As more U.S. jobs are shipped overseas, Americans grow worried over job security and worker rights. Authors Thomas Friedman and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., discuss opposing views on the globalization of the economy and its both beneficial and harmful effects.
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"Take This Job and Ship It," that's the name of a new book that looks critically at some of the forces shaping today's global economy and its impact on American workers. One of its prime targets is another book, "The World is Flat," a bestseller with its own view of the changes brought through globalization.
Side by side now, here are the authors: Byron Dorgan, Democratic senator from North Dakota; and Tom Friedman, columnist for the New York Times.
Welcome to both of you.
TOM FRIEDMAN, New York Times:
SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), North Dakota: Thank you.
Senator Dorgan, you write, "The world is flat? That's just flat wrong." Now, what do you mean? What world do you see?
SEN. BYRON DORGAN:
Well, I do. This is a new world, after a century of progress and lifting American standards, building a middle class, lifting wages, and all the things that we did to make this the country it is.
Now it's a new day, they say. It's a global economy, a flat world. Corporations should search for the lowest, cheapest labor, lowest cost labor, produce there, ship here, sell in America, run the income through the Cayman Islands.
We're up to our neck in debt, $800 billion trade deficit this year, downward pressure on wages and benefits. I'm saying this doesn't work. It's going to shrink the middle-class. It leaves us choking on debt, and we need a fair trade strategy. This free trade nonsense in which we sell out and pull the rug out from under American workers and American interests just has to stop.
What do you see, Tom Friedman?
Well, my book is really about the world as it is and the world that's evolved in the last two decades. And it's a world in which three things have really come together: the personal computer, which has allowed individuals to author their own content in digital form; the Internet, which has allowed them to send that content anywhere, words, photo, data, spreadsheet, video; and workflow software that's made it possible to collaborate anywhere with anyone on anything.
That's what's really flattened the world, in my view, and made so many more people potential collaborators, connectors and competitors.
Now, there's an iron rule, I would argue, Jeff, in this world, and it goes like this: Whatever can be done will be done. There's only one question: Will it be done by you or to you?
And in that world, OK, I have no doubt that Americans can compete, thrive, and succeed, if we keep our economy open so more people can do more things, competitive so we get the first signals, OK, because we face competition, all right, and we empower, and enable our workers to do it before it's done to them.