U.S. State Dept Treats Foreign Workers as Commodity

In a new revelation, the full story of which can be found at CNN’s “State Department: Non-Americans making $3 to $4 a day“, we find the State Department paying the equivalent of slave labor in our missions overseas. The State Dept corrected an earlier report that discussed some workers earning less than $1 a day after realizing they had made a currency conversion error.

You’d be hard pressed to find a sweat shop in the least developed country paying less, unless the workers were indentured servants or slaves. Doesn’t our government have any ethics at all? Even most trans-national corporations look downright scrupulous compared to the State Dept. The report includes details that, in order to exist, some employees have to eat once a day and send their children panhandling and begging in the streets. It also includes a complaint from the State Dept that it cannot keep workers. No shit!

Is there any wonder that our image overseas is as tarnished as it is? How dare the State Dept whine about not being able to retain qualified employees? Where is the concept – the very conservative, free-market concept – of paying an equitable wage for work performed? That concept has been at the root of traditional capitalism for centuries – that is, until after the post WWII era.

Progressively since that time U.S. labor has become a commodity to such an extent that companies have no qualms shipping jobs overseas for savings. These savings are looked at as callously as saving money on raw materials or machinery. Workers are simply cogs in a machine and are expendable for cost-savings. The State Dept, however, makes these companies look downright generous. Do we not expect more than this from our government? Should not full-time employees at least be paid a living wage? For all its bombast about civil rights abuses by foreign governments and the need to alleviate poverty, the government is complicit in the continued poverty of its foreign employees.

What’s next – will the government be hiring undocumented aliens to work in government offices here in the U.S. for sub-standard wages? IRS employees beware – many of your jobs could be outsourced to India since employment ethics have absolutely no bearing on the governments decisions.

We claim, contrary to evidence, that we are a Christian nation. The prophets of the OT had a consistent message about foreigners – do not take advantage of the alien. These are not gleaners – poor people allowed to pick up the leavings of the harvest – these are the harvestors. These are people working full time and still earning below normal wages even by the standards in their own country. Why is this not criminal?

1 Response to “U.S. State Dept Treats Foreign Workers as Commodity”

  1. 1 xxenonn
    June 3, 2009 at 7:33 AM

    This is sad, because it is so true. I have worked in Embassies for the past 14 years, and have seen this over and over. The US Department of State should be ashamed of itself.

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That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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