Globalization, an inevitable consequence of our increasingly technological world, has driven multi-national corporations to the far corners of the globe in search of the cheapest possible labor and the most advantageous corporate tax policies. As a result, pressure on middle-class wages at home has split the country farther and farther into the have and have-not camps. At the same time, the government’s ability to maintain balance and equanimity amongst the strata of society has been diminished by what Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs calls a worldwide race to the bottom as nations vie to lure wealthy corporations via tax policy and loopholes, policies which inevitably lead to shrinking revenues and reduced social services, further bifurcating the country.
It’s a cycle the so-called running community has witnessed over the last 20+ years itself as events sought cheaper and more abundant elite athlete labor, primarily from east Africa. In turn, road racing’s unregulated marketplace has stagnated at 1980s purse levels, displacing American, European, and Austral-Asian runners who found it impossible to sustain the rigorous lifestyle necessary to compete at an international level for the reduced wages on offer, while East African athletes still earned what for them was win-fall profits when compared to the meager average annual wages back home. (more…)