American contractors in Iraq exploit world's poorest workers

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ASLANSPAL, Oct 9, 2005.

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Is this a wise use of Americans taxpayer money?

  1. Yes,

    100.0%
  2. No

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  3. Not sure: would like to comment on this

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  1. ASLANSPAL

    ASLANSPAL
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    Slave Labor?


    Should our tax dollars be doing this?

    Should these jobs go to Iraqis? since their unemployment is high and perhaps prevent young men
    joining the insurgency.

    Poor Migrants Work in Iraqi Netherworld
    # U.S.-hired contractors rely on laborers from impoverished countries, but no one looks out for the rights -- or lives -- of the foreigners.

    By T. Christian Miller, Times Staff Writer

    Ramesh Khadka began the journey to his slaughter in this valley of rivers, where green rice terraces march up the mountains like stairs toward the heavens.

    After passing among a series of shadowy, indifferent middlemen, he finished it a month later in a dusty ditch in western Iraq.

    There, bound and helpless, the teenager was shot three times in the back of the head by insurgents, his execution and that of 11 of his countrymen captured on videotape.

    The 19-year-old and his colleagues were on their way to jobs at a U.S. military base in Al Anbar province when they were kidnapped. The killings last year remain the worst case of violence against private contractors in the Iraq war.

    <snipped for Copyright Policy - LE>

    [​IMG]

    Please click on source for complete article. - Thanks, LE

    [ October 10, 2005, 08:36 PM: Message edited by: LadyEagle ]
     
  2. KenH

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    1) No.

    2) Yes.
     
  3. hillclimber

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    Then devise a plan that would prevent insurgents from infiltrating and killing our contracters and others. It could be seen as a sensible short term solution to a difficult problem.
     
  4. LorrieGrace

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    I think that hillclimber has a legitimate argument.
     
  5. carpro

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    "Although millions of Iraqis are desperate for jobs, the U.S. military requires that contractors such as KBR hire foreigners to work at bases to avoid the possibility of insurgent infiltration."


    Makes sense to me.
     
  6. Filmproducer

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    An argument can be made for whether these jobs should go to Iraqi workers, however, the bigger issue remains of what type of treatment any of these workers receive for their labor. Frankly, US companies have gotten away with too much in developing countries. Many a worker has been exploited for profits, by foreign companies and their own government. Just look at the problems exploitation has already caused in Latin America.
     
  7. Bro. Curtis

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    Like what ?
     
  8. SeekingTruth

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    The hate America crowd is in full voice again.
     
  9. Filmproducer

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    The hate America crowd is in full voice again.

    :confused:

    Like what ?

    Before answering, I would like to point out that, while I said exploitation has been a problem in Latin American countries, it is not the only problem, by far. Likewise MNC's, (multinational corps.), are not the only perpetrators of exploitation. States also play a key role in this arena, as I also mentioned.

    Background:

    Put simply, economic development in the 3rd world depends greatly on establishing and maintaining ties with industrialized, advanced companies in the global economy. Econ development in return promises higher quality of life in the long run, (i.e., higher income, higher living standards, etc.). Problems arise when states do not have the wealth or resources to achieve economic growth and combat severe poverty and inequality of income. What they do possess is raw materials for commodity exports, and export processing zones for the assembly of goods (i.e., cheap labor), not to mention low environmental standards, if any.

    Problem:

    1.)

    These countries typically compete in, what has been coined, a "race to the bottom". In order to attract foreign investors, which are so vital to econ development, states compete by suppressing wages, disbanding labor unions, and lowering environmental standards. In return the state receives much needed external revenue from the corporation, however, income inequality worsens, without much hope for the government to stabilize it.

    2.)

    In many instances this adversely affects the American worker. Low environmental standards coupled with cheap/labor intensive wages and no threat of government intervention is favorable to higher profit margins. More and more US corporations are outsourcing in return for lower costs and to avoid costly environmental measures.

    Result:

    Many Latin American countries have experienced severe social and economic crisis since the debt crisis of the 1980's (similar to our Great Depression), resulting in governmental conflict, including Marxist revolutions.

    Here is the simple answer on how exploitation has hurt Latin America. The issue is quite complex and I realize my answer did not do it much justice. If I misunderstood, and you want examples of US exploitation I can give you examples of specific companies. The bottom line is what's good for their corp. is not in the best interest of these foreign workers. Many times land is redistributed from poor farmers to MNC's, by the government, without compensation. The compnay in return offers employment, and external revenue for the state. This employment comes at a high risk, though. While the wages may fit the standard for that particular country, there are no maximum hour laws, no child labor laws, no worker safety standards, no environmental controls, etc. Also because labor unions have been typically disbanded by the government the workers cannot affect change of any nature. It is a take it or leave it deal, and in many instances it leaves the worker high and dry anyway.
     
  10. Bro. Curtis

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    So the reason many of our companies go overseas, or to the Latin countries, is the exact reason the shouldn't do it ?

    Would you agree that unions, mandatory sexual harrassment training, EPA standards, OSHA, and minimum wage requirements drove a lot of companies out of America in the first place ?

    Have you been to Tijuana, and seen the Mexicans with jobs ? Do they look oppressed ? Or are they grateful to have a chance to work ?
     
  11. Filmproducer

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    So the reason many of our companies go overseas, or to the Latin countries, is the exact reason the shouldn't do it ?

    You missed my point. It is not that companies should not go to these countries, but that the governments in a quest for that foreign investment do not hold the companies accountable. When the MNC leaves the country is not better off, but in many instances worse off. In Latin America this has led to quite a bit of bloodshed and needless violence. It has also hindered democracy in some respect. Socioeconomic conditions are so poor and classism is so rampant that these countries are breeding grounds for Marxist revolutionaries.

    Would you agree that unions, mandatory sexual harrassment training, EPA standards, OSHA, and minimum wage requirements drove a lot of companies out of America in the first place ?

    Of course, I never did disagree with that. On the other hand these standards are necessary to some degree, imho. I do not believe in the exploitation of anyone for the profit of another.

    Have you been to Tijuana, and seen the Mexicans with jobs ? Do they look oppressed ? Or are they grateful to have a chance to work ?

    Actually I have. Have you ever been to a malqueadora? It is a job, but it is not pleasant or optimal working environment. Yes, I am sure they are grateful to have any income rather than starving, but honestly, why do so many try to come to this country if they have so good over there?
     
  12. Bro. Curtis

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    But you could make an argument that anyone who earns a paycheck from someone else is being exploited.

    I see your point, though, that corrupt governments should not be dealt with, when it comes to moving jobs. We should not be building factories in places where human rights abuses take place, BOTOH, it's getting dern near impossible for a factory to make a profit here, because of the above stated reasons.

    What is the answer ? I say punative taxes on imports. But that's kinda over-simplifying. What's your answer ?
     
  13. SeekingTruth

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    Bro. Curtis, don't expect a real answer.

    By the way, KenH provided the answer/comment I would have given if I had thought of it first. [​IMG]
     
  14. gb93433

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    This sort of thing happens when one buys anything from China and companies who exploit people for tgheir own increased profit.

    The workers are exploited when something is made in a country where labor is much less and sold in the US. The buyers are exploited by the companies because those companies profit from the American people. So the profit is greatly increased. If they had to sell those goods back to the contry whose people made them, they would not make mear as much money if any profit. They would come running back fast to the US.
     
  15. gb93433

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    The US is spending much less than it once did in education while large corporations are getting richer by selling their goods to the US and being produced by cheaper labor. So much for taking care of your own first. The rich owners enjoy America while they enjoy the profits of cheap labor and high selling prices compared to the country which produces the goods.

    The colleges and universities are awarding many scholarship to foreigners and actively recruiting foreign students in their countries while they put the American students behind the foreigners in scholarships. We are taking care of the foreign students first before the Americans who study here and whose parents pay taxes.
     
  16. hillclimber

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    Quoted by Filmproducer.
    I do not believe in the exploitation of anyone for the profit of another.


    That is how America flourishes. That is what gives each of us jobs. That is what gives Pedro in Mazatlan his job. That is what makes the world go around. Change your word exploitation to a less harsh one if you like, but it suits me fine.
     
  17. Filmproducer

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    But you could make an argument that anyone who earns a paycheck from someone else is being exploited.

    I would never make this argument, though I'm sure some would. That is a very extreme view, not to mention extremely unrealistic. ;)

    I think some are misinterpreting my definition of exploitation. Working for a decent living wage, according to the standards set forth in the nation, in which you are working, is not necessarily exploitation. Human rights abuses are exploitative in nature. When governments overlook corporate abuse of workers, in the name of profit, such as has happened in developing counties, this is exploitation. For example, in the US I would consider it exploitation if a worker was injured on the job, due to negligence of the company, and there was not any type of just compensation available (payment of medical treatment of the injury, compensation for loss of work, etc.). I would consider a company to be exploiting the environment to the disadvantages of others, if, for example, toxic waste was being dumped and it was causing the surrounding community health problems. This is more along the lines of what I meant by exploitation. There is a delicate balance between individual rights and the rights of a large corporation. Unfortunately in some countries this area is more gray than others.

    Also, just for the record, I am specifically talking about MNC's, not necessarily small businesses, and definitely not your average mom and pop store. The economics is entirely different between the three, imo.

    BOTOH, it's getting dern near impossible for a factory to make a profit here, because of the above stated reasons.

    I do not entirely agree with this statement. I do not believe it is impossible for factories to make profits here. I do believe, though, that they will not reap the same profits if they reduced cost in areas, such as labor or environmental restrictions. The question is where do we draw the line? How much power does an American corporation have over the American individual? How accountable are American corps. to the American people? Should we allow all unskilled labor to be outsourced in the name of free market economy, but not hold companies at least partially responsible for the cost of a growing unemployment sector? These are open-ended questions because I do not believe there are any easy answers.

    What is the answer ? I say punative taxes on imports. But that's kinda over-simplifying. What's your answer ?

    Again I don't know the answer. I agree with punitive taxes on imports should be considered. I also believe in reducing the tax loopholes for many large corporations, should be considered. For that matter, I do not believe an American corporation should have the same rights as an American individual. Then again, these are suggestions for American government. Developing countries require a completely different line of thinking. A major concern is how much jurisdiction a government has over non-citizen economic actors. In that same vein, should MNC's be able to strong-arm governments for cheaper labor and environmental standards that are detrimental to the citizens of the country. It is a very complex issue all around.

    Seeking Truth,

    don't expect a real answer.

    What do you mean by this?
     

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