Ever wondered where Globalization is taking us? A couple of insightful letters in the Toronto Star this week helped me put this in perspective.
Firstly, Sam Markou of Mississauga argued that, because of our transition from a manufacturing economy to a warehouse one, good jobs are gone forever:
There seems to be an overly optimistic view about a future economic recovery some time in the next year or so" he opines, "In the past, there were temporary layoffs and good jobs to return to. The situation this time is quite different. The hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs that disappeared due to shifts of production and outsourcing are gone forever and will never return.
A letter on Tuesday, in response to this assertion, expanded on the theme:
Politicians seem intent on ignoring the realities of an unfair world economy where competing with foreign workers making a fraction of North American wages is impossible" wrote Richard Wright from Niagara-on-the-Lake, "Rather than being concerned for Canadians' welfare, they concentrate on burgeoning corporate profits gained from practices such as paying a single dollar to have a shirt manufactured elsewhere, and then selling it for $35 in Canada. But Canadians will soon be unable to pay the $35 for the shirt. Without living-wage jobs, there is no discretionary spending and therefore dramatically reduced consumerism and fewer taxes paid to governments.
Discretionary spending? Who's ever heard of that? As my wife says, one look at the prices in Treasure Island Toys or any other ethical goods store and you're straight back on the bus to Wal-Mart.
Mr. Wright goes on to say, "Government will have to reduce services ... Underground economies will take over through necessity."
Sounds bad. But does it have to be this way? Sounding something like an NDP opposition critic, Mr. Wright concludes:
There is no reason Canadians can't manufacture the goods they need, and sell and buy them right here. It was done before. This delivers jobs, wages, spending and taxes. External trade can consist of buying raw materials - not finished goods. The economy can be revived through legislation and initiatives, but the control must be wrested from the hands of multi-nationals. For those who say government is not there for the common good, I ask: Why, then, does it exist?
I saw a news item the other day, looking at where the credit crisis was born. "Rich people were running out of places to put their money," one Analyst said, "so these high yield mortage based investments simply picked up the slack."
Those crazy rich folks and their fancy cars...
It makes you wonder if the world has gone mad. In a global economy where the rich are getting richer, the poor poorer, and nobody in the 'civilized world' seems to make anything anymore, you have to wonder where all this is heading.
My sense is - it's nowhere good.