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Regarding James Bartholomew’s July 1 letter: “Rosy ‘leftwing’ view of unions“: We are always being told about competitiveness and the need for a free market, and how allowing unions and paying workers a decent wage will harm business. What this neoliberal propaganda — which we have been hearing for the past 30 years — does not take into account is the fact that corporations receive enormous subsidies from governments at precisely the same time that ordinary people are being told to tighten their belts.

Governments’ policies are generally directed toward increasing corporate profits, rather than improving the economy as a whole. A good example of this is the American wars in the Middle East, which were presented to the public as part of the “war on terror,” but whose real purpose, as perceived by many, is to create profit for the oil companies and the arms manufacturers.

If the neoliberal propaganda were true, and if its advocates really were proponents of the kind of free trade that Adam Smith proposed, the world would be full of small businesses in healthy competition with one another, with free movement of labor — a vital part of Smith’s theory. Yet, so-called globalization only allows for free movement of capital while creating a monopolistic capitalism that slashes and burns markets and jobs the world over just so that a small elite can grow richer at everyone else’s expense.

In the United States, in particular, it seems to be largely taken for granted that people in certain jobs do not deserve enough money to live on. Meanwhile, with so little money circulating in the economy, where is growth expected to come from?

This shortsighted greed harms the economy as a whole and ultimately makes it unsustainable. Everyone has a right to a decent living wage, and the right to unionize and fight for that right. If governments and corporations want austerity, they could try slashing military expenditures.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

jim makin

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