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Subject: Human Rights Can Not INTERFERE!?! rss

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Leo Zappa
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http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/21/clinton.china.asia/in...

Wow, I know what is being said is here, but I can hardly imagine a worse way to put it! OK, maybe something like "Humans rights are irrelevant to the global economy" or, "Human rights must be erradicated in order to ensure the survival of the planet", would have been worse, but this one, by our newly minted Secretary of State, is up in the top ten worst statements by a public official.

I'm no fan of Mrs. Clinton, but I'm not one of the rabid haters either. The rabid haters will have a field day with this snippet.

I know she is saying we will engage China on the most pressing issues of the global economy and global warming even while we continue a background dialog on human rights, since the Chinese tend to be so touchy about the subject. Still, the choice of words leaves a lot to be desired.
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This is completely consistent with her totalitarian worldview: She has always felt that our liberty shouldn't interfere with her right to perform whatever social experiment oozes into her brain.
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Richard Hefferan
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Human rights violations are a big contributor to global decline. The standards and ethics of the largest group of consumers (Americans) went out the window when they could hide the horrible treatment of humanity thousands of miles away. That extra 5% discount is certainly worth child labor and 120 hour work weeks at 5 cents an hour.

Until Clinton realizes that the fight is about human rights, our global economic outlook is very grim. She may think she's assisting trade negotiations with a giant, but she's only doing so by giving up the fight that needs to be fought. I hope she improves, she's looking like a horrible choice at this position.
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So,,,

Are you hoping to force children and workers in early- or emerging-industrial societies back into an agrarian existence, with worse conditions, longer hours, lower life expectancies and more entrenched poverty?

Or are you hoping to wave a magic wand and make these societies suddenly wealthy enough to pay workers $20 an hour?

What, exactly, do you propose we do about countries in which families and children flock to 5 cents an hour factory jobs because they represent a substantial improvement in their livelihoods?

We're talking about people--and countries--who are poor. Not because we impoverished them, but because of a legacy of totalitarian governments, idiotic economic schemes and notions of personal freedom apparently based on observations of ant colonies. There's no shortcut from agrarian/pre-industrial/early-industrial to wealthy, industrial democracy.
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David desJardins
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Shushnik wrote:
Until Clinton realizes that the fight is about human rights, our global economic outlook is very grim.


Don't hold your breath waiting for that. I don't think she even considers the rights that you're talking about. The rights that would be on her agenda would be "right to be just like the US".
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Kenneth Bailey
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mistermarino wrote:
So,,,

Are you hoping to force children and workers in early- or emerging-industrial societies back into an agrarian existence, with worse conditions, longer hours, lower life expectancies and more entrenched poverty?

Or are you hoping to wave a magic wand and make these societies suddenly wealthy enough to pay workers $20 an hour?

What, exactly, do you propose we do about countries in which families and children flock to 5 cents an hour factory jobs because they represent a substantial improvement in their livelihoods?

We're talking about people--and countries--who are poor. Not because we impoverished them, but because of a legacy of totalitarian governments, idiotic economic schemes and notions of personal freedom apparently based on observations of ant colonies. There's no shortcut from agrarian/pre-industrial/early-industrial to wealthy, industrial democracy.

Why should we care what other countries do? If they want to treat their people like crap, that's their business.
 
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David desJardins
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mikoyan wrote:
Why should we care what other countries do? If they want to treat their people like crap, that's their business.


If you want the benefits of specialization and comparative advantage then you have to have free trade.

If you have free trade then you have to have standards, otherwise jobs and income will flow not to the locale with comparative advantage but that with the worst conditions.

That's why we have federal environmental and labor and safety standards, for example, rather than leaving it up to each state to decide what pollution they want to allow or what working conditions are acceptable or what risks workers should be subjected to. Because, otherwise, when one state decides to allow more pollution or relax labor protections or allow hazardous conditions, businesses have an incentive to shift their production there because those changes make production less expensive, and other states can only retain jobs by lowering their own standards, so you force a race to the bottom.
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Richard Hefferan
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mistermarino wrote:
So,,,

Are you hoping to force children and workers in early- or emerging-industrial societies back into an agrarian existence, with worse conditions, longer hours, lower life expectancies and more entrenched poverty?

Or are you hoping to wave a magic wand and make these societies suddenly wealthy enough to pay workers $20 an hour?

What, exactly, do you propose we do about countries in which families and children flock to 5 cents an hour factory jobs because they represent a substantial improvement in their livelihoods?

We're talking about people--and countries--who are poor. Not because we impoverished them, but because of a legacy of totalitarian governments, idiotic economic schemes and notions of personal freedom apparently based on observations of ant colonies. There's no shortcut from agrarian/pre-industrial/early-industrial to wealthy, industrial democracy.


So, your argument is that the wealthy of underdeveloped countries must exploit the workers before their system can advance? I'm sorry, I just don't believe that inhumane treatement of people is necessary for growth.

No, they can't start at your $20/hour idea. That is ridiculous hyperbole. But they can start with standards that contribute to the health of their people and the health of the environment. Until they do, trade should be restricted and sanctioned to compensate for our higher standards.
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Shushnik wrote:
So, your argument is that the wealthy of underdeveloped countries must exploit the workers before their system can advance? I'm sorry, I just don't believe that inhumane treatement of people is necessary for growth.

No, they can't start at your $20/hour idea. That is ridiculous hyperbole. But they can start with standards that contribute to the health of their people and the health of the environment. Until they do, trade should be restricted and sanctioned to compensate for our higher standards.


Nice strawman...but I'm not advocating "exploitation." You're also begging the question: Please demonstrate that people flocking to jobs that offer better pay, better conditions and better lives than they previously had are being exploited.

It's called employment, and these are the kinds of jobs that exist in poor, emerging, wanna-be-fully-industrialized countries. I don't see how we can change that or accelerate their progress in any meaningful way.
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David desJardins
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Economic theory suggests that most of the financial benefit from inferior working conditions accrues to the owners, not the workers. In a competitive labor market.

It's certainly true that tolerating inferior labor conditions is a reason that jobs are attracted to countries outside the US. If you think that's a good reason for the US to adopt policies that favor that, there are a lot of US workers who would like to debate that with you.
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Kenneth Bailey
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DaviddesJ wrote:
mikoyan wrote:
Why should we care what other countries do? If they want to treat their people like crap, that's their business.


If you want the benefits of specialization and comparative advantage then you have to have free trade.

If you have free trade then you have to have standards, otherwise jobs and income will flow not to the locale with comparative advantage but that with the worst conditions.

That's why we have federal environmental and labor and safety standards, for example, rather than leaving it up to each state to decide what pollution they want to allow or what working conditions are acceptable or what risks workers should be subjected to. Because, otherwise, when one state decides to allow more pollution or relax labor protections or allow hazardous conditions, businesses have an incentive to shift their production there because those changes make production less expensive, and other states can only retain jobs by lowering their own standards, so you force a race to the bottom.

And good luck imposing our will on other countries. In another thread, you were talking about "American Imperialism", wouldn't this be another form of it? I mean telling other countries how to conduct their affairs and how they treat thier population.

While, I don't like what Mrs. Clinton said, I have to give her props for honesty. The government's interests are the corporate interests and those don't involve human rights.
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David desJardins
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mikoyan wrote:
And good luck imposing our will on other countries.


I don't want to impose our will on other countries. If people suggest we should invade China unless they limit working hours or raise the minimum wage, I'm voting no. What I suggest is that we impose our will here, i.e., we don't grant favorable trade terms for imported goods produced under conditions that we wouldn't tolerate here. They can still produce those goods and consume them domestically however they want.
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Quote:
And good luck imposing our will on other countries. In another thread, you were talking about "American Imperialism", wouldn't this be another form of it? I mean telling other countries how to conduct their affairs and how they treat thier population.


Touche.
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Kenneth Bailey
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DaviddesJ wrote:
mikoyan wrote:
And good luck imposing our will on other countries.


I don't want to impose our will on other countries. If people suggest we should invade China unless they limit working hours or raise the minimum wage, I'm voting no. What I suggest is that we impose our will here, i.e., we don't grant favorable trade terms for imported goods produced under conditions that we wouldn't tolerate here. They can still produce those goods and consume them domestically however they want.

And good luck with that one too. That horse left the barn a long time ago.
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mistermarino wrote:
Shushnik wrote:
So, your argument is that the wealthy of underdeveloped countries must exploit the workers before their system can advance? I'm sorry, I just don't believe that inhumane treatement of people is necessary for growth.

No, they can't start at your $20/hour idea. That is ridiculous hyperbole. But they can start with standards that contribute to the health of their people and the health of the environment. Until they do, trade should be restricted and sanctioned to compensate for our higher standards.


Nice strawman...but I'm not advocating "exploitation." You're also begging the question: Please demonstrate that people flocking to jobs that offer better pay, better conditions and better lives than they previously had are being exploited.

It's called employment, and these are the kinds of jobs that exist in poor, emerging, wanna-be-fully-industrialized countries. I don't see how we can change that or accelerate their progress in any meaningful way.


You're not advocating exploitation, but you think it's fair for a country with standards about how workers may be treated should ignore those standards when importing goods from flagrant offenders? Maybe you should check into the definition of exploitation.

Where is your proof that these working conditions are better than what was previously available? There is no reason "people flocking to jobs" has to be because those jobs are better. It may be simply because they are abundant, not better.

I'm not advocating that we change their ways. It's not our place to enforce standards upon them. But we should not trade evenly with a country which ignores what we recognize as basic human rights and environmental responsiblity. Such countries are producing with a different set of rules, and even trade is disrespectful to our values and our production.
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David desJardins
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mikoyan wrote:
And good luck with that one too. That horse left the barn a long time ago.


We'll see. Obama was elected partly on a commitment to take better care of our horses. Maybe he'll round some of them up.
 
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Kenneth Bailey
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DaviddesJ wrote:
mikoyan wrote:
And good luck with that one too. That horse left the barn a long time ago.


We'll see. Obama was elected partly on a commitment to take better care of our horses. Maybe he'll round some of them up.

I think he will try but I don't think those horses are coming back. The best we can do is create new horses.
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mikoyan wrote:

And good luck imposing our will on other countries. In another thread, you were talking about "American Imperialism", wouldn't this be another form of it? I mean telling other countries how to conduct their affairs and how they treat their population.

While, I don't like what Mrs. Clinton said, I have to give her props for honesty. The government's interests are the corporate interests and those don't involve human rights.



The US already does this on IP: There's quite a few trade agreements out there that forces other countries to accept US patents, some of which cover stuff that's considered illegal to patent in other places. There's similar issues with copyright too: I've read on the Spanish press that the government is currently receiving pressure from the US regarding Spain's lax laws against copyright infringement.

It's sure meddling in other country's affairs, but I see it more as trying to fleece the other country, instead of plain old imperialism. Now, financing the campaign of an opposition party, creating a propaganda radio station abroad, financing guerrillas and assassination attempts, setting up an embargo for political reasons... now that's imperialism without having to fire a shot.
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mikoyan wrote:
The government's interests are the corporate interests and those don't involve human rights.


Nice democracy you got there.
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tommynomad wrote:
mikoyan wrote:
The government's interests are the corporate interests and those don't involve human rights.


Nice democracy you got there.


Republic----not democracy.
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rogeracox wrote:
tommynomad wrote:
mikoyan wrote:
The government's interests are the corporate interests and those don't involve human rights.


Nice democracy you got there.


Republic----not democracy.


Good point. Nice free republic without representation you've got there.
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GAWD wrote:
Quote:
"Human rights cannot interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crises," Clinton said in talks with China's foreign minister."


I can't understand how she could possibly deny the above sentence. At least she's not a liar.


In the interest of injecting petty partisan politics into the subject, one can only imagine the firestorm that would have ensued from the Left had Condi Rice made this statement a year ago on behalf of her boss, Mr. Bush. Let's see if those same champions of human rights consider this statement issuing forth from the new administration's representative and declare their rightous outrage over the callous disregard for human rights contained within Mrs. Clinton's statement.

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desertfox2004 wrote:
Let's see if those same champions of human rights consider this statement issuing forth from the new administration's representative and declare their rightous outrage over the callous disregard for human rights contained within Mrs. Clinton's statement.


This champion of human rights worked hard to defeat Hillary in the primary, so it's not too surprising when I'm not thrilled with her pronouncements.

But do I think she's a better advocate for human rights than Sarah Palin would be? You betcha.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
Let's see if those same champions of human rights consider this statement issuing forth from the new administration's representative and declare their rightous outrage over the callous disregard for human rights contained within Mrs. Clinton's statement.


This champion of human rights worked hard to defeat Hillary in the primary, so it's not too surprising when I'm not thrilled with her pronouncements.

But do I think she's a better advocate for human rights than Sarah Palin would be? You betcha.


I'm thinking Mrs' Clinton's new boss might not be so thrilled either. I wonder if he's called her yet to discuss that statement. I have to think that President Obama may, at this point, be getting just a bit exasperated with some of his new hires, as well as those who didn't even make it to the cabinet for various and sundry reasons. I have to admit that I'm slightly surprised that a guy like Obama who has seemed so sharp throughout his election campaign seems to be stumbling a bit with his first decisions as president, including some of these abortive cabinet appointments, and the apparent loose cannon running the State Department.
 
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I think the appointment of Hillary Clinton was pretty sharp even, if in the abstract, she's not the best person for the job.

One of the problems we had in the Bush administration was that Powell was the most sensible member of the cabinet and as a result the State Department was completely marginalized. One thing we can say is that Hillary isn't likely to allow the State Department to be marginalized, and that's good in itself.

The second advantage is that he's really unified, at least for now, the Democratic Party. And you can see how necessary that is because we sure aren't getting much Republican support so far. I guarantee you that if Hillary were still in the Senate that there would have been more difficult intra-party dynamics over the stimulus bill.
 
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