Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, June 24, 2017 01:01:07 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Rethinking labour mobility

By
11th-Jan-2017       Readers ( 108 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

Harold James  :
The past year will be remembered as a period of revolt against what US President-elect Donald Trump likes to call "globalism." Populist movements have targeted "experts" and "elites," who are now asking themselves what they could have done differently to manage the forces of globalization and technological innovation. The emerging consensus is that people and communities displaced by these forces should be compensated, perhaps even with an unconditional basic income. But that strategy has many hazards. People who are paid to do meaningless activities, or nothing at all, will likely become even more disengaged and alienated. Regions that are subsidized simply because they are losing out may demand more autonomy, and then grow resentful when conditions do not improve.
Thus, simple transfers are not enough. Humans are ingenious and adaptable, but only in some circumstances; so we must continue to search for viable opportunities that allow people to participate creatively and meaningfully in the economy. To that end, we should look to history, and study what happened to the "losers" during previous periods of rapid techno-globalization.
In the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, technological innovation, especially in textile machinery, displaced skilled artisans and craft workers en masse, and left them deprived of any real safety net to cushion the blow. But, in retrospect, it is not obvious that governments could have done anything to compensate Silesian handloom weavers or rural Irish artisans. Although they were hard workers, their products were both inferior in quality and more expensive than what was being manufactured in the new factories.
Instead, many displaced workers emigrated - often long distances across oceans - to places where they could take on new forms of work, and even prosper. As the late Thomas K. McCraw's brilliant book The Founders and Finance shows, America's tradition of entrepreneurship is a testament to inventive migrants.
To see the benefits of migration, we need look no further than Kallstadt, a town of small-scale farmers in southwest Germany where Friederich (Fred) Trump - Donald Trump's grandfather - was born on March 14, 1869. He moved to the US in 1885 (his wife was also born in Kallstadt, and he married her there on a return visit in 1902). The father of the founder of the food giant Heinz (now the Kraft Heinz Company), Henry John Heinz, was born in Kallstadt as well, in 1811, and emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1840s, to escape an agricultural crisis.
But just one century later, emigration was no longer an option for people whose economic activity had suddenly become obsolete, not least because most countries had imposed tougher barriers against migration. In the first half of the twentieth century, the most vulnerable producers were rural, small-scale farmers who could not compete with expanding food production elsewhere in the world.
This was especially true for European farmers, who responded to their sudden impoverishment and bankruptcy with the same sort of populist politics that featured so prominently in 2016. They formed and voted for radical political movements that blended economic and social utopianism with increasingly militant nationalism. These movements against globalization, which culminated in World War II, helped to destroy the contemporary international order.
In the aftermath of World War II, politicians in industrial countries found a different solution to the problem of displaced farmers: they subsidized agriculture, supported prices, and sheltered the sector from international trade.
In the US - which, tellingly, avoided the nationalist surge - this effort had already been embodied in the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act. In Europe, price maintenance and supranational protectionism formed the political basis for European integration in the European Economic Community, which would become the foundation for the European Union. To this day, the EU budget is overwhelmingly devoted to the Common Agricultural Policy, the system of subsidies and other measures to support the sector.
Agricultural protectionism worked well for two reasons. First, US and European agricultural products in this new regime were not fundamentally worthless, as handmade, technically inferior cloth was during the Industrial Revolution. American and European producers still fed the populations of rich countries, even if they did so at a higher cost than was economically necessary. Second, and more important, workers were able to change occupations, and many moved from the countryside to fill attractive, high-paying jobs in urban manufacturing and services.
Of course, today the threat posed by globalization extends precisely to these "new" jobs. Europe and the US have long attempted to support "losers" in manufacturing and services through various small-scale programs that do not, in fact, benefit many workers. For example, the US Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which was augmented under the 2009 Trade and Globalization Adjustment Assistance Act, and the EU's Globalization Adjustment Fund are small, complex, and expensive measures to compensate displaced workers.
As a result, many of the dilemmas that confronted nineteenth-century policymakers are confronting their counterparts today. No one can deny that it is a waste of human and natural resources to prop up occupations that create unwanted or obsolete goods. Earlier generations had emigration as a release valve, and many people today, especially in Eastern and Southern Europe, are responding to poor local economic conditions in a similar fashion.
The most important form of mobility is not physical; it is social or psychological. Unfortunately, the US and most other industrialized countries, with their stultifying and rigid education systems, have failed to prepare people for this reality.
(Harold James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation).
Courtesy: Project Syndicate

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Safety on highway must be high on card


AS the Eid-ul-Fitr is knocking the door, home-bound passengers are taking long journey on highways and using Railways and Waterways to reach families overnight. There is acrimonious scene all over and we must say the government must ensure discipline at critical places to avoid mishap. The weather is however good ...

Back Page »

Iftar Mahfil welfare approach


Abdul Muqit Chowdhury :Iftar Mahfil has become a tradition in the Holy Ramzan. Such gathering, if it is a positive approach to contribute to fraternal relation in the society, is surely acceptable. Sharing the joy of fasting irrespective of social status and class is praiseworthy.This reflects allegiance to the Islamic ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, among others, at a discussion on 'Attack on Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and Future of Clean Politics of Bangladesh' organised by Swadhinata Forum at the Jatiya Press Club on Friday.


.

Entertainment »

Alia is Raazi for Meghna Gulzar`s next


Alia Bhatt is all set to feature in Meghna Gulzar’s next, Raazi. The actress would be seen playing a Kashmiri girl marries to a Pakistani army officer in the espionage thriller. Raazi portrays the story of a Kashmiri girl married to a Pakistani army officer who would provide Indian intelligence ...

International »

Senate Republicans unveil Obamacare replacement bill after months of closed-door crafting


Reuters, Washington :U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their version of legislation that would replace Obamacare, proposing to kill a tax on the wealthy that pays for it and reduce aid to the poor to cut costs.With Democrats deeply opposed to Republican attempts to overhaul former President Barack Obama's signature ...

Editorial »

Mayors must do more to contain chikungunya in city


THE outbreak of mosquito borne diseases like a new type of fever called chikungunya, in addition to dengue fever in the city and elsewhere is causing additional concern to city dwellers and public health authorities how to protect people from this danger. People in most families in the city are ...

Back Page »

Zum'atul Wida


Abdul Muqit Chowdhury :The last Friday of the Holy Ramzan is called 'Zum'atul Wida'. It means 'departing Zum'a'. The musallies with due religious fervour join the Zum'a congregation and bid farewell to this month of patience and self-restraint. Al-Quran imposes obligation of the Friday prayer in the followingverses : "O ...

Cricket »

Malinga in hot water over 'monkey' comment


AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga faced an investigation Thursday after he compared a government minister to a monkey following criticism that the country's cricketers were too fat.Sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said he ordered an inquiry after Malinga lambasted him for questioning the endurance of Sri Lankan players ...

Entertainment »

Harry and Sejal grooving on Radha


Jab Harry met Sejal’s first song Radha is out and it’s as refreshing as it can get. The song features Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma dancing to the tunes of Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan on the streets. The peppy number with its foot tapping music and catchy lyrics ...

Entertainment »

Samia Rahman’s Eid reality show Rupantor


Entertainment Report :A reality show will be telecasted in five days of Eid holidays and its result will be announced during this time. This short-term reality show Rupantor is planned by Samia Rahman. She will moderate the show. She will select 30 university females among hundred students. Produced by Samia ...

International »

Macron adds new faces to Cabinet after losing 4 ministers


AP, Paris :French President Emmanuel Macron brought several little-known figures into his government Wednesday as part of a reshuffle after corruption scandals started tarnishing his young Cabinet.Macron had planned to rearrange the government after his centrist party won a majority in parliamentary elections Sunday. He was forced to make more ...

Editorial »

Postponement of new VAT, but much more is needed


THE New VAT Act scheduled to become effective from July 1 is facing new crisis as the Finance Minister has been asked by the highest authority of the government to postpone it for the time being and find out why controversies with business communities and other stakeholders still remained unresolved. ...

Cricket »

Darren Sammy remains in Rajshahi Kings


Sports Reporter :The fifth edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Cricket will be held in this year. Defending runners-up Rajshahi Kings has started to form their team. West Indian star Darren Sammy led Rajshahi Kings in last year's BPL. Rajshahi Kings have retained Darren Sammy for this year's BPL. The ...

City »

Bangladesh Institute of Planners organised a discussion meeting on landslide at Jatiya Press Club yesterday.


Entertainment »

Afzal Sharif’s Eid TVC


Entertainment Report :Actors of the small screen always believe that they must have worked either play or telefilm in Eid. On the other hand, actors of big screen want their acted movie must be released in Eid. As a result, they pass the Eid festival joyfully. But actor Afzal Sharif ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news