BREXIT: What about the workers?

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by River Ape, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    On June 23, England and its partner countries in the UK vote on whether to quit the European Union. For most who will vote LEAVE, the key issue is to take back control of our borders and end the flood tide of immigration.

    The great American writer Jack London spent months of the year 1902 in the poorer eastern neighbourhoods of the city which bears his name and wrote of his experiences in “People of the Abyss”. (You can listen to the audiobook on YouTube.) In the later years of the reign of Queen Victoria, the influx into east London of three hundred thousand immigrants from Germany, Poland and Russia reduced wages, miserably lowered working conditions, and led to foul and overcrowded housing. A people for whom life had always been a struggle were reduced to penury. For the capitalist class it was good news. Uncontrolled immigration has long been the most powerful weapon in the class struggle; it might be called a law of economic history. (American capitalists prayed for the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free to come and fill their sweatshops.)

    Karl Marx got a black eye when the Soviet Union collapsed, for all that he would have deplored the reality of the regime which trumpeted his name. We don’t hear much about the class war these days and poor relief (by whatever name) may have something to do with that. Moreover, educated people with non-manual jobs of diminishing reward are disinclined to see themselves as proletarians.

    The interests of each class within society are necessarily different and in a natural state of conflict. Class conflict is not dead and the old middle class are the victims in America and England. The median salary in the US has not risen for a generation (and by some measures has fallen) whilst remuneration of those at the top climbs to ever greater multiples of that of the average worker.

    Yes, the greatest weapon in the hands of the ruling classes is immigration -- driving down wages through competition whilst driving up rents through demand. The fall of middle class America has coincided with the arrival of fifty million hispanics. Can anyone believe this is a coincidence?

    In tiny beautiful England (a fraction smaller than Greece but with nearly five times the population) the sheer lack of space, and a desire to preserve our precious countryside, constrains housebuilding -- yet in my own town of Cheltenham the fastest rate of housebuilding in a century fails to keep pace with the influx of Polish immigrants.

    A young man of my own generation in unglamourous industrial employment could earn enough to support a wife and family, and the rent of a decent home might consume no more than 15% of his income. House ownership was not an unrealisable dream. Many a housewife had a part time job as much for interest and company as real need. Today, fifty years on, many married women must work full time not from any desire to do so but from necessity to pay the mortgage. For the majority of young people in England, who will never be able to afford to buy property except by parental or grandparental assistance (perhaps in the form of death), there is the prospect of seeing forty percent of their net income go in rent for the rest of their lives. More and more children live with their parents well into adulthood. Unconstrained immigration within the EU worsens the shortage of housing and drives down the remuneration of labour towards Eastern European levels.

    Our TV and radio programmes repeated address the question of whether membership of the EU is “good for business” or “good for the economy”. But neither business nor the economy is a living breathing human being. Employers are people; workers are people. I watch and listen in vain for someone to point out that their interests are not the same -- and meantime it is practically always the business owners who are interviewed. I think that kind of skews things against those who depend on selling their labour to earn a living -- maybe by enough to decide the outcome of the referendum.
    Confused2 likes this.
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Off topic (It would serve my interests better if Britain stays, besides there could be kept a party in Parliament mothballed for a Brexit day) but WTF is 'Dave's Pork Pies'???

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    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
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  5. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    I believe it's a reference to David Cameron, the conservative Prime Minister who is arguing to stay in the EU.

    It might also be a reference to the argument from many processed food producers in the UK that the EU rules protect their products. For example, under EU rules, only a producer in Cornwall can use the term "Cornish Pasty" in advertising their product. (I've not had a pasty with pork in it, but I suppose it's a possible filling.)
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    No, "porky pies" is rhyming slang for lies.
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    The trouble is that if you erect a barrier to get wages up all you do is make British industry uncompetitive and drive industries and jobs away to other countries. This is not helped at all by the new tariff and non-tariff barriers that may well be erected if Britain leaves the EU.

    The problem you identify, of lack of wage growth for the lower paid, is real enough. But the notion that leaving the EU would help is quite wrong: it would make it worse.
    joepistole likes this.
  9. kmguru Staff Member

    Just a small observation:

    Everyone including our President Obama said the whole affair is due to Globalization...translated, certain groups (the Stay Group) made it but another major group could not make it and hence get out of their Fourth Reich...

    It is LIKE if you are Apple (just an example) and had FOXCONN type subcontractor in the USA of say 320,000 people and next year, send the subcontracting to China. You still make your money, but those people will go to unemployment....

    I still think, it is the Globalization where the business dynamics are very much different on the planet and no one trying to solve those differences and hence BREXIT. and more to come....

    Next 20 years will be going in to Abyss....I have been there in Industrial Arena on the planet before my retirement...and I know where it is going...just watch and see.

    All I can say is Time will Tell...Thank you.

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