Thursday, June 03, 2010

China: Honda Workers Resume Work But Give Company a Deadline to Meet Their Demands

Written by Jorge Martín
Thursday, 03 June 2010



On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 1 and 2, most workers returned to work at the Honda plant in Foshan, China, after strike action which had started on May 17. As we reported earlier, the workers were fighting for substantial wage increases.

Read the rest here



RENEGADE EYE

21 comments:

John Peterson said...

Good post, Ren! That's a serious working class just waiting to explode against the harsh realities of capitalist exploitation - watch this space!

steven rix said...

I was reading this week in an electronic plant from China, workers commited suicide; as a result the company agreed to give a 20% raise to all the workers.
In China, many workers are taken care of by their employers that shelter them and give them food as well. This is how China was able to develop its working force and keep them employed. That said many people make only $1 an hour, which is nothing for us westerners, with inhuman working conditions but let's not forget that life is cheaper over there, at least in some less urbanized parts of China (forget Beijing or Shanghai). One day I will go to China so that I can check for myself.
@ Renegade Eye: I erased my blog (i was so sick of politics) and I created a geek blog that relates about computers, and I may open a secondary one since I am covering a story in the US that involves financial institutions. I am aware I may be in big trouble to cover stories like misuse tarp funds, but I am enjoying the panic I am giving to these assholes of capitalists. They really deserve no respect whatsoever.

steven rix said...

PS: almost 2 years without a job, and working conditions degraded themselves in the US since the last 10 years. I will never return to work. At one time I almost moved to Norway but I have to learn 2 languages (norwegian and swedish), the official language is norwegian and swedish is tolerated as well. so people not always speak the national language. I just don't want to learn another language again :)

Renegade Eye said...

JP: Thank you.


Steven: Politics is in your blood.

In Vietnam they also provide housing for workers.

It's an easy transition from being a Stalinist bureaucrat, to capitalist. The Stalinist bureaucracy wanted inheritance rights to their wealth.

The TARP funds story sounds great.

There was also in China a strike of female workers.

This period is more than a bad cycle, it's a crisis in capitalism. Productivity is high, with less workers, working more hours.

The Pagan Temple said...

"This period is more than a bad cycle, it's a crisis in capitalism."

That's because of the nature of the global economy. There's almost no such thing as a self-sustaining economy. Most economies are not just interdependent, many are completely tied together, almost joined at the hip. What otherwise might be a bad cycle has thus morphed into a crisis of global proportions.

That's especially bad when some nations' economies now measured in terms of trillions of dollars.

But the main reason it amounts to a crisis in capitalism is its not really capitalism in nature. Capitalism by its nature works best when it is a competitive market. The world market is too much dominated by the states, with too many regulations, sweetheart deals, high taxes, and monopolies.

That atmosphere is not conducive to a healthy capitalist competitive market, its stifling. You just can't have a managed, planned economy based on capitalism, it just doesn't make sense. It's contradictory.

John Peterson said...

PT - When has capitalism ever existed in the "pure" form you present? If unregulated capitalism works best, and state intervention is a bad thing, why did the state have to intervene to bail the system out when everything went to hell in a handbasket a couple years ago? If they hadn't sunk trillions into the system things would have gotten even worse. Also, why is it that the only sector that created jobs in any significant numbers this last month was the government (census)? If private enterprise is so great, why the anemic job creation? I guarantee you that for the unemployed, a job is a job is a job - they haveno qualms about taking a "government job" if it means they can pay the rent and put food on the table. :-)

tony said...

Slightly off-topic but it seems that any system (be it Capitalist or Marxist) tends to work towards monopoly & restriction of opposition to it. The Capitalist dream of "individual rights& freedoms" has never existed.For capitalism to thrive it must take away the rights of the people who work for it.
(China is just Capitalism in a red dress.)
PT.It is Capitalism that dictates to Governments not the otherway around.

The Pagan Temple said...

John-

"When has capitalism ever existed in the "pure" form you present?"

It hasn't, and it shouldn't. I never meant to suggest a totally unregulated capitalist economy. I never did believe in that.

Everything and everybody has to operate in the context of an interdependent society, where nothing exists as an island, or in a vacuum, in its own little world. There have to be rules of the road for the overall good of society. There should be limitations. But they shouldn't go too far, otherwise, they become as stifling and counter-productive as its opposite extreme.

Tony-

"It is Capitalism that dictates to Governments not the otherway around."

I would suggest it is not capitalism that does that, but would-be monopolistic entities hoping to stifle competition. This is one of the basic flaws of capitalism. It is predicated on the drive to gain the upper hand on the competition, which is one reason there does need to be some reasonable regulation.

I am not some Utopian Libertarian who thinks that if you let the market run itself with absolutely no interference nothing but good will result.

John Peterson said...

PT - Fair enough. But the question is, who do the "rules of the road" really benefit? As a socialist, I believe that the laws and norms of our current society benefit the owners and major shareholders of the banks, multinationals, and landlords. I think we need a new set of "rules of the road" - of, by and for the working class majority of society. :-)

The Pagan Temple said...

Then the question becomes, who makes those rules on behalf of the working class majority. Will this be decided by partisan factions, by open democracy, by representative democracy, by diverse pacs representing different interest groups and constituencies trying to come to some kind of broad consensus?

See, its not that simple. What about the rights of the minority. If you believe in minority protections, as I do, then you have to take that into some kind of account.

And is the majority really being served at any rate when policies are put into place that result in decreased production, layoffs, and inflation. Or you have the alternative, where the costs of overbearing taxes and regulations are passed on to the consumer as just another part of the cost of doing business. Can you really expect to exercise total power and control over these eventualities without utilizing dictatorial powers?

Do you put a limit on private property rights? If you do, doesn't this serve to put a brake on initiative and therefore on production, job creation?

If you keep interest rates at unnaturally low levels, does this discourage savings? If they rise too high due to unforeseen problems, does this discourage investment as much as artificial limits on property?

What if the working class majority is divided as to what is really in their own best interests? These are serious questions.

In my opinion, there are never going to be any perfect solutions, because economies are naturally cyclical in nature. That holds true for any kind of market, and no amount of tinkering is going to change that, whether socialist in nature or by way of managed capitalism. If that were not true, then at some date if I live long enough I should be able to get sixty million dollars for my little six room one bathroom, two bedroom house on my little quarter acre lot.

The best thing we can possibly do is allow the forces of nature reasonable sway but be willing to step in during and pretty much only during those down times to soften the blow, and in the meantime establish reasonable social safety nets that don't have the effect of exploding the budget and adding to the mountain of debt.

But like I said, certain things have to be maintained-safe work environments, some reasonable standards of environmental protection, consumer protections, fair trade requirements, and of course decent wage and earning expectations.

In the case of the US, those things can be established and maintained on state and local levels, using across-the-board federal guidelines and oversight.

The health care industry is a good example. If a doctor has to spend three hours of his work day filling out forms, how many patients can he possible see? If he is one of the lucky ones who can hire people to perform this task, how can he not be expected to pass this expense on to his patients? He will either have to pass it on directly, or through his insurance provider, who quite naturally are going to increase their customer's premiums.

Sure, technically you can come down heavy on them, but what are you going to do then when you suddenly have fifty percent less physicians due to some leaving the profession early while potential students decide they would be better off as auto mechanics or maybe plumbers? Is that sustainable in an increasingly aging and at the same time growing population?

Of course, more people are going t end up dying off more quickly, so nature still wins in the end.

John Peterson said...

Thanks for the reply, PT, just a couple of points:

Q: Then the question becomes, who makes those rules on behalf of the working class majority. Will this be decided by partisan factions, by open democracy, by representative democracy, by diverse pacs representing different interest groups and constituencies trying to come to some kind of broad consensus?

A: I think politics, legislation, economic priorities, foreign policy, etc. should be decided collectively and democratically through directly elected and immediately recallable councils / committees of representatives of the workers. Minority rights are of course to be safeguarded, but the majority should rule - we workers are, after all the vast majority; nowadays we are dominated by an unelected minority.

For example, if 60 people want chicken and 30 want beef, 9 want vegetarian and 1 wants tripe, it doesn't mean we all have to eat chicken. There's no reason we can meet all these people's needs. With a rationally planned economy we can easily figure out how much of each to make, based on changing demand / needs. But prioritization of how we use the resources of society should be determined by the majority. Under capitalism, we are all forced to have the tripe, whether we like it or not.

Q: Do you put a limit on private property rights? If you do, doesn't this serve to put a brake on initiative and therefore on production, job creation?

A: Absolutely. Not limits on personal property such as personal homes, cars, TVs, summer vacations, etc., but on the assets of the mega corporations who ultimately determine who works or not, who has a home or not, who gets health care or not.

These last few months, capitalism itself has proven to be the most severe limit on productivity and expansion. 30% of productive capacity is standing IDLE. Imagine how much more social wealth we could have if the unemployed, ideled factories, and warehoused materials were put together to produce. The reason they don't do it is because they can't profit off of it. Screw profits. They benefit the few, not the may. We are called the "human species" for a reason - i.e., human needs should come first. We aren't the "capitalist species."

John Peterson said...

Continued...


Q: If you keep interest rates at unnaturally low levels, does this discourage savings? If they rise too high due to unforeseen problems, does this discourage investment as much as artificial limits on property?

A workers'government would centralize the financial system in its hands to be run democratically in the interests of all. A national bank of this type would ensure cheap credits to small businesses, to homeowners, eliminate school loans and hospital bills (free education and health care from the cradle to the grave!), and thereby dramatically increase quality of life.

Q: In my opinion, there are never going to be any perfect solutions, because economies are naturally cyclical in nature. That holds true for any kind of market, and no amount of tinkering is going to change that, whether socialist in nature or by way of managed capitalism. If that were not true, then at some date if I live long enough I should be able to get sixty million dollars for my little six room one bathroom, two bedroom house on my little quarter acre lot.

A: Agreed - no amount of tinkering can stop the "natural laws" of the capitalist economy from asserting themselves and leading to periodic, destructive crises. But a planned economy would not suffer from the booms and slumps of a market based economy. Just as any major corporation plans its internal operations as efficiently as possible, the whole of the economy would be efficiently planned with direct, democratic input from the producers / consumers themselves.

Q: The best thing we can possibly do is allow the forces of nature reasonable sway but be willing to step in during and pretty much only during those down times to soften the blow, and in the meantime establish reasonable social safety nets that don't have the effect of exploding the budget and adding to the mountain of debt.

A: The whole of humanity for the couple hundred thousand years is to break way from blind dependence on the whims of nature. We can put a man on the moon but can't feed everyone? That's absurd. We can certainly organize things differently and not be at the mercy of nature or the market.

Q: But like I said, certain things have to be maintained-safe work environments, some reasonable standards of environmental protection, consumer protections, fair trade requirements, and of course decent wage and earning expectations.

A: Capitalism has proved that it can't maintain any of the above. Only when those with a direct self interest in all of this - the workers - are in control, can this be assured. :-)

The Pagan Temple said...

John-

I don't know whether you're an optimist or a pessimist, but I do appreciate your taking the time to explain your positions.

Naturally, we can't leave everything to the dictates of nature's laws, or of human nature, and just hope for the best and prepare for the worse.

Of course there's a place for government, and a need for oversight, as long as its not too intrusive.

There's no need in over-thinking things. We are no longer dependent on horses and buggies for transportation for a reason. Automobiles made them obsolete, because somebody saw the opportunity to improve on supplying a basic human need, and was motivated to profit from it. It wasn't too many years down the line before passenger trains became obsolete due mainly to the advent of air travel, also due to the construction of the interstate highway system in conjunction with improvements in automobiles. Rail traffic didn't so much become unfashionable, as it became as obsolete as the horse and wagon.

Yes, government can play a role, an important one. The moon project you mentioned, the highway systems, dams, etc. But it has to be kept in check. I guess that's my main concern. So, if you don't mind answering another question, just how is it you are going to prevent government from being too powerful. Or how do you prevent somebody from seizing dictatorial power, like Stalin?

What safeguards do you envision to prevent unbridled corruption from ruining your system? Bear in mind a very real concern would be, once somebody gets too much power, whether he seizes it through a coup, or whether he is entrusted with that power by the masses, or whether someone just gradually evolves into such a position through unforeseen circumstances, you can't just ask for him to give it up.

Also bear in mind, no matter how well-intended the founders of a system might be, there's no way to foresee the intentions of someone who might come down the line ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred years later.

So what do you propose in the way of checks and balances?

Renegade Eye said...

I'll add more this evening.

If the discussion continues on this level, it could be post on Pagan and my blog.

John Peterson said...

Hi PT,

I'm definitely an optimist - a revolutionary optimist! :-) I have confidence that the world working class, given the conditions it is forced into under capitalism, will eventually succeed in transforming society.

As for safeguards, I think Lenin's basic outline for a workers' state is the best starting point. The controls on wages for representatives and direct election and recallability combats careerism, bureaucracy, and is backed up by the armed people themselves - like the militia at Lexington or Concord or a neighborhood watch. Let me know what you think:

1. All officials to be directly elected with right of immediate recall through workers' Councils.

2. The abolition of the standing army and its substitution by the armed people.

3. No official to receive a wage higher than that of a skilled worker.

4. Administrative posts to be filled gradually in rotation so that no permanent officialdom could be formed. "Every cook should be able to become Prime Minister"

The Pagan Temple said...

John-

I definitely like the idea of allowing the populace to remain armed, I'm a Second Amendment freak from even back in the days when I wasn't always so conservative as I am now.

Actually, though, its hard to keep any elected or government officials in line once they have power. People seem to naturally group into factions like ducks to water. They don't just hit you all at once with objectionable and repressive laws most people don't like. The process by which this happens seems to take a very gradual and incremental approach.

What's worse, the people involved probably for the most part aren't even really planning any long term sinister conspiracy. I would actually go so far as to say the vast majority of them are not, if indeed any are at all. It just becomes a matter of convenience to tweak this, adjust that, give away just a little bit more here and take away there. It just comes about naturally. That's what makes it so hard to nip such trends in the bud. It's hard to stop a conspiracy when there are really no conscious conspirators to speak of.

What ones there are aren't really thinking of some grand, long term plan of subversion and oppression, they're basically just involved in short-term skulduggery for their own personal benefit, or that of their families and associations. It just gradually gets worse from there on out, because the framework for it has been established.

The US probably had the best thought out plan for maintaining balance of power than any nation since ancient Sparta, and we see now what it was worth. We still have it, and its still working to some extent, but nowhere near as well as it was intended, or as it should.

Human nature is a hard nut to crack. People are easily amenable to things that aren't necessarily so good to them. One hundred years ago, if someone had presented a plan like the New Deal, they would have been derided in the press and laughed out of Congress. If a President had proposed there might even have been articles of impeachment in his near future.

Now, any suggestion as to even modifying programs like Social Security are met with howls of protest, and what is the result? Elected leaders are afraid to touch it, even those from conservative areas for the most part.

That's why I look at any plan with a skeptical eye, because no matter how good it is, its only as good as the people running things, and they are only as good as they people who put them there, at best, and at any given time.

Renegade Eye said...

Tony: Monopoly is inevitable, as wealth becomes concentrated in fewer hands.

Pagan: Human nature is not a static concept. In some societies cannibalism is normal. The concept of human nature is dynamic.

Today when people talk about Social Security, they talk about 30 yrs ago there was 5.5 workers to recipient, and now 2.5. That alone is not the story. Today one worker is 1000x more productive than 30 yrs ago.

Your skepticism will make you an observer to history, not a participant.

JP: Agree.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

Healthy skepticism is good for any society, otherwise the very things I warn about do not merely become likely, they become inevitable. It's not a matter of if, but when, and the when like I said usually comes about not overnight, or suddenly, but incrementally, in stages.

The Pagan Temple said...

John-

"As far as the right to bear arms, once the entire planet is organized rationally and democratically, even that necessity will fade away on its own, as there will be no one to bear them against. But until then, the people should have that right."

All right, first and foremost, you are never going to see the day when "the entire planet" is organized democratically, if you are talking about one internationalist system, even one that is federalist in nature. If it does, I promise you it won't be long before it falls apart at the seams, and rightly so.

But that's neither here nor there. Just accepting your premise for the sake of argument, that the need to bear arms will wither away, the question then becomes, who decides that people no longer need that right? If you say "the majority" then I would say that's when "the minority" have just cause to rebel.

By the way, I'm conservative merely for lack of a better word. I really don't care much for labels, but if I had to identify myself by one, I would describe myself as a Federalist. In federalism each state (in the US) is free to decide its own policies outside of what the constitution specifically gives to the federal government.

There would be no reason why individual states can't experiment with socialism, nor by extension is there any reason why they couldn't join in together with socialist policies working in tandem, I would suppose.

By and large, the states are becoming more and more like overgrown counties, in all but name. Centralization of every policy under the sun with all the inordinate expense in the way of taxation and cumbersome and in all too many cases unnecessary regulations is going to destroy us.

I'm sure you would be the first to agree with me when I say our defense department and our military spending has become cumbersome and wasteful to a degree that is beyond dispute, and almost beyond compare. Yet, it keeps on going. Even suggestions as to reducing or even freezing the rate of spending increases are met with howls of protest.

But the same holds true for every government program. They all need to be reduced in terms of actual spending, save for Social Security, which should actually get an increase in spending since, after all, that is the program politicians have reliably raided for years to fund all their other by and large wasteful and useless expenditures.

Basically, states should run their own affairs, even those that are mandated by the federal government, when the feds have the proper constitutional right to institute such laws-though of course there should be some degree of federal oversight in these areas. This in itself would reduce taxes and spending exponentially. The states would in effect have more bang for the buck if they prioritized their spending according to their needs, without having to depend on handouts from the feds for money that has been taken from the people in the states anyway. It is just wasteful and frankly bizarre, until you start to see the reason behind it-a way for Senators and Congressmen to have a steady supply of money to bring to the folks back home, which actually benefits a relative few in comparison to the number of pockets picked to provide for this largess.

But mainly, the idea that any kind of government is going to provide "freedom" is contradictory on the face of it. Government is at best a necessary evil that has to be kept in check. No matter how democratic it is, it will always bear watching, and should always be kept in bounds. It's like a Doberman that needs raw meat that is good for the purpose it serves, as a guardian, and yes it could be even somewhat of a friend to a limited extent. But you don't give free reign to such a creature, and you damn sure don't let it run your life.

Renegade Eye said...

Good place to end.

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