A co-worker of mine just came back from China today. He had been sent there to monitor a supplier of plastic casings for our machines. Apparently there had been some sort of quality issue, and being that my company wisely fired all plastics engineers and outsourced all plastics work, he was the only one found who could possibly help. He described the somewhat dismal though not entirely appalling safety conditions as well as the fact that they seemed like very good workers, despite being paid $100/week. I started thinking of what kind of quality of service I’d expect here for $100/week. If the waiter didn’t have sex with my food I’d be ecstatic. I’ve got some painful messages for American workers here:
1. You are only going to get poorer.
2. Industry is never coming back. No politician can ever bring it back for you.
3. You helped lose it. You succumbed to conditions encouraged by fatcats, but you smiled as you brought about the doom of your lifestyle.
4. You are no better and no worse than a worker in a foreign country. Deal with it.
I’m sick of the type of nationalism that assumes we’re fundamentally different. Somehow an American thrown in a factory as opposed to a Chinese person is going to do better. Yeah right. The American would bitch and moan and get out his newspaper and start asking when lunch is. I do it too. The Chinese person would immediately get to work. Why? Is he better morally? No. He’s hungry! We’ve lost that hunger. We’ve gotten fat and happy and complacent. We got addicted to a much higher standard of living than that of the generations before us.
All of a sudden refrigerators and vacuums and cars and steak for dinner changed from luxuries to necessities. I keep trying to think of a plan to save, and it comes down to: I can’t get rid of internet. I can’t get rid of cable. I can’t get rid of my car. I can’t stop eating decently well. I can’t stop going out at least a few times a week. None of these will change. If my job ever left the country I’d be screwed. I’d have to fundamentally change how I live and find a new career. The only solution is to rise to the top of the company. In order to move up a few levels I’d have to start the habits of lying, fudging, placating, etc. All those things I can’t do because of a damn thing I call integrity. It hurts to see these idiots moving around a few levels above me just preventing the company from doing well. I asked today why the executives who moved our plastics business abroad didn’t demand the same level of safety at the supplier as we have in our plants. The answer is that they don’t care about the people. The people are resources, machines, replaceable and faceless. They only follow safety regulations to avoid legal liabilites. Beancounters. ARGH!