Saturday, May 27, 2006

Right on the Nose

International Herald Tribune via TimesSelect:

Globalization - the almost instantaneous movement across borders of ideas, technologies, capital and goods - is a tremendous creator of wealth. But more than a decade after new technologies and the Cold War's end started driving modern global economic integration, it's not clear the process is also a good distributor of wealth.

Indeed, there's plenty of evidence that the growing wealth disparities in countries from Latin America to Asia are attributable in part to the divide between those with the capacity to board the globalization train and those left stranded by it.

A case can be made that if slavery was the overriding moral issue of the 19th century, and totalitarianism of the 20th, inequality and poverty will be those of the 21st. Communism is passé; the issues that gave rise to it are not.

5 comments:

Matt R said...

Globalization has its fair share of haves and have nots. Here in the USA we need to make efforts to correct this. In the 20th century, USA created high paying manufacturing jobs for its citizens. But in the information age of globalization, there are numerous service jobs (Wall Mart the largest employer in USA)that pay around $8.00 to $10.00 an hour with limited benefits. I think the United States should increase the minimum wage and every year it should get a cost of living increase based on inflation. Also, the USa should try and adopt universal health care based on the recent Massachusetts experiment. These two things will increase wages and supply health care. Many recent college grads have to start off with these type of jobs to jump start their resumes. I believe this will give the US workforce a boost of adrenaline that will help alleviate the malaise that often goes hand and hand with these types of jobs, or as Anya calls them quite accurately "crap jobs". An increase in the minimum wage and some type of health care would make these jobs lose their crap status. It is a start. No increase in minimum wage in 9 years is a disgrace. Oh yeah, and in that 9 year period, Congress increase their own salaries three times! Unbeleivable!

Tony Kondaks said...

I am not concerned with either so-called "inequality" or wealth distribution as I am with poverty...true poverty. Poverty is NOT the disparity between rich and poor but the absense of the basic necessities of life. If some capitalist or entrepreneur becomes a billionnaire making low-cost goods and services available to poor people who would otherwise pay MORE for those goods and services, I say let him increase his net worth.
Globalization and the breaking down of trade barriers benefits the poor exponentially more than it does "the rich". Globalization has done more to redistribute wealth to the poor than it has to those in the upper echelons...so globalization should be encouraged.
As for minimum wage laws: they should be eliminated and the marketplace should dictate the price of labour. If socialists are concerned that workers aren't being paid enough, let the government pay the difference.
As for universal health care: of course, it already exists in the USA. What doesn't exist is universal health care INSURANCE which about 42 million don't have. Zero are without health care.

Tony Kondaks said...

I am not concerned with either so-called "inequality" or wealth distribution as I am with poverty...true poverty. Poverty is NOT the disparity between rich and poor but the absense of the basic necessities of life. If some capitalist or entrepreneur becomes a billionnaire making low-cost goods and services available to poor people who would otherwise pay MORE for those goods and services, I say let him increase his net worth.
Globalization and the breaking down of trade barriers benefits the poor exponentially more than it does "the rich". Globalization has done more to redistribute wealth to the poor than it has to those in the upper echelons...so globalization should be encouraged.
As for minimum wage laws: they should be eliminated and the marketplace should dictate the price of labour. If socialists are concerned that workers aren't being paid enough, let the government pay the difference.
As for universal health care: of course, it already exists in the USA. What doesn't exist is universal health care INSURANCE which about 42 million don't have. Zero are without health care.

Anonymous said...

Problems in this world do not have easy solutions. Families in the third world have many children so they can work the fields and help them survive. Families in the industrial world have few children because they cannot afford them or are too busy running on a transient-work-treadmill to produce them. Is one motivation more selfish than another?

I anticipate another global depression and fear that perhaps society knows too little about how humans will act when they fall from a state of relative grace to relative poverty. It could well be that individualism will once again succumb to group-think and protectionism will return.

I think that the problem with globalization and laissez-faire economics it that it is based on the assumption that a laborer can always offer something that society will find useful and pay for.How many times have you turned away a door to door salesman or refused flyers for items that held no interest for you?

Automation and globalization together do not necessarily increase demand fast enough so that most people are employed. A true libertarian might say that society does not owe anyone a living but at the same time has the expectation of peace and order. It is this contradiction that allows justice programs and jails to proliferate while social programs are cut.

Most individuals are self-interested enough to not want to job share and thus lower their own standard of living - especially when they already support members of a select community - their family and friends. Helping strangers is much less attractive when those you know need your help also. Individuals often fail to see the paths in front of them as choices because some are too risky, or far off to consider pursuing in an era where immediate self-interested living is encouraged.

There is also the problem of sticky prices and sticky wages. If globalization brought about an equilibrium of wages within a few years it would be one thing...but over a hundred years is just too slow to allow people to retain some semblance of an orderly life. In the absence of full-employment and a shift away from individual agricultural based land-ownership there are more people who simply cannot support themselves. In the absence of any program to provide for basic needs what will become of these people? The familiar phrase "Let them retrain" sounds too close to "Let them eat cake" for comfort.

Eliminating relative wealth disparities does not solve the problem of poverty - it merely masks the unfairness of the human condition - by making statistics look more pleasing. Humanity will still have to contend with resource shortages and how many people live in areas that are not locally self-supporting. In a true energy or water shortage - only self-sufficient areas will have survivors.

We are merely passing from one era into another - and the era of free flowing honey has ended. It cripples how many utopian dreams we can fulfill as we have to face doing what we must - to survive.

Manikandan said...

Hi.nice blog.I am fresh jobseeker.please help me that where can i get
links of free job posts sites.
Thank you.....