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Will Your Job Survive Globalization?

Old 03-22-06, 08:35 AM
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Will Your Job Survive Globalization?

The Washington Post

By Harold Meyerson

In case you've been worrying about how the war in Iraq will end, or the coming of avian flu, or the extinction of the universe as we drift into the cosmic void, well, relax. Here's something you should really fret about: the future of the U.S. economy in the age of globalization.

For a discussion of same, let me call your attention to an article in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs by Princeton University economist Alan Blinder. The vice chairman of the Federal Reserve's board of governors from 1994 to 1996, Blinder is the most mainstream of economists, which makes his squawk of alarm all the more jarring. But the man has crunched the numbers, and what he's found is sure to induce queasiness.

In the new global order, Blinder writes, not just manufacturing jobs but a large number of service jobs will be performed in cheaper climes. Indeed, only hands-on or face-to-face services look safe. "Janitors and crane operators are probably immune to foreign competition," Blinder writes, "accountants and computer programmers are not."

There follow some back-of-the-envelope calculations as Blinder totes up the number of jobs in tradable and non-tradable sectors. Then comes his (necessarily imprecise) bottom line: "The total number of current U.S. service-sector jobs that will be susceptible to offshoring in the electronic future is two to three times the total number of current manufacturing jobs (which is about 14 million)." As Blinder believes that all those manufacturing jobs are offshorable, too, the grand total of American jobs that could be bound for Bangalore or Bangladesh is somewhere between 42 million and 56 million. That doesn't mean all those jobs are going to be exported. It does mean that the Americans performing them will be in competition with people who will do the same work for a whole lot less.

The threat of globalization and the reality of de-unionization have combined to make the raise, for most Americans, a thing of the past. Between 2001 and 2004, median household income inched up by a meager 1.6 percent, even as productivity was expanding at a robust 11.7 percent. The broadly shared prosperity that characterized our economy in the three decades following World War II is now dead as a dodo.

Also dying, if not yet also kaput, is the comforting notion that a good education is the best defense against the ravages of globalization -- or, as Bill Clinton famously put it: What you earn is the result of what you learn. A study last year by economists J. Bradford Jensen of the Institute for International Economics and Lori Kletzer of the University of California at Santa Cruz demonstrates that it's the more highly skilled service-sector workers who are likely to have tradable jobs. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the proportion of jobs in the United States that require a college degree will rise by a measly one percentage point -- from 26.9 percent in 2002 to 27.9 percent in 2012 -- during this decade.

Since education as such won't save us, Blinder recommends a kind of particularized vocational ed. We will have to specialize more, he writes, "in the delivery of services where personal presence is either imperative or highly beneficial. Thus, the U.S. workforce of the future will likely have more divorce lawyers and fewer attorneys who write routine contracts." Now, there's a prospect to galvanize a nation.

My own sense (which I develop at greater length in the April issue of the American Prospect) is that nothing short of a radical reordering of our economy will suffice if we're to save our beleaguered middle-class majority. Every other advanced economy -- certainly, those of the Europeans and the Japanese -- has a conscious strategy to keep its most highly skilled jobs at home. We have none; American capitalism, dominated by our financial sector, is uniquely wedded to disaggregating companies, thwarting unionization campaigns and offshoring work in a ceaseless campaign to impress investors that it has found the cheapest labor imaginable.

So, here are three immodest suggestions:

∑ We need to entice industry to invest at home by having the government and our public- and union-controlled pension funds upgrade the infrastructure and invest in energy efficiency and worker training.

∑ We need to unionize and upgrade the skills of the nearly 50 million private-sector workers in health care, transportation, construction, retail, restaurants and the like whose jobs can't be shipped abroad.

∑ And, if America is to survive American capitalism in the age of globalization, we need to alter the composition of our corporate boards so that employee and public representatives can limit the offshoring of our economy.

That failing, here come more divorce lawyers.
__________________

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What do you think about becoming divorce lawyers?

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Have you'll thought about switching over?

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Old 03-22-06, 08:49 AM
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I can't imagine losing my job to globalization.
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Old 03-22-06, 08:53 AM
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For the lawyers on this forum - it's either change or get a taxi.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:07 AM
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Since I'm already outsourced, I'm not too concerned about it. My job is an onsite, hands on position. I'm a contract worker for a law firm that outsources 2 of the three tiers of its IT staff. If I ever manage to move up to network administration, I'd be really concerned about outsourcing since you can manage a server anywhere. I've contimplated going into business for myself sometimes.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:13 AM
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It would be pretty much impossible to outsource the career I'm in school for, so no. Although I am concerned about being able to find a job once I graduate.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:19 AM
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Unless the SEC goes away, my job is pretty safe, thank you very much.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
Since I'm already outsourced, I'm not too concerned about it. My job is an onsite, hands on position. I'm a contract worker for a law firm that outsources 2 of the three tiers of its IT staff. If I ever manage to move up to network administration, I'd be really concerned about outsourcing since you can manage a server anywhere. I've contimplated going into business for myself sometimes.

they will always need people onsite

you can outsource the administration, but then you run into issues of transferring huge amounts of data between continents and everything slowing down or increased costs due to new bandwidth. There are a lot of hidden costs that are only being seen now.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:33 AM
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When you'll are driving your 20-year old taxi with foreign tourists in the rear seat, you can console yourself by saying 'you can't outsource......'

I'd strongly urge you'll to go Votech and become a plumber or electrician. That might be a safe job to have.

Of course, there won't be enough people left with the money to hire you.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:39 AM
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Boy, you're just Mr. Crankypants today, aren't you?
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Old 03-22-06, 10:42 AM
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At least some of us can take solace in that we'll be dead by then.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:45 AM
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I can't remember the name of the prize winning economist (he was an immigrant from a Eastern European country) who wrote a book concerning this very matter - a couple of decades ago. He used the taxi example. I know his name started with a "L".

Later he collaborated with George Kennan in an immigration reform project . They were the first, I believe, to propose a 20-year moratorium on legal immigration. No, it wasn't Pat Buchanan's idea.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Boy, you're just Mr. Crankypants today, aren't you?
C-man took his grandkids to McDonald's today and saw a friend working the counter. Makes you think.

I kid, I kid.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by X
At least some of us can take solace in that we'll be dead by then.
You'll wish you were.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I can't remember the name of the prize winning economist (he was an immigrant from a Eastern European country) who wrote a book concerning this very matter - a couple of decades ago. He used the taxi example. I know his name started with a "L".

Later he collaborated with George Kennan in an immigration reform project . They were the first, I believe, to propose a 20-year moratorium on legal immigration. No, it wasn't Pat Buchanan's idea.
Vassily Leontief?
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Old 03-22-06, 10:51 AM
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I'm one of two Canadian employees of a US company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Globalisation works for me.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I can't remember the name of the prize winning economist (he was an immigrant from a Eastern European country) who wrote a book concerning this very matter - a couple of decades ago. He used the taxi example. I know his name started with a "L".

Later he collaborated with George Kennan in an immigration reform project . They were the first, I believe, to propose a 20-year moratorium on legal immigration. No, it wasn't Pat Buchanan's idea.
A 20 year moratorium on legal immigration? What's that other than a piece of paper? We'll still have 500,000 illegals crawling across the border every year.
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Old 03-22-06, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
A 20 year moratorium on legal immigration? What's that other than a piece of paper? We'll still have 500,000 illegals crawling across the border every year.
You can do something about legal immigration.

The reason for the moratorium - time for assimilation.
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Old 03-22-06, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Vassily Leontief?
No, that's not him.

Maybe it was Litvak or something like that.
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Old 03-22-06, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
No, that's not him.

Maybe it was Litvak or something like that.
Edward Luttwak.
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Old 03-22-06, 12:58 PM
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Yes, because you can't build roads here over there.

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Old 03-22-06, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Edward Luttwak.
I believe that's him.
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Old 03-22-06, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I believe that's him.


If you know much about Dr. Luttwak you probably wouldn't take all he said on this matter at face value.

That is not a negative statement concerning the good professor.
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Old 03-22-06, 03:10 PM
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Pharoh,

Are you going to take up welding or plumbing?

Or, are you just going to say to hell with it and buy a taxi?
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Old 03-22-06, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Pharoh,

Are you going to take up welding or plumbing?

Or, are you just going to say to hell with it and buy a taxi?





Again, I have nothing to worry about. Thanks for caring though.

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Old 03-22-06, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
So the answer is to undermine productivity and competitiveness?

Technological change is the basis of material progress. If a society wants a growing standard of living, it must become nimble and learn to adapt to and improve on changes in its environment, not stick its head in the sand wall itself off from the rest of the world.

Now, now, that is just crazy talk.



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