Does an increase in free market activity worldwide lead to an overall lower standard of living in the United States?
NO. An increase in free market activity worldwide doesn’t lead to an overall lower standard of living in the United States.
One concern has been frequently voiced by the opponents of free market or globalization is that falling international trade barriers destroy manufacturing jobs in wealthy advanced economies such as US and Western Europe. The critics argue a free market worldwide allows firms to move manufacturing activities to countries where wage rates are much lower. Furthermore estimates suggest that the pool of global labor may have quadrupled between 1985 and 2005 with most of the increase taking place after 1990, due to the entry of China, India, and states from Eastern Europe into the global trading system, along with global population growth. Other things being equal, one might conclude that this enormous expansion in the global labor force, when coupled with expanding international trade, would have depressed wages in developed nations. The example of Harwood Industries; citied by D.L. Bartlett and J.B. Steele, journalists for the Philadelphia Inquirer, supports the concern mentioned above. The both journalists suggests that, Harwood Industries, a U.S. clothing manufacturer closed its U.S. operations, where it paid workers $9/hr. and shifted manufacturing to Honduras, where textile workers get $0.48/hr. Because of moves such as this, argue Bartlett and Steele, the wage rates of poorer Americans have fallen significantly over the past quarter of century. In the past few years, the same fear has been applied to the services, which have increasingly been outsourced to nations with lower labor costs. The popular feeling is that when firms such as Dell ,IBM, or Citigroup outsource service activities to lower cost foreign suppliers, they are “exporting jobs” to low