In the view of a prominent Korean educator, although globalization has brought great opportunities, incredible wealth and millions of jobs, the opening of borders and markets has also given rise to a number of perplexing problems. He highlighted some of them.
• Those countries that expected to benefit mostly from the globalization of their economies now appear to have lost the capacity to create jobs through economic growth.
• Ironically, in the U.S., the most outspoken promoter of free trade, Congress is moving to pass legislation against outsourcing to foreign countries.
• Even more ironic, Koreans are now calling for measures to discourage outsourcing to low-wage countries such as China and India.
• China, which is enjoying a major economic boom, is now sweeping the international market of raw materials, causing a serious shortage of resources worldwide.
• Korea’s textile and apparel industries have begun to feel the adverse effects of this shortage of raw materials, and China’s expected dominance in the clothing industry, worldwide, will likely bring about the loss of 30 million jobs … worldwide.
• The wages of low-skilled Korean and American workers had steadily declined relative to workers with higher skills. Now, however, it is the skilled workers whose incomes and job security are being threatened with outsourcing to countries such as India and China.
• Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that U.S. jobs lost in the past were mainly from manufacturing and retail services, but jobs going to India now are mostly in the high-tech and professional services sector. In the next 15 years, in fact, an estimated 3 million service jobs in the U.S. are expected to shift abroad.
The question has now begun to haunt free market advocates. Has the case for free trade been undermined by the problems that are now disrupting the modern global economy? Free trade was supposed to deliver the goods, but an increasingly large proportion of people today believe that the sacrifices far exceed the promised benefits.
Instead of realizing benefits from globalization, workers are facing direct global competition at almost every level, from blue-collar factory workers to highly-skilled, white-collar professionals, and while free trade advocates look upon any challenge to their doctrine to be protectionism, the problems being spawned by globalization cast doubt upon the key assumptions upon which their doctrine is based.
[The chickens are coming home to roost.]