Everybody Wins, Except for Most of Us
AbstractA key contribution is simply to translate the costs of globalization for workers on the losing end into easily understandable terms: dollars per worker (or household). This book finds that the annual losses to a full-time median-wage earner in 2006 total approximately $1,400. For a typical household with two earners, the loss is more than $2,500. These losses are as high or higher than other economic costs commonly presented as much more damaging to American families, such as the cost of health care, spikes in gasoline and fuel oil prices, the cost of a child's four-year college education, or the funds needed to remedy a possible shortfall in the future of Social Security. To deal with a harm as large and widespread as that imposed by globalization, we need to think much more ambitiously about public policy that re-links aggregate and individual prosperity, a policy that uses all the levers available: social insurance, public investment, fairer economic rules, and redistribution when other tools fail to provide egalitarian outcomes. Further, despite much protestation to the contrary, the globalization status quo is at least as stingy to the poor trading partners of the United States as it is to American workers. There is no real danger to progressive goals in calling for its complete upending.
So far we have been content to allow globalization without compensation to proceed apace. This complacency has already hurt us, and the damage will only grow in the future.