People are always asking me, “Jordan, what’s globalization about? How will it affect me? Will I be outsourced?”
I appreciate the assumption that I would know, and thankfully you’ve come to the right person – because I happen to know very well. Globalization is a big word, and its implications are complex, but also notably subtle. To understand it, we have to turn off the television, put down the economics textbook and think. Very recently I sat down and had such a ponder session. I thought about economics, politics, immigration, transportation and secularism, and constrained my ideas to a globalizing world paradigm.
There’s a lot of talk these days about outsourcing. A certain xenophobic rhetoric pours out of Americans, as if it were their decision to choose where Wal-Mart gets its products made. Outsourcing is a less frightening way of saying “job migration,” similar to the way global warming is an innocuous way to say, “It’s getting hotter because of our post-industrial economy.” For one second, drop your conceptions of “outsourcing” as delivering American jobs to India or China, and think of it as companies moving their bases of operations from one place to another. As the U.S. economy wanes into its twilight years, let’s begin to think of companies, rather than their native countries, as the major players in the global economy.
The United States is a sizable portion of the earth but a country of only 300 million people. The combination of China and India is a more sizable portion, with a population close to 3 billion. While the companies of today grew and matured over the last 50 years in America, their current magnitude requires a production and consumption base outside the states. While you might see this movement of jobs from here to there as outsourcing, I see it as a change in where the world does business.
It might seem like China and India spent the last 30 years assembling your television, but those televisions were the seeds for their fledgling economies. Somewhere after the billionth television they assembled, they learned how to design, market and buy them, too. Televisions are one of hundreds of micro-sectors China and India are gaining dominance in.
The financial epicenter of the world is moving to Beijing – start dealing with it. America can’t export rap music and Windows Vista too much longer before the rug gets pulled out. So what do we do? Don’t worry – I thought of a solution.
Energy will be the biggest word of the 21st century. The energy crisis is so real we have no idea, but it’s hard to see the magnitude of the problem from the ground-up and equally as hard to solve it from the top-down.
To ensure America’s role as an empowered and socially influential nation in the 21st century, we must come up with whatever’s after oil. If America were the creator, arbiter and salesman of the next fuel source, it would realign the world’s lenses right back on us – and we love the spotlight. Look at how much attention the Middle East gets. And as much as they’d like to think it’s because they live in the world’s religious core, it’s because of their energy supply. Wait until we don’t need the oil, or when it runs out, because the world’s going to turn to whoever can provide the substitute.
If we pioneered the next energy source – something efficient, clean, safe and easily transportable – I’d say the America of the ’90s would make a comeback. If we don’t, you should start asking your grandparents what the depression was like. I’d much rather use dollars for sandwiches than for firewood – sandwiches are delicious, and burnt money smells horrible. If you don’t think this is going to happen, time will prove you wrong.