Friday, July 15, 2011

Globalization

I’m reading a buddy of mine’s blog and he begins to discuss something that reminds me of many conversations I’ve had with many different people about our country and its future within the global marketplace. There are several things that need to be unloaded before we begin to dive any deeper. First of all, what is globalization? Why is it happening? What implications does it have for me personally, and you? Globalization is the increasing unification of the world’s economic order through reduction of international barriers, or so says the all-knowing Wikipedia. What that means in a nutshell is that the world is growing and no longer do the people that help it spin well find themselves in a small region or country or even continent. The largest evidence of globalization’s affects can be seen in a short video taking the viewer on a tour of some of Detroit’s bad areas of towns. These bad areas have been negatively impacted by the global marketplace. Detroit used to be a bustling city. The largest market there, and in Michigan in general, was the auto industry. Michigan continues to have one of the worst economies in the States right now because of the auto industry fall out. After watching the video and reflecting on the state of Detroit one must ask, how did this happen? How did things get so bad? Well, the auto industry was something we had and were good at. We had men and women who screwed widgets to zigzags with high school educations getting paid 60 or 70 thousand dollars a year. At the time, it was a testament to the American Spirit to rise above things like education or lack thereof. Somewhere over the pond where life is not as nice as it is here in America, someone figured out they could build cars too. They could build cars and hire employees to connect zigzags and widgets all day for $8,000 a year. That worker was so happy and motivated to get this job that they busted their butts and filled their brows with sweat to excel and be efficient at what they do. That very same work ethic carried into the machine shops where these parts were made, so the cost of parts went down. This strong work ethic and appreciation for opportunity caused these products and work to be done efficiently and ultimately produce a very reliable product. The overhead on this overseas business is much lower than its American counterpart. Companies began to realize this and ship out their services. They could pay less and get more; you really can’t blame them can you? This same story can be applied to many other industries, and if you pay attention, is creeping into some of the most secure, or at least we thought, fields. Companies can now send an x-ray to another part of the world now and get back an analysis at the same rate and possibly even faster and definitely cheaper than they can here. Many many jobs are going overseas and this is a reality my generation especially has to begin thinking about in order to make it.


Instead of chanting U-S-A-U-S-A-U-S-A! and wearing the most gaudy patriotic cloths you can while having passionate discussions of how all these foreigners are taking our jobs, let’s slow down a bit and think this through. Our jobs? The American people seem to have a big problem with entitlement. We are not guaranteed anything, especially someone to pay us money to provide a service. A change in attitude may do us well. Instead of them taking our jobs, maybe we should look at it as the best person, or most qualified candidate gets the job, regardless of international location. If we really think about it, it does make the most sense for any business to get the most efficient and reliable product for the least expensive price. If an employee costs $35,000 a year and we can replace them with a machine that provides the same product or service at a cheaper price to the company than maybe that product itself will be more inexpensive for the consumer. It’s this beautifully simple circle of commerce. Unpatriotic, anti-American, or the throw-back term "communist" are much easier to throw out than to stop and analyze the situation holistically. Ultimately, America cannot operate the way it does now. No one can remain the same without being duplicated. Most times when there is a blueprint laid, someone else comes along and tweaks that design and improves it. The last becomes old and the latest becomes progressive, it is an evolution of sorts for the marketplace.

Maybe you don’t like globalization or you think it’s not right or fair. Well, with all do respect, we need to wake up and accept that it is here to stay and do something to prepare ourselves for today and the future. Have you read Who Moved My Cheese? I’d suggest you do. It is a very short, yet clever, book that talks about dealing with change. We can deal with it and adapt or sit around with our arms crossed thinking how unfair it is. The reality is that those who do not deal with change well will be left in the dust, their jobs will be taken from them, and they will have no one to blame but themselves. The government takes a lot of heat for creating jobs in our poor economy. President Obama blamed technology for making it more difficult than he thought to create jobs (ATM cited as the villain). I say that this responsibility falls on ourselves though, as individuals. We want jobs, right? In China or India a child gets schooled some then pays for it. Because a family is paying for school the children take it seriously and excel. These kids want something better for themselves and their families so they achieve scholarly success. In Indiana right now we have one of the worst school systems in the nation. We are cutting programs left and right. While we shut doors to schools new students are thirsting for education overseas. Professional athletes were able to float through high school just to get a scholarship to a college, to spend a year at and go pro. Now this uneducated person gets paid millions to play a game. No wonder kids don’t have any motivation for school! The media teaches them they can basically just achieve mediocrity and a passing grade just to get through so they can drop out and make millions. Education isn’t that important, money is. Our schools are cutting some of the programs that set people aside and develop the most important part of our brain for the future, our right hemisphere. There is a revolution happening in the marketplace and right-brainers are taking over. It is innovation that wins the bread now. We need educated innovators to excel at something. We need to change. Instead of blaming globalization maybe we should blame ourselves for just accepting what has been given to us. We’re a spoiled people and our good fortune to live in such a great country like America works against us at times because we just accept what appears as greatness comparatively while the rest of the world looks at us as a blueprint and plans on how to improve and progress.

The hope for our generation in this global economy is innovation and change. Are you willing to do the hard work and discover that change, discover the path to success in a global economy? We cannot expect to stay the same and achieve different results, some crazy German called this insanity. May we not be insane, may we be innovative people, may we embrace globalization and learn to thrive within it.

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