Globalization and American Workforce in the Twentieth Century

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15 October 2011

Globalization and American Workforce in the Twentieth Century

Globalization is nothing new, since ancient times; people have been selling and buying their goods to each other. America was found by Europeans, when they were looking for new routes to expand their commerce and trade. In the last decade thanks to advances in communication and technology the commerce around the world has increased to a level never seen before. This globalization however has brought some changes and challenges to the American workforce: jobs have been lost or outsourced, People are not sure what kind of skills will be necessary to have a successful career and what kind of jobs that will have great demand in the coming years.

Globalization has brought great changes in the way of doing business, and its main idea is to increase trade between different regions, and is described as a process in which regional economies, societies and cultures come to integrate through communication, transport and trade. Within the new way of doing business globally, there have been changes that have affected the workforce in some countries. In an article published in The Economist the author made a description about how "companies have been moving to other countries, from manufacturing plants from Japan to China, from the U.S. call centers to India" (189). The companies are practicing the outsourcing and offshoring; for example before some auto parts were making by the car manufacturer, now the car manufacturer is buying the same part with an intermediate in other state or country. When companies contract another company to do the cleaning or cafeteria service, replacing their own people for better and sometimes more efficient service, the outsourcing results in job losses. Offshoring is very similar, the main difference is the companies are purchasing their goods or services in other countries where the labor is cheaper, (lowered their costs). An example of offshoring is when one company that manufactures automobiles located at Detroit, Michigan are buying parts such as windshield wipers and brake parts in Mexico or China, or when the same company contracts with another company in other country to do the payroll; this means a saving for the company in the United States because it minimizes its costs by reducing the number of employees on their payroll but the workers in America pay the consequences by losing their jobs

The combination of technological advances and globalization has brought changes in how the jobs are losing or moving between developed countries and the developing countries. The author Ursula Huws in Fixed and Footloose: Work and Identity in the Twentieth Century it makes mention of the observed changes with the movement of people through the different regions of the planet "On One hand, work which has previously been geographically tied to a particular place has become footloose to a historically unprecedented extent; on the other there have been vast migrations of people crossing the planet in search of both jobs and personal safety" (158). For example, in United States ​​has seen an increase in migration by people coming from other countries or people who move from one state to another state, looking for a better job, better living conditions and security. With the migration of people to the cities, they have brought new customs, new foods and even new forms of behavior. Some of the advantages it brings this whole movement of people is that they create new services, new restaurants and even changes in the health system and education; but in the other hand the arrivals of these people have displaced the local workforce in the manufacturing area, and the competition for the low skill job that pay minimum wage is high. Another challenge for the American workforce is the outsourcing where jobs in the manufacturing sector have been lost; jobs like electronic assembly, clothing and auto parts,...
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