Food For Thought
© copyrighted

The Buying Of America
Have We Been Bought?
April, 1997
by columnist
David Lawrence Dewey

"Reading provides knowledge...
knowledge leads to answers."
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How much do Americans still own of America? When you look today of how much of America is owned by foreign corporations versus twenty years ago, I believe our forefathers of this great nation are rolling over in their graves.

In the last twenty years, over 35% of the farm producing farmland, especially in southern California has been bought up by foreign corporations. Nationwide, it is approximately 30%. The companies that own these farmlands are citizens/investors in many countries. In other areas of industry, the approximate same percentages apply. Look at the Sony Corporation for instance. Not only has it purchased food/beef manufacturing companies in the U.S., but is the owner of one of the largest movie studios, in addition to a recording and music distribution corporation.

William, 48, from St. Louis wrote, "Is it true that the Japanese own a large block of U.S. Treasury notes and Bills?"

The answer to this is yes. Japan is one of three countries that own the largest blocks of these. Each own very large amounts of U.S. Treasury Notes and Bills. Japan and any of the other two countries, own such large amounts that if they decided not to renew even one quarter them when they became due, it would throw this country's stock market into such a dizzy that the Dow would drop a minimum of 1,000 points in one night. Don't believe me, research what happened in 1987 when two countries did not renew nearly half of their U.S. Treasury Notes and Bills. Was this not called Black Friday, the worst day of the stock market since the Depression. People tend to forget about these things.

Stephen, 42, from Los Angeles wrote, "We should not allow this to happen, we've sold enough of America already, look at buildings and land that has been sold to foreigners."

Well, we've certainly sold allot of land and buildings. Did you know that Rockefeller Center in New York is owned by a Japanese Corporation? I'm not picking on the Japanese. There is a diverse foreign ownership in America from many countries other than Japan. It is interesting though how after World War II, the Japanese Emperor after signing the peace treaty let it be known that even though Japan was defeated today, it would bury the world in the future. Now, should allow this sort of thing to continue? . I'm not sure ether way, and this is why.

Americans and American Corporations have been doing the same thing the last twenty years overseas also. The difference is though, that in these countries, Americans can't actually own any land or in most of these countries, we can only lease the land, buy rights to sell our products in these countries for a specified amount of time, limited to a total percentage of stock in a foreign corporation and many other restrictions. Have Americans and American Corporations made money in these countries. Oh yes, quite a bit! Look at the specialty mutual funds that have formed over just the last five to seven years that specialize in owning stock in corporations in foreign countries. On an average, pick the top five, they have averaged a return between 18% to 27% over the last five to seven years. There are a few that have had average returns as high as 60% to 70%.

Kurt, 40 from Detroit wrote, "Why have our own corporations closed up shop here in the States and opened up factories overseas?" The answer is cheap slave labor. There are places where they only have to pay a worker $4.50 U.S. dollars a day, working ten hour days, six days a week to sew clothes together or make shoes. Did you know that REEBOK, which owns several plants in foreign countries makes a killing on their expensive shoes. On an average they pay workers $5.00 to $7.00 dollars a day, with a production shoe quota of at least fifty shoes a day per worker. So, figure it about, it is costing REEBOK say, 10 cents in labor for a tennis show that they are selling over here for over $60.00. You and I both know that materials for a pair at the most may have cost $5.00 for the shoes. No wonder REEBOK was the fastest growing corporation for seven straight years with record dividends of any corporation paid to their stockholders. Yet, none of these stockholders batted an eye about the working conditions of these people in countries. They just sat collected their huge dividend checks while ten to fourteen year old children worked ten hours days for $5.00 a day.

My feeling is before we start crying foul play about how much is owned by foreigners in this country, we better start cleaning up our own act. And why has all this happened? Simply, GREED. Just like foreigners that come over here and buy up good farming land because they have none in their countries, we go overseas, build plants to manufacture things so that we can have cheap slave labor instead of employing our own people. And who is the greedy. It is not just the corporations. We can't blame the corporate executives of corporations for doing this, because anyone that has stock in any of these companies is just sitting back, collecting huge dividends and ignoring how it is being made and how Americans are suffering here because of a lack of jobs.

Beth, 60, from Tampa wrote, "When I found out that my mutual fund owned stock in a company that had plants overseas that only paid people sometimes only a $1.00 a day to make things that sold for twenty times that here, I sold that stock. I will not be a part of slave labor anywhere on this planet, no matter how much I make."

Thank you Beth for acting upon your moral convictions and beliefs. If we had more people that felt like you, there would be much less of mankinds inhumanity to one another.

As far as letting other countries own U.S. Treasury Notes and Bills. How did we ever get into this your asking. Well, our government, (Chairman of Federal Reserve board), who is influenced by our elected politicians to make things better during times of economic slowdown in this country, offers high interest rates which these countries take advantage of because the dollar has always been worth more than any other currency. Should it continue? Well, all I'm going to ask is, do we want another repeat of Black Friday in 1987? That is one reason why the Fed recently raised the interest rate.

There are pros and cons to any of these issues. I think that each has to weighed individually, but weighed with the utmost and highest sense of moral responsibility and the elimination of GREED. It is something that cannot be changed or stopped immediately, the consequences would be far too damaging in many ways. However, their are too many doors still left open that can still create the same consequences unless it is made harder to close those doors by a few that are GREEDY, simply to make a fast and large buck. The world has not and does not revolve around almighty dollar, it revolves around people who sustain one another using respect, trust and convictions towards one another.

It is as simple as this. Treat your fellow man the way you want to be treated. Let me ask you this, whoever you are anywhere on this globe. Would you work ten hours days, having to make fifty pairs of shoes or fifty shirts for anywhere from $4.00 to $7.00 for the entire day? And what if you were a ten to fourteen year old that had to do this to feed your brothers and sisters because you had no parents. If you wouldn't do it, then why should you expect another living breathing human being to do it?

Don't mean to sound like I'm preaching, but this is the simple respect of another human being. It is sad if mankind has lost this due to the greed of the almighty dollar.

These are things I feel for all of us to think about, for our future depends on how we truly do treat one another. I'm afraid as history has shown in the past, if we continue on this path of greedy self destruction with humanity towards one another, we are doomed to a life of miserable expectations.In closing, I would like to thank all my readers in the following countries of the United States, Canada, Australia, England, France, Italy, Croatia, Israel, Turkey, Korea, Sweden, Germany, Japan, USSR, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, Finland, Greece, Egypt, South Africa, China, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, New Zealand, Poland, and if I've left anyone out, thank you! I'm a little behind in answering my email with so many of you writing. If you haven't heard from me, just hang in there, you will hear from me.

On my website is a new input form that you can use to write me your thoughts. On the form, you are asked to list at list your first name, city and age and if I can use this information along with your comments in my column. I try to incorporate as many of my reader comments on column subjects as possible. I also am calling a few of my readers when they write me their comments for additional input. I hope you find the new input form easy to use, so WRITE me your thoughts on this upcoming column.

My next column will be about the Health Care Crisis in this country and worldwide. I would like to hear from you if you feel illnesses such a new flu strains are increasing. Have you yourself been sicker for longer periods of times. What about others around you. Do you believe we are heading for a super virus worse than AIDS because of all the mis use of antibiotics and the deforestation of the rain forests. What can we do about it or can we? This should be an enlightening column for everyone.

~ David Lawrence Dewey ~

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Updated January 22,2005