Globalisation going too far? Time to introduce balancing tariffs, standards etc?
There's no way that the US, the EU, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea or any developed country can compete with Chinese, Indian and other very low labour cost markets.
If I am operating a business in the EU, there are vastly more costs than in China and huge amounts of regulatory requirements for environmental protection, workers' rights protection, health and safety protection, pensions, contributions to the social welfare system and healthcare system / insurance etc
The US and EU are the two largest markets for Chinese goods, taking roughly 50:50 share of the Chinese export market.
We need to exert our position of power as the world's biggest consumers. There should be a set of balancing tariffs which calculate the difference between costs in China or elsewhere and costs in the EU or the US.
Also, to protect the planet and people, EU or US environmental laws and human rights laws should be required to be complied with by any company exporting to those markets.
As it stands, we're in a race to the bottom. There will be no manufacturing or even design jobs left in the "west" before long and we'll spiral into a complete collapse. We're already on our way there with the financial crisis i.e. there's nothing much going on in the west anymore except speculative industries like banking.
I think there's a terrible arrogance in the deeply flawed logic that Western countries can be the designers and the far east and other developing areas of the world can be the factory floors. We are no more intelligent and no more qualified than our Chinese or Indian counterparts. What exactly will stop them from just doing the whole job there?
Our large corporations are all multinational. There's no such thing really as a US, British, German, Japanese or whatever company anymore. They're bigger than the countries that they originated in, they're often owned by anonymous, very aggressive stock market funds who care nothing about where they come from or what level of loyalty to their home town / home state they show. All they want to see is quarterly profits.
I think we have entered a situation where corporations are getting more powerful than they should ever have been and countries are being left behind.
When China gets too expensive, these guys will be off to the next source of cheap labour and outsourcing Chinese jobs there.
I really think it's time that we reconsidered this whole notion of totally unfettered globalization. Whose agenda does it suit other than shareholders of major corporations?
I have no problems with countries competing for jobs, but the gulf in costs and basic standards between China (and some other places) and the West is just ridiculous. It's pure market distortion and abuse and nothing else.