I’ve just put a new entry in my amazon wish list – In Defense of Globalisation by Jagdish Bhagwati.
As a leftist liberal, I used to be very much against globalisation. And I still believe that it has an ugly face. But I am starting to see a distinction between ‘globalisation’ the phenomenom and ‘globalisation’ the goal of large corporations to be the new empire builders.
From my reading of the reviews, Bhagwati defends globalisation as the only opportunity for the reduce global poverty.
I have thought quite a lot about this over the last twelve months as I have dreamt of what it would be like to produce a global software product. I could gather a team of developers here in Melbourne and write the new killer app. Or I could gather a team of analysts here in Melbourne and get a team of Indians (or Russians or Malays) to write it.
Why shouldn’t we in the West be prepared to purchase skills from the East? Why should we consider people from our own country? We are incredibly wealthy. Surely it is greedy of us to want to keep all the work in our own country? Just as much as it would be greedy to want to keep all the work on our side of town or our local neighbourhood.
There are people on the other side of the world who need to be fed. Is there not enough work to go around for everyone in the world.
It seems now that the greatest oponents of globalisation are people who oppose it not on the grounds that it is exploitative, but on the grounds that it is likely to them or people they know losing their jobs. If we skill ourselves appropriately, and keep skilling ourselves we can find the global market niche where we are competitive. If we rest on our laurels and build protectionist bariers around ourselves we will eventually become a third world country ourselves.