Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump and Clinton Agree: Don't Sign As Is TPP

They don’t see eye to eye on many issues, but one both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree on is rejection of the currently worded TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that would bind the United States to trade agreements with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Critics have assailed the TPP as bad for American workers. The claim is the TPP would send American workers to the unemployment line while the products or services they once produced are made or performed by lower wage foreign workers.

Sounds like both Trump and Clinton want to protect machinists and factory workers, the men and women who were part of the middle class and whose jobs have largely disappeared under global competition. But increasingly, though very quietly, the pink and blue collar jobs that immediately come to mind when thinking of the TPP, or NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), are just the most visible of the affected work force. Unseen, unknown to many, are the white color jobs that are at risk because technology has supplanted the need for many domestic professionals.

It started with customer service call centers. It comes as a surprise nowadays when the voice on the other end of the call does not have the lilting cadence of an Indian accent, often indecipherable to an American ear. 

If you’ve recently had an MRI or CAT-scan in Manhattan, the radiologist analyzing your film could be seated before a computer screen in Bloomington, Indiana, where his salary would be considerably lower than a New York City-based radiologist stationed on another floor of the medical facility. More to the point, for that matter, the radiologist might just as easily be located in Bangalore, India.

It’s already happening. Outsourcing in the medical field is a function of sharper computer imaging coupled with the ability to have experts available round the clock for a fraction of the cost of local sources. 

Outsourcing is not confined to the medical field. Young attorneys at large law firms often spent hours researching documents. Now, computer programs search documents for key words in split-second accuracy. Such programs don’t cost as much as first and second year law firm associates. 

It didn’t happen on my magazine, but publishers and editors have turned to cheaper foreign writers to produce articles that do not require on-site visits. 

Let’s face it. Globalization, like the genie once liberated from the bottle, cannot be contained. It is affecting all varieties and colors of collar—blue, pink, white, black (for oil and mine workers), gold, grey, green, scarlet (for porno workers) and open collar for those who toil at home. 

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