Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

A Tale of Two Steel Cities

Advisers Urge Bush to Drop Steel Tariffs

I grew up in Buffalo, NY and now live in Pohang, South Korea. The former was a steel town; the latter still is. Buffalo's economy was dead by 1980, just as Pohang's started to boom.

The beautiful area in which I live and the world-class university for which I work, POSTECH, were made by and for POSCO, the world's second largest steel maker. This neighborhood is full of modern apartment buildings and beautiful parks. If one were to judge all of Korea based on this neighborhood, one would come to the conclusion that this was a very rich nation indeed.

Compare the above image to the area in Buffalo near what used to be the Bethlehem Steel plant. [Do a serach for the company and you'll find the Bethlehem Steel Estate, who first line reads: This website provides certain information regarding Bethlehem’s chapter 11 bankruptcy case.] The area near the now silent, rusting plant is full of adandoned, collapsing, boarded-up houses. Judging the United States on that immediate area, one would think it a poverty-stricken Third World nation.

Big Business doesn't care where its steel comes from, just as long as its cheap. It doesn't care at all if America has a steel industry, no matter how vital to a country's national interests.

The World Trade Organization is often seen overseas as an arm of the United States Government. Globalization is often thought of as benefitting America and Americans. Globalization is often seen solely as the enemy of poor, underdeveloped nations, but this is not the case. The WTO, the IMF, and Globalization are servants of multinational corporatons, many of which just happen to hail from the US. The above are all the enemy of common working people, in whatever country.

What's bad for the goose is bad for the gander.

It would be good for President Bush to maintain the steel tariffs. It would be a victory not only for American steel workers but for all people under the yoke of the WTO and the IMF. But he must go further than that and scrap all unreasonable economic demands placed on other countries by so-called Globalization.

But of course, he, or any other other presidential candidate, won't do that.