Re: globalization vs. exploitation, offshore writers and editors

Subject: Re: globalization vs. exploitation, offshore writers and editors
From: "Brautigam, Curtis" <cubrautiga -at- state -dot- pa -dot- us>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 08:59:19 -0500

I do not deny that globalization is a very painful process for many people, and that the globalization enthusiasts have often tended to ignore the dark side of globalization. However, it is time to stop thinking about globalization as a zero-sum game. Despite the fact that globalization results in lost jobs in the North, whether they be manufacturing or IT, the fact is that the North gains and the whole world gains.

I understand the indignation felt by many in the North about manufacturing and IT jobs going to countries where the type of labor and environmental protections that exist in the North do not exist in the South. However, these jobs are the source of economic development in the South. The South is now where the North was at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It must not be forgotten that workers in the North labored under the same lack of protection from labor and environmental legislation that exists in the South today. Yes, the wages of manufacturing and IT workers in the South are much less than those of the North, but about 150 years ago, these same manufacturers worked for comparable wages in the North. For many manufacturing and IT workers in the South, their jobs are a vast improvement in standard of living compared to their rural counterparts. In due time, wages, working conditions, and labor/environmental legislation in the South will catch up to that of the North.

Many countries in the South and the former East appreciate the value of an educated scientific and technical workforce, and have made the appropriate adjustments. India graduates many scientific and technical workers. They need jobs too. If they graduated from institutions such as IIT and there was no work available, what would they do? If there was no prospect of employment after graduation from such scientific and technical institutes, they would probably be drawn to radical politics or intolerant religious fanaticism of some sort or another. History shows that revolutions are not carried out by poor people, but by angry, frustrated, and disaffected middle- and upper-class intellectuals. The people who carried out 9/11 were not poor people; they were frustrated and disaffected university graduates. Also, the democracy depends on a growing and stable middle class. If the middle class does not develop or it goes, democracy is in danger. If the graduates of scientific and technical institutes did not get jobs, India's democratic future could be in jeopardy.

The simple fact is that economic, scientific, and technological change is a fact of life--this affects employment as well. The only two choices that we have are to fight the flow and get all angry and worked up about things we cannot change, or to go with the flow and find out how we can potentially find our spot in the flow.

Chaim Brautigam
Descriptive Statistician 1
Center for Workforce Information
PA Department of Labor and Industry
cubrautiga -at- state -dot- pa -dot- us



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