Friday, January 11, 2008

Milwaukee Business Leaders Meet Their Worst Enemy - - Themselves

Our hometown business leaders, in love with China, rip their city, and in the process, probably help Colorado win the Coors/Miller merged headquarters.

Nice work, fellas.

It's that old story: Milwaukeans just can't stop beating themselves up, but those guys do it in print. Go figure - - especially since there's more than enough data and reporting around that indicates China may not be the most attractive production model for American business leaders to follow.

I've added some contextual updates about that below, but first - - want to see how a progressive business leader can sound when addressing a business audience with a fully open mind, about issues which, again, other Wisconsin business leaders have been negative?

Give this a read. It's about the need to preserve the Great Lakes, differing substantially from the isolationist and self-interested propaganda about Great Lakes water coming out of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Metropolitan Home Builders Association and the Waukesha Chamber of Commerce.


The Journal Sentinel carries its own version of the business leaders' anti-Milwaukee complaints, wherein we learn that when our CEO's fly to China they love being met at airports in escorted limousines, like potentates, emergency lights flashing.

Turns out that visiting business bigwigs just love the fawning attention they receive in a Communist dictatorship.

Oh, the ironies.

Yes, the Chinese government and its tightly-controlled corporate infrastructure can provide what our business leaders most crave: low costs.

That's because China runs on minuscule wages, crappy environmental standards, laws against unions, and other favors that can only be guaranteed in a one-party, military state.

NPR recently carried an interview with experts who monitor plants in China that produce goods, including popular brand name shoes and clothing, for US retailers.

It turns out that many Chinese workers make 55-60 cents an hour and must work mandatory overtime - - pay that is often withheld from female workers who also are harassed, even sexually assaulted on the job.

And without a union to take up their cases.

Further Update:

Chinese officials beat a blogger to death, according to CNN.

OK, so not every country enshrines free speech to the extent of the US Constitution, but where's the outrage about this event. Note that the report says "officials," or what we here call "under the color of law."

And remember a few months ago that the Chinese government executed the head of their Food and Drug Administration equivalent for poorly regulating the sale of lead-tainted toys?

If we imitate that model, a lot of the top people at our Consumer Products Safety Commission and other agencies and manufacturers would have relocated to Brazil by now.

Further, Further Update:

The death toll in Chinese coal mines last year was nearly 3,800 miners, according to official sources. That's more than ten dead miners a day. Any US business leaders want to step up and endorse that lovely safety record as worth emulating?

Based on tons of coal mined, China's death toll annually is about 100 times higher than the US miner's fatality toll. In some recent years, that data shows the number of Chinese miners killed above 5,000, when the number in the US was under 25.

China is the model for how we should do business here?

I hope not.


Michael J. Mathias said...

That might be one of the strangest articles I've ever read...and the way it ends with a self congratulatory quote from the President of What kind of journalism is that?

Russ said...

Welcome to competitive capitalism. Wisconsin has 49 state competitors. I believe 43 states have better business climates. What is it about that fact that you do not understand? What do you, and your fellow Wisconsin socialists, expect to accomplish with your endless anti business rhetoric? Please explain the benefit of "bitting the hands that feed us".