My name is Rosa and I work at a maquiladora in the Free Trade Zone. It seems like you’ve kind of swept me under the rug (along with the other 1,300,000 people who do this kind of work), so I’ll give you a brief little description of my working conditions.
I am employed in Ciudad Juarez, a city like many others that line the American-Mexican border. Maquiladora is another way to say “shitty factory” in Spanish. There’s about three-thousand of them littered across the Mexican countryside, often popping up overnight. Nearly all of the people I work with are women, often single, who have left extreme poverty to come here. I myself am from Southern Mexico and moved to support my family down there. I have been here seven months and have worked for six different maquiladoras. This might seem strange, but these places are serious hell-holes and I have been trying to find one with some windows and clean air to breathe, but right now I am zero for six.
Somehow you and your genius corporate friends came up with a system that takes raw materials from America, sends them down to Mexico for me and my friends to assemble (for almost no wages, with no labor standards or environmental regulations) and then ship it back to where it came from . . . and that’s cheaper than just paying American workers in the first place! What a scam. NAFTA really did this to us—by 2005, maquiladoras represented 50% of all US-Mexican trade! I worry about all the poor people of Europe as Obama (is this you, Mr.Capitalism?) puts the finishing touches on a massive free trade agreement with the EU.
Not only do we make virtually no money and live in cockroach-infested shacks, but we experience even more discrimination at work from the all-male power structure, who make us take regular pregnancy tests and, if one of us is found to be having a baby, fire us immediately. As I’m sure you can imagine, after that it’s nearly impossible to find work anywhere else. This is all not to mention the 400 or so murders of young women in this area of Mexico since 1993. Not many detectives working on these cases, huh?
I know you don’t really care about us, you’ve made that very clear, so I thought I would ask something that maybe would hit closer to home. My question is this: if you keep attacking your own people by taking their jobs and sending work to poor communities like mine, then who the hell is going to buy all the crap we assemble in the future? Damn gringos never even think into the future, do you? Doesn’t everyone know by now that the ONLY reason the rich countries are rich is because the poor countries are poor?
Thanks for the letter, and keep up the good work! You’re doing America proud by filling our market with cheap goods that we can all enjoy at a fraction of the cost that we’d have to pay union workers in the US . . . fortunately, unions are a thing of the past, something that the average person has finally realized are simply an impediment to the growth of the economy (and my bank account!)
The truth of the matter is, you answered your own question, Rosa: we used to sell employed-Americans relatively expensive goods and now we can sell unemployed-Americans really really cheap stuff that you make! Everyone’s living standard is better: you have a job, and our lazy workers have to become more innovative to stay alive, which is just what capitalism needs right now! People in the US either get skilled positions or live in crushing poverty, that’s their choice . . . my people at the Heritage Foundation have told me that by 2050 most of these people (or “losers” as we call them) will be culled from the herd anyway. Less people of this ilk just means less people on public assistance, and don’t even get me started on welfare!!!
Once all these Americans have died (and really they weren’t doing anything useful anyway), we’ll just sell this stuff to whatever economy is on the rise to compensate for the collapse of the United States—I’m looking at you China!
As we all know, free trade=peace. As long as people are so poor and overworked that they have no energy to rebel, then we’re all happy . . . revolutions serve no purpose aside from hurting the stock market, and we need to keep this thing growing and expanding and rising more and more and more and more.
Rosa—let me ask you this, would you rather keep the job you have now to survive or would you rather just die? Those are your options. Frankly, I’m happy either way, there’s millions of other people out there who will take your job if you disappear. (and one day you all will—they’re called robots, look it up, they’re already replacing you.)
Oh yeah, as for your comment about the rich being rich on the backs of the poor, it’s simply not true. We’re rich because we’re smarter . . . and more handsome.
Have a good day at work!
***Additional Info for you and your confused friends, Rosa. You do have the internet, right? I’m sure you do.
(please read this article, and take special note of the “Freedom Map” towards the bottom of the page: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2004/05/why-america-needs-to-support-free-trade)