That's Capitalism


If 2 per cent of the workers in developing countries moved to work in developed countries and earned no more than a poverty-level wage of ¤5,680, they would earn a total of ¤250 billion. Perhaps they would remit to their families in developing countries ¤45-55 billion annually, or US$250 billion over five years. This would be vastly larger than either aid or investment flows.

*****

The Rowntree Trust's recent research discovered what every dog on the corner knows &endash; the Republic of Ireland is "one of the most corrupt countries in Europe". Surprise, surprise but apparently corruption is pretty much structured into how the powerful in Ireland do things. The report highlights the "widening levels of inequality, extraordinary low levels of investment in public service, and a depressing record on environmental protection". The report also bemoaned the cosy relationship between politicians and the judiciary &endash; so politicians being politicians immediately set out to prove the findings correct &endash; just ask Bobby Molloy &endash; they just can't help themselves really.

*****

Workers in Britain may be leading the way for Europe in their attitudes towards employment. The Office for National Statistics found that 2.2 million working days where lost last autumn compared to the 1.9 million over last summer. Friday is the most popular day of illness &endash; and some say workers are stupid

*****

The general election saw Fianna Fail tell some unintentional home truths. Speaking on Radio Kerry on April Fool's Day Minister for Tourism and Sport Jim McDaid reminded listeners who might be thinking of voting for some other party "at the end of the day the party in government is the party in control of the exchequer.. it's the government who hold the purse strings". Or, to put it in plain English, if you fail to elect a Fianna Fail TD for your area you will get less cash for your schools, hospitals and road repairs.

*****

We keep hearing about how most workers in Ireland saw their pay rise during the Celtic Tiger years. It's true, but it doesn't tell the whole story. According to the Central Statistics Office, between 1994-99, the gross value added by Irish industrial firms increased from ¤14.679 million to ¤30,059 million (or 104.8%), yet wages paid to workers only increased by 43% (from ¤5.310 million to ¤7,593 million). This means that for every extra ¤1 you managed to get out of your boss, he or she got you to make an extra ¤2.43 for them.

***

A man goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shop owner points to three identical looking parrots on a perch and says, "The parrot on the left costs ¤500". "Why so much," asks the man? The shop owner says, "He knows how to use a computer". The man then asks about the next parrot and is told that this one costs ¤1,000 because it can do everything the other parrot can do plus it knows how to use the UNIX operating system. Naturally, the man asks about the third parrot to be told that it costs ¤2,000. Startled he asks, "What can it do?" The shop owner replies, "To be honest I have never seen it do a thing, but the other two call him boss!"



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This edition is No70 published in June 2002

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