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    Jesus was so cool, no wonder there are so many Christians..., 2004-03-12 11:39:29 | Main | trade and income distribution..., 2004-03-13 16:57:58

    DeLong has often argued to the effect that "So long as lost jobs are balanced by new ones, the overall effect on employment will be small." Via ruminate this, the latest job projections: 7 out of 10 of the top growing professions in the US have median salaries below $20,000, 7 out of 10 of the top shrinking professions have median salaries over $25,000.

    While much of the problem lay in domestic policy, roughly speaking the labor protections that would help decrease that disparities in these wages are shrinking and unenforced in the US, don't appear to be making gains anywhere else, and the present free trade regime is closely linked to labor rights - or lack of them - through the combination of unrestricted capital markets combined with restricted and generally repressed labor markets. The insurgency of disgruntled American tech workers of the ESR gun-toter variety raging across the blogosphere against India - a country with comparatively fantastic labor laws outside the Export Processing Zones - is bizarre, and the appropriate response ought to be cooperating to find a solution to the future mass migration of IT work to corporatist China and the Phillipines. India could be more partner than adversary in working to improve conditions in those countries, in this hacker's view. Maybe I'll move there. But the treatment of women in EPZs is ghastly across the board, and China's treatment of workers attempting to get their cut of the pie is beyond brutal. We're trending towards One Big Corporation, but there's no corresponding One Big Union.

    What I'd like to know is how putting labor law into the trade agreements - for years the standard long-term solution from those who appear to have been labelled "anti-trade" - is either a) protectionism, or b) inimical to the interests of participating countries, their workers, or trade as a whole. Obviously the investor class won't like it, but tough nuggets. It might slow the rate of job shifting, but that would be beneficial to workers and thusly contribute to sustainable trade and investment. You'd think it would help prevent the present and future resurgencies in economic nationalism the free-traders are so contemptuous and fearful of, but as far as my eye can see the defenders of the present regime have never offered any real criticism of the idea, nor have they endorsed it. Maybe it's value-neutral, but hell if DeLong and his ilk ever so much as mention it, though the miffed strata of his readership does so often enough. Instead we get a lot of handwaving and euphism in defense of the status quo.

:: posted by buermann @ 2004-03-12 17:24:39 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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