Globalization detrimental to U.S. economy

March 16, 2010 — by Izzy Albert and Emily Williams

In America today most products bear the tag “made in ______” or “imported from ______.” The blanks can be filled with basically any industrial labor-oriented country around the world. From clothing to out-of-season fruit to electronics, the exportation of jobs from America has become so commonplace that companies now boast of manufacturing in the USA.

In the economic crisis today many people criticize American companies’ practice of manufacturing their products in foreign countries, known as globalization. With so many Americans unemployed, the argument goes, it is ludicrous to send jobs overseas. But what critics don’t realize is that most Americans looking for jobs right now aren’t willing to take these unskilled labor jobs anyway.

The fact is, Americans have become too picky about the jobs they are willing to take. In addition, we have labor unions and legislation that expect benefits like health care and retirement, while in developing countries like China, India and South America, people will work for close to nothing and without any benefits. Some companies treat their workers well, but many others do not.

In addition to the ethical issues, globalization has contributed to the disappearance of the middle class since so many decently paying jobs have gone away. The lack of a middle class—and the increasing gap between the poor and the wealthy—is becoming more of an issue every day

This may seem like a small problem compared to other politically hot issues today, but the long-term consequences may be severe. Many historians have compared the United States to Roman Empire. Ironically, they also attribute the fall of Rome to among other things, the loss of the middle class and the huge gap between the rich and the poor. Is America the next Rome?

We hope not. From a historical stand point it is easy to see that we need to stop taking care of everyone else and instead take care of our own economy first. By bringing jobs back to the U.S., we can rebuild our own infrastructure before we help other countries. That action alone will boost the international economy because we have such a big hand in it.

It could take years to make our economy stable again, but when the time comes, it is important that we still continue trade and even sponsor manufacturing in other countries, just on a smaller scale. It should be the goal of U.S. companies and the world community to help less developed countries catch up. This can be accomplished partially by promoting equitable living standards for all factory workers so that they would be paid enough to live comfortably with a roof over their heads.

It is easy to blame companies who outsource labor to other countries for the lack of jobs and the disappearance of the middle class, but in reality the burden of responsibility is much too large to fall on a single group. It is every American’s responsibility to help bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Globalization in itself is a good idea, but the way we’ve been going about it is all wrong. Currently globalization is an excuse for large companies to send labor overseas, but it should be a way to share the wealth of large countries, such as the U.S., with smaller countries. In order to make this work Americans need to be willing to let go of their egos and sense of entitlement and do these jobs that are being sent to other countries. We must also help poorer countries to catch up by encouraging education and eventually letting some corperate jobs go to smaller countries so that the extra revenue can boost their economy.

By doing this we can change the way the world views us by gaining their respect instead of their ridicule. This seems like a lot to ask, but it is necessary for our system to last for generations to come.

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