HIGHTOWER: Globalized Guacamole
Let us now consider the new, global guacamole.Guacamole, of course, is the simple (and simply delicious) dish made by mashing the pulp of a fresh avocado, then spicing it with salt, pepper, and lemon juice -- plus, if you want, adding chopped onion, tomato, hot sauce, or whatever. In the new world order, however, nothing so pure, tasty, and uncomplicated can be allowed to stand in the way of global profiteering.So along comes the food-processing conglomerate, J.R. Simplot Co., taking advantage of NAFTA to move U.S. guacamole-making to Mexico, paying poverty-level wages there to mass-produce what amounts to a sort of industrialized green glop, then shipping the guacamole paste back here to Taco Bell, TGIF, Bennigan's, Chili's, and other restaurant chains.In a report on the Simplot guacamole factory in Morelia, Mexico, the Wall Street Journal notes that wages start at $48 a week -- a level that's well below the Mexican minimum wage. But such poverty pay is not the only advantage Taco Bell and the rest get by having Mexican women mash-up avocados rather than paying U.S. restaurant workers to do it: "By outsourcing, vendors also cut down on the workers compensation they pay for injuries," the Journal reports. Not that there are fewer workers injured in Mexico, mind you, but that the companies don't have to pay for the injuries there. It's a corporate savings paid by the workers in blood.Of course, this doesn't mean that the restaurants lower the price of your guacamole one dime. Indeed, some try to fool you -- the Journal notes that TGIF and Chili's add chunks of avocado to the paste it gets from Mexico, giving their guacamole a made-on-site look. But even the avocado chunks come frozen from the Mexican factory that made the paste.This is Jim Hightower saying ... It's all a part of the joy brought to you by corporatized globalization.