Monday, September 20, 2004

Conference on the Colonies

The Office of Insular Affairs, a branch of the Federal Agency in charge of colonial citizens, indians and the birds and the bees is sponsoring a conference to showcase the different economic benefits and advantages in investing in the American colonies.

The conference will take place in Los Angeles the 23rd and 24th of September at the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown333 S. Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Registration is free.

the website for the conference is http://www.businessopportunitiesconference.com

The bulk of Guam's economy has operated under a soft-neo-liberal framework in which outside investors have traditionally been given tax breaks and incentives in order to invest and develop the island, in exchange for poorly waged, non-unionized labor. The government of Guam now sits in perpetual economic dissaray, because when things were insanely good, this arrangement could be afforded, but now that things are not so good, the cost of living continues to rise, while any increase in wages for the private sector are vehemently resisted. This conference may present a danger to Guam's survival as too much of Guam's profit potential has already been ceded to non-local corporations, and the government seems naturally unwilling to impose any limits on them to benefit the rest of the island. Most recently, the GRT rate increase, saved the government from collapse, but was bitterly opposed by members of the legislature, as well as a well-funded public education campaign by Guam's business elite. A similar proposal to increase Guam's minimum wage was brutally attacked by all the island's media outlets.

For those of you who can attend, this conference will be an interesting experience, to see how Guam is represented (as well as the other colonies), to see if the old orientalist tricks are still being used, and even if they still work.

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