There is an important lesson to be learned from complaints by World Trade Organization meeting protesters who recently vandalized Seattle, Washington D.C. and Montreal. What escaped my understanding was the violence motive and a rationale for thinking that an emerging global economy is a threat to American lives and well being. Those who threw bricks through windows or looted during the melee are criminal rabble, but those who incited them and have a method for their madness deserve our scrutiny. They will return this year to the streets, to the political scene and even factory floors as early as this summer.
The reason for this bad behavior is that rioters refuse to accept the Darwinism that survivors are not necessarily the strongest, but are those that best adapt. Protest leaders see the U.S. labor market as losing, in spite of prosperity they enjoy, but do not grasp they are losing because they will not or cannot adapt to a global economy that is reshaping the world. They are the unionists, trade protectionists and promoters of big government who want federal intervention to insulate them from competitive forces, a "do something for me" mentality. It begins, in my mind, with the abysmal, declining U.S. public education system that culminates when Doofus University grants bachelor degrees to an undereducated rabble of underachievers. No wonder they cannot succeed; they practice what little they have been taught-that it is government's responsibility to make their perceived problems go away.
I contend that a new class warfare is coalescing, not based on wealth, but on the recognition by the crowd from Doofus that differing education levels will keep them as an underclass. Spokesmen and authors (see Alan Tonelson, "The Race to the Bottom") for this class cite related but irrelevant facts. For example, imports are bad because the effect is to export American jobs, I think U.S. trade deficits show that American industry can buy cheaper products abroad leaving consumers free to spend savings elsewhere and, afterall, the U.S. represents 28% of the world economy. The fact that multinational firms now outsource to foreign owned plants means that the U.S. worker is supposed to change career paths. They lament that union membership is only 13.9% of employees and membership is in decline in 70 of 92 countries studied by the International Labor Organization. I think that union intransigence in driving up wages abetted the problem that has caused manufacturing to move offshore. They complain that foreign high technology workers (H-1B visa holders) are taking jobs from Americans at lesser wages, but there are too few qualified applicants for the jobs. Today, 5.2% of 140.5 million U.S. employees are executives, engineers, scientists, lawyers and doctors and demand will grow by 2006 to 5.8% in this category of 160.8 million workers. And concurrently, nearly 50% of college graduates in the tough curricula this year are foreign nationals, but the greatest absolute job growth will continue in "dead-end" jobs.
The real issue is that these under-equipped, inflexible people are steamed. The combination of technology advancements and globalization policies are exerting a downward pressure on living standards for these complainers. My suggestion to them is to get a real education. Essentially all Americans have the best economic deal the world has ever known, and over the next seven years when America will create 55 million jobs (20.3 million new and the remainder replacements), the time for embracing adaptation to a global economy is here and now. For the rabble who riot about the WTO and the World Bank abetting "globalist industry," there will be no tomorrow because it already exists.