Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Keep jobs in the US or not?

This is a touchy subject right now. Recently I was in communication with a CEO from another part of the world about partnerships with the US. Conducting some initial research with companies here in the US, I was struck with a dilemma. Even if I thought it was a good partnership with the foreign company, would there be fallout in the loss of local jobs. If this happened would it hurt the economy and would it worsen the potential prospects of the US workforce?

Many complain about the drain of US jobs to other parts of the world. However the truth is that high quality work is being carried out there more cheaply than in the US. As economics drive companies, they follow the line of most profit. In my view a reactionary isolationism is not going to help anyone. Instead a short-term economic and/or political gain will give way to massive loss in the world marketplace.

Rather, I suggest the US consider models based on those of the Japanese after the 2nd World War. Faced with a country with very little in the way of raw materials, Japan assessed its potential strengths - concentrating on developing industries demanding great skill and brainpower and few raw materials. The US is losing place and influence in the world economy, and while it is still the world’s richest and most influential nation, it must recognize times are changing.

The answer is not going to come in putting up a trade wall, but in identifying and seizing new market opportunities in an increasingly unified world market.

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