In the recent past many Americans have complained about the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector. They complain that jobs are shifting to overseas countries notably China and India. This has become a great political debate with many people calling for protectionist measures. It is to be remembered that in the beginning of the 20th century about 10 million American farmers and laborers produced food for a population of 76 million Americans. However by the turn of the 21st century this number had shrunk to just 2 million.
In effect the 8 million farmers and laborers never lost their jobs but just moved on to other jobs. Low wage countries have been assumed to have an edge in international trade but what is often ignored that American workers are by far more productive and hence would bring their companies more profits. For instance an Indian programmer’s productivity is just fifteen percent that of an American. Americans shouldn’t therefore complain about the loss of jobs to Third world countries as the vast majority of American companies investments are in high wage countries. In summary American workers are by far the most productive in the world. Though it will cost much more to hire an American worker it will be beneficial in the long run as profits for the company will be increased. The only constant thing is change and therefore people shouldn’t expect to last in one job for their entire lifetimes. How else can we improve as humanity unless we are wiling to change? As technology keeps on improving more and more people are going to lose their jobs but the good thing is that there are always new jobs created by technology. They will just need to upgrade their skills and hopefully move on to other emerging sectors. Though many people argue for trade protectionist measures in critical sectors such as manufacturing they forget that foreign companies have also exported jobs to Americans. Companies such as Toyota and Honda have created thousands of jobs in America.
The standards of education of third world countries are also improving and currently some companies hire computer programmers directly from India or china. In order to compete effectively in international trade a country must have a robust education system that will inculcate critical skills in the students.(Bade,parkins) More importantly science and Engineering skills are of critical importance and they will provide the competitive advantage to countries. In the near future there will be more PhDs produced in Asia than in any region in the world and this partly explains why there is strong economic growth in Asia.
As the great management theorist Peter.F.Drucker (Drucker) puts it this is the age of the knowledge worker. Their skills will be most sought after and the face of the modern corporation will change entirely. Currently knowledge workers are the majority workers and three out of four workers are currently employed in the knowledge sector. It is sad to note that America’s innovation and creativity has been deteriorating in the recent past. Free trade will also enhance the productivity of the country as taxpayers will be saved from subsidizing ailing sectors.
Bade Robin, parkin Michael. `Foundations of Economics` (ISBN: 9780321522535). Chapters 21-23
Wikipedia .knowledge worker.2006 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_workers.retrieved 9 June 2009.