Globalization while shifting the value equation brings adjustments that need to be made across the globe. Developed countries benfit with cheaper goods while devoloping countries get new opportunites for advancement and prosperity. Robert B.Reich in his open-ed piece writes on this topic in the US context bext exemplified by Walmart. Excerpts with edits and comments:
In the eyes of Wal-Mart's detractors, the chain embodies the worst kind of economic exploitation: it pays its 1.2 million American workers an average of only $9.68 an hour, doesn't provide most of them with health insurance, keeps out unions, has a checkered history on labor law and turns main streets into ghost towns by sucking business away from small retailers.Wal-Mart has lured customers with low prices. "We expect our suppliers to drive the costs out of the supply chain," a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said. "It's good for us and good for them." Wal-Mart may have perfected this technique, but one can find it almost everywhere these days. Corporations are in fierce competition to get and keep customers, so they pass the bulk of their cost cuts through to consumers as lower prices. Products are manufactured in China at a fraction of the cost of making them here, and American consumers get great deals. Back-office work, along with computer programming and data crunching, is "offshored" to India..
Everyone looks at Internet to find the lowest price to buy airline tickets, books, merchandise from just about anywhere with a click of a mouse. The fact is, today's economy offers us a Faustian bargain: it can give consumers deals largely because it hammers workers and communities.The easier it is for us to get great deals, the stronger the downward pressure on wages and benefits. The easier it is to find better professional services, the harder professionals have to hustle to attract and keep clients. The more efficiently we can summon products from anywhere on the globe, the more stress we put on our own communities. One may not see the larger bargain when our own job or community isn't directly at stake. While one may not like what's happening to airline workers, but I still try for the cheapest fare I can get.The only way for the workers or citizens in us to trump the consumers in us is through laws and regulations that make our purchases a social choice as well as a personal one. Fine Mr.Reich -As a legislator, it is only natural for you to take this route- but it would be foolhardy and illogical to extend/force this to other parts of the world, where governing treaties and sovereign regulations are set in place to protect local interests.