I think that after years of NAFTA, many of us 99%-ers would agree that the current level of globalization hasn’t been too good for us. In addition to excess cheap stuff, we have gotten loss of too many US jobs, ridiculous levels of consumerism, increased global warming, and the like.
Now, here is the next big thing…the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). I don’t know about you, but it has been my experience that shipping stuff around the world is a bad thing.
What do you think?
Now, I’m not saying that all international trade is bad. Quite the contrary, international trade is essential to provide products and raw materials from far-away lands that we cannot produce ourselves. That kind of “foreign trade” has been around for thousands of years.
But, why do we ship frozen whole chicken to China to be butchered, processed, repackaged and then shipped back across the ocean to us? (It’s making my more-expensive local pasture-grown chicken look very tasty right about now.)
I have been thinking about this issue for a while, and there are a few ways to combat the problems associated with globalization.
First and foremost, get everyone educated. Cut education is short-sighted, and just plain crazy! We can’t compete with the rest of the world if we are ignorant.
At a minimum, everyone needs:
- Good Reading/Writing Skills: Since English is the international language, everyone should be able to read, write and speak English well. Communication is critical to getting anything done these days. If you can’t communicate, you’re down the tubes. Many non-English-speaking countries have already figured this out and require their citizens to learn English as their international auxiliary language. It’s time that we recognize that many US natives stink at English, and get all of our people trained up.
- Basic Math Skills: Given how many cashiers can’t figure out how to make change on their own, we seem to be falling down badly on this front.
- Basic Science/Computer Skills: We live in a highly scientifically-dependent, computerized world. If you don’t have a basic understanding of science, computers, etc., you will have difficulty understanding what’s happening around you and making informed decisions. Also, it may be very difficult to get a job.
- Basic Life Skills: Seems like people grow up not knowing how to do some of the basic things in life, such as interacting politely with one another, cooking non-microwave foods, cleaning their house and clothes, balancing their check book, how to schedule your time, how to get to work on time, and the like. When I was growing up, a lot of people make fun of high school Home-Ec. I certainly learned how to cook, sew and clean (as well as a bunch of other stuff that I won’t list) at home, so Home-Ec was a waste of an hour. But it seems that a large portion of our population has grown up in front of the computer/TV eating processed foods. If we get back to the basic, we all will do better.
Second, we need even more education…we need serious re-training of workers who lack the skills listed above. Twenty years ago, it might have been fine to not do so hot in science or math, or even English, and to get a factory or construction job. That doesn’t work so well today, because now even factory and construction jobs often require a solid foundation of reading, writing, math, science and computer use skills. Many older workers, even those 30- and above, don’t have the skills they need to get a job and make a livable wage. It’s time to make sure they get the education they need to do today’s jobs.
Third, we need to use common sense and make good choices. While it might be cheaper to ship stuff back and forth across the world (right now), it’s just plain stupid. It’s also short-sighted and has long-term costs that we might not see today (like increased global warming due to burning the fuel required to move the cargo ship across the Pacific Ocean).
There are many other things we can do, to combat the problem associated with Globalization. Most of the solutions that I can think of are rather long-term in nature.
What do you think we should do?