Saturday, November 22, 2008
Yesterday I read Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Patterson. This story about children and the horrible working conditions, dishonest mill owners, and labor strikes back in the early twentieth century is well told and appropriate for kids to read in our own difficult economic times. Even with all our problems, we're so much better off than we were back then.
Patterson's book makes me wonder if the overseas "outsourcing" by some of our companies results in employees in other countries dealing with conditions today like those we had here a century ago. But would those people's lives be any better without the jobs? If they went on strike the owners could just move their factories to other countries. The only way labor unions could make much difference today would be if strikes were worldwide, and that's not likely to happen.
Wouldn't it be great if we could figure out how to solve our economic problems in a way that helps people everywhere? It isn't likely, but it's not impossible because modern technology like TV and the internet has united the world in a way nobody could have imagined back then.