Sacrificing a nation

The opportunity cost of America’s Transnationals

by Glenn R. Jackson

The true cost of anything is what you are prepared to give up to get it.  This not only means the monetary price, but also includes the “shadow price,” i.e. the opportunity cost of doing something. Everything we do will have an opportunity cost built in; the trick is in determining what that opportunity will really cost you.

In addition to opportunity cost economists also speak about “utility” as a measure of satisfaction or happiness.  Money only partly captures the essence of utility.  A discussion of wealth may bring you closer to understanding utility.  However, one thing we know about utility is the more you have, the more it takes to create the next equal unit of utility, satisfaction or happiness.

Business decisions are generally made in anticipation of the utility of generating revenue and making a profit.  It is well understood that to do this requires incurring a cost of some type in production or in providing a service.  In America’s largest companies those gaining the utility of these business decisions are generally perceived to be the shareholders. 

But when you are talking about America’s Transnationals, are corporate revenues and profits enough “utility”, or has it all become personal?  Is business any longer about corporate utility, or in the new “Enron” corporate environment of the 21st Century is utility being reserved for the corporate CEO and the executive team? 

If true, as our corporate scandals would indicate, then this raises another question about America’s Transnationals.  Given their new quest for personal utility, what are the opportunity costs that they will incur?  What is the “shadow price” of what must be given up in order to gain what America’s Transnationals want to accomplish?

This principle of a shadow price, an opportunity cost, must be considered when you are thinking about a nation.  A nation is more then a mere collection of people. A nation is a collection of a peoples’ economic efforts, their philosophy of government, the use of their nation’s natural resources, their nation’s intellectual property, and the shared vision of their nation’s future. 

In the case of America it is, and always has been, the collective efforts of the whole that has created our nation’s success.  And it is that success upon which America’s Transnationals were built.  And it is that collective efforts of the whole nation upon which America’s Transnationals have turned their back.

What are the opportunity costs incurred by America’s current crop of scandal ridden Transnational CEO’s?  Those opportunity costs are only the sacrifice of the entire nation.

America’s Civil Rights’ movement is sacrificed even though this nation has endured more pain and bloodshed over this internal issue then any.  America’s Transnational CEO’s have turned their backs and moved on, inviting the world’s poor to flood into our country overwhelming any efforts to resolve our internal issues by doubling, tripling and quadrupling them in the name of a cheap labor pool.  The “work American’s won’t do” are the very jobs that America’s own poor desperately need as an entry point to their American Dream.

America’s environment is sacrificed even though we have worked harder as a people then any nation on the planet to preserve and protect ours.  Yet the nation is saddled with sprawl, sprawling malls and sprawling housing, roadways and more cars to fill them, and people, the cheap and the plentiful, filling all those malls, houses, roads and cars. Again, America’s Transnational CEO’s are telling the world that the Mall of the United States is open for business, come spend and help build the corporate America’s bottom line.

And worst of all, the American worker is sacrificed.  From the rural sections of our country, to the high rises and the inner cities, America’s workers are being replaced.  The workers’, whose innovations are the bedrock of the Transnationals growth, find themselves closing down their factories and plants. 

The CEO’s tell the nation these closures are essential in order to compete, but prices never fall and improvements never materialize.  If this is competition it must be to see who can pocket the greatest profit gain.  And then there are the American workers that are forced to train their foreign replacements in order to ensure severance pay, only to find that their desk will be filled by a foreign worker and any new jobs created are in pizza delivery

As the nation’s economists, Fed Presidents, political leaders, and financial leaders tell the woeful tale of America’s Transnationals and the cost they pay to stay in business in foreign lands and with foreign workers, let us remember the shadow price.  Let us remember the opportunity cost of America’s Transnationals decisions’ to forsake America, land of their birth. 

What is the true cost of their decisions, what are they prepared to give up to get access to the cheap and the plentiful?

The opportunity costs are you, me and your children’s future.  They are sacrificing the nation.

Glenn Jackson is Chairman of the American Reformation Project and Board Member of Hire American Citizens.  Glenn was a founding Board member and first President of the National Association for the Employment of Americans (NAEA), and organizer of American Jobs Coalition (organizations fighting against the American Worker Replacement Program). Glenn is also a  former State Chairman for Buchanan 2000 Presidential campaign, and former state Chairman of the Georgia Freedom Party.  Glenn holds an MA in Philosophy from Georgia State University in Atlanta.               

© Glenn R. Jackson

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