The Proletarian | Foxconn-Parkside partnership: Who’s really benefited?

ETHAN COSTELLO | coste012@rangers.uwp.edu

The past several months in Wisconsin have been trailed with the ever-looming promise of economic glory to come. Gov. Walker has incessantly pressed for an investment of Foxconn in southeastern Wisconsin, and the corporation is all but confirmed for the construction of their facilities. Yet, despite all the alarums raised against the companies, our Chancellor Debbie Ford seems much too eager to welcome them here with open arms.

Walker and other wealthy interests—businesses and politicians—keep proclaiming this deal will bring about a stimulation of the Wisconsin economy like nothing else before it. The promise of 13,000 jobs within the proposed Foxconn facility alone, plus 10,000 constructions jobs and interest from 500 businesses is most certainly an enticing idea because most assuredly, Wisconsin is suffering. The world is suffering. 

What they do not tell you is that these jobs are possible through questionable means to the point of honest reappraisal. The hacked-out deal calls for complete disregard of environmental regulations. Local newspapers have reported that air, water and land regulations are being discarded to accommodate for Foxconn’s unhealthy requirements. The corporation is expected to pump an unsustainable amount of water from Lake Michigan for use in its facility—our clean drinking water—and will not be held accountable for fully returning their debt, and with no obligation to return it pollution free.

There are also economic concerns. The proffered incentive package is now up to $4 billion to be paid to Foxconn as they work towards their job creation mark. Where is this money coming from? The taxes that we are all paying. Economists expect Wisconsin’s gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by $51 billion dollars, but that figure does not indicate impact on standard of living. What is likely going to happen is that the thousands of workers will not be paid their true worth to the company; the workers’ value will be sent upwards towards managers and administrators, and the money made from us Wisconsin workers will be funneled overseas to the Taiwanese based company, benefiting wealthy interests at the hard-to-see detriment of Wisconsin laborers.

Chancellor Ford and other education administrators at UW-Milwaukee and Gateway seem to willfully ignore these considerations. In several press releases and reports, Chancellor Ford anticipates the need to provide Foxconn with a host of educated workers—a docile workforce. The question is why? This will look very good for the Chancellor and UW-Parkside’s Administrations, won’t it? This would lead to more revenue from further investment in the campus from outside sources. Some would argue is a good thing, but judging by how our administration handles our money—with actions like cutting programs and faculty while spending money on aesthetic projects like Wyllie Hall—further investment would not be set aside for the students and faculty who desperately need the funding. I urge the Chancellor to reconsider this partnership.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of The Ranger News.

A Message From Nature: The zero waste lifestyle: A trendy illusion

ADELANA AKINDES | akind001@rangers.uwp.edu

I first found out about the zero waste movement a few years ago after stumbling across a video on YouTube. The woman who made the video, Lauren Singer, had gone a year living a ‘zero waste lifestyle’ and all the waste she did produce was concealed within a single mason jar. She used homemade toothpaste, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable upcycled razors and glass jars instead of plastic containers. It seemed impossibly green, chic and eco-friendly.

Zero waste thinking has its advantages, mainly by drawing constant attention to the issue of waste. By committing to a zero waste lifestyle, this awareness becomes instilled into everyday decisions and thoughts. One takes into consideration how much waste they produce, how much is thrown away and what in their lives can be used more than once. One may learn to value things that last longer, that have more staying power in one’s life and which are not easily disposed of.

Yet the issue of waste cannot be solved from individual choices about what to buy. We can try navigating the market to find products that fit a zero waste standard: no plastic packaging, long term use, no complex methods of disposal required. Yet when one goes grocery shopping with their reusable bags and mason jars, buying items in bulk, it is impossible to notice all of the other items, the wasteful, one-use items which are still the norm. It is the mindset of capitalism, hyper-focused on increasing profit, that is the root of the problem. It is this constant overarching system of overproduction and misuse of resources which ultimately needs to change for ‘zero waste’ to be a realistic vision.

Simply because waste does not reside in your own home, does not make it any less of a reality somewhere else. No matter what the consumer chooses to do with the waste in their own home, it is still being made on a mass scale. The consumer is not the true producer of waste. When one wishes to rid one’s life of plastic products for example, they are only navigating a maze. Whether one uses plastic or not, it’s still being produced and mass distributed on a grand and global scale.

What the zero waste lifestyle does is bring to a person’s attention the materials they use, where these materials come from, and where these materials are going. It is in this way that conscious consumerism is as an effective step for the consumer. Yet in order for any large-scale, long-term solutions to be made with environmental degradation, it is time for the true producers of waste, the giant corporations of this planet, to consciously consume.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of The Ranger News.