Everyone knows that capitalism has become globalized. What begins in one part of its international system quickly spreads to another, be it financial crisis or economic policy.

Consider then, the recent remarks of a German investment banker who has a quick fix for European capitalism’s woes: Work harder, longer, for less pay and cut social benefits in half.

This is what Hans-Jörg Rudloff, who works for Barclay’s Capital, said recently. In his own words:

Europe is carrying a social rucksack, which makes us uncompetitive in this world. We have provided living standards for our populations which are unheard of, which no one ever thought would be possible, for the last 50 years. People do not want to give up these living standards.

He continues, “Populations are not ready to voluntarily discipline themselves in more work, less rewards, and less security.” Since, he says, it’s only natural that the population would react like this, what’s required is his brand of “democratic leadership and a question of whether indeed we are able to reinvigorate ourselves and to state publicly in this world that that we want to be competitive.”

His solution, according to Business Insider:

Half of the social benefits (pensions, universal health care) have to go; people have to work more, longer hours, longer years; otherwise, it is impossible to continue to fund the present system.

If this sounds similar to the GOP politicians aboard the tea party express, don’t worry too much. So far, as Raw Story reports, the Republicans who campaigned last November promising jobs have instead called for:

Curtailing abortion rights;
Getting rid of Planned Parenthood;
Defunding NPR;
Investigating Muslims;
Affirming “In God We Trust”; and
Making English the official language of the U.S.

It seems the GOP national committee is leaving its more direct class war tactics to state governors. However, should the Republicans win in 2012, get ready for 16-hour days at less pay and a 50 percent cut in benefits. And if we’re lucky they just might spread the pain, by adding child labor.

Think that’s too far fetched? This week we commemorate the centennial of the Triangle Shirt factory fire, in which many children died.

If the GOP attack on collective bargaining succeeds, those unhappy days may again be just around the corner.


PW Editorial Board
PW Editorial Board

People’s World editorial board: Editor-in-Chief John Wojcik,  Managing Editor C.J. Atkins, Copy Editor Eric A. Gordon, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Mark Gruenberg, Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson, Senior Editor Roberta Wood, Senior Editor Joe Sims