Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The world loves globalization but Filipinos have mixed feelings

For all those dramatic protests by “civil society groups,” the world, it seems, favors globalization or integration of the world’s economies. That’s the conclusion of the recent survey conducted by the World Public Opinion.org.

“Majorities around the world believe economic globalization and international trade benefit national economies, companies, and consumers. But many think trade harms the environment and threatens jobs and want to mitigate these effects with environmental and labor standards,” says the report.

As usual among the latest fervent supporters are export-oriented countries. Says the report:

“The highest levels of support are found in countries with export-oriented economies: China (87%), South Korea (86%) and Israel (82%). Positive answers fall below 50 percent in only three countries, though such responses outweigh negative replies by wide margins. The greatest skepticism about globalization is found in Mexico (41% good, 22% bad), Russia (41% good, 24% bad) and the Philippines (49% good, 32% bad). In the United States, 60 percent think globalization is mostly good and 35 percent call it mostly bad.”

The result on the Philippines is surprising because the Philippine economy has been benefiting from outsourcing, electronics exports and overseas work. In fact, more than 60 percent of the Philippine GDP, some people say, is accounted for by the globalized sectors of the economy. That’s a huge puzzle for me.

Is it possible that more Filipinos are seeing that the globalized sectors of the economy are benefiting only the urban centers and the educated classes? Probably. After all, only people who have skills are able to work in outsourcing. Also, it’s probable that most of those who leave for better-paying overseas work are from lower middle class and the people who are already better off.

Moral lesson? Labor migration and the OFW phenomenon, while they offer choices to individuals and made many families richer, is no panacea when seen from the national perspective. We still have to have more things going on in here in the local economy to really solve our domestic problem re jobs and poverty.

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