Don't Drive Good Jobs Abroad
Globalization is no longer in the future. It's here. American industry is facing international competition on a scale never before experienced. And it's only going to get worse. The toughest competition will no longer come from Germany and Japan, but from new powerhouses: Asia, led by China, India, and Indonesia; and Latin America, led by a resurgent Mexico.
Governments of the developing world are aggressively wooing companies from the industrialized world to invest and locate their future manufacturing facilities there - with the promise of cheaper labor and with attractive tax and regulatory inducements.
President Clinton and Labor Secretary Robert Reich are calling on US industry to be better "corporate citizens." They are especially concerned, they say, about the effects of downsizing, job security, and benefits. They should also look at government policies and procedures that are driving good jobs abroad.
They could begin with what is happening to one of America's most successful, most progressive, and best-paying industries, which is being driven abroad by policies these same politicians have put in place. I refer to America's gold-mining industry. Since the 1980s, a combination of private investment, new technologies, and enlightened management has made the US the world's second-largest gold producer, creating more than 80,000 high-paying, skilled jobs. It has poured billions into capital-equipment purchases from manufacturers in over 40 states.
The average weekly wage for production workers in this industry is more than 75 percent higher than the average for all private-sector employees. Safety standards, working conditions, and benefits are among the best in the world. The industry has tremendous growth potential. Mr. Clinton should be inviting its leaders to the White House as exemplars of good corporate citizenship and asking them, "How can we help you?"