Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Heart of Anti-Globalization

If Ohio is a swing state in the upcoming elections, then we might expect the next US President to be a protectionist. American concern about border security is already impacting trade with Canada. The current mood of the Industrial Heartland is decidedly anti-NAFTA. And tolerance for legal avenues of immigration is on the wane. But all the scapegoating is doing more harm than good, as most of Ohio is off the mark:

Some Ohioans recognize that their state is being left behind and that protectionism is not the answer. In the midst of the busy holiday shopping season, Circleville leaders hosted a summit with Honda representatives to learn what foreign companies search for in communities when choosing sites for manufacturing plants.

Honda looks for an educated work force, reported the Circleville Herald, graduation rates, proximity of colleges and vocational schools for training a work force as well as involvement with international organizations.

But with 23 percent of its adults holding a college degree, Ohio ranks only 38th among the 50 states. Less than 10 percent of Ohio residents hold advanced degrees.

Ohio must either meet globalization halfway or continue its exit from international economic stage. That Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spent more time trying to sound more anti-NAFTA than talking about policies that would help attract a Honda-sized plant, does not bode well for Ohio's future. Politicians are practiced at telling voters what they want to hear.

I'm reminded of all the hot air expended concerning brain drain. The focus is on who is leaving instead of trying to bring in new people. Until Ohioans (along with the rest of the Rust Belt) grasp that the game is all about attraction, the region will continue to bleed jobs and people. Better to be at the heart of globalization than to be economic backwater.


Unknown said...

The manufacturing guys over at Evolving Excellence have an interesting perspective on globalization and manufacturing, using an example of how it impacts small cottage industries in the hill towns of Tuscany, Italy.


Jim Russell said...


Thanks for sharing the blog post. For those of you mulling over to click or not to click:

Small business finds global niche without the benefit of protectionism. Very innovative.