The world economy isn’t only roiled by the machinations of Wall Streeters who are too clever by half; old-fashioned strikes can still upset the delicate equilibrium between prosperity and chaos. An excellent case in point is the ongoing fracas at the Freeport’s Grasberg mine in the restive Indonesian province of Papua. The operation is the third-largest copper mine in the entire world, and accounts for nearly two percent of Indonesia’s total GDP. As explained in this excellent rundown, the workers there have enjoyed little reward for their labor over the years, as most of the proceeds have been siphoned off by corrupt officials in distant Jakarta. That said, the striking workers certainly weren’t shy about opening the negotiations with a wage demand that can charitably be described as leaning toward the astronomical side:
Freeport Indonesia union has said it could lower its pay demand to $7.50 an hour, from a previous demand for at least $12.50 and initial calls of as much as $200 an hour. Current pay is $1.50 to $3.00 an hour.
I would love to know how the union’s representatives calculated that initial wage demand. Perhaps recompense for the billions that have ended up in politicians’ pockets over the years?
(Image via AFP)