UMC Links

Siciliano Lecture at U to Focus on Effect of Globalization on the World’s Workers

Nov. 4, 2004-The promise of good jobs for American college graduates will not hold true in the future because of greatly increased competition from other countries, according to Richard B. Freeman, Ascherman Professor of Economics at Harvard University. “Globalization is the first step in the loss of U.S. dominance of the world economy. We will no longer have ‘monopoly’ of the best technologies and jobs, and others will come closer to our living standards. Almost every multinational firm realizes this and they are investing overseas,” he says.

Freeman, the featured speaker for the eighth annual Rocco C. and Marion S. Siciliano Forum at the University of Utah, will present “Labor Goes Global: The Effects of Globalization on Workers Around the World,” on Thursday, Nov. 18, at noon. A panel discussion will follow immediately after Freeman’s presentation. Both lecture and panel discussion, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ Dumke Auditorium.

Panel participants will include Freeman, William Darity, Jr., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Garth Mangum, University of Utah; Rolf van der Hoven, International Labor Office; and Ajit Singh, Cambridge University. University Economics Associate Professor Norman Waitzman will moderate the panel.

While in Salt Lake City, Freeman will also present to the faculty and students in the University’s Department of Economics.

Co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, Freeman explains, “U.S. workers are going to have lower wage gains in the future because of competition from immigrants, offshoring, loss of U.S. comparative advantage in high tech and trade deficits. If we have good economic policies and strong research and development in some sectors and can get very entrepreneurial and smart immigrants, we could still advance while we wait for the poorer countries to catch up with us. If we have bad policies, we will face an economic crisis. But don’t blame globalization . . . blame thoughtless, short-sighted policies.”

Freeman notes that “the big event in globalization” has not been the various trade treaties that have gained attention, but the joining of China and India and former Soviet bloc countries to the world trading system, which has doubled the world labor force while barely changing the world capital supply.

“I cannot imagine a more important topic to explore at a more opportune time, and Richard freeman is the ideal person to be informing us,” notes J. Steve Ott, dean of the U’s College of Social and Behavioral Science, a sponsor of the event.

Freeman is director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He is also co-director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics (LSE) and visiting professor at the London School of Economics. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has served on five panels of the National Academy of Sciences, including the Committee on National Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists. He has published more than 300 articles ranging in subject from crime to the job market for scientists and engineers to the restructuring of European welfare states. He is currently co-directing the NBER/Sloan Science Engineering Workforce Project and an LSE research program on the effects of the Internet on labor markets, social behavior and the economy.

The lecture is presented in collaboration with the U’s Department of Economics, the Ford Foundation and the Levy Economics Institute.