April 3, 2006

Economics is Not a Zero-Sum Game.

I came across this very nice comment on globalization. It was made in the discussion following an article in The New Republic (on the recent French protests).

While its tone may suggest insensitivity and the arguments may seem simplistic, I do believe it captures the essence forcefully (and beautifully).

For all the anti-globalization nuts out there, take an
international-economics class at your local community college and spare us of your stupidity. The world is made up of developed and un-developed countries. The only difference between the two is the system of governance, the market, and the education level. There is no physical barrier to prevent Zaire from becoming as rich and as powerful as, say Brazil.

When investors from 1st world countries put money into 3rd world countries, they are elevating them and developing their market and increasing their knowledge and living standards. Are the investors doing it for selfish-reasons? Of course, but the side effect is that the poor kid who was wallowing in mud is now wallowing in a factory. While factory jobs may not be desirable to us, it's very desirable for them. Eventually, a generation or two of time will result in the worker being employed by a computer chip manufacturing firm. There is a progression towards prosperity. Otherwise, what's the alternative - send cash to them every year around Christmas and feel smug about yourself? If the world were made up entirely of educated engineers and scientists and entrepreneurs, we'd be on Pluto by now. Somewhere out there right now in the Saharan desert is some bedouin with a mind to rival Einstein or Oppenheimer and it's being wasted herding some stupid goat because his country sucks. That's what globalization is all about, not exploiting workers.


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