A Casual Chat with School Friends Turns Into Globalization Argument

I swear I didn’t bring it up.

Somehow, while sitting around with a few school friends reflecting on life and listening to ambiance music (what a terrific genre) we got on the topic of globalization and culture.

I tried to present a view along the lines of my long post on why cosmopolitanism is exciting and positive. My friend Austin, whose views would fit right in at a WTO protest session, suddenly had a moment of contrarian inspiration. He took out a yellow pad and "declared" that he wanted to travel as much as possible, halt the effects of globalization, and explore unique cultures. He started writing feverishly on the yellow pad ignoring the "Austin – WTF are you doing?!" cries. My other two friends just stood agape, but I took out my camera (too bloggable a moment to miss) and captured the nutty action.


6 comments on “A Casual Chat with School Friends Turns Into Globalization Argument
  • I’ll be enormously entertained if in 20 years, Austin has turned into a Republican-voting investment banker…but a bit sad.

    Such passion, however misguided, has a certain delight to it.

  • What, specifically?

    Why does an American have a god given right to a job? Why shouldn’t the best man win, wherever he is? Why wouldn’t a company try to find the highest quality and lowest cost worker? Why shouldn’t an American worker acquire skills that allow him to compete in a 21st century economy (ie, NOT manufacturing!).

  • It’s not just pretty factories going up to give people jobs, Ben. There’s a lot of nasty business that goes on in foreign nations when corporations are trying to lower their bottom line. Governments are manipulated, workers are abused, and a myriad of other horrors go on…under the direction and encouragement of off-shoring businesses.

    I used to be hardcore, free-for-all capitalist like yourself. Until I started realizing that there’s more to right and wrong than the bottom line. The fundamental question at the root of all this is where you draw the line. When does it become wrong to pursue a profit motive? When workers are abused? When governments are manipulated? At what cost is this larger profit margin being pursued–and what is acceptable?

  • Jesse, thanks for sharing your opinions. We are now talking about two different things though: offshoring and fair labor standards. I fully support decent labor standards. No corporation has a right to abuse workers. This is the case onshore or offshore. Doesn’t matter.

    The debate about offshoring is usually based on other issues….such as whether America should protect Americans’ jobs.

  • To a degree, I think you’re right. However, there’s an important ethical issue here that I think you’re overlooking. Let’s say that a corporation–GAP or something–offshores. In doing so, they lower labor costs and save themselves a lot of money. I’m fine with this.

    Now let’s confront reality: a lot of the corporations that are off-shoring are using underhanded tactics to manipulate leading figures in the country, preventing unionization amongst laborers. Technically, this kind of bribery is legal.

    For me, this is an ethical issue as well–and one that deserves our attention. It’s more than a simple human rights issue; it’s an issue regarding government, bribery, and the bounds of capitalism.

    How do you feel about these kinds of things?

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