We listened to the Presidential debate last evening while peeling and preparing apples for making sauce, yummy pies and crisps.
The debate went just about as I would have predicted. Both candidates are not so different from previous incumbents in the job. They make for good TV. Clinton definitely represents the political establishment in the United States and she will not rock the boat if she becomes president. Trump is another story entirely. The fact that he has a nasty disposition and a personality like a viper is not the issue for me.
What strikes me as important and interesting about the debate was the emphasis on the flight of capital from the US to other parts of the world as it seeks cheaper labour and new markets for its products. Trump seems to be an American protectionist, wanting to lure corporations back to America, making things on American soil once again. Problem with that is that the horse has already left the barn and re-tooling secondary manufacturing in the US could be prohibitively expensive. Setting up new factories to make refrigerators, air conditioners, compressors, tools and all manner of consumer goods would be a huge undertaking. The garment industry in the US has been gutted and is practically non-existent. The future of US, and Canadian secondary manufacturing I might add, has got to be in new technologies and even then the temptation for corporations to manufacture goods in parts of the world where labour is cheap will be overwhelming. Of course, Trump is a champion of “American” manufacturing except when it comes to his own investments. He’s not heavily invested in manufacturing. His assets are mainly in real estate and he made a bundle after the 2008 crash by buying up properties at fire sale prices. Trump has investments all over the world. He has not restricted his investments to US soil, but he is expecting manufacturers to do so. It’s important to note that “American” and “Canadian” manufacturers are not really American and Canadian. As I have argued before on this blog, manufacturing, and large multinational business in general, knows no boundaries and has no nationalistic loyalties except when it suits financial purposes. Primary producers like the forest industry must remain local because that’s where the trees are, but even they do as much as they can to do any value-added, secondary manufacturing of their products overseas with the consequent job losses in Canada and the US. Trump can promise to reduce taxes on the rich all he wants, but it’s not rich people that are the problem, they only personify capital, it’s finance capital itself that’s the driving force here and it depends on no individual human being to grow. It cares not one iota about what Trump does or does not do. It eats people and the earth’s bounty without prejudice and it will come out on top whatever national governments try to do to stall its growth or direct it. But although it seems to have god-like power now, it cannot sustain itself indefinitely and there’s the topic of a whole other blog post although I’ve already written extensively on this issue.
On another topic, Clinton made one comment the Trump didn’t pick up on and that’s the fact that the federal government in the US is doing away with private prisons. My gawd, it’s about time! Having a corporation depend for its profits on getting more and more people behind bars and once they’re there, to get them to work for pittance wages and fewer and fewer services is perverse beyond all reason. Niels Christie’s book Crime Control as Industry clearly lays out the perversity of the privatization of prisons. When the hell are they going to wake up and see that health care is no different and corporations should not be allowed to profit from human misery. The profit motive in the development of new drugs and medications alone is an invitation to the creation of even more misery. Trump was silent on private prisons but we know he’s a big fan of law and order. What that means is not clear.
The debate had its moments. Clinton is a seasoned politician and Trump comes across pretty well on television. However, it’s obvious too that he’s a selfish, psychopathic kind of guy. In other words, he’s a consummate leader of a large corporation. I don’t know how that qualifies him for the presidency, but his candidacy, for me, points to just how strongly possessive individualism has gotten possession of our bodies and souls. Trump is the epitome of the successful money chaser. Many Americans and Canadians are still entranced by money and business and have come, with reason, to distrust government, hence Trump’s popularity. But like I said before, that won’t last forever. Stay tuned.