Merger Mania

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Sat Dec 12 12:29:18 PST 1998

Brother Tom L underlined:

"Our domestic steel industry is the most efficient in the world. We have the best labor productivity in the world. It takes fewer man hours to make a ton of steel in the USA than anywhere else in the world."

What a terrifying situation for USworking class. Threatened with foreigncompetition based on the resort to currency devaluations and wagespressed below value and the acceptance of prices near marginal costs due to the desperate need for revenue as intl loans are called in; US producers must step up labor productivity, creating a larger reserve army of labor that then pulls US wages and thus the price of US steel down, which itself has the effect of inducing further devaluations and further depression of the wage among foreign producers in order to outcompete the US producers that must then again cut costs through more labor rationalisaton and industrial unemployment.

What the international working class is faced with that even if their own national capitals are able to come out on top for some time, the bosses' way out of the crisis is no way out for the working class. Capitalism cannot be stabilized as global growth nose dives below 2%; there can be no coincidence of interests among workers and their capitalists. There is not enough room for all, and capitalists can now only save themselves at the expense of workers--whether they operate in protected markets or not.

Profits will still be achieved through rationalisation, i.e., industrial unemployment; other industries and other workers will be damaged if steel or other input prices are maintained through protectionism in the context of an emergent global depression.

That's why I quoted from that Emile Burns' pamphlet The Only Way Out [i.e. the self emancipation of the international working class] from 1932. I really don't think the logic of the argument is totally dated.

>From this point on, only the most radical solutions will seem rational to
the workers themselves unless of course Touched by An Angel continues its upward march in the television ratings. Then other solutions to life's incredible miseries may well seem possible.

> It is true that some industrialists could care less if the domestic steel
> industry is destroyed. Short term quick profit types. They forget what will
> happen in a few years when they need steel and it is unavailable to them at a
> reasonable price on the world market.
C'mon Tom we are all dead in the long run.

yours, rakesh

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