Globalization Gives Pols an Easy Villain

Stump talk against free trade ignores real jobs stealer: technology
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2008 3:50 PM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., greets a worker as she tours the factory of William J. Donovan sheet metal contractors in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The candidates can complain all they want about globalization killing American workplaces, David Brooks writes in the New York Times, but job losses “would be happening even if you tore up every free trade deal ever inked.” It's no mystery, he argues: "The chief force reshaping manufacturing is technological change."

"Globalization is real and important," Brooks acknowledges. "It’s just not the central force driving economic change." Modern commerce requires “fewer but more highly skilled workers,” and a “more demanding cognitive age” leaves those with less training at a disadvantage. What he calls the “globalization paradigm” is a convenient political argument, but "doesn’t really explain most of what is happening in the world."