Hopeful signs in a global economy

I’m certainly not a champion of economic globalization. Nor am I among those who believe globalization is the root of all evil. The issue is simply not black and white for me. This piece in the Washington Post today helps explain why.

The global economy is giving opportunities, albeit slowly, to India’s lowest castes. The article touches on one young woman from India’s Dalit caste – the so-called “untouchables” – being hired for a well-paid job at a Philadelphia child social services agency. Her father, when he learned of her hiring, said, “I’m so happy and so proud. I never dreamt of such a thing for our family.”

Ideally, no one would have to travel half way around the world to find good work. But for now, American employers can offer hope for a better life to people who have only known discrimination. Of course, this country also has its own long history of prejudice, a fact not lost on Dalit activists, who, according to the Post, “have even lobbied the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus, with whom they see common cause and a shared experience in discrimination.”

Yes, a globalized economy can offer hope and opportunity to the oppressed and poor. Now imagine if that were actually the rule and not the exception in global commerce.

August 20th, 2007

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