Choices

This week an interesting article popped up in one of my news feeds (Goldstein, 2016). The essence of it was that one reason that schools in much of America are still essentially segregated is that white parents, when given a choice, choose to send their children to schools which are comfortably integrated – that is my term. It means that most white parents want their kids in schools where they will see a lot of kids that look like them. Interestingly, the Goldilocks point in the study was 26% white, though a greater percentage of white kids was acceptable.

So, it comes down to choice. But doesn’t it always?

Not too many years ago, the slogan “Buy American” was popular and we even had legislation in some public works programs that required us to do that. But though it is now popular to focus our blame on corporations for shifting their factories to other countries, and our new president likes to bully companies who still do, the fact remains that the real reason much of our manufacturing was offshored is directly on the backs of American consumers who chose repeatedly to buy goods made in other countries that were cheaper than American made goods.

So, I wonder how successful Mr. Trump will be in getting companies to invest in American workers if American consumers balk in buying the inevitably more expensive products? And my sense is that these newly Americanized products will be more expensive than their foreign competitors’ products.

Unless the wages paid to American workers are forced closer to those of foreign workers – the reduced transportation costs due to ‘local’ manufacturing cannot possibly offset the difference in cost of labor.

So, Americans will likely be forced to choose between good-paying jobs for their neighbors or cheaper goods.

My sense, unfortunately, is that, like our schools, Americans will choose more selfishly than not.

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