American Middle Class Snobbery

I could probably fill this blog with absurd examples of American middle class snobbery, but I thought this one from TJIC was particularly good:

"¦Eleven tonnes of papayas were dumped outside the Agriculture and
Cooperatives Ministry yesterday by Greenpeace in protest at "¦
open-field trials of genetically-modified crops.

"¦people flocked to load up on the free papayas, ignoring the environmental organisation's campaign against "¦ GM fruit"¦

Many passers-by, who mostly knew nothing about transgenic fruit, said they did not care about any health risks.

They were just thinking about how hungry they were"¦

A while back I wrote about this same phenomenon:

Progressives do not like American factories appearing in third world
countries, paying locals wages progressives feel are too low, and
disrupting agrarian economies with which progressives were more
comfortable.  But these changes are all the sum of actions by
individuals, so it is illustrative to think about what is going on in
these countries at the individual level. 

One morning, a rice farmer in southeast Asia might faces a choice.
He can continue a life of brutal, back-breaking labor from dawn to dusk
for what is essentially subsistence earnings.  He can continue to see a
large number of his children die young from malnutrition and disease.
He can continue a lifestyle so static, so devoid of opportunity for
advancement, that it is nearly identical to the life led by his
ancestors in the same spot a thousand years ago.

Or, he can go to the local Nike factory, work long hours (but
certainly no longer than he worked in the field) for low pay (but
certainly more than he was making subsistence farming) and take a shot
at changing his life.  And you know what, many men (and women) in his
position choose the Nike factory.

Much of the opposition to factory wages in Asia can be boiled down to members of the American middle class saying "I would never accept that job at that rate, so they should not either."

  • rob

    do you have anything to go on aside from "probably"? and where are the pages talking about getting rid of the immigrants that have been taken advantage of all us Americans for so long? Where is the section to discuss sending back all those irish, scottish, itlalian, french, german and all those northern europeans that've been mooching off of us for more than a century, if only we'd have closed the borders then....

  • Craig

    Why do you single out the middle class? I suspect much of this attitude comes from "limousine liberals."

  • happyjuggler0

    The logic of the antisweatshop (a.s.s.) brigade goes deeper than that, albeit not by much. Their thinking (or at least some of a.s.s.) isn't that Nike is doing them a favor, but that Nike could do them an even bigger favor by paying them $5+ per hour instead for example.

    What this overlooks is that if Nike has to (either via regulation or social "shame") pay them that much, it wouldn't hire them at all, it would pay someone much closer to market in a location with fabulous infrastructure instead of the boonies of a third world country with long lead times and high transportation costs.

    The US unions don't overlook this though, which is why they pretend to care about poor people, because if Nike is forced to pay those wages it wouldn't be overseas hiring truly needy people, it would hire unionizeable (or already unionized) Americans instead.

  • hanmeng

    "Progressives"!!?? I guess "progress" is keeping brown and black people poor!

  • Bearster

    I think that "exploitation" should be added to _The Devil's Dictionary_ by Ambrose Bierce.

    Exploitation. n. when someone accepts terms and conditions that I would not.

  • I don't see anything strange in the fact that middle class care little about the environment. they have to many problems to think about the environment every minute. Besides, I think middle class do much more to save our planet than "limousine liberals". At this point I agree with Craig.

  • I don't see anything strange in the fact that middle class care little about the environment. they have to many problems to think about the environment every minute. Besides, I think middle class do much more to save our planet than "limousine liberals". At this point I agree with Craig.