In “Export the Unemployed” (Dec. 15 Forum), Charles Kenny appears to have no understanding of the world economy or the issue of population pressure. He equates early immigration into the United States with the entirely different situation we now face. People emigrated here en masse when there was a wide-open frontier as unskilled labor to build railroads and slave in factories — people unable to complain about their conditions of employment. During the Depression many of these issues were corrected due to the fear of Communism. This fear has now evaporated, and these programs are rapidly being undone.
Mr. Kenny provides no evidence that there are jobs elsewhere for semi-skilled Americans. What he appears to suggest is that we send our students or expand the Peace Corps, but this does nothing to alter the situation of the millions of involuntarily unemployed Americans. Nor does it consider the fact that several European Union nations are already engaged in the semi-official export of unemployed labor to reduce their own social costs. Most of the developing world has no labor shortage, and those few nations that do are already overpopulated and uninterested in bringing in unemployed Americans.
This is another reactionary idea to justify keeping the American labor force underfoot and to eliminate the social safety nets that have allowed Americans who are involuntarily unemployed, infirm or aged to survive just above abject poverty. This works very well for the tiny minority who profit from these policies.
Globalization and “free trade” as touted are simply policies allowing the already overly rich to steal from the poor and the middle classes — keeping wages down and eliminating benefits from those most in need. Those Mr. Kenny serves have no interest in anyone but themselves. This is simply the financialization of the world economy in order to benefit the few at the top. This is a travesty and should not be further encouraged.
JOHN E. HEMINGTON JR.