asleep and not paying attention. OK, maybe this port deal is the wake-up call, but I doubt it. Congress might block the deal, but they have let so many other deals fly right by them that if they do block this deal it is only a small drop in the ocean.


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