Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why are American jobless?

A dear friend has sent me a message circulating on the Internet. It is presented as a joke, but it might have some truth in it.

"John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN ) for 6 a.m.
While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA ) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN PHILIPPINES ) . He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA ), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE ) and tennis shoes (MADE IN VIETNAM). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA ), then he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO ) to see how much he could spend today.
After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN ) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA ), he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY ) filled it with GAS (from Saudi Arabia ) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.
At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his computer (MADE IN MALAYSIA ), John decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL ) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE ) and turned on his TV (MADE IN KOREA ), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA .

If we just skip the last sentence, the message is that the average American consumer is a global one. Globalization has brought some benefits in terms of cheaper products for low-middle income Americans, but on the other hand it has de-structured the US productive system as many jobs have been displaced to exporting countries. This is mainly true for consumer goods, including cars, TVs and also computers, but the US has strengthened at the same time its leadership in high-tech industries. So where are the jobs? They are in the so-called 'knowledge economy' and require higher education and skills than in traditional industries. Investing in education and research is the key to the future as we need to prepare future generations to the next technologies and build the cutting edge industries which will create jobs tomorrow.

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