No, a slug didn't become a superior type of slug in the time it took you to go from Pampers to Depends, but civilization hasn't even been around 10,000 years, while a million years is one hundred times longer than that; and even a million years isn't a long time when you're considering evolution. But still, a slug now is the same slug they saw as a child, so that disproves that anything can change over millions of years.
That's a classic example of small-minded thinking: Because they didn't see something change in sixty years, nothing can change over sixty million years. It's as if adding "million" to a number is somehow insignificant.
Watching Mountains Grow
Similarly, because people can't see society changes within a twenty year period, they insist that we'll never see changes unless we force them ourselves. They simply can't conceive of a bigger picture with forces that are outside our individual control. Obama's president, so Obama should be able to strong-arm anything from anyone; and that's the only way things happen. It's all about strong people taking bold actions, and without that, nothing will change. And if Obama can't give us everything we want right now, we'll never get it.
But that's bunk. For as much as I appreciate the bold actions Obama has taken, he's only building on things that have been in motion for decades, and if the time's not right for something, then it's stupid to force it. The Civil Rights movement didn't happen because MLK showed up, and had he gone in a time machine to Birmingham a hundred years earlier, he would have been lucky to merely end up in jail. He was a strong player in the movement, but he was part of something that started long before him.
Just as the individual actions you took as a teen will effect you the rest of your life, group actions societies took decades ago are slowly coming into fruition. And so much of this is beyond human ken. The bigger something is, the more inertia it has and the longer it takes to move and to stop; and watching society change is like watching mountains grow. We know it's happening, yet all the same, it just looks like the same damn piece of rock to us.
Progress in China
And that all brings me to my main point: China. I keep hearing about how dreadful workers are treated in China and how we need to stop buying Chinese products because of this. Or conversely, that China's going to take us over if we don't stop buying their shit. And it's as if the conditions in China will somehow always stay that way because that's how they are now.
But that's simply incorrect. As I keep explaining, they will eventually form a middle-class as their increasingly growing economic needs require more and more skilled workers; both as skilled labor as well as managers, accountants, and other such administrative personnel and middle-men. And soon, they'll be striking for better work conditions, demanding more pay, and eventually they'll form powerful unions that grow lazy and corrupt and screw everything up for them; just like what happened here in America.
And yeah, the Chinese government will bust their heads, just as our early unions got their heads busted, but this sort of thing is simply inevitable. By accepting limited capitalism into their country, they're stuck getting the whole damn thing shoved down their throats; and what we couldn't do with bombs or embargoes, we can easily do by buying their shit; and there's not a damn thing they can do to stop it.
And the only way we could stop it is if we stopped buying their shit, forcing them all back into poverty. Yes, they're being exploited, but it's obviously better for them than the alternative. And that's why Disney's in Vietnam, while North Korea's still a backwards suckhole. They were both totalitarian, but only the North Koreans forbid outsiders. Same goes for Cuba, which would be a swinging destination for drunk Spring Breakers, if only we sold them our shit and bought their cigars.
iPad to Prosperity
I've been saying that for quite a few years now, and it now looks like we have evidence that I was right (not that I had any doubts).
Factory workers demanding better wages and working conditions are hastening the eventual end of an era of cheap costs that helped make southern coastal China the world's factory floor.And well, duh. I mean, what else would happen? Are we really to imagine that Americans and other westerners are so different from the Chinese that they somehow wouldn't make the same progress we made? Could we really think that China could post huge economic gains without creating a skilled labor force that would wise-up to how they were getting ripped off?
A series of strikes over the past two months have been a rude wakeup call for the many foreign companies that depend on China's low costs to compete overseas, from makers of Christmas trees to manufacturers of gadgets like the iPad.
They have little choice. Many of today's factory workers have higher ambitions than their parents, who generally saved their earnings from assembling toys and television sets for retirement in their rural hometowns. They are also choosier about wages and working conditions. "The conflicts are challenging the current set-up of low-wage, low-tech manufacturing, and may catalyze the transformation of China's industrial sector," said Yu Hai, a sociology professor at Shanghai's Fudan University.
Hell, America did it without much guidance at all, while the Chinese are well aware of how this shit works. They've got the internet. They watch our movies. They know how workers are supposed to be treated. And moreover, these guys are doing more complex work than the mine workers of yore. The idea that China could perpetually keep them down is a huge insult; as if Chinese workers are simply too stupid to unionize.
Tides of History
And no, it's not going to happen overnight. Big things never do. But it'll definitely happen, and not just in China, but anywhere we buy shit from. The more dollars that flow into a third-world country, the sooner they'll develop into second-world countries, and then eventually become first-world. That's just how it works. And the only way to stop it is to stop buying their shit.
Or...we can pretend that workers will magically unionize before the factories arrive and they'll all be paid great wages to sit around watching porn all day, like us Americans do. But I don't see that happening. Like it or not, the exploiters will pave the way to economic freedom, just as they always have, and we'll have to wait a few decades before the exploiters have to move on to greener pastures. But a few decades is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Someday, we'll all regret that living conditions are identical the world over; not because things were so great before, but because people just like having something to bitch about. Life is better now than it's ever been. Don't let anyone tell you any different.