Thursday, January 25, 2007
e-mail to the Economist : Rich man, poor man
Rich man, poor man
in reference to the article 'Globalisation and the rise of inequality'
I read your article ‘Rich man, poor man’, thinking perhaps the author, James Fryer, had made a mistake. Surely this piece should have been titled 'Rich man, poor people'.
For every Chief executive there are nearly always hundreds, possibly thousands, or more that often meet the same unfortunate news as those sawyers and gluers of Galax, Virginia. in your article. To say these are the glory days of global capitalism is to ‘tip your cap’ and place your publication’s ‘feet’ firmly in the trenches of the Mr. Nardelli’s of this world, and to only nod a passing respect to the sawyers and gluers, for I ask, Is it not their capital economy as well? You say they are not happy. I say, go to Galax!. Maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the appropriate word. Something that more accurately reflects the small town’s true gloom and despair, might have served them better, and fairer.
I quote: ‘The first rule is to avoid harming the very miracle that generates so much wealth. Take for instance the arguments about high executive pay’. Really?, Miracle?, For the executives like Mr. Nardelli, perhaps. I’m sure the gluers and sawyers, and all those on the receiving end of similar bad news don’t see it as a miracle, so how true can that statement really be? Wealth creation is a wonderful thing, but left unchecked, it can hardly be said to be a miracle.
No better example can be offered than here in the United States. I live just a few short blocks away from the Whitehouse. From this building, policy has been written, decisions made, actions taken that not only affect people here in Washington, D.C., but the rest of the country, and the rest of the world as well.
This richest nation on earth, (let’s not forget; built on the back of free, slave-labour) cannot presently manage to send its children to school and college for free, cannot provide free health care for its citizens, and has homeless people wandering and sleeping on the streets in plain view of the Whitehouse. Not only that, but people who are obviously in very real need of care have been forced out onto the streets from institutions, because of repeated cuts in government spending, all while the richest sectors in society enjoy increasingly fabulous wealth. I invite James Fyrer to spend a day with me, here in the nation’s capital, where I will take him on a tour of some very uncomfortable sights. It won’t take very long…
Nobody can argue too strongly that wealth creation is not the way out of poverty, but as for a ‘miracle’, I don’t think the sawyers and gluers of Galax, Virginia, or anyone unfortunate enough to be living on the streets are on their hands and knees right now, giving thanks to the Lord; but there again, I guess not too many of them are subscribers to the Economist…