Showing posts with label Globalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Globalization. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What's Behind the Revolt Against Global Integration?

Here's a great piece from the post on globalization and why, despite the evidence, people are revolting against it. The evidence?

This broad program of global integration has been more successful than could reasonably have been hoped. We have not had a war between major powers. Global standards of living have risen faster than at any point in history. And material progress has coincided with even more rapid progress in combating hunger, empowering women, promoting literacy and extending life. A world that will have more smartphones than adults within a few years is a world in which more is possible for more people than ever before.

Sadly, far too many people on my side of the aisle can't accept this.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why Globalization Is A Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats

The video below shows exactly why globalization and capitalism are indeed very good things. Take a look at how the bubbles, even in underdeveloped countries, rise over 200 years. Rosling's stuff is amazing and I highly encourage all of you to check out his interactive graphic where you can track the progress of each country, crunch the data, and be a complete social studies nerd like myself.

Despite what the apocalyptics on both the left and the right tell you, our world is improving every day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

What Would A Libertarian Do?

The recent 30 year natural gas deal between Russia and China has me wondering....what would a libertarian president do about this? Given their isolationist tendencies, they would likely do nothing and let the free market do what it will.

But is that effective in the age of globalization? And does it leave the United States more vulnerable from the standpoint of economic competition (i.e. the new "world war")?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

America Is Not In Decline

Dovetailing quite nicely with Kurtzman's Second American Century is this piece from Politico magazine by Sean Starrs. Our continual and often hyperbolic obsession with "America's decline" really can be most hysterical and irrational.

It all started with a wave of declinism in the 1980s, set off by the rise of Japan. Then the doom and gloom suddenly vanished amid the triumphalism of the 1990s, which transformed the United States into the world’s only superpower. After the Sept. 11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq, many thought “empire” was a better moniker, with the United States apparently able to reshape world order virtually at will. And then just a few years later — poof! — declinism returned with a vengeance, with American power supposedly crashing like the latest Hollywood reality queen. China supplanted Japan as a hegemon on the rise, and the biggest global financial crisis since 1929 — emanating from the United States itself — was allegedly the final nail in the coffin of the American century.

This really is an issue that both parties are guilty of having their heads up their asses. Recently and in the same day, Bubba T and my ultra libertarian/rabid Randian brother in law both foamed at the mouth about how America is doomed. I realized how similar the far left and the far right sound when they are shrill:) But this is exactly what Starrs is talking about in this piece. For example, the metric by which we measure Chinese power is flawed.

China, for example, has been the world’s largest electronics exporter since 2004, and yet this does not at all mean that Chinese firms are world leaders in electronics. Even though China has a virtual monopoly on the export of iPhones, for instance, it is Apple that reaps the majority of profits from iPhone sales. More broadly, more than three-quarters of the top 200 exporting firms from China are actually foreign, not Chinese. This is totally different from the prior rise of Japan, propelled by Japanese firms producing in Japan and exporting abroad.

In the age of globalization, we can't measure a country's economic power in the same way.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Where Does Our Stuff Come From?

There are so many good things about the latest cover story in The Christian Science Monitor on globalization that I don't know where to start. Our world is very different these days and this piece really drives that home. I don't see how anyone can have a discussion about the issues facing our country without considering the information in this article.

Seriously, check it out!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A Thousand Ton Weight

The death of Hugo Chavez reminded me that I had to discuss this wonderful piece by Larry Diamond. He discusses how the myth that Global South countries are not "read for democracy" and how that should be dispensed with immediately. In many ways, the last few years of Chavez's life are a testament to this. He lost a considerable amount of control over Venezuela and his long term vision for the future of the country came under intense scrutiny.

The fact is that Chavez was no great hero or visionary. He simply rode the wave of oil wealth and made people believe that his way was the best way for Venezuela. Globalization has proved him to be massively wrong. The once robust economy has returned to where it was 50 years ago, other industries in the country have suffered, and they are currently running a 15 percent deficit of GDP. With so much government control, their economy simply cannot compete in the world. Other dictators like Fidel Castro have recognized this as well.

Even though Diamond wrote his piece primarily focusing on other areas of the world, the same paradigm applies to Middle America and South America.

The lower- and middle-income democracies that did come through the last two decades intact have shown that authoritarianism confers no intrinsic developmental advantage. For every Singapore-style authoritarian economic “miracle,” there have been many more instances of implosion or stagnation—as in Zaire, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and (until recently) Burma— resulting from predatory authoritarian rule.

Right. In fact, the assertion that tyranny and dictatorships are "just around the corner" in many parts of the world is also a myth.

While it remains true that democracy is more sustainable at higher levels of development, an unprecedented number of poor countries adopted democratic forms of government during the 1980s and ’90s, and many of them have sustained democracy for well over a decade. These include several African countries, such as Ghana, Benin, and Senegal, and one of the poorest Asian countries, Bangladesh. Other very poor countries, such as East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, are now using the political institutions of democracy as they rebuild their economies and states after civil war. Although the world has been in a mild democratic recession since about 2006, with reversals concentrated disproportionately in low-income and lower-middle-income states, a significant number of democracies in these income categories continue to function.

Yes, they do because democracy is the best system to fit in with this era of globalization. And countries aren't the only ones that have embraced it.

Further refuting the skeptics, democracy has taken root or at least been embraced by every major cultural group, not just the societies of the West with their Protestant traditions. Most Catholic countries are now democracies, and very stable ones at that. Democracy has thrived in a Hindu state, Buddhist states, and a Jewish state. And many predominantly Muslim countries, such as Turkey, Bangladesh, Senegal, and Indonesia, have by now had significant and mainly positive experience with democracy.

Diamond also discusses Hugo Chavez towards the end of the piece.

Despite the persistence of authoritarianism under Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, and the authoritarian tendencies of left-wing populist presidents in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, the bigger story in Latin America has been democratic resilience and deepening. Chile and Uruguay have become stable liberal democracies, Brazil has made dramatic democratic and economic progress, and even once chronically unstable Peru has seen three successive democratically elected presidents deliver brisk economic growth with declining poverty rates. In fact, Latin America is the only region of the world where income inequality has decreased in the last decade.

To me, the death of Hugo Chavez is symbolic of a much larger sea change. The time of dictators and authoritarian rule is drawing to a close. Countries like North Korea and Iran will not exist as they do now in a decade. The prosperity that has resulted from globalization is going to squash them like a thousand ton weight.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Get used to a new word for 2013: reshoring.

Conventional wisdom says that American jobs are flying like crazy over to China. But a recent piece in the Christian Science Monitor says otherwise.

There's no official tally of the number of jobs returning, but Harry Moser, director of the Reshoring Initiative, which aims to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, estimates that 50,000 jobs have returned in the past three years. He bases his estimate on a close read of the media and on reports his organization receives. If that number is accurate, reshoring would account for 12 percent of the manufacturing jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports returned to the American economy since 2010. 

The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm, in a September report projected that returned manufacturing could bring 5 million new jobs by 2020 and add $90 billion in US exports to the economy.


Why is this happening?

Rising wages in China, unpredictable supply-chain problems, oil prices, and the risk of intellectual property theft are making manufacturers more wary of producing overseas, analysts say.

That's the beauty of the free market, in this case the labor market. Eventually, workers start to demand more money and everything evens out as the labor market adjusts in its growth. But this isn't even the best part.

It's not just that it's getting more expensive to produce overseas. It's also getting cheaper to produce back at home. "It's the shale gas revolution," says Kevin Swift, chief economist and managing director of the American Chemistry Council. "There are low-cost, abundant sources of energy [here] now." Mr. Swift says that's a game changer for his industry: "We were being written off as being noncompetitive. It's completely changed. There's significant investment on the books ... 50 [planned] projects valued at over $40 billion."

Yes, indeed. Things are looking up for our country and it makes me quite happy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No Easy Answers

With the passage of the right to work law in Michigan, it's clear that there are no easy answers to protecting the middle class while also protecting a company's right to make money. On the surface, it seems tremendously unfair to make someone pay union dues. If they don't want to pay, that should be OK, right?

Similar to the health care issue, however, the problem arises when the people that don't pay then free ride and enjoy the benefits of what the unions do for laborers. In many ways, unions are all that is left in this country in protecting the rights of the individual versus the billions of a corporation and, more importantly, from keeping inequality from getting even worse. We have many states in this country that have had right to work laws in place for years. Wages have not gotten better and the owners have reaped the benefits. They've stagnated and gotten worse so Governor Snyder is mistaken when says this will help workers. It won't.

Of course, the larger picture says that nothing is going to help laborers because of globalization. When you spread free market ideals and capitalism around the world, this is what you get: a giant pool of cheap labor. In the long run, this is a good thing but in the short run, people are having to make do with less money and it really, really sucks for most Americans. Further, it has inhibited our growth economically and made the middle class a vapor of what it once was.

There are no easy answers and I know that I don't have them. My initial thought is we need some fresh, new ideas in place of the old and stale arguments being fought out in Michigan right now. I was absolutely appalled to see the fights that had broken out and the violence, largely instigated by the union protesters and supporters. There is no excuse whatsoever for this sort of behavior and it only hurts their cause. It's likely going to be worse until some one or several someones put on their contstructivists caps and start answer some questions.

How do we support these laborers who are unintended victims of globalization, if at all? Just tell them to ride it and out it will get better (which it will, eventually)? Remember, that it stands to reason that if people are making less here that some people are making more elsewhere (more, of course, than the absolute shit they used to make). I'm not trying to diminish the exploitation that goes on by MNC's around the world but we shouldn't ignore how they have raised prosperity in many Global South countries. This doesn't help our own laborers, obviously.

And what of the issue of inequality? No doubt, right to work laws make it worse. This is where the federal government could help by eliminating the avenues of rent seeking that so many of the top earners and private firms take advantage of every day. With the fiscal cliff talks going nowhere everyday, this seems unlikely so our march to look more and more like a Third World country is being realized.

I don't know...I really don't. Honestly, I don't think anyone does and that's the problem.