Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Mogamedogz, Oct 25, 2011.
Please unpack your grades.
Is this a clever ploy to be able to calculate the great secret of the Western world... his GPA?
I see right through you. Keeping that secret is my sworn and solemn charge, sir. I will not be undone by so transparent a gambit.
Good day to you!
I think he's done an excellent job. Anything less then an "A-" for foreign policy is intellectually dishonest IMO.
I will give him a 'B' for now. I'm not sure I like all these expanded operations. He promised Gitmo would be closed - would like to see that wrapped up somehow. Overall - hard to complain he's done well in tough times.
Guantanamo was not his choice, Congress blocked the closing..
I give him a B-, based on the expansion into Afghanistan, the use of drones, the whole foray into Libya and the very questionable expansion into Africa..
These endless wars need to end.. the only thing that makes this grade this high is the withdrawal from Iraq...
Can you imagine the lovefest we'd have had if W had gotten Bin Laden and Gh/Q/Kadhafi within a few months of each other, and had been the sitting president when our guys rescued hostages from pirates, taking all the pirates out in the process?
That said: to me the only reason for the war in the Af/Pak theatre was to "get" the guys who got us. The question is how you can ever get "all of them."
It may be that they know Pakistan will turn hard anti-American the moment we don't have guys running around their country ready to whack a bad guy... which will look um, bad?
However, I do think it's a withdrawl they'll suddenly start to "examine" the day after the elections next year (or before if public opinion is firmly enough against that war). After a decent period of time has elapsed I can see them pulling guys out. We'll see.
By and large, worldwide, I think he'd drawn back from the cowboy U.S. foreign policy ("Because I said so, and because of your behavior, the whole group will have to suffer.")
Oh yeah, Obama signed a treaty w/Russia to further reduce our arsenals by 1/3. Had it been W, it would have been a headline for 3 months. We barely noticed.
Truth is, he gets an A unless you're a pacifist or an isolationist. I trust Darryl's pacificsm -- I don't think he's ever billed himself as otherwise. He's very good, in the nasty reality of the real world.
But were I to examine things from a purist perspective I'd see problems. Looks to me like torture has been reduced/eliminated in our "toolkit," even though people are still in Gitmo. We've radically reduced messy occupation activities and emphasized a much more targeted campaign against "bad guys." Of course, the canon of "just war" beliefs includes a centuries-old "no-no" against assassination.
The question is whether you consider it assassination against a non-state actor like Bin Laden. If you want it to be "just," you need to work through other states when you are dealing in essence with an international criminal.
That decision -- treat him as a foreign war-fighting force - was made long before Obama took office. So you can either be ineffectual and mire yourself in theory, or you can get the job done. Obama chose to do the latter. I can't really ping him for "increased drone strikes" when we've already defined ourselves by whether or not we get the AQ hard core. You don't get much more hard core than Bin Laden.
I'll give him a B. On the whole it's been a balanced foreign policy, and we certainly have far less sabre rattling than we had under Bush. While our relations with North Korea and Iran aren't good, at least it doesn't seem like war is imminent. Obama's done a good job bringing greater peace, embracing the right of self-determination, and winding things down in Iraq. That said, we should be out of Afghanistan, and our economic foreign policy shows very little change from Bush and Clinton, though it's clear that we need to do more to protect American jobs.
Yeah Patters, and this is another face of how the Corporate world bounds the debate.
There is no discussion, anywhere, of international labor standards.
There are 2 ways to keep American jobs (and by the way this applies to the rest of the first world).
1) we can all get protectionist in the standard way, where we demand that people we tax ("our" job creators) get a bigger part of the pie, and we stop trading with people with lower labor rates etc.
2) We can band together with the rest of the consuming world, and act as a bloc to push through labor standards that approximate the West's.
If (2), then the standard of living for those hired overseas has to rise for them to sell here. There would be two results:
1) foreign goods that depend on poor labor conditions abroad would cost more. That's unavoidable.
2) There would be more demand to locate jobs here, where you have to meet the international standards anyway (by virtue of meeting the national standards, for example, our minimum wage.)
Let's take a "floor wage" as an example. Domestically, if you had to pay $1 an hour worldwide for labor, there is no change to labor rates, at least that you would see immediately. You make something in the U.S., you are still paying what, $7 an hour? Okay, well, that's still $6 more than abroad.
However, even without this standard, jobs leave for overseas. You make a calculation: What does it cost to send jobs elsewhere, all in -- including transportation, infrastructure, etc. etc. etc.? For some jobs here, that equilibrium has not been met. If the cost of labor at 25 c/hour doesn't do it, raising it to $1 an hour will make it that much further off.
More to the point, some jobs are on the border. The $1 an hour rate in say Malaysia makes the exportation too expensive. The job stays here.
It's the same equilibrium mechanism as functions in our continuing job-drain, with this difference:
The "natural" built-in mechanism is a race to the bottom: The ultimate perfect state for a manufacturer is a zero-per-hour labor rate, i.e., slavery. -- So long as somebody else makes enough money go to workers, that there is sufficient demands for your products.
We've lost the realization that somebody has to buy the output. That's why Ford insisted that one of his own workers be able to afford his own automobile (previously a luxury good.)
In an age of quarterly returns and, for the patient, annual financial statements, it is hard to argue to a Corporate board that you're ensuring demand. They want to see earnings right now, and take profits.
So you reinforce the system-wide need of capitalism, by allowing international standards to operate.
But look where we are in such a debate:
The unions have thought in pure money terms at all times without an eye on a broader adjustment like this for many decades. So the unions, the natural voice of an international standards move, don't pursue it.
The government doesn't bother with international labor standards... besides it being far afield, it also results in inflation in the cost of foreign goods (which is exactly what you have to accept if you want U.S. jobs back.)
Business? We've already come to the conclusion that the best state of affairs for a business is slavery within the confines of any given employer's workforce (although with the caveat that "other people" should pay better, so we can sell the goods.)
This is the flip side of the other problem, over in the financial sector. There, each investment bank was encouraged to take any type of risk, and any financial instrument or mortgage was considered a good thing (and a good thing to commoditize) based on the idea that they can't take a risk they can't cover -- why, they'll go out of business!
But nobody cares about anything beyond their own risk and their own wellbeing. Even if their company commits financial suicide in the case of a downturn, they half-knew they'd be bailed out. Even if they didn't know that, they knew the worst thing that could happen is they'd have to take the golden parachute drop (not go to jail.)
So the entirety of the system -- which is the public interest -- is never considered.
If we don't get to that point, we don't win.
But that's out of bounds for our present conversation. That's what's frustrating to me. It's the 10 ton elephant in the room, and you can't talk about it.
But hell, who wants to pay $50 for a shirt, right?
PFvN - While I am not going after particular points in your post, the overall theme on manufacturing jobs going abroad because of cheap labor is an interesting topic of conversation (and a topic close to my "heart").
First of all, I cant speak to labor situations and pay rates around the world. I can speak to what the situation was in Indonesia (spent 8 years there because of my father who, surprise surprise, worked there because of manufacturing; shoes) and China (parents lived there for 5 years).
Of the top, we as Americans need to realize one important thing, that wage rates, and more importantly how much a person needs to make in Indonesia vs. here to "survive" are vastly different things.
The government mandated minimum wage in Indonesia when I left (May 2001)was 110,000 Rp. a Month = 11 $US a month. Police, Government workers, teachers etc etc, that was the rate they would start at. Factory workers at the factories the company my father worked for did business at (there were 5 at the time) had a starting rate for workers at 660,000 Rp./Month = $66/Month. So off the top, a factory worker making shoes in Tangerang Indonesia in 2001 was making 6 times the minimum wage rate of the country. To put that in perspective, our minimum wage rate here is what, basically 7/hour?? 6 times that is 42/hour.
It was never the situation Kathy Lee and Jessie Jackson *****ed about on 20/20, when they went to Indonesia and threw out the "they make a dollar a day" BS. Beyond that, no one here gets that a dollar there buys a hell of a lot more than a dollar here. When I left I could get a large portion of Nasi Goreng (fried rice with Chicken) for 2400 Rp = 24 cents. My point being, all things need to be taken into account.
Now on to your point about the cost of goods at sale. Speaking for shoes, there is an interesting dynamic that may be the same for other goods, but I don't know that. The shoes are produced by the factory (an independent contracted worker for the shoe company). The shoe company doesn't own the factory, but instead sets regulations (treatment of workers, benefits, wages etc) on the factory as part of their contract to produce said companies goods. So, the shoes when produced are owned by the factory, not the shoe company.
So if a shoe cost the factory 10 dollars to make (which would be considered "a cheaper shoe"), the factory sells the shoe to the the shoe company for 15 dollars. The company then has to pay all taxes and transportation to get the shoe from Indonesia to the US (the tax rate under Suharto for exporting goods was 90%). Flash forward 3 months, when the big boat makes it to SF/Seattle/LA. The shoe has now cost the company say 20 bucks in production, tax and transportation costs (Freight On Board). They turn and sell said shoe to footlocker for 40 bucks, who then turns around and sells it to you and me for 70-80 bucks. At each change of hands, there is basically a doubling in price.
All that being said, if you change the wage rate at the beginning of this exercise to a rate more in line with US standards, that 70-80 dollar shoe is now 2,3,4 times as much, because after all these businesses are in it to make money.
Now given all that has happened recently in China regarding wages (they are increasing at an "astronomical rate") my dad in his duties, is responsible for finding new countries to produce what China used to, because China is becoming too expensive. India, Bangladesh, are the two new big ones, and my dad goes there every couple of months. In having a similar talk with him, I have brought up the point that given the current costs associated with raising wage rates etc, seems like moving manufacturing back to the states could be relatively close (not the same) cost wise. He agrees, with one caveat. The raw good for shoes is leather. Leather requires tanneries. Tanneries in the US are regulated by what they can and cant do with the chemicals used in the tanning process (which we all agree should be the case). In China and the like, there are no regulations. Tanneries (again Independent companies from a say a shoe company) are free to do with the byproducts of the tanning process; which in their cases are some nasty nasty things.
Long story short, and I my apologies to the OP for hijacking the thread, is there is a real difference between wages here and most other places. There will not, and most definitely should not be , a "global wage". Why should there be? Why should the wage rate in the US have any impact on what it is in Indonesia? When I was looking at moving to Atlanta, the rates there were 15K less than Boston, and that is the same country. I do think however as countries become more and more developed, and thus rates increase naturally, that there will be a flood of companies coming back to the US to make goods.
To the original point of the thread. I give Obama a solid B for what he has done foreign policy wise. I like that Iraq is drawing down and hope Afghanistan does soon also. I do not agree with Libya or Africa, but those are smaller beans by contrast. Also he did get Bin Laden and a couple of other of his cohorts.
Does this include trade agreements?
I'd grade him (Z) on everything.
Dictators removed - 3
Fake wars for oil (without ground troops)- 1
Al Qaeda #1 - KILLED
Invasions - 0
Terrorist plots thwarted - a few
Shoes thrown at head - 0
I'd give the man a solid C, still need to pack up the troops in Afghanistan, especially after what Karzai just said about protecting Pakistan.
He is certainly head and shoulders above the last fukup president.
Okay first off, I started the "long post hijack" thing, so if you guys hate this exchange, I am glad to go to PM with it too. I found Drewski's post really interesting in the good way.
Bagaimana Anda bahasa?
Mine is straight out of google translate of course, but I have heard that in Indonesia you don't say "bahasa indonesia," you just say "bahasa." I may have heard wrong of course.
Definitely assume this and agree with you. For the sake of simplicity and not getting into dumb sidetrack arguments, I simplified to wages (and didn't deal w/working conditions, just for example.)
I'd maintain, however, that even with the local adjustment you would make to make a dollar a dollar, that an American worker does have a much higher standard of living.
You have a government minimum wage there (May 2001) of $11 U.S./month, and you could get dinner for 24 cents. So let's say its a 160-hour month (probably a different definition but you tell me,) or just under 7 c/hour. So, 3-4 hours to buy dinner. I'm assuming that's a sort of cheap eatery price, not some big fancy hotel restaurant... so that would equate to a fast food or perhaps "casual dining meal" at $7/hour for the American costing 24 bucks.
Still that's vastly different from what you imagine if you talk about making 7 c/hour.
So there are 2 points here: 1, that we have very different cost-of-living considerations for the different wages. 2, that the U.S. standard of living in a global economy must approximate equilibrium with, for example, the Indonesian standard of living.
I don't mean it must for some moral reason. I mean, because otherwise American labor is prohibitively expensive.
Leaving aside the admittedly vastly different valuations in terms of goods/services affordable for a dollar and transport costs, for manufacturing to exist in the U.S., all the costs added up (markups, retail, transportation, etc.,) must be a better deal in-house than off-shore. Otherwise, no jobs making things.
What I propose is that we do not leave those calculations to "find their level."
Look what happens: You aren't multinational. You have to sell your labor at local rates. In fact, people who want to up the rate by modestly participating in the multinational perspective -- immigrant laborers -- are reviled far more than the multinational corporation that does this routinely. But I digress. You certainly can't take advantage of the difference between Indonesian and American labor rates, especially being an American, except after paying all those markups.
If you're an international concern, selling shoes, you go where labor is cheap. You produce the goods and make a lot in local terms. The next guy marks it up, the next guy marks it up, and so on. Shoes are sold at the end, your company thrives based on the difference between what an Indonesian can afford to work for and what an American can afford to pay.
Now, wages are skyrocketing in the pacific rim... IOW, the demand for labor is high there, and they have begun wage inflation (which is serious business, because that's structural inflation, and can become an endless spiral.) Your chicken dinner might cost 50c now or even a buck.
Eventually the guy that makes the shoes identifies some other country -- we'll call it Uzbeckybeckybeckystanstan, Or UStan for short -- where the cycle can start again.
This is great for UStan but eventually industries leave Indonesia or China. Rinse, repeat. The corporations continue to pocket the differences in national imbalances; as long as there's a labor pool on one end and a market on the other everything's fine, regardless of the waves of unemployment produced.
Meanwhile, places like the U.S. continue to cut the basic protections and perks of their workforces. Something like this will pertain everywhere the corporations are moving away from, because now UStan is a better place to do the work.
Basically, industry's in way better shape than labor to take advantage of those imbalances. Your dad paid the equivalent of $42 an hour for shoemakers. So of course people wanted to work for him. But now wages are skyrocketing -- beyond that equivalent, I take it, or why would he complain? That is, why would it matter that it's normal for people to pay 5 x minimum wage, if he's paying 7 x minimum?
Obviously, w/structural inflation, goods and services are also going through the roof in the local costs.
Right. That's the downside of urging international labor standards. It also approximates what's going to happen anyway, except that you prevent the "race to the bottom" in which it's the wild west on the hiring end, and you just flee to the cheapest labor market.
So again, equalize to bias the outcome in favor of worker safety, environmental safety, etc.
Using wages as the stand-in for full labor standards agreements didn't capture that, but I meant it LOL. The whole point is 2 things could happen: Either the U.S. could drop its environmental and worker safety regs... or we could restrict trade with you if you disregard equivalent regs (and fight hard to internationalize those regs.)
Or, Bangladesh. Or Sudan. Or UStan. But eventually, when the all-in costs equalize, yes you can come back and manufacture in the U.S.
Same conclusion, same equalization (all-in), different way to get there, and you get there quicker.
Is all ahm sayn.
Incomplete, we don't know the results of his support of the Arab spring overthrow of governments.
Bahasa saya tidak lagi sangat bagus.
I have lost so much of it since leaving there 10 years ago. I am sure that if I ever went back, much of the conversational parts of the language would come right back, but the fluency I had I fear is gone forever.
Generally speaking referring to the language as Bahasa was informally fine. Bahasa Indonesia(n) was the official term for the language, but most conversations between people simply referred to it as Bahasa.
I am happy to take this exchange to PM, feel free to hit me up. Your post is a great "deeper" dive into some aspects that my admittedly over simplied example was digging at.
One point off the top. The meal that cost 24 cents would not be considered fast food compared to what we consider fast food. Fast food here is the McDonalds, BK, Wendys, Taco Bell, Dell Taco etc etc. This is more a traveling restuarant catered to locals and their "price points" (that being said nothing better than coming home after a night of drinking to grad a seat at that Nasi Goreng stall and having a meal with all the flavors of Indonesian street food; even though as a foreigner I paid the "buleh" price; usually twice the local price for the same item).
One of the very unique things about Indonesia is their "carts". Every "industry" has carts. Either foot or pedal powered carts which sell goods/food/traditional medicine/toys. As Americans the only way I can explain it is think of an Ice Cream truck. The truck enters a neighborhood, and plays its snappy little jingle. The carts of Indonesia do the same thing. So the jamu cart is passing through, and the "driver" "sings" "Jaaaaaaa-mu!". The nasi goreng cart passed through and sings "Naaaaa-si". The roti bakar (baked bread) sings "rooooooo-ti". These carts (and stalls in the evening) are basically the standard fare for local Indonesian cusine. Locals use them as either means of shopping, to cook at home, or as a purchasing spot for a meal, a drink, traditional herbal medicine (jamu) or what have you.
Yeah okay, now I'm just jealous. Although, we do have an army of food trucks in downtown DC with everything from burritos to seafood... and of course everybody has the popcorn stand and the hot dog stand. It all seems so bland now. Okay, PM coming.
But seriously, the exchange between you and Drewski on this was on of the most interesting ones on here in months. Why take it offline?
I'd give him an incomplete.
I really don't understand our policy toward Iran and our position with respect to Assad (we were for him before we were against him).
I give him partial credit for getting bin Laden (he made the call, but that was years in the making)...
What is most puzzling is that our standing in the Muslim world has continued to worsen even after Obama continually reached out and got tough on Israel.
B5 - Im not sure what we will ever be able to do about that. When I was in Indo (1994-2001) America was not viewed popularly at all, and that was all prior to the GWOT stuff. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country on Earth (by population), but they are admittedly (generally speaking) more "moderate" than the ME version of Islam. I used to have conversations out with the locals and they would always say how gila (crazy) the ME version of Islam was. Not to say there were conservative aspects that had made it to Indonesia (mostly centered around scantily clad teenage girls and Public Displays of Affection), but generally speaking Indonesia was a moderate Islamic country.
However I do recall from time to time when I was there it wasn't "safe" to say you were an American. If I got into a cab and the driver asked where I was from, I would say Canada. They would always respond with Good, Canada is good, America is not (again pre 2001). I remember one event was when the Chinese embassy in Kosovo was mistakenly bombed (Clinton years)
Friends of mine who still live were on "house arrest" for basically a year in 2004-05 because mobs of people would find the expat kids out a restaurant/bar etc etc and then follow them there to cause trouble/fights etc etc etc.
Just my 2 cents.
The only folks who thought he got tough were the right wing bloggers, recent polls in Israel after the decisions made by Obama were largely favorable.
Israel has gotten billions of dollars from the US, somewhere along the line we need to cut the cord.. in many ways they have exascerbated their relations with their neighbors.
A poll surge for Obama -- in Israel - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com
Separate names with a comma.