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Thursday, March 25, 2004

The recession ain't over

The Fabulous Kate Boo has a very interesting article in this week's New Yorker, about a Mexican-American couple (Maria and Sergio) suffering because, as we are told in the first paragraph, the Fruit of the Loom factory where Maria worked shut down and moved to Honduras. Boo's article is filled with pop economics and (fairly mild) digs at economists, who, apparently are unsympathetic to Maria's plight, seeing it as just the necessary "churn" in the labor market, a product of either increased productivity or "global trade deals." Buried in the article is the information that the family's troubles are just as much due to Sergio's layoff: he had been working for "the American subsidiary of a Singapore conglomerate," at the Brownsville port.

In other words, we're told a lot about Maria's job, ultimately lost through trade, and very little about Sergio's job, created by a Singaporian company involved in global trade. Maybe the problem isn't increased productivity, or global trade, but the long-lingering effects of the Bush recession?

All in all, a nice article, that gives the poor an agency you don't typically see in this type of story (Maria and Sergio don't just suffer, they take action and start to deal with their problems), but that suffers from bad economics.

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