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Why economics and politics ARE important to Cinematography.com


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#1 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 04:42 PM

I found this article/opinion commentary which speaks to how and why economics and politics play a large part in our industry and why it should be important for everyone here. There is a growing list of comments, pro and con, at the end of his article at the link below:

http://bighollywood....ing-in-bangkok/

Runaway Production: Why I’m Filming in Bangkok

by Frank DeMartini

I am sitting in my hotel room in Bangkok on a Sunday afternoon; taking a break from prepping a film that will star Djimon Hounsou and be directed by the Steven Spielberg of Thailand, Prachya Pinkaew. Prachya is famous for Om Bak, Chocolat and Tom Yung Goon, three of the highest grossing films in the history of the country. You may be wondering why I am in Thailand and not somewhere in the United States. Why am I in a country 9,000 miles away from home when I could be shooting this movie anywhere in America including Los Angeles.

In the case of this film, the answer is more complicated than in others. The location of this film is South East Asia and, it is directed by a Thai national. That is not always the case. And, more often than not, the location of the film and its director is not even an issue. Many films that could be shot in America are not. In fact, many films with American locations are shot outside of America.

Why? The answer is simple: cost. Because of the ridiculously high labor costs and other production costs in America, it is just simply not feasible to make a movie in America anymore; especially a lower budget independent film. And, unfortunately, this is a symptom of the entire economic problems facing America today. I would love to work in the United States and be home with my family, friends and my little kitty Sidney. I cannot.

The clothing industry does not manufacture in America. The steel industry is all but gone. The automobile industry is all but gone. There are countless others. It is just too expensive to create almost any type of product in America. Unfortunately, this is leading to the elimination of our middle class. The working man can no longer work in America. If my father were still alive, I do not know how he would make a living.

The remainder of this article will be about the film industry as that is my area of expertise. But, keep in mind while you are reading that these problems are prevalent in all of the industries mentioned above, as well as others, not just the film industry.

Independent films and many studio films are now shot mostly in Eastern Europe, Canada, South East Asia and/or South Africa. The only real production in America these days is in heavy tax incentive states such as Louisiana, Michigan and the Carolinas. New York and Los Angeles, the homes of film production and the industry since its inception, only have production that either involves a star with the leverage to force production in those cities or if they are location specific to either state (and not always in that case either). In fact, we have shot films that take place in New York in Bulgaria on occasion.

The major culprit in the destruction of this industry and in most others is, as always, the unions. The unions refuse to work with the producer to make shooting in America cost effective. The average independent producer has a fixed amount of money to make his movie. The pocket is not deep. Even studio films are looking for ways to save money now. When you are a producer with fixed funds, you shoot the movie where your available money will bring the most bang for the buck and insure the existence of your ever decreasing profit margins.

For example, you could make a low budget action movie in 1995 for about 2.5 million dollars and be pretty sure you would get 3.5 million dollars back within 18 months. Now, that same movie can only be made for about 1.5 million dollars and the producer is struggling to get 2.0 million dollars back. Keep in mind that the same movie you made in 1995 for 2.5 million dollars would now cost 3.7 million dollars. (Calculated using an average of economic indicators, not just CPI) So, by making that movie for 1.5 million dollars you are making a far lower quality product.

If you tried to make that film for 3.7 million dollars, you would make the equivalent of the same film but you would almost guarantee the producer a loss as the sales on such films have gone way down in the past 15 years. You would probably only get the same 2.0 million in sales that you would have gotten if you made the film for 1.5 million dollars.

The average cost of shooting outside of the United States is often about 30-40% of the cost in the United States. For example, you can shoot an action film in Eastern Europe for about $700,000 per week. That is about one-third of the cost in Los Angeles and about 70% of the cost of shooting in a major tax incentive state.

I am shooting this movie in Thailand for even less. In fact; substantially less. We are shooting this film for 48 days of principal photography and our overall production cost is about ½ of the cost of Eastern Europe. No wonder I am forced to spend four months in a hotel room in Thailand. Do you blame the investors?

If I were to go to the unions in Los Angeles and say, “I want to make this movie in Los Angeles.” They look at you and say to pay the union rates, the standard pension, health and welfare and residuals. You are told if you do not have the money to pay them, then do not make the movie. You are never given the opportunity to negotiate a deal that works for the particular film in question. You are given a mandate and told to live by it. And if you do not like it, then tough.

Further, when you do shoot a film in the States, you are forced to obligate yourself to the payment of residuals forever. I ask you, in what other business is the investor/owner forced to pay the employee for work done years ago, every time he makes a dime?

The union people are now going to say that I am typical management and do not care about the working man. They will say that residuals are cheap. If the movie is made with all entertainment unions, the total cost of residuals is less than 10% of the total income. But, if you are only making a 25% return on your money, the residuals eat up approximately 10% of that return, leaving you with only a 15% profit. A motion picture production company cannot survive on that.

I would think that the working man in the United States of which I am one would rather work at a lesser rate inclusive of the medical protection than have the work go overseas. But, the general consensus is not.

Of course, if you shoot outside of the United States, you do not pay residuals at all except for some money to the Screen Actors Guild* who must be used no matter where you shoot. You get to keep your measly profit and hopefully put it another movie that will keep residents outside of the United States employed.

I can go on with this column for another 10 pages or more and never repeat myself and maybe I will in the future, but for now, I am going to spend the rest of my afternoon relaxing. I have a big week coming up.


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#2 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 05:41 PM

So the guy's basically complaining that the crew working their butts off to move his lights and cameras around want to get paid a living wage and have health insurance, pension plans and safety requirements.

I don't know him but I sure don't like him.
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#3 Michael Most

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 07:34 PM

I found this article/opinion commentary which speaks to how and why economics and politics play a large part in our industry and why it should be important for everyone here. There is a growing list of comments, pro and con, at the end of his article at the link below:

http://bighollywood....ing-in-bangkok/


Blaming unions for the basic structure of American society is pointless, useless, and shows a deep lack of understanding of much larger issues. If the standard of living was identical around the world, none of these things would be an issue. But it isn't, and the person who wrote this is clearly an American who happens to enjoy the higher standard of living that he has in his native country. His concept of "good business" is to rape the working class so that he can get what he wants - a not untypical sentiment these days. He chooses to rape the working class in places like Thailand and Eastern Europe because they don't happen to have the financial needs of Americans. They also don't have the standard of living that he would be loathe to give up. Every time I read articles like this, I notice that the writer never implies that he wants to live in any of these foreign locations - he just wants to go there, enjoy seeing them work for practically nothing, and come back home and pat himself on the back while he enjoys his million dollar home and drives his BMW. That is not a union problem, that's a societal problem. Not to mention that the highest costs on any picture are above the line - even on low budget projects - so if he would control that, he wouldn't be looking for someone to blame in the first place.
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#4 Santiago Benet

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 07:40 PM

Check this guys other publications on the link. He is a enemy of IATSE and apparently he wants every crew member to gat paid a minimum wage ,so that he can spend more time with his family and his cat. I think that he deserves to be in thailand.
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 08:00 PM

"The answer is simple: cost. Because of the ridiculously high labor costs and other production costs in America, it is just simply not feasible to make a movie in America anymore; especially a lower budget independent film."

This is not the problem of Canada, Eastern Europe or Asia. This is America's problem, you guys need to fix it and stop blaming the rest of the world.

R,
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#6 Tom Jensen

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 08:11 PM

I always noticed that the difference between the low budget films that I worked on and the big budget films I worked on was the amount of money spent on talent. The more money you have, the more of it that seemed to go to the actors. If actors would take their money off the back side, we could get more films made in the US. They don't usually because they know that there is no guarantee that the film will be a success and the longevity of their careers is often shorter than anticipated. But producers want their cake an they want to eat it too. By leaving the country they are merely saving money on the crew. It's not that the crew here is too expensive, it's the crews overseas are too cheap and are being exploited.
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 08:21 PM

This guy is just another scumbag, right wing, Hollywood producer. He was an entertainment lawyer turned producer. If you look at his IMDB page, notice he gives himself a composer credit. This is so he can get residuals on the music. What was his big gripe, residuals. If live is so bad for him and his measly profits, he should go back into law so he won't go broke. He's full of crap. http://bighollywood....hor/fdemartini/
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 11:56 PM

Richard is right. This is an "American" problem, not just with the film industry, but with every other industry that USED TO make things here in the US. If we want to keep manufacturing of all kinds in our borders, we need to stop this insane push toward globalization that Reagan began and Clinton exacerbated with NAFTA.

Prior to Reagan, our trade policies basically ensured that if a manufacturer produced an item outside of our borders for cheaper, the tariffs on importing that product back into the US would equal or exceed what it would have cost to just do it here in the first place. Post Reagan, the doors were flung open and Corporations were free to scour the planet for the cheapest labor they could find with no penalty. As economies around the world began to falter under this Milton Friedman ideology, the need for nations and states to attract industry to their territories grew, so "incentives" came into being. An incentive is basically a bribe to a Corporation to get them to "create jobs" in whatever region they happened to be in.

So, if a favorite city/state/nation had cheap labor and heavy subsidies (which steal from the tax base, often negating any taxes taken in by the local workforce), a Producer would go there. Then, when that labor force became significantly irritated by being underpaid, the Producer would pick up and go to the next cheap place on the globe where that state/nation would too hand out Corporate Welfare.

And so on....

The answer to this kind of problem? Reinstate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and dump the policies of NAFTA. The film industry is just like any other in the way US based Corporations are allowed (and encouraged) to go elsewhere for cheap labor just so that the Corporation and those running it can scurry off with more and more profit every quarter. And it's not like they are reinvesting those profits back into the industry to "create more jobs" the way it was promised. ("Give Corporations money and the benefits will trickle-down to the workers and everyone will have jobs!)

Yes, the author of that article is clearly ignorant in the complexities of why it "costs so much" to shoot in the USA. I'd be all for a Global Economy if it were a level playing field, but it isn't by a long shot. When we, with high costs of living, have to compete with people who can survive on $10 bucks a day, nobody except those Above-the-Line really win.
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#9 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 12:05 AM

Sadly, I don't see how globalization can be stopped just to keep our jobs. As the rest of the world moves up from third and second world economies closer to first world, ours will drop to second world.

Given the dire poverty so much of the world has been locked in while we partied down, I guess the humanitarian side of me can live with this loss, grumbling under my breath along the way.
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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 12:36 AM

dump the policies of NAFTA.


Are you prepared for the trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico Brian?

Who is your number one supplier of oil? Canada is.

Are you prepared for gas shortages like the 70s and paying $9.00 for a gallon of gas when Canada puts an export tariff on oil sent to the USA?

Right now NAFTA guarantees the USA access to Canada's natural resources. The USA is running out of every thing, quickly. Canada only has 1/10th the population of the USA but more natural resources.

So go ahead and kill NAFTA, but you won't be able to do it without dire consequences for the US economy. Of course Obama and Clinton told their supporters they would "re-negotiate" NAFTA once they where elected.

Now guess what, Obama is the president and opening up NAFTA isn't even on his radar, why is that?

Brian, the USA needs access to foreign markets. Once you start imposing trade tariffs galore and throw up a wall of protectionism the entire world will retaliate and block US imports.

That 10% unemployment you have now, will go to 15%. The USA is no longer in the drivers seat Brian. Your economy has sunk to new lows and your debt has gone to new highs. Other nations like China and Canada have become emboldened by their economic success at the same time millions of Americans have foreclosure signs on their front lawns.

In my case I have spent ten of thousands of dollars in my life "consuming" US media. So it's only fair that Americans consume a little of mine :D

R,
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#11 Justin Hayward

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 12:52 AM

they don't happen to have the financial needs of Americans.


We don’t need any of this poop. My friend just got back from Haiti where he shot a doc about the aid they were and weren’t getting. He lived on granola bars and water and slept in a tent… and he was looked at as George Clooney walking down Michigan Ave. He was considered rich beyond belief. Those people truly need. The homeless people in this country live like kings compared to them.

Tell me you want it, tell me you deserve it, but don’t use the word need when it comes to America.
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#12 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:05 AM

Oh boy. Another one of those threads. My take is that trends in global, or even US, macro-economy are infinitely more complicated than any of us armchair economists begin to even realize. Scoring cheap shots against the left or right is just a symptom of a much larger, looming issue: the uber-polarization of economic politics, particularly in the US. The unions blame management, management blames the unions, and all the while no one realizes the boat is sinking. Who cares as long as one can cling to the illusion of personal safety / comfort for a while longer while blaming the other side for the world ailments.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 01 March 2010 - 02:10 AM.

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#13 John Brawley

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:07 AM

This is not the problem of Canada, Eastern Europe or Asia. This is America's problem, you guys need to fix it and stop blaming the rest of the world.

R,


Indeed.

Brian I have to say i find it a little irksome that your subject line infers a pro-US position with regard to c.com.

Whilst the list is owned and operated by a US citizen, a majority of the membership is US based, are we not an international filmmaking community ?

I find it really hard to be sympathetic to mewings of US based members about the state of "their" film industry on these boards, when there's an inferred entitlement / protectionist mentality attached like this...

We know you guys are doing it tough with the economy at the moment.

After all, the US is the greatest promoter / imposer of democracy and capitalism going right ? Are you really suggesting a hypocritic backflip on that agenda when it doesn't go the US's way ?? shock horror....

In Australia, we too in the same way as the US have eliminated tariffs and protectionist policies across the board. We no longer have a car manufacturing industry as a result. We almost don't have a mass manufacturing base here at all now.

Certainly many US films have been shot here as runaway productions when the exchange rate was favourable. Lately it's been very quite here for outfits that had setup to cater to now non existent US productions shooting here, that have taken flight to other cheaper environments.

Like Canada, at least Australia has a genuinely functional public health care system and no fault work cover for work related injuries. I didn't really understand why the unions were so important in the US film industry until I worked there.

Idiotic articles like this don't show the flip side either. Do you know how hard it is to raise finance for a film OUTSIDE of the US ? There must be literally hundreds of films that get made in the US in the under 5 million category. Australia produces about 40 features in a good year and almost NONE of them would have a budget above that figure and almost all of them have some form of direct government investment.

Almost no Australian film makes a profit. Australian films at the Australian box office are only 5% of total BO figure in a good year. Sometimes it's as low as 2%.

2% !?!

How about the the fact that US TV gets dumped here in Australia for a fraction of it's actual cost ? A typical hour of Australian drama costs $250-$500K to produce....way cheaper (more efficient??) than US production by and large yet an Aussie TV network get's V for 60K per ep. Which do you think they'd prefer to run ?

Even so called low budget US indie films blow most regular domestic Australian budget's out of the water.

And the IP still generally resides in the US, even for yahoo's like this guy. He's making the film in Thailand but the profits are returning to the US....one presumes.

Are we simply more efficient at making films or can you raise more money in the US with it's larger audience ? I don't think these are easy questions to answer...

jb
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#14 Mike Lary

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:21 AM

I feel really bad for this guy. He has to live in a motel room in another country on someone else's dime while getting paid to do what he loves. That must be rough. If things keep deteriorating for him at this pace, he might have to sublet his property in the states and take his cat on the road with him.
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#15 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 04:24 AM

I wouldn't say this is unique to the US, a number of UK television drama series are shot in eastern Europe.

However, Europe can be more complex because of the co-production and funding deals.
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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:27 AM

Australian films at the Australian box office are only 5% of total BO figure in a good year. Sometimes it's as low as 2%.


You're hitting 5% in Australia? Wow! Amazing, the best we do in Canada is 1%!! The other 99% is American movies.

And yet some Americans have the unmitigated audacity to complain about that 1%. Good grief Hollywood already has 99% of the market in Canada, and yet they will fight like wild dogs over a piece of rotting meat for that last 1%.

R,
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#17 K Borowski

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 10:45 AM

Can productions outside of the U.S., Canada, U.K, and to some extent India even afford to shoot 35mm film?

I remember watching a 2006 WWII movie, with Carice van Houten and they were talking about how it was one of the biggest-budget Dutch movies of the decade, at something like $10 million U.S.D.


Isn't there a Southpark episode about aliens from the future who come to the past to steal American jobs?


The U.S. needs to protect its own, but the fact that our standard of living is so high that the entire wourld couldn't possibly sustain this level of living for everyone, signals that a dirty word, CHANGE, is going to have to happen in the future.

We're like a runaway "Night Train" right now in the U.S., living beyond our needs for decades. Eventually we are going to have to pay our bills because the rest of the world isn't going to keep buying our debt forever.


Brian: Please please please go take an economics class at your local community college. It will open your eyes to the way unions, employers, international trading, and cost of production work. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Higher pay means fewer workers in the workpool.

Standards of living are actually going down in the U.S. right now because the U.S. dollar is tanking. But this actually bodes WELL for us because foreign industry is starting to bring back manufacturing here and reversing "Reaganism" as you call it.
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#18 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:13 PM

Brian: Please please please go take an economics class at your local community college. It will open your eyes to the way unions, employers, international trading, and cost of production work. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Higher pay means fewer workers in the workpool.


Thank you for your concern. I'm already well aware of what the Republican-version of what they'd like economic reality to be. I don't subscribe to their fantasy. :)

Standards of living are actually going down in the U.S. right now because the U.S. dollar is tanking. But this actually bodes WELL for us because foreign industry is starting to bring back manufacturing here and reversing "Reaganism" as you call it.



Wow, really? How does the Republican Economics Class explain this then?

http://www.nasdaq.co...million-in-2009

Whirlpool CEO's Pay Rose 77% To $10.81 Million In 2009


By Bob Tita, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

CHICAGO -(Dow Jones)- Whirlpoool Corp. (WHR) Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Fettig's 2009 compensation rose 77% on sharply higher cash awards linked to the performance of the company's stock.




followed by:


[url="http://&lt;a%20href="http://www.tradingmarkets.com/news/stock-alert/whr_whirlpool-to-workers-don-t-strike-813058.html""%20target="_blank"&gt;http://www.tradingma...k-a...3058.html"&lt;/a&gt;%5dhttp://www.tradingmarkets.com/news/stock-alert/whr_whirlpool-to-workers-don-t-strike-813058.html%5b/url%5d<!--quoteo-->&lt;div%20class="]http://www.cdinsight.com/news.php?readmore=3552[/url]) are denying the citizens those governments are meant to represent, the services that governments are supposed to provide...while Corporations and those in charge of them (and their stockholders) consolidate more and more and more of the wealth. And it's not like they're building more factories with all of that extra money in order to "create jobs." No, they just kinda hoard it, spending a little here and there for luxury items and groceries, but there is no incentive to invest their excess cash on "jobs" because "the Market" is down and nobody is buying things... and people aren't buying things because they don't have a lot of money. And they don't have a lot of money because of this Corporate mentality that says short-term profits are important at all costs as the Whirlpool example above clearly shows. The problem for a lot of the very wealthy in the world isn't that they aren't making money... it's that "enough" is never enough. So when they can fire fifty people or close a factory or just go to Thailand to find really cheap Film Crews, it sustains this race to the bottom for 99% of the world's population while the upper echelon hides behind bigger and bigger gates.

There's a lot of minutia that makes economies work or falter as Richard kindly pointed out, but it does come down to ideology ultimately. My initial comment was primarily from a USA point-of-view because the vast majority of movies and television are "manufactured" by USA Corporations. The guy in the article that began this thread is a US citizen who will be able to manufacture his product overseas to save money. He'll pay his crew their version of "top dollar" and he'll come back home to (hopefully) make a tidy profit, none of which will be reinvested in the Thai economy. Theoretically, he too received some kind of "tax rebate" http://www.filmjourn...89fea6baf4ce3e8 too, which again, "steals" from governments which could likely use that tax revenue for things like infrastructure and (gasp!) social programs designed to help the Thai people. But that government won't have those dollars, but they can say that another movie got made in their country! Heck, they can put it in their tourism brochure! ;)

Edited by Brian Dzyak, 01 March 2010 - 09:14 PM.

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#19 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:16 PM

...

Edited by Brian Dzyak, 01 March 2010 - 09:21 PM.

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#20 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:20 PM

Brian: Please please please go take an economics class at your local community college. It will open your eyes to the way unions, employers, international trading, and cost of production work. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Higher pay means fewer workers in the workpool.


Thank you for your concern. I'm already well aware of what the Republican-version of what they'd like economic reality to be. I don't subscribe to their fantasy. :)

Standards of living are actually going down in the U.S. right now because the U.S. dollar is tanking. But this actually bodes WELL for us because foreign industry is starting to bring back manufacturing here and reversing "Reaganism" as you call it.



Wow, really? How does the Republican Economics Class explain this then?

http://www.nasdaq.co...million-in-2009

Whirlpool CEO's Pay Rose 77% To $10.81 Million In 2009


By Bob Tita, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

CHICAGO -(Dow Jones)- Whirlpoool Corp. (WHR) Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Fettig's 2009 compensation rose 77% on sharply higher cash awards linked to the performance of the company's stock.




followed by:

http://www.tradingma...ike-813058.html

Whirlpool to workers: Don't strike


Feb 26, 2010 The Herald-Palladium - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX --

BENTON TOWNSHIP -- As soon-to-be displaced workers prepare to rally outside an Evansville, Ind., Whirlpool plant today, a company official is warning that protesting could hurt their chances of finding future employment.

The 1,100 employees of the Benton Township-based company learned in August that they would lose their jobs at the refrigerator plant when operations are moved to a plant in Monterrey, Mexico, this year. The first Evansville layoffs are expected by the end of March, with the final jobs eliminated by June. About 300 engineers will remain.

The rally is planned for 3 p.m., with national labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and IUE-CWA President Jim Clark, expected to attend. It is not known whether Benton Harbor-area employees would be at the event.

Organizers expect between 1,000 and 1,500 people at the rally, according to an article in the Evansville Courier Press.

Employees received a memo Wednesday from Paul Coburn, the factory's operations director, stating that the union leaders have been told that "these negative activities will only hamper employees when they look for future jobs."

"We fear that potential employers will view the actions of a few and determine whether they would want to hire any of the Evansville Division employees in the future," Coburn said in his letter.

Coburn told the employees that the decision to close the plant "is final and is not under further consideration."

A company spokesperson in Benton Township took a somewhat more conciliatory tone. Jill Saletta, director of external communications for Whirlpool, said in a news release that "Whirlpool Corporation respects the rights of those who choose to participate in the event on Friday."

The reference to having employment prospects jeopardized "simply reiterated a potential consideration that we had already shared with the union," Saletta wrote.

"We plan to conduct business as usual" Friday, she added.

Coburn noted that the rally is scheduled for the time when employees will be entering and exiting the property, and that union leaders had been asked to keep the driveways clear. He also said that union members have been told they do not have permission to use company property, and he expressed concern over safety along the highway.

The last union rally at the location led to two automobile accidents along Highway 41, according to Coburn.

The rally is to include a march from the union hall along Highway 41 to the plant.

The Coburn memo drew the attention of the Associated Press and the Huffington Post, which pointed out that Whirlpool had received $20 million in federal stimulus money.

The Huffington article drew more than 600 comments online.

The company cited poor sales as the reason for moving the plant.

Local 808 President Darrell Collins told AP that the plant is closing because of corporate greed.

The union's campaign to keep the jobs in Evansville has included print ads and billboards in the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area deriding the company's decision.



So, Whirlpool is claiming that it has to move to a place with cheaper labor because sales are bad, but the CEO's pay rose 77% because the stock is doing so well? :blink:

The Republican/Milton Friedman school of thought may work in fantasyland or on paper, but in reality, it has been proven to fail and has for the past thirty + years around the globe. Any real non-partisan economist will agree.


And allowing film "Corporations" the ability to troll the planet and ostensibly force wages to lower and lower depths doesn't improve life for hard working crews or any workers of any kind. It's a race to the bottom while those at the top make out like bandits, as the Whirlpool example above illustrates. States and Nations handing over tax credits and rebates to Corporations that are making record profits (http://www.cdinsight...p?readmore=3552) are denying the citizens those governments are meant to represent, the services that governments are supposed to provide...while Corporations and those in charge of them (and their stockholders) consolidate more and more and more of the wealth. And it's not like they're building more factories with all of that extra money in order to "create jobs." No, they just kinda hoard it, spending a little here and there for luxury items and groceries, but there is no incentive to invest their excess cash on "jobs" because "the Market" is down and nobody is buying things... and people aren't buying things because they don't have a lot of money. And they don't have a lot of money because of this Corporate mentality that says short-term profits are important at all costs as the Whirlpool example above clearly shows. The problem for a lot of the very wealthy in the world isn't that they aren't making money... it's that "enough" is never enough. So when they can fire fifty people or close a factory or just go to Thailand to find really cheap Film Crews, it sustains this race to the bottom for 99% of the world's population while the upper echelon hides behind bigger and bigger gates.

There's a lot of minutia that makes economies work or falter as Richard kindly pointed out, but it does come down to ideology ultimately. My initial comment was primarily from a USA point-of-view because the vast majority of movies and television are "manufactured" by USA Corporations. The guy in the article that began this thread is a US citizen who will be able to manufacture his product overseas to save money. He'll pay his crew their version of "top dollar" and he'll come back home to (hopefully) make a tidy profit, none of which will be reinvested in the Thai economy. Theoretically, he too received some kind of "tax rebate" http://www.filmjourn...89fea6baf4ce3e8 too, which again, "steals" from governments which could likely use that tax revenue for things like infrastructure and (gasp!) social programs designed to help the Thai people. But that government won't have those dollars, but they can say that another movie got made in their country! Heck, they can put it in their tourism brochure! ;)
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