Globalization of jobs
from David Ruccio
Once upon a time, the cheerleaders of globalization, like Matt Slaughter, could claim that “for every one job that U.S. multinationals created abroad. . .they created nearly two U.S. jobs in their [U.S.-based] parents.” As the following graph shows, that’s no longer the case.
Over the past decade, U.S. multinational corporations—like General Electric, Caterpillar, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart—have been hiring abroad while cutting jobs at home.
The companies cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show. That’s a big switch from the 1990s, when they added jobs everywhere: 4.4 million in the U.S. and 2.7 million abroad.
In all, U.S. multinationals employed 21.1 million people at home in 2009 and 10.3 million elsewhere, including increasing numbers of higher-skilled foreign workers.
The ability of multinational corporations to shift production and jobs when and where they want—shrinking employment at home and abroad while increasing productivity or hiring everywhere or cutting jobs at home while adding them abroad—undercuts the position of U.S. workers and undermines the usual neoclassical dogma concerning the benefits of globalization.
All they’re left with is the argument that globalization makes consumer goods cheaper in the United States—which only works if anyone is left with a job to buy those goods.