Globalization: Forward or Backward

E+ / Hanquan Chen

E+ / Hanquan Chen

The notion of globalization has led the United States on a wild goose chase for years. No other industry illustrates this point more than manufacturing, losing more than five million jobs in the last 15 years. Trade, albeit helpful for the manufacturing industry, is only one of many factors that weigh into its success, or lack thereof. The blame falls to globalization when the failure to thrive knocks on the industry’s door. Offering solace in the fact that its neighbors will accommodate any and all needs, these countries provide support. Psychology, emotion and politics are behind the finger that points to globalization as the reason for all issues in the industrial sector within recent years.

Americans blame the dislocation of manufactures handed off to far away countries where the conglomerate is the only profitable party, paying less for labor, materials and taxation. They believe that if the “stolen” jobs from the United States were to be brought back, a new era of manufacturing would occur, creating endless jobs for hardworking Americans, bringing money “in house” as multinational corporations invest and reinvest in American products. This fuels an age old prospect: what’s made in America is best for the country. Competitors such as China and India are raising their growth goals at an alarming rate. China, in just 10 years, has gone from producing 31% of the globalized steel industry to more than 50%. Government subsidies in these countries were created to fill a large order of industrial boom, bringing about the creation of (temporary) jobs and an economic boom. But, with great power comes great responsibility. China houses the largest steel surplus in the world and wants to relieve some of that surplus. As a result, prices have plummeted and United States industrial corporations have boarded up the windows, literally, to wait out the injured market. These foreign subsidies are enacted to eliminate competition, just as buying out a smaller company reduces opposition and corners the market, killing the big picture of globalization.

We can’t blame the loss of United States factory jobs solely on foreign imports and global corporate movement.

It's true many more locations have closed than open in recent decades, but those that have opened are wildly more efficient, taking the place of five or ten of their closed counterparts. Productivity has increase, export numbers remain at a healthy growth and foreign investors hold positive speculation towards the market. Rapid productivity growth is a phenomena is a notion that has been around since the beginning of time: What can we do make our work easier and create an environment where fewer people are needed in the production of a good or service? Added to those benefits are implications that exceed the word ‘benefit’. Opening a small, country or maybe continental market into a global one, enabling businesses to sell and produce products at rates exponentially larger than what they could without globalization. Aside from economic implications are foreign relations, built by the trust and partnership that globalization allows. Groups like NATO, The EU, and others allow countries to work closely with one another in the attempt to create a safe global environment, which is the first step becoming a growing and profitable country. Around every corner and under every nook, globalization outweighs its short term, short sighted flaws and emerges with pros.

These technologies that, on the surface, seem to encourage job loss are really the first stepping stone towards a higher standard of living. If you are able to produce an item with less cost to you as the manufacturer then you can afford some cost breaks to the customer, making items more affordable overall. Most of the largest dynamic economies experience changes in their way of production due to emerging technologies. Technologies cycle business and motivate consumer markets, putting into play what is now considered modern economics. The belief that reverting from the utility of foreign investment can somehow recreate the economic boom of the early industrial age is the fuel behind the fires of anti-globalization. Those who believe this tactic and business model of going backwards are what will drive this country forward will slowly remove the United States from global economic growth.

Whether you believe globalization is helpful or a hindrance, one thing is certain, it is here and it will take more than a majority vote to wash away.