Friday, April 21, 2006

Pennacchio on Living Wage and Immigration

As I mentioned in my last post, I was a little confused by Chuck's comment during the debate that an American living wage could leverage foreign nations to slow the pace of illegal immigration. It seemed a bit out of left field at the time. Dr. Paul Durrenberger of The Centre Countians for Chuck Pennacchio clears it up:
Good work on the coverage in the blog…I’d disagree on only one thing…chuck’s bit on living wage and world-wide wages—the dilemma this guy faces is that he really does understand this stuff as a complex series of relationships, but it’s not easy to get all that into a 2 minute statement—hell, try giving an academic paper in 15 minutes when you’ve just figured out how to explain the whole world—anyway—I saw that as maybe tripping him up—he may have too much respect for his audience, but he won’t talk down to them or simplify for them—so the deal is like this—u.s. pays living wage and then in trade agreements sets terms for other countries to be our trading partners—instead of opening the whole world to corporations w/ world bank help, the idea is a bilateral agreement w/ each country—that would specify that they have to meet environmental rules, human rights rules, labor rights rules—and here the u.s. is a big offender--, and guarantee living wages—here also u.s. is offender. So if the u.s. leads the way, and demands trading partners follow, that brings everyone up—rather than making a race to the bottom as we have now w/ the wal-martization of everything—and walmart controlling retail markets to the extent that they can demand suppliers reduce their wholesale prices, and then manufacturers pushing that down as repressive labor policies in their countries (e.g. china, Columbia) and paying poverty wages. So current system is race to bottom; chuck’s alternative is to that u.s. sets the floor for wellbeing of working people. epd
Actually, this make a whole lot of sense. Thanks Paul.


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