Monday, July 2, 2007


A dear friend of mine is currently getting her Master's in International Relations. I think that's what it is. She is sending me articles by Tom Friedman, all about the wonders of globalization, and how the United States is so far behind everyone, mostly in terms of education.

Which is unfortunately true. We crank out the dumbest bunch of louts the world has seen in many a decade, who don't read the newspaper and don't think for themselves very much, and who don't speak out much, except for the phrase "I want..."

Yes, I'm a curmudgeon.

Friedman goes on and on about how great it is in India, to where many things (such as software development) are outsourced, and how it's the US' fault, because we don't educate our children well enough to compete against these people. What he doesn't mention is wages, which are quite a bit lower in India.

It would be great (in that old world, the ideal one) were we to have a fully educated populace, where everyone gets a shot a college (because we're all so darn smart), or else physically gifted and can play sports for money. The proponents of globalization all talk about outsourcing this and outsourcing that, while American workers are supposed to somehow benefit from all this outsourcing by having everything made elsewhere for cheaper. Meanwhile, with better eucational programs, more Americans can become Systems Engineers, Software Engineers, Architects, Lawyers, Doctors, Tailors, Road-pavers, toilet attendants... experimental subjects...

How does America's economy perform when we manufacture nothing anyone else wants, except consumers? How do the rank and file benefit? Is everyone going to be playing the stock market, while people in other countries do the actual work? As Phil Knight once so famously said, "Maybe Americans don't want to make shoes..." If we lay off all our workers, and they can get work at factories built by foreign companies in the United States, who send all their profits back to Japan or Germany (or wherever). Meanwhile, General Motors makes all of their cars in Mexico or Brazil, where labor & safety standards are lower, and these are sold in the US, to people who don't have to work?

How will it all, well, work?

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