Indeed. Arrest Tony Hayward and bring in the Navy’s deep sea teams to deal with this. We have had deep sea capacity since the days of nuclear subs and the Cold War. Why not use it to protect us for once?
A deep sea drilling platform ship built 30 years ago for the Navy and CIA during the Cold War is now leased to Transocean which is using it in Indonesia for oil drilling on behalf of Marathon Oil
So who doesn’t have the expertise to respond to this emergency?
I was at a reception with Bob Kerrey in NY a few weeks ago. He was hosting our conference on US corporations in the current crisis at the New School University of which he is President. Kerrey has been somewhat controversial with the lefty faculty and students at the New School but his comments at the reception were those of a solid liberal. He predicted a fairly significant shift away from the Democrats in the upcoming fall elections, which the interim elections on Tuesday strongly reinforced. He may be too much to the center in New York but he would likely be a breath of fresh air at the MPAA.
And so, as the economy began to fail in 2008 and as factories closed by the tens of thousands, workers took to the streets, especially in the country’s export powerhouse, the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province. Protests have continued around the country. At the end of July last year, for instance, some thirty thousand steelworkers in the rust-belt province of Jilin fought with police and beat to death a top manager who had threatened large layoffs after a merger. The incident illustrates the trend that disturbances are becoming larger and more violent. In fact, demonstrators in the last few years have been using deadly force as an initial tactic against local authorities.
All the more reason for the State Department and organized labor to re-think any idea of “constructive engagement” with China.
Worker protest by suicide is a horrible fact of life in China. It serves as more evidence of the misguided approach to labor rights that the new human rights team at the State Department appears intent on following.
Instead of “constructive engagement” with the bosses in Beijing, we need pressure on China to recognize universal labor standards including the right to freedom of association.
Silicon Valley should take the lead here and ask for an independent investigation of labor conditions at Foxconn and the other offshore manufacturing centers used to build our laptops and smartphones and iPads by the ILO and including an internationally recognized team. Transparency is a crucial first step to encouraging Chinese workers to take advantage of universal human rights to solve their problems rather than desperate measures.
This is an interesting idea – that organized labor has more power than it may think in the era of globalization.
Why? Well the argument is that companies use a kind of “just in time” approach to finance, stretching to the breaking point their credit position. Any unexpected pressure from the labor force can tear a damaging hole in the thin fabric of global finance that knits the whole system together.
I made a related point recently in an interview about my new book, From Che to China, with Inside Fashion. I suggested that the race to the bottom of global capital over the last three decades may have reached bottom with widespread labor unrest breaking out in China and thus threatening the cheap labor model that has been so dominant.
Our “closing the barn door” item of the month….
Felix Salmon notes the problem: an explosion of fictitious capital (149% of GDP “in a best case scenario”) with a possible fall in GDP of 12%!
The FT had a piece today comparing Greece to California…of course, they leave out one huge difference – there is no serious left or labor movement in California while rioting Greek workers helped contribute to the panic on Wall Street last week.
The Campaign for Peace and Democracy is circulating a letter of support for Egyptian workers which you can read here.
Some good background on the events unfolding in the world’s oldest democracy.