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Losers Shout Loudest
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A key phenomenon accompanying globalization is loud complaints from losers or those who fear becoming losers in the process - farmers of the Republic of Korea (ROK), European shoemakers and US textile workers to name just a few.

The voice of those who benefit from globalization, in comparison, sounds much weaker, either because they are highly scattered - such as consumers and retailers in rich countries benefiting from inexpensive goods produced in developing countries - or because it is difficult for them to disclose what they have gained, such as multinational companies winning fat profit in developing countries.

Many US businesses operating in China are perfect examples for those companies.

According to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, whose members represent 750 companies, three-quarters of them are making profits and more than 40 percent of the surveyed said their profit margin in China outperforms their global average.

But few companies would disclose the exact profit figures. However, back home, advocates for American workers assertively produced exact figures about how many jobs China has "stolen" from the United States and how much China has undervalued its currency.

In the United States, few have the real incentive to check the authenticity of these unqualified figures.

In addition, the figures are just auxiliary tools for the well-organized choir of China bashers.

What is really important is their sheer volume, which can be translated into the number of votes in elections.

In reality, the loss of US manufacturing jobs was mainly caused by American companies' enhanced productivity.

American firms cannot stay in many sectors of manufacturing industries in the age of globalization simply because they cannot compete with competitors from developing countries who operate on much lower costs.

As a result, adjustment in American industries has been going on and it must continue.

Each country participating in international trade in today's world has to do the same. It is inevitable.

In China, for example, many soybean and cotton farmers, in the face of surging imports, are struggling.

Needless to say, the adjustments can be painful and difficult, either for Chinese farmers, ROK farmers, European shoemakers or American textile workers.

But life is not only about earning money by selling Boeing airplanes, Citibank services and Tide detergent.

All parties concerned, especially the governments, should take the responsibility to facilitate the adjustment and to help those who are affected find new jobs, instead of joining the effort of blaming others.

(China Daily April 17, 2006)


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