Mr. Stephens in “Truths for a new world of them and us” (May 29, 2008) overstates his case. I challenge him to support his claim that “[I]n this world of them and us, ‘they’ are accused by Democratic contenders in the US presidential contest of stealing ‘our’ jobs.” I have never seen or heard this claim from any of the U.S. presidential candidates.
Rather than positing a world of “them” and “us,” the argument against globalization is that it represents the efforts of an alliance of global multinational capital and repressive regimes like that of China, joined now sadly by labor leaders such as Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union who attempt to welcome state controlled labor organizations into the global community, to shape a new world order that relies on the trampling of the rule of law and democratic decision making, weaker labor standards, and rapidly deteriorating environmental conditions to regenerate stagnating rates of profit.
Initially globalization helped accelerate the hollowing out and weakening of western economies. The United States is now seeing the short sightedness of this process, where production of goods and services that people need and want is replaced by the engineering and manipulation of paper claims to imagined future cash flows. However, the unsustainability of the model is also beginning to tell on the development of China and other developing world partners in the process, as darkly hinted at by the recent collapse of stock prices on Asian markets together with the collapse of shoddily engineered school buildings in the recent earthquake.
The global rules that need to be written, and then enforced, must be based on both universally recognized human rights, such as the freedom of association and speech, and on equally universally recognized first best standards of engineering quality and environmental safety.