The Economy the Internet Birthed: How High Tech Made it Tougher to Land a Job

It is a presidential election year and by all counts the race is close. There is no question the post-recession recovery has been anemic at best. To call it a recovery is a stretch and the threat of a double-dip recession lingers. Whether anyone can really turn this lackluster economy around is anyone’s guess. Talk of the unsustainable $16T deficits looms large but specifics on job creation remain few.

It’s not just abstract conversation for the nation’s unemployed and underemployed.

Culprits are a dime a dozen, among them offshoring and outsourcing — imbalanced “free trade” that in better economic times Americans were largely content to ignore in exchange for a bounty of Chinese-made bargains at Walmart.

Taxes are another favored target. What if we eliminated corporate taxes? Not much, it turns out. Many major corporations already avoid paying federal income taxes, studies show. Beyond that, there remains an insurmountable wage gap between an American worker and a similarly-qualified counterpart in the likes of Bangladesh. The argument can be made in favor of tax cuts but it won’t necessarily translate into hiring more American workers because consumer demand remains low. Ditto for unions, which represent less than 7 percent of the U.S. workforce. Until Americans have the ability to subsist on less than minimum wage, driving down pay will have little impact on leveling the globalized playing field.

The usual suspects have been the subject of much discussion but what about the not-so-usual suspects? The unemployed and underemployed may be asking “Is it just me or was it really easier to land a job before the Internet came into play?” Quantifying the answer to that question with any degree of certainty is difficult — it will take more research to answer the question definitively. And like any time past or present, some things don’t change: Success depends on where one lives, who one knows, what type of industry is hiring and one’s education or skill level. One thing, however, has changed: In the pre-Internet days, looking for a job entailed pounding the pavement nearly as much as it required pounding a keyboard. Now it’s possible to shoot off a résumé from an easy chair! Still, there are some indications that job hunting in the digital era isn’t as easy as the ease of the technology implies. Here we take a look at nine of the least-often acknowledged reasons job-seekers’ efforts — and the economy at large — continue to flounder in uncharted Information Age territory.

The World Wide Void

Social Networking: So you’ve got 300 friends and family connected on Facebook and five recommendations on LinkedIn. How many of those individuals yielded a job lead? Now how many of those leads actually panned out? Of those that panned out, how many of them were built upon a relationship or introduction that occurred principally online vs. off?

Due diligence takes on a whole new meaning in a sea of fly-by-night online universities, identity thieves posing as employers or recruiters and social networking contacts that may do as much to harm one’s reputation as to advance it.

Cultural Shift: Hiring conventions have changed — and they’re generally less tolerant of those who deviate from the norm. HR staff who witness an applicant walk into an establishment to apply to or follow up on a job may characterize the effort as “annoying” and attention-getting gimmicks on the part of applicants as “creepy“. With few exceptions, today’s one-size-fits-all employment market eschews the personalized or creative, which speaks to the jaded wariness of our over-saturated, over-stimulated, life-on-an-electronic-leash culture.

Going above and beyond to stand out above your fellow job seeker may be an asset in an old school employer’s eyes — it could also earn you the reputation of being an overly-desperate “job stalker”.

Who’s Asking?: Thanks to the anonymity of the Internet, fewer employers feel it necessary to provide a name, address or phone number. On Craig’s List and job boards alike, “company confidential” is an all-too-common practice. We’ve all heard the phrase “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” — but this takes opaqueness to a whole new level.

The irony of the Information Age is this: It has never been so easy to hide in plain sight!

The Internet: Never has a job search been more impersonal. Few jobs require job seekers to pick up an in-person application, scan the classified section of a local newspaper or interview on the spot at a job fair. In the past, looking for a job took footwork — physical effort to seek out job postings and to pick up and return applications. Now it’s so easy a caveman can do it. And that’s not good news for those who wish to stand out. Now that everything is online, everyone can apply — causing employers to be inundated, for instance, by out-of-area applicants that in the past would have had a hard time competing for a job advertised primarily in local newspapers. To compound the problem, Internet job postings more than a day or two old are rarely removed yet quite possibly defunct — over-saturated by applicants and marginally-qualified “junk” applicants at that. It’s a major reason why few Internet applicants learn whether their application is under consideration or not.

Even on the part of those who score an interview, follow-up is increasingly rare. Who would’ve thought: The dreaded rejection letter of days gone by seems exceedingly quaint and polite in the vast Internet of today.

Impress the Machine: A look at a job-seekers’ handbook written in the pre-Internet age is revealing. Much of the advice surrounds the proper way to go about standing out to gain that coveted interview — passe, even comical advice by digital-era standards. Today’s job search has been largely reduced to that of an electronic form and an MS Word doc — subjecting applicants to the great equalizer that is the Internet itself. Because of the sheer volume of applicants that the online process avails itself to, the eyes of an HR manager are unlikely to review the vast majority of applications. The initial screening process for employers is increasingly automated. A key-word locator scans an applicant’s submission. Applicant tracking software decides who makes the cut. This makes life particularly difficult on career-changers and fresh-graduates — and anyone else for whom one’s résumé contains experience or knowledge a computer application fails to interpret or appreciate.

Thanks, too, to the multiplicity of online IQ and personality profile tests designed to weed out electronic applicants before human eyes make first contact, only those who fit the company “monoculture” make the cut. Even the presence of a college degree isn’t the ticket it once was, if only because so many people possess them. Moreover, the relevance of one’s degree is itself problematic. And it’s not just a U.S. problem. Chinese graduates are coming up over-educated and empty-handed, too. This, however, is a particularly dangerous trend here in the states, where the skyrocketing cost of higher education necessitates steady work and a decent income by which to pay down student loans and move on to other goals in life, such as starting a family or buying a home.

It’s not personal. Employers are coming up with rigid requirements to fit fewer applicants because there are too many applicants and too few jobs.

Typecasting: You’ve just graduated from college and can’t find work in your field so you take a minimum wage job. Alternately, you’ve worked in your profession for a number of years but were laid off. You’ll take any job you can to get by — understandable, right? While it’s long been true that employers don’t like unexplained employment gaps what is less appreciated is the price for taking a step backward. Most employers are looking for a progressive level of responsibility — a linear career trajectory. It may not be fair that doing what you had to do in a recession to get by counts as a strike or that a weak job market made it necessary to accept work less challenging or lesser paying. And yet, for reasons described above — the sheer volume of applicants an Internet connection permits — employers are working more aggressively to thin the herd. Applicants who work too long in an unrelated field or for lesser pay and responsibility have their work cut out for them, not unlike a character actor that has accepted one too many sci-fi or daytime soap roles.

Getting out of a career rut has never been easy. Technology only makes it easier to pigeonhole job seekers who fall outside a narrowly-targeted candidate profile.

The Jobs Paradox

Technology: Technology has opened the job market to more competition than ever before. Thanks to broadband, back office and administrative work can be done virtually anywhere in the world. As automation enables greater efficiency employers are apt to invest more money in such products and services — diminishing demand for human resources.

It doesn’t take as many people to answer phones — automated systems allow callers to await the next available representative. It doesn’t take as many people to take reservations, provide directory assistance or maintain a digital archive. Records, gaming and software delivery, too, are migrating to the “cloud“. It takes fewer employees to process photos — consumers process their own photos on home computers. It takes fewer secretaries — managers can answer their own calls and track their own schedules on a PDA. There are fewer copy editors working for publishing houses and media outlets, in part because spell- and grammar-checkers in word processing applications have usurped them. There are fewer printing presses, print news journalists, news and postal delivery people employed because demand is down. And, as President Obama said on the campaign trail last year, there are fewer bank tellers and cashiers because ATMs and self-checkout kiosks are turning banking and shopping into a help-yourself job.

The Internet is a self-serve medium, enabling online retailers to edge out local competitors. Just as the expansion of the Borders and Barnes & Noble chains threatened independent booksellers, competition from the likes of Amazon is encroaching upon brick-and-mortar bookstores, of which Borders has already succumbed. And it’s not just B&M booksellers who are feeling the heat. Best Buy, which less than a decade ago edged out Circuit City among other local and national gadget retailers, has taken a whopping loss in profitability, too. What’s more, as local businesses vacate property and lay off workers, state and local tax revenues and commercial real estate values take a hit — a magnifier effect that only weakens the financial system further. And perhaps more unanticipated than anything, Dot-com bubble not withstanding, the popularity of the virtual world has yet to translate reliably to real-world profits — even with respect to popular social networking platforms. Perhaps no one knows the fallacy of Internet-as-goldmine better than the print media industry where circulation and ad revenues are down, bankruptcies are on the upswing and freelancer writers, photographers and cartoonists are increasingly working at home — part time.

It has been an article of economic faith that the displacement of one job is equaled or exceeded by growth in another area. Such assumptions do not account for jobs that are bound for cheaper overseas labor markets, nor does it account for the reality that better-paying jobs frequently demand specific skill sets for which educational programs typically lag. Moreover, not every “Joe the Plumber” can expect to have or to handle the demands of increasingly high-tech, high-skill or creatively-demanding jobs. And yet technology continues to hollow the job market out, shoving low-skill, service-level jobs on one end of the bell curve and highly educated Ph.Ds and creative/entrepreneurial-geniuses on the other. The middle class isn’t just eroding thanks to global trade. It’s eroding because technology, if not eliminating jobs outright, require a higher-than-average subset of workers to support it.

We can’t have a well-fed, well-educated and well-adjusted society, on the whole, if technology bifurcates the workforce along the lines of intellect and class.

Here Now, Gone Tomorrow: Staffing agencies have been with us for decades. What hasn’t been with us for decades is the idea that it is acceptable to farm out mission-critical business functions to outside firms and temporary contractors on a long-term or permanent basis. Nowhere, perhaps, is this more apparent than the information technology field. Increasingly field engineering is carried out by contractors and increasingly entry-level developer work has shifted overseas and undercut through H1B visa, foreign-worker insourcing. At the same time, data storage is moving off-site to cloud facilities comprised of a virtual, Internet-based distribution hub serving a multitude of corporate clients. Software licenses and their associated administration costs are shifting, too, to cloud-based subscription services.

In-house information technology support staff are proportionately at risk of replacement by a contingent, just-in-time workforce to further scale down costs. Therein lies the irony: those who work to facilitate technological efficiency — consolidation through automation — are transforming their own livelihoods into one characterized by employment gaps and benefit loss for which students and career-changers with an interest in the IT field are growing wary. When one contract expires the continuity of one’s personal income goes with it. As the tech talent pool shrinks, productivity may take on a whole new meaning as fewer and fewer technologists are employed or equipped to provide businesses with the continuity of service and security they demand.

Talented personnel cognizant of the eroding future in the IT and administrative fields are apt to apply their skills elsewhere, competing for jobs alongside the rest of us for an increasingly limited slice of the economic security pie.

Information Asymmetry: Today’s applicant selection process is more image based than ever. Applicant tracking software allows companies and recruiting firms to form impressions not merely through a criminal or credit check but who you know and, for better or worse, the prevailing stereotypes those associations invoke. Digging into an applicant’s connections on LinkedIn and Facebook are common and some employers have gone so far as to request passwords to social media sites as part of the screening process, while others collect social security numbers for all would-be contractors — not merely new-hires who make the final cut. Whether or not a candidate has engaged in inappropriate or questionable behavior is the obvious question but it is far from the only consideration. One’s age, income and the overall character of one’s social network may work for or against applicants. Today’s employer has the upper hand like never before.

It’s verboten to include a photo of yourself with your resume or thank-you card — but employers may view one anyway. Worse, there’s no reliable means to determine if you’ve been subject to discrimination on the basis of age, race or gender because of it. The Internet has made EEOC regulation virtually unenforceable.

Tough Questions

The social and economic questions this digital era provokes remain new and largely unanswered despite the ever-present push to move forward at all costs. And yet how accurately we define the challenges determines our success in adapting to change with the smallest amount of persistent, collateral damage. Do we want to continue headlong into a technology-made future wherein employers cast an unrealistically wide net for “local” applicants? Do policymakers wish to facilitate a future where there are fewer and fewer taxable Americans because technology has hollowed out the employment market, squeezing out the middle class? Do we feel it is justified to to force applicants to “tell all” online, availing themselves to identity theft and résumé rip-offs even as employers refuse to identify themselves? Is it time to revisit the issue of antitrust enforcement to break up monopolies across a variety of industries — to prioritize more jobs, spur competition and combat market concentration?

These are the soul-searching questions our increasingly convenience-driven and complex society must ask itself. How we answer will determine whether high numbers of underemployed and unemployed workers continue to take their toll on American prosperity. So too do our answers foreshadow whether the American Dream remains within reach of those willing and able to pursue it.

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RESOURCES

Former Fed Vice Chairman: The Internet Could Threaten Millions of U.S. Jobs | CNBC, March 2007

The Rise of the Permanent Temporary Workforce | Bloomberg, January 2010

Does Technology Destroy Jobs? Five Points of Clarification for the Unemployment Debate | The Decline of Scarcity, January 2012

What Has the Internet Done for the Economy? | Kellogg Insight, March 2011

What if this is No Accident? What if this is the Future? | TechCrunch, November 2011

Local News Coverage Outsourced to India and Elsewhere | Columbia Journalism Review

Political Clout in the Age of Outsourcing | NYT, April 2006

Worries Grow as Wellpoint, Other Healthcare Companies, Send Jobs Overseas | Bangor Daily News, July 2012

Death of an IT Guy | Forbes, July 2012

Privacy Abuses Could Kill Cloud Storage | Infoworld, April 2012

Books

Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy | Amazon, October 2011

Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences | Amazon, 1997

The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future | Amazon, 2009

Video

Apple, America and the ‘China Problem’

The secret is out: Apple has a worm inching its way through its corporate flesh. January was a tough month on the Cupertino, California company venerated for its innovation and vision.

The controversy emerged when an Apple contractor in China, a manufacturing facility known as Foxconn where many brand-name electronics are assembled largely by hand, made headlines when dozens of workers threatened to jump to their deaths over a labor dispute. Foxconn’s solution? Erect netting beneath roofs and windows.

It doesn’t end there. For 12-hour shifts, six-days-per week and a live-in lifestyle workers allegedly earn just $17, the New York Times reports. Forbes and PC Magazine added their own angle to the news. One such detail described a high-level manager who, at a Chinese zoo, asked a zookeeper to provide advice on how to deal with his workers, drawing a direct comparison between factory workers and undomesticated animals. It gets worse. A NYT piece, “In China, Human Costs are Built into iPad“, refers to two dozen accidental worker deaths that have occurred as a result of unsafe working conditions. Finally, in “This American Life” the narrator of “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory” recounts a first-hand meetup with underage Chinese workers, among scores of others who suffer permanent neurological tremors and ticks as a consequence of over-exposure to a chemical toxin.

For all the outrage, many argue such are the inescapable growing pains of a Third World labor force “coming up”. At one time, the United States, too, was known for worker exploitation, a chief reason child labor laws gained traction and unions became a bulwark against corrupt and abusive management practices. And yet, even at the height of the union movement in the US such organizations represented only a fraction of the workforce. Nonetheless, what began as labor negotiating with management to build a viable American middle class has transformed in recent decades to its polar opposite: a perception that unions destroy American prosperity.

Let’s turn these assumptions on their head for a moment. It may very well be in our best interest to support unionization movements in the Third World because only then will we stem the tide of human rights abuses and, at the same time, diminish the massive inequalities that allow US companies to do the math and abandon American soil —- our workforce — in favor of nations that are institutionally in conflict to American democracy, liberty and justice. Rather than live down to a Third World “race to the bottom” standard, we who have already been down the road to civil rights in the First World ought to raise the international bar: mentor up-and-coming industrial nations in “best practices”.

Our choice is clear: In the absence of such a push Third World manufacturing will remain attractive in much the same way the American South benefited from plantation slave labor. In the US we fought a bloody Civil War to become a civil society. For all the doom-and-gloom of the incensed Southern plantation owner, certain the loss of low-cost labor represented a death-knell, the United States thrived in the post-Civil War era, particularly so after World War II.

Why tolerate and excuse “separate and unequal” practices overseas?

Blind-eyed consumerism turns us into self-serving hypocrites. And yet the shame we bring upon ourselves is far from the only reason to care about what goes on on the other side of the globe. We, too, suffer at our own hand in a less overt but equally-destructive manner: wage stagnation, loss of social mobility and growing deficits that, in the years to come, will increasingly link to tax revenue losses associated with declining (taxable) American affluence. What began some 25 years ago as an offshoring, outsourcing rush sparked the rise of the “too good to pass up” Chinese-made bargain at Walmart and has culminated in a high price indeed. Today, unlike then, economic necessity drives many Americans to purchase Third World goods because our buying power has slipped in direct proportion to the wholesale acceptance of patently unfair “free trade agreements”.

Ross Perot was right when he warned of the “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving North American soil.

There’s nothing wrong with free trade in the true sense of free-market intent. There is, however, something very wrong with the negative notion that the widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” represents a valid manifestation of such a market. Globalization isn’t the problem per se: bad policy is. At the international trade table our “partners” aren’t playing the same free-market game — and therein lies the problem. The United States is increasingly bested by communists, socialists and managed market capitalists! Will we ever come out of economic decline if we don’t perceive the need for a course correction? Take a long, hard look at our 2012 presidential candidates: How many of them propose a viable industrial policy, speak of a solution to the trade deficits or call-out the perverse tax incentives that are shooting America’s economic interests in the foot?

Is it any wonder that our anti-liberty competitors — nations, like China, where government puts to death anyone who attempts to unionize — successfully defend their competitive advantage through currency manipulation, taxes on US-made goods and government-backed “private enterprise”? How nonsensical is it that we Americans glibly say it is “protectionist” to fight fire with fire!? Let’s call it what it is: a leveling of the playing field. It’s a necessary evil lest we become impoverished to a Third World degree!

This much is true: We can’t keep sitting complacently on the wrong end of the see-saw with the flat-earth expectation that we will maintain a fighting chance to compete through pure creativity or educational prowess. Now that our productive capacity exists primarily overseas, engineers, skilled machinists, prototype builders, and venture capitalists will increasingly take up residence there, too. That doesn’t leave much room for even the most highly-educated American student to succeed short of relocating to greener pastures. And therein lies the second problem: what we take for granted here — freedom of speech, religion and association — are criminal offenses in much of the world.

For all our romanticizing, the mobile, global “citizen of the world” is not one who can take the pursuit of life, liberty and justice for granted.

Change may be inevitable but it need not be an all-or-nothing proposition fraught with quasi-religious political dogmas. A large part of the solution lies in bringing Third World manufacturers into the 21st Century so that working conditions are not so dissimilar from our own. To do anything less than revisit and renegotiate the world’s FTAs is akin to running a hockey or football game with one set of rules for the home team and another set of rules for the visiting team. Nonsense! It’s time we got over our apparent death wish, stopped parroting the usual partisan talking points and rallied the courage to institute pragmatic trade reforms. In the long term, that reform needs to include incentives — if not sanctions — for “world citizens” (multinational corporations) that exploit vulnerable populations. Another crucial aspect to such reform is the diversification and development of affordable energy resources that will trim the cost of doing business: here, there and everywhere.

For any real improvement in the quality of workers’ lives we can’t simply point to economic opportunity in isolation. The individuals who live and work in China and elsewhere in the Third World must have some basic assurances in addition to their material needs: namely, that they are innocent until proven guilty and endowed with certain rights. Without the backbone we in the United States take for granted, the potential for such individuals to enjoy social equality, and therefore social mobility, are limited at best.

All too often, the Western view is that China and much of the Third World will go through a wayward period of industrialization and human rights abuses, to emerge one day with the same protections and freedoms enjoyed by Americans. And yet, in an increasingly connected world, making change within one’s borders is becoming more difficult as globalization exerts greater external pressures. When the United States made its greatest strides we were separated by entire oceans — a buffer that was instrumental to our independence but increasingly nonexistent today. In the US, moreover, we had a values system in place to sustain and uplift what would ultimately promote civil rights: namely, the concept that “all men are created equally” with the right to freedom of assembly and association. These precepts allowed early-American workers to unionize in order to further represent their interests. Gradually we have come to see unions as an overreaching force, but at the time they were a much-needed countervailing influence in a period of our history when worker abuses were far too common.

Without an existing framework of liberty, the social gains Americans achieved would scarcely have been realized as early or as completely. If we think that a repressive regime with whom we freely trade on the global market can be altered through the sheer force of modernization and economic progress — which apparently was the hope when Nixon opened up relations with China — we may have another thing coming. If and when that evolution or revolution comes to the Third World, it may come through such a degree of unrest, if not civil war, that it will come to look painfully short-sighted to stow so many of our manufacturing “eggs” in a single regional basket. In fact, the over-specialization and concentration of manufacturing capacity, in general, may come back to haunt us in a manner never before seen in human history. (A war or natural disaster concentrated in or near where the developed world manufacturers most of its critical products from prescription medications to electric grid components could have the same effect.)

If and when the Chinese people revolt against working 12-hour shifts, six days a week and living and eating in the factory barracks, change may come in the form of such disruptions to the supply chain that the world economy will feel pressured to aid the Chinese government in a return to the status quo for the sake of minimizing mass economic disruption and lost profits. Perhaps it is too late but it still needs to be said: Unless we successfully export democratic liberties and fair-trade principles to our trading partners and their labor forces before we come to rely on said nation for our own economic cohesiveness, we will be beholden to a ticking human-labor time bomb. Should the Chinese say “Enough!”, only for the government to react in a heavy-handed Tiananmen Square manner, it is entirely possible that China’s globalized trade partners will be so overly concerned for their respective strategic interests and losses that support for a human rights uprising, past overdue though it may be, will be found lacking. Cries for better compensation and treatment will go largely ignored, and any instability in those regions of the world will be minimized in the American media so that we can go on telling ourselves that globalization has lifted more people out of misery and poverty than not.

Fair trade is in our best strategic and economic interest. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when”. Therefore, the sooner we get to the “when”, the sooner we minimize the harm — to all concerned.

If you are inclined to feel pessimistic, don’t. Consider the growing market for fair-trade coffee, non-GMO and organic foods. A growing number of consumers are willing to pay a premium for health and the satisfaction of being on the right side of the fence when it comes to labor practices. Scores of Americans, too, are more than willing to fork over a premium for a Chinese-made Coach handbag at no real cost savings for its origin simply because the brand carries a perception of value even though it is no longer domestically produced. I am arguing that the same market potential exists here. The assumption that Americans won’t pay for peace of mind or premium-branded US-made products remains largely untested in today’s climate of “conscious consumerism”. Anyone who prefers name-brand over store-brand pays a markup willingly, regardless of country of origin. It stands to reason there is a broader market for products created under fair trade conditions that remains largely untapped. It’s time to invest in symbiotic international relationships that actually work — not the dysfunctional thinking that crudely passes for globalized free trade.

In the spirit of thinking differently it is time to challenge the myth that US-made merchandise corresponds to massive price hikes. A modest 20-35 percent increase for the satisfaction of owning a few more US-made goods is likely to receive greater acceptance as the “jobless recovery” lingers, consumers become more quality conscious, and news of foreign-worker abuses in our hyper-connected small world begin to hit closer to home. There’s reason to believe that the competitive advantage of Third World manufacturing is itself unsustainable.

Why might the affordability gap between foreign-made goods and US-made alternatives narrow despite cut-rate overseas labor costs? Because gasoline and transport prices are on the rise. As energy prices increase, it becomes less cost effective to manufacture products thousands of miles away from their intended market. A push to “go local” and “manufacture Green” will mean that more First World consumers will value products that help their own communities in the perception that this is also the environmentally-responsible way to rebuild the social contract.

To manufacture products closer to one’s target market is not infeasible: one need only look to foreign auto manufacturers that have set up US plants to see that such arrangements are workable. Volkswagen, Honda and Toyota, among others, provide the proof that taking one’s manufacturing plants to your market — in this case to manufacture foreign automobiles with US labor — does not harm the bottom line. In fact, the decentralization of production may very well be a security investment against assembly-line disruptions that might otherwise occur when productive capacity is concentrated in a single geographical region where war or natural disaster can prove disastrous. Make no mistake: This is not an argument to move all production to the US. Rather, I argue equally that products destined for the Asian or European markets should be assembled closer to their respective consumers. In so doing, consumer electronics and appliances that are destined for the US consumer can and should be made here for reasons of economy, environment and quality control. After all, when more Americans are gainfully employed, upwardly mobile and fully equipped to participate in the global economy the more likely it is to benefit the profitability of manufacturers.

This argument comes down to a simple truth that the policymakers, CEOs and MBAs apparently overlooked in their haste to go global: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Corporations have a responsibility: to understand that an investment in their market is an investment in their bottom line. If this isn’t the quintessential definition of “rational self-interest” I don’t know what is.

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RESOURCES

Making It In America | The Atlantic

Globalization’s Achilles’ Heel | The Daily Beast

Reporter’s Roundtable: Apple’s China Problem | CNET

Apple Wrestles with its China Problem | MarketWatch

Are Walmart’s Chinese Factories As Bad As Apple’s | Mother Jones

Globalization, Inequality and the State | Thomas Pogge

Is China a Threat to the US Economy? | Congressional Research Service PDF

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