Jobs In A World With High Unemployment

A friend sent me this e-mail she had received:

Our company is developing web sides for several companies last four years in

Bangladesh and wants to explore selling Bangladesh website development services to the whole world. We are offering to recruit our company as the web development part of your company.

We think if you make a business relationship with us you will be able to make more profit than what you do now or you can start a new web service business to your country.

We can say that our service charge is the lowest but the quality is very high.

Property of a Corporate Package:

—————————————————

This package contains the following features:

=> Home Page

=> 9 Normal Link Pages.

=> One Feedback Page.

=> Necessary Logos, Graphics and Animation

Development Tools

—————————

=> HTML

=> Macromedia Dreamweaver

=> Microsoft FrontPage

=> Macromedia Flash

=> Adobe PhotoShop

=> Adobe Illustrator

=> JavaScript

=> VB Script

=> ASP/PHP

=> Access/MySQL Database

Here comes the punch line:

Total Time for the Job: Two week

Development and Designing Cost:

==================================

Total cost of the web site design (Eleven pages) US $100

Additional per page Normal US $10

Additional per page ASP/PHP/Database Related US $35

Great prices, right? Every company in the country is being approached by hundreds of businesses around the world with offers similar to this. Many of them much more credible than the business that sent this e-mail. What this means is many fewer new U.S. web design jobs from now on. The same is happening with customer service jobs (both e-mail and phone centers), programming, and many other fields. They even have shops set up for analyzing medical x-rays. And yes, they are good. These are competent, educated people. India is graduating more engineering students each year than the United States and their schools are very good.

What is going to happen to American standards of living? We enter this new era of globalization with incredibly high levels of national, corporate and personal debt.

The problem with unregulated globalization is there are no protections against exploitation, and our world has pre-existing unemployment, forcing everyone to “race for the bottom” by trying to outbid those poorer than themselves. So Mexico is losing jobs to Thailand, which is losing jobs to VietNam, which is losing jobs to China and Bangladesh, where many people work for just enough to survive (or less).

Meanwhile, because of the job loss, people everywhere can afford less and less, so the volume of trade drops along with prices and wages. AND the countries with no environmental regulations, worker protections, etc. have an economic advantage over those that care about their people and the earth. It is a recipe for a race to the bottom, with now winners except those who start out with the most. Short-term they benefit from paying lower wages — until the customer pool dries up. But, of course, they’ve made a killing by then. What matters is getting that corporate jet next year, not killing of your industry five years down the road.

If you pay attention to right-wing ideology (and I do) then you know they say that if someone will work for less than you, they should have the job and you should not, period, end of story. If they will work without health insurance, they should have the job. If they will work on a machine that might cut their hand off, and you won’t, then they should have the job. They say the only criteria is corporate profit.

I do believe that people in other countries have every right to jobs. I don’t think it’s right to say that just because they are not Americans we should protect our industries. However, there are beneficial ways to accomplish world economic growth. Those who, like me, are “opposed to free trade” are asking for worker safety protections, international minimum wages, the right to form unions, environmental protections – things like that. For that we are marginalized, scoffed at and called “anti-free-trade” fanatics. Why? Because those things threaten the short-term profits of the big corporations.

Imagine if people in other countries were paid enough to purchase the things we make. Imagine what would that would mean for our prosperity as well as theirs! If they could buy refrigerators made here, and the shoes made there brought them enough to live better, what a world we would be making. This is what I want, and the anti-globalization people want.

Update – I just saw this story, which says it all, Tax Returns Taking Passage Through India. From the story:

The accounting industry has recently begun using the burgeoning India outsourcing and technology markets to process American clients’ returns. In some cases, the work being performed is replacing tasks of U.S. accountants.

What did I just tell you?

Style note – OK I used all caps for one three-letter-word. I couldn’t help it. Blow me.