Book Review

Exporting America:
Why Corporate Greed Is
Shipping American Jobs Overseas
By Lou Dobbs
Warner Books, 2004
Hardcover, 208 pp., $19.95

Lou Dobbs is a television business journalist and, he says proudly, a lifelong Republican. And yet he has written an excellent handbook describing the outsourcing crisis in America today. Dobbs has interviewed key people on both sides of the controversy and is able to express their pro and con arguments succinctly. He includes a long list of U.S. companies that have chosen to send their work overseas.

In “Exporting America,” Dobbs gives clear and cold facts that progressive activists need in order to carry on today’s discussion of the issue.

American workers are the most productive in the world, he says. He also points out that Americans have added 199 hours to their working year since 1973. And yet, he writes, “the United States has been unable to run a trade surplus for the past 28 years.”

The villains in the story are the same ones that Lenin exposed in his great work, “Imperialism,” and are often pointed to in the pages of the People’s Weekly World — giant transnational corporations.

It is difficult to comprehend how large and powerful these corporations have become. Dobbs says that “more than half of the 100 largest economies in the entire world are corporations.” He lists the 100 largest economies, with General Motors just ahead of Denmark. Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler are listed immediately thereafter.

Dobbs cuts through all the arguments and states it plainly: American corporations send their work to other countries in order to increase their profits by paying lower wages and by evading U.S. anti-pollution and tax laws. The federal government under George W. Bush cooperates.

The only discernible weakness of the book is that Dobbs can only think of solutions that assume a lasting and enduring capitalism while, in fact, capitalism is the very basis of the problem. There is no solution while capitalism rages on. Consequently, Dobbs’ proposed solutions, including advocacy of a conscience for Corporate America, may seem at best incomplete and, at worst, naïve.

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