Today on Blogcritics
Home » Globalization: The 14 Percent Solution

Globalization: The 14 Percent Solution

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Many Americans are unhappy about globalization, but globalization gurus are unequally unhappy with those Americans whom the globalizers see as Luddites fighting the inevitable. Apparently, there are iron historical laws that decree that Americans (except for globalizers, natch) must first spend, say, $200,000 on undergraduate and graduate education, as job requirements for waiting tables. I never knew that waiting tables was such a complex job. Live and learn.

I feel both sides’ pain. Really, I do. I feel the pain of a global outsourcing entrepreneur who can’t get a table at The Four Seasons, just as I feel the pain of a guy with a master’s degree in engineering that can’t get a job installing garage door openers. Economic dislocations are hell on everyone.

Even public school teachers have for years told us, “We live in a global economy.” That means that folks here in the First World must compete for the same jobs with people in places like India and China. As Peter Bendor-Samuel, the CEO of Everest Group which specializes in outsourcing has written, he can hire an Indian in India for one-seventh the wages that an American worker gets in the U.S. (Just imagine when he starts to tap into the Red Chinese workforce!)

And so, if the multicultural educators and tenured free market economists both promoting the global economy mean what they say, they’ll be willing to accept an 85.7 percent pay cut, as will all unions, TV news anchors, Congress and the President, heck, all the way up to George Clooney and Howard Stern. If Clooney balks, we can replace him with actor-screenwriter-director-agitators from Bollywood; we can replace Stern with a Red Chinese (English fluency not required), and we can outsource George W. Bush’s job to someone — anyone — in the United Arab Emirates.

I can just see some benighted reader saying, “But I can’t survive on 1/7th of my income!”

Fear not. You need merely tell your landlord or mortgage holder, utility company, grocer, doctor, lawyer, union, etc., that from now on, you’ll be paying one-seventh of what you used to pay. After all, globalization cuts both ways, no?

Bill Gates, who keeps telling young people to study engineering, surely has our best interests at heart. Gates wants America to have the world’s best-educated waitresses and installers of garage-door openers. And to show his good faith, I’m sure Gates won’t mind cutting the price of his software to consumers in the First World to one-seventh of its previous price, as Michael Dell will surely also wish to do with his computers. And of course, America’s overpriced, private universities will want to jump on the bandwagon, by cutting their tuition and fees by six-sevenths, and pledging to cut their charges each year from now on.

Let us all now praise the globally competitive, brave new economy.

Powered by

About Nicholas Stix

  • Howard

    Criticism without a hint of solution is like complaining about the weather. You’re life will be more satisfying if you accept where we are with joy. Aanticipate the discovery of that pony in this room full of horse manure.

    Our ecconomy has dramatically lifted the standard of living in Japan and Europe from the devastation of WWII to the lofty heights of, some say, on par with the U. S. (I don’t believe it). All the while our own standard of living has improved dramatically. Compare your 1950 housing with what you live in today, or your 1955 Cadillac with a 2006 Lexus.

    That change was not without pain to some people. The employees of Hamilton Watch Company will not be fans of the result, nor will the employees of Buster Brown Shoe manufacturers. Most of us benefit from “outsourcing” of labor while those being displaced suffer. In some cases, I believe that pain is overdue. Wage costs for manufacturing automobiles in Michigan and for pilots of Delta Airlines are unreasonably high. I suggest there exists a similar absurdity in baseball, football, basketball and the CEO offices of many corporations. Can anyone one man be worth a salary of $20,000,000 a year?

    You do make an excellent point. A table waiter doesn’t need an engineering degree. If he doesn’t go to college, the school is not crowded, and the cost of schooling decreases. We have, for generations, preached every child must have a college degree to be worthy of life in the human race. How absoutely absurd and how damaging to those who do not continue their education beyond a certain point (high school?). Our society must have skilled labor in many areas. Individuals addressing those needs should feel proud of their accomplishments. I would rather be an accomplished waiter than an unsuccessful attorney.

    Howard

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Nice piece! Though I do think higher education is an end in itself and not just a means to an end. I remember in the 70s when the economy was really in the toilet that the joke was always there are plenty of Ph.D.s driving cabs. But I guess they could then have convos with their passengers about existentialism or maybe write a book about their experiences.

  • Nancy

    Unfortunately, in the First World economies, college education is employer-driven: employers demand it, regardless of its relevance to either the applicant or the job. Hence, Ph.Ds driving cabs.

    Of the 5 most interesting, intelligent, & frankly brilliant people I ever met, none had more than a year of college. One of them speaks 6 languages & was an intel officer in Vietnam. All of them are wildly literate & imaginative. They probably never continued because school, frankly, bored them & was too confining. Of the most stupid, turgid people I know (unfortunately, far more than 5), most of them do have college degrees, and at least one has multiple Ph.D.s. All it means is that he’s a highly trained, obnoxious, self-important fool. Kind of like a chimp, only with less character.

    Granted, there are a lot of jobs that can’t be done by someone who is uneducated, but I do think that in the US & just about everywhere else, higher ed has become a sort of unthinking mantra where it’s really not needed. People shouldn’t be automatically going to college just because they need another 4 years of babysitting, or their parents hope it means they’ll become some kind of corporate shill with a golden parachute.

  • Maurice

    I thought this was satire until I read the comments! You are pretty out of touch with the engineering field. The demand for EE grads is so high my company donated the money to build the Engineering School at Boise State Unverisity.

    When I was an Engineering manager in Detroit I was offering up to $110 per hour to engineers and could not get anybody to even call. The headhunters I had hired said everybody wanted to work in CA, AZ, or TX.

    My boss and myself are the only Americans on our 10 person design team. I wish we had more American Engineers.

    Engineers rock!

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Red Chinese? When was the last (or first) time you visited China – political persuasian is divorced from economic perspective there – and to their benefit.

    Also, echoing the sentiments of a few of the commenters, it’s volume driven as much as cost-driven. The West can no longer supply the hundreds of thousands of Engineers/etc. needed to run things (don’t engineers run the world?:) )

  • ss

    I’ll play devil’s advocate on this one.
    In China and India there are people who get those engineering degrees and wind up waiting tables, too. Over there, they’re pissed their gov’s sign trade deals that limit how productive they could really be, which keeps people over there who want to work their asses off making the products the world wants to buy from doing so, all to protect France’s 35 hour work week and America’s ‘a high school diploma entitles me to the most wastefully luxuriant lifestyle in the world’ mentality.
    Granted, the people who engineer you’re continued, unearned opulence keep the biggest cut for themselves and make sure people who believe in their rules do the best, whether they are the best and brightest or not.
    But they do protect you at the expense of others, too. You’ll have to come to grips with that reality if you want to look for a better way, instead of whine like the less favored son of a wealthy daddy who can’t make it on his own.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    and we can outsource George W. Bush’s job to someone — anyone — in the United Arab Emirates.

    I doubt that anyone in the UAE where half the citizens are millionaires wants to take a paycut for GWB’s job.

    As for the rest of this silliness, I find it futile to even read an article which doesn’t at least acknowledge the realities of the global economy and instead sets up completely bogus straw men to knock down. It’s cheap, biased and utterly worthless.

    Show me the engineers installing garage door openers or the people with graduate degrees waiting tables who are doing it for any reason other than as a transitional job or as a lifestyle choice.

    Outsourcing jobs to other countries might be an issue if it were causing unemployment, but the truth is that outsourcing the grunt jobs bumps our local employees up into higher level and better paid jobs and actually creates more jobs. This is why we have a labor SHORTAGE among skilled workers rather than unemployment.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Maurice, it’s a fact that US citizen scientists & engineers are in short supply! What kind of engineer, BTW, are you?

    ss: who are you responding to?

  • http://mensnewsdaily.com/blog/stix/ Nicholas Stix

    Dave Nalle: “Show me the engineers installing garage door openers or the people with graduate degrees waiting tables who are doing it for any reason other than as a transitional job or as a lifestyle choice….

    “This is why we have a labor SHORTAGE among skilled workers rather than unemployment.”

    Your arrogance is exceeded only by your ignorance. There hasn’t been a shortage of American tech workers for many years.

  • gonzo marx

    Mr Nalle sez…
    *Show me the engineers installing garage door openers or the people with graduate degrees waiting tables who are doing it for any reason other than as a transitional job or as a lifestyle choice.*

    stop by my shop next time yer in Maine

    i’ll take ya around Portland and into you to folks with Masters degrees working retail

    you still won’t believe it, but at least yer nose will be rubbed in the shit a bit

    Excelsior!

  • http://mensnewsdaily.com/blog/stix/ Nicholas Stix

    Elvira Black: “Nice piece!”

    Thanks, Elvira.

    Elvira Black: “Though I do think higher education is an end in itself and not just a means to an end. I remember in the 70s when the economy was really in the toilet that the joke was always there are plenty of Ph.D.s driving cabs. But I guess they could then have convos with their passengers about existentialism or maybe write a book about their experiences.”

    I believe that education is an end-in-itself, but not so-called higher education. Education is virtually free — if you live near a decent public library, you can read the world’s classics without a fee, as long as the taxpayers suffer you. If you have access to the Internet, you can read many of the same books without buying them, thanks to gutenberg.org. And then you can still have those great conversations and write that book.

    My Hungarian-born nana “only” had a grammar school education (class of ’07, I guess), but a New York grammar school education was nothing to sniff at in those days. The teachers were literate, and they made sure their charges left school literate, as well. In adulthood, nana read all of Shakespeare’s plays, and knocked off the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle every week, something I can only dream of doing. She worked as an executive secretary in Manhattan, and later as the deputy registrar of our town.

    My mom only graduated high school (class of ’47), but a high school education in Long Beach, L.I. in those days was the equivalent of a college education today.

    College has degenerated into a Ponzi scheme for the benefit of lazy, incompetent, tenured faculty and administrators, who routinely graduate semi-literates and even functional illiterates. I know, I taught college for six-and-a-half years as an adjunct. I worked full-time for part-time wages, so that the above-mentioned crooks could enjoy the easy life.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    stop by my shop next time yer in Maine

    i’ll take ya around Portland and into you to folks with Masters degrees working retail

    you still won’t believe it, but at least yer nose will be rubbed in the shit a bit

    I’ll take your word for it, Gonzo. I can take you around Austin and introduce you to PhDs who work in bookstores. But I know for a fact that this is a lifestyle choice. They’ve opted out of doing what it takes to maximize their earning potential, because they had other priorities or weren’t willing to do things like move to a less desirable location or spend less time with their kids or work in certain industries.

    So could your local engineers selling garage door openers or the equivalent, move to Arizona or Texas and get the job they were trained for? Statistics from the BLS certainly suggest that they could if they were motivated to do it.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Nicholas:

    I’m forever experiencing synchronicities between my “web world” encounters and the “real world” and this is no exception.

    Just last night I had another discussion with my b/f about the value or non value of a college education versus being self-educated. He has a high school diploma while I have a master’s degree, but he often mockingly asks when I do something off the wall/lacking common sense: “How many degrees did you say you have?” =lol…

    My b/f did not have the inclination or opportunity to go to college, but he did learn a lot on his own via NYC’s public libraries and museums and its plethora of free books, films, exhibits etc. There are some subjects where he knows a hulluva lot more than I do, and he’s very intelligent to boot.

    I agree that there are plenty of high school grads who are smarter, better read, and better educated than some college grads. Sometimes it depends in part on the college, but also on the student.

    In my case, to paraphrase Dave, I made a “lifestyle choice” where I just decided to pursue degrees in what I loved and what interested me, despite the fact that they were not the most lucrative fields. Thus I went for a master’s in English lit while most people were busy trying to get into business school.

    I think a good college, combined with a motivated student, can be very beneficial. A liberal education is valuable in and of itself, in my opinion, if one actually does the work.

    If nothing else, a good prof can help point you in the direction of the creme de la creme in terms of writers and thinkers worth pursuing. A really great prof can do much more.

    But I think that it is true that some people graduate with questionable literacy skills and a huge debt, and not much more to show for it than entree into some entry level white collar job. My b/f worked a wide variety of rough and ready and often hazardous jobs–and though he doesn’t regret it, it would not be something I could have handled.

    Yes, I too have heard that there’s a dearth of American engineers. Strange….

  • Howard

    Elvira, your comments about your education and that of your b/f bring to mind the conflicts I experienced as a high school student.

    I didn’t want to go to college but my family threatened to disown me if I did not. I began working a newspaper route in 1942 for spending money. Due to an extreme shortage of personell during the WWII, I was promoted to “Assistant Station Manager” when I turned 16 and could drive an automobile to deliver papers. In that position, I had my choice of the best routes of the 32 handled by the station. As a highschool senior, I made almsot $300/mo in 1945. Four years after graduation from Oklahoma University with the subsequent award a CPA certificate and working as a senior accountant for Price Waterhouse in Houston in 1954, I was making $325/mo. Not until I quit public accounting and began my own business did I make a living wage. To this day you’ll never convince me a college degree and CPA cerificate was financially rewarding. It did make me more socially acceptable to some people that I could not care less about.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Very nice piece, Nicholas. I can’t talk about engneering per se – this is not a field I know much about – but what I see these days is that a university education is a waste of money if not necessarily time, gaining one only a sheet of paper that you can buy from a huckster on the phone for a few thousand dollars anyway.
    I won’t comment on the quality of university educators these days – the word academentia says more than I possibly can.

    Now, given that I live in Israel, the price scales are a bit different. But a while ago, I had to go for a little target prctice to keep my carbine skills up. A chef told me his tale of woe. He wanted to work at a restaurant for NIS5,000, a reasonable salary entirely. The prospective eployer exploded at him “five thousand shekels a month?! For that, I can get three Arabs!”

    Nu?

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ elvira Black

    Howard and Ruvy:

    I understand where you’re coming from on this. I’m talking more about my own experience and choices, I suppose, and that of those I’ve seen and known who found college to be “lucrative” though not necessarily conducive to vast wealth by any means.

    My b/f’s parents struggled to make ends meet, and my b/f also worked from an early age to help support the family (starting with a paper route). In order to buy the nice clothes he wanted, he worked throughout high school as well before joining the army at 17.

    Although he is a talented portrait artist, BG (my b/f’s) family never encouraged him to go to art school, and in that case I think it would have been a waste of time. Being a self-taught artist is in many cases better than going to some pretentious art academy where you mimic your instructors. But he’s told me about the various jobs he held, and as I said before I just wouldn’t want to go that route.

    In my case, majorinig in psychology and sociology and then getting a master’s in English helped me in my quest to become a writer. As a result, I was in time able to support myself writing for “the man” as well as doing freelance work for NYC papers. I made a modestly decent income, and in my case that was enough for me because I think that one spends an awfully large part of one’s life working, and to me it wasn’t worth it to slave at a job I despised.

    The university I attended grew in stature and presige after I’d graduated, and now students are encouraged as a matter of course to take advantage of study abroad, internships, and community service programs, and are required to take a rigorous and varied liberal education core. IF they are bright and motivated, they can go on to very lucrative and rewarding careers–doctor, lawyer, filmmaker.,..virtually anything they desire. Internships in particular give them some “real world” experience instead of keeping them in a cloistered academic environment for four years. To me, these kind of opportunities represent the essence of the American dream.

    I don’t think college should be forced on anyone–it’s not the right choice for everyone. And starting one’s own business, if it succeeds, can doubtless be one of the most rewarding endeavors imaginable. But it takes a lot of guts and determination to do that as well, and owning one’s own business is likewise part of the classic American dream.

  • ss

    Nancy:
    You got me. I was just trying to stir up some controversy taking an arrogant tone and the unpopular side of the argument.
    Still…
    The fact that there are as many people in Asia who are angry that ‘free trade’ protects European and American jobs, as there are people in America and Europe who are angry that ‘globalization’ takes away their jobs-
    it is an interesting disconnect.
    Are they both wrong, or are they both right?

  • Howard

    Elvira, your comments about your education and that of your b/f bring to mind the conflicts I experienced as a high school student.

    I didn’t want to go to college but my family threatened to disown me if I did not. I began working a newspaper route in 1942 for spending money. Due to an extreme shortage of personell during the WWII, I was promoted to “Assistant Station Manager” when I turned 16 and could drive an automobile to deliver papers. In that position, I had my choice of the best routes of the 32 handled by the station. As a highschool senior, I made almsot $300/mo in 1945. Four years after graduation from Oklahoma University with the subsequent award a CPA certificate and working as a senior accountant for Price Waterhouse in Houston in 1954, I was making $325/mo. Not until I quit public accounting and began my own business did I make a living wage. To this day you’ll never convince me a college degree and CPA cerificate was financially rewarding. It did make me more socially acceptable to some people that I could not care less about.

  • Maurice

    Howard,

    there are certain professions that don’t require a degree. There exceptions to every rule. On the whole higher paying jobs require more trainning and education. I design semiconductor memory chips. Most of the people in my field have multiple degrees.

  • Nancy

    Well, this is true that it’s rather unlikely anyone could design either structures, memory chips, or other stuff requiring somewhat arcane understanding of specialty information in that field without lots of higher training; but I also know a guy who designs machine parts – a machinist, if you will – who is no college graduate, but he does have a head for visualizing what is needed. And there are some fields, like some kinds of art or music, where instruction may actually be an impediment, and others where it’s far more valuable to learn on the job.

    I have to agree that far too much of college is a ripoff. As I mentioned earlier, my own experience proved only that college graduates generally only proved they could be taught like chimps; it didn’t mean they graduated with the ability to think, let alone think critically; they were just awfully good at disgorging memorized information on exams. And I know what #11 means, and wholeheartedly agree that a lot of colleges are in business only to perpetuate themselves. I went to UMass, Amherst. UMass was totally unconcerned that anyone there taking courses would actually be able to use them or make a living afterwards. They were selling credits & a piece of paper that said you graduated from UMass, period. Talk about caveat emptor. A student could take 4 years of basketweaving, and as long as the core credits were finished, would get that ol’ sheepskin. To my mind, the merchandising of totally useless, irrelevant, unproductive courses was a major ripoff. At the least the university/college owes the student a warning, ‘what you’re taking is useless in getting a job when you leave here’. To add insult to injury, they now come around panhandling for contributions, to a ‘loyal alum’. Loyal alum, my butt. I should demand a refund. Far too many of my courses (especially the ‘core’ classes you MUST have to graduate) were garbage for those who were there to be babysat. A waste of money for those who were serious, and utterly useless for getting a job or getting ahead after graduation.

    And the professors-! What a bunch of maroons. They really did live in ivory towers, far away from reality (especially the tenured ones), intent on publishing instead of teaching. I got the really good info from the Teaching Assistants, almost never from the profs themselves.

    Mind you, this was UMass in the early 70s. Maybe it’s different now. I hope so, but doubt it.