Blog reader Michael wrote this in response to the drive to open up Penang to Big Business from foreign shores.
It is interesting what politicians will say to a foreign audience and not to a local audience.
“We are putting ourselves on the map – that Penang is open for business, and you can set up your plants here at very attractive rates.”
What does this mean exactly?
(Keeping) wages of factory workers (low) in Penang to enable “very attractive rates”?
Tax free incentives, suspended ground rents, low electricity/water tariffs, to enable “very attractive rates”?
Both the above exploit local populations, low wages and low taxes mean big profit that will return to foreign shores, the crumbs are left behind to clean up the pollution and environmental damage resulting from this exercise in futility.
There are so many examples around the world of multinational corporations demanding extremely favourable conditions from a host country … or they either won’t come or threaten to leave.
Currently the economic god seems to be the need for foreign investment (to fuel endless economic growth) and the mantra from governments is if we don’t win the race to get as much as possible, we will get left behind. Fear is a driving factor behind this gullibility and it is stoked and made to roar by the multinational corporations themselves.
This is the blind leading the blind to eventual environmental and societal destruction.
While a quiescent population slumbers on, the state and national politicians run hard and fast with their beautiful earth, Penang being a special corner of it.
Fortunately,among the sleeping millions, many awake and sound the alarm and make suggestions:
Maybe we have been sold a myth:
– endless pursuit of wealth actually is not the road to a richer life
– Cooperation not Competition should be at the heart of any decision-making
– People Power is not weak but stronger than the Power of Money
– that we actually do not need the latest gadgets, the latest cars, the latest everything
– that to live simply is not stupid but an extremely intelligent way to a good healthy life
– that grabbing people’s land is wrong
– that brain-washing people is criminal
– that, that, that…..