9.12. How to *Really* Solve Our Economic Woes

Nobody in American politics today has the right solution to fix our economic woes.

Nobody in American politics today has the right solution to fix our economic woes.

That includes the populist, protectionist policies pushed by Donald Trump.

That includes the greatly expanded government intervention and social programs advocated by Bernie Sanders.

It includes the big cuts to taxes, government spending, and regulations promoted by mainstream Republicans.

And it includes the largely status quo position espoused by mainstream Democrats.

The problem with all these positions is they’re trying to fix a global problem on a national level.

Capitalism is a global system.

It’s international. It transcends boundaries.

And in our era of new information, communication, and transportation technologies, the global economy is more integrated than ever.

This gives major corporations enormous leverage over governments trying to protect their own people.

When governments try to impose more taxes, more regulations, and more protections for workers and consumers…businesses can just threaten to take their jobs, their money, and their operations elsewhere.

It creates a race to the bottom, as countries rush to lower corporate taxes, remove even the most reasonable regulations, and try to create the most attractive, pro-business climate possible—even if that means these corporations can get away with exploiting workers, consumers, and the environment.

Here in the United States, there’s been a huge effort, since the 1980s, to roll back regulations and make the government as business-friendly as possible.

But guess what? Many of the jobs have moved overseas anyway.

We could continue to give businesses what they want. But as long as some countries overseas are willing to let their workers get abused and paid even less…the jobs will still go over there.

We could take a harder line, and impose more taxes and regulations anyway. But then the jobs will go overseas even faster.

We could try to use our leverage, as the most powerful country and biggest consumer market in the world, to try to make businesses accept fairer terms.

But then we’d basically cut ourselves out of the global economy…and the jobs will go overseas in this scenario fastest of all!

Nothing we can do here, or in any one country, can fix this problem.

Because the problem is the built-in advantage multinational corporations have in playing the nations of the world off each other, to create a willingness among the governments of the world to let their people be exploited, for the sake of attracting more economic investment.

This has to be dealt with on an international level.

The countries of the world have to come together, create a bill of rights for workers and consumers, and enforce it in every country that participates in the global economy.

Because as long as corporations have an escape hatch, they don’t have any incentive to come to the table and play by the rules.

They can pretty much say: “It’s our way…or the highway.”

I’m not saying all the countries of the world have to totally give up their autonomy. But there needs to be standard, universal protections and regulations adopted by all countries.

Or else our economic woes will continue, no matter what we do.

 

This is the 152nd in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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