What’s Going On Here?

At a wonderful panel discussion this past Saturday at the Bronx Documentary Center — events@bronxdoc.org — an audience member complained about the lack of jobs and, in areas like the South Bronx, the need to decide between “job-creating” industrial development and the health of residents. His frustration was summed up with the question – “What’s going on here?”

In today’s New York Times (March 4), a feature article reported on record profits posted by large corporations. These profits are fueled by outsourcing and low interest rates. Two examples were cited. In one, the corporation had a 25% increase in revenue, without a change in their workforce. In the other, record profits were accompanied by a 13% increase in the workforce, but 94% of those workers were from outside the United States.

So what is going on here? Many things. Among them, sustained low interest rates are encouraging companies to invest in labor-savings capital equipment (more output per worker), obviating the need for workers. Additionally, cheaper labor in countries outside the United States encourages outsourcing. All of this adds up to higher unemployment, lower wages for workers, less jobs and a government that cannot sustain itself, let alone provide public supports for our growing number of vulnerable citizens.

What’s going on here and what do you think we should do about it? That is the challenge we face today.

Harold DeRienzo

[The exhibit at the Bronx Documentary Center ends on March 8th and will have a closing panel of the “Seis del Sur,” six local photographers, including New York Times reporter and South Bronx native, David Gonzalez, who have documented the South Bronx devastation of the South Bronx in the seventies, on March 9th at 7:30 PM (614 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx)

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