It has been widely reported today that China has surpassed Japan as the world's second largest economy and is projected to surpass the United States by the year 2030.
This may seem a terrifying prospect for xenophobic isolationist manufacturing job mongers here at home, but, in reality, those intending to protect their "jobs" by opposing globalization should take comfort in this development and the speed with which it occurred. U.S. children and their children's children may once again become competitive in the global job market, notwithstanding their parents' efforts to hamstring them for the last 70 years.
The U.S. manufacturing work force long since went the way of Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose." Organized labor's hypothesis has been disproved in the United States, with disastrous consequences to U.S. workers. Unionization in the United States has effectively eliminated jobs for workers that the ideals of organized labor were intended to protect. Much like smaller, more agile and responsive aircraft and watercraft taking the place of Howard Hughes' enormous and catastrophically expensive transport vehicle in World War II, masses of cheap, unskilled, and disorganized labor in third world countries have supplanted the monolith that is U.S. organized labor. The Spruce Goose only flew once: after the war in which it was commissioned to serve had ended. It would seem that organized labor is now past its prime as well.
The problem for the United States and other more established nations is that our high-minded ideals cost too much, and we can't "unring" the workers' rights bell. As technology advances and makes transport of goods easier and easier, there are few jobs in the US manufacturing economy that could not be more cheaply done in a third world country. This will soon be the case (if it is not already) with regard to the U.S.'s new great export - information and services. For this country to now be competitive, it is not good enough that our workers are more productive, or that they are better educated, or more technologically advanced (which may or may not be the case). They have to be cheaper, and they will never again be so long as they demand pittances like wages, health insurance, reasonable working hours, hospitals, governmental representation, food, and the like.
Some in Congress have argued that we should penalize U.S. companies for sending jobs overseas. Hardly a progressive lesson in globalization, and a very shortsighted concept, if the goal is to preserve U.S. jobs and its place as a world economic power. If the U.S. intends to continue to grow economically, we cannot penalize companies for creating jobs overseas in a globalized economy. That will merely ensure that other countries without such penalties will grow faster at the expense of the U.S. But, if one takes a longer view, maybe forcing growth in other less developed nations should be encouraged.