Thursday, January 15, 2004
Poor nations' most valuable resource: Yesterday's Nicholas Kristof column is a must-read for the anti-globalization, anti-trade, left-wing fringe.
I've written before that cheap labor is the most valuable resource of many poor nations, and Kristof vividly illustrates this point.
Cambodia has a fair trade system and promotes itself as an enlightened garment producer. That's great. But if the U.S. tries to ban products from countries that don't meet international standards, jobs will be shifted from the most wretched areas to better-off nations like Malaysia or Mexico. Already there are very few factories in Africa or the poor countries of Asia, and if we raise the bar higher, there will be even fewer.
The Democrat candidates and the pampered, grunge-loving, soap-averse anti-globalization protesters aren't really concerned about the poor of the world -- they feel guilty and hate the wealthy, Western nations of which they are a product. Hopefully, Kristof's credentials as a liberal will sway some of those on the loony left to rethink their ways -- but don't hold your breath.