ADELAIDE - Bernard Corden is right (‘Wages of fear – Contracting out the danger’). Neo-liberal capitalism has very adept at outsourcing hard, dirty or dangerous work to the developing world.
Outsourced to places where the political elites are largely unconcerned about the welfare of their workforce, preferring to focus on the acquisition of wealth for themselves.
If some tailings dams burst and kill a few people, well, that is the price of progress. Plenty more where they came from. Ditto for large scale pollution, appalling working conditions, crap wages and so forth.
This is what people in the developed world understand to be a long abandoned 19th century capitalist outlook, except it has not been abandoned. It has merely moved offshore.
The same forces identified by Karl Marx in the 1840s as an inherent part of the laissez faire liberal capitalism of the time are still at work. This is shocking but not unexpected given that neo-liberal capitalism works the same way.
In essence, it relies upon the ruthless exploitation of cheap labour to generate massive profits for the capitalist or owner class.
If any reader imagines that there is not an owner class in this world, then they clearly do not understand the evidence that is before their eyes.
How do people imagine that the wealth of Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk or Bill Gates or many other multi-billionaires can be generated without necessarily exploiting the intellects and labour of many other people?
No matter how talented and clever these people may be as individuals, they have only become so immensely wealthy through the systematic exploitation of others.
As Marx would have said, they have taken most of the value of the labour of their workers for themselves.
Quite how you could possibly miss the blindingly obvious is beyond me, yet many people contrive to do so.
While I am not an advocate for socialism, let alone communism, I strongly believe that a better, fairer and more sustainable version of capitalism is not only possible but essential if we are to create the best possible living conditions for everyone and, indeed, if we are to survive as a species.
Neo-liberalism cannot deliver this outcome.
Eventually, my hope is that the left of politics will stop obsessing about identity politics and refocus its attention on the things that matter:
fairer and more just wages and working conditions (especially in the developing world)
a sensible rebalancing of the relationship between capital and labour, and
a serious attack upon the manifest causes of the dangerous climate change which threatens us all
I doubt that I will live to see this happen but happen it must if we are to survive and thrive as a species.