Globalization Ain’t All Bad, Really!
Globalization is not inherently bad, but raises moral, and ethical issues with personal and corporate financial effects. Should businesses outsource manufacturing, locally or abroad, to improve productivity and lower costs? Should a country stop trade with another country with a proven track record of human rights abuse, such as China, until China stops abusing human rights?
These are real issues transnational businesses must address proactively. Politicians talk tough against them but act expediently. Business executives with greater accountability to deliver results to shareholders can't evade them. And anti-globalization groups, with no accountability, don't try to look holistically at this issue because it is acceptable to demonize transnationals publicly.
Let's be realistic, stopping trade with China will not change their behavior. Still, countries must set strict guidelines for national corporations operating in China. During my 32-year business career, I represented my Fortune 500 transnational corporation on public and private boards of directors on every continent in 15 countries.
Our safety, health, and environment policies, among others, applied to all our businesses: in USA, Canada, Japan, China, Thailand, and elsewhere. When local standards were below ours, or if none existed, we followed ours. Potentially an expensive policy, we monitored it rigorously. And we were realistic and accepted that alone, it will not solve China's human rights situation. But it was right, and a manageable approach for responsible business leaders to adopt.
Many folks do not want facts to confuse them. So, do not expect antagonists to change popular anti-globalization stance. They will not examine their incongruent behavior. They will ignore their roles--investors when they invest pension and other funds, consumers when they buy stuff. They will want to eat their cakes and have them!
From the same company, say Wal-Mart, they expect the highest return on investment, and the lowest prices for stuff! If it is cheaper for Wal-Mart to produce goods in China than in Canada, USA, or UK, are nationals prepared to produce stuff at home at higher costs, accept lower returns on investment and pay higher prices? In Canada and USA are we prepared to promote high cost home-produced items with eroding market prices and shrinking markets? Will we accept dwindling workforces when we cannot sell our high cost products?Continued on the next page