tblt.gif

Tang Ben Forum

Chinese Software

美國.洛杉磯

tangben@tangben.com

 

為什麼世界應該警惕地關注約翰.愛德華茲

Why the World Should Watch John Edwards Warily

Tom Plate

7/8/2004

LOS ANGELES --- International economies are so intertwined these days that people far way from an election or campaign event will watch the developments as if the action were in their own backyard.

Indonesia is only halfway through the opportunity and ordeal of its first presidential election by popular vote (a runoff between the top two vote-getters will occur in September), but much of the world is buzzing over whether the predicted winner -- a former general -- will prove a good thing for struggling Indonesia.

The Philippines has just reelected (by a hair) incumbent President Gloria Arroyo. Will this fine but seemingly ephemeral lady finally prove equal to the daunting task of reducing the country's endemic corruption and reigniting its economy?

Malaysia just offered the world a smooth-as-silk power handover from one famously entrenched prime minister to another (the incumbent's chosen successor), with so far reassuring results. Singapore expects the world to feel at least as confident when a new prime minister (son of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew) takes the helm sometime this year. Giant India has a new government and a new prime minister, who is repeatedly described, reassuringly, as an economic technocrat.

Proper political governance is crucial to economic success, despite the often ritualistic obeisance to the alleged overall magic of the free market. Markets are almost never entirely free, nor should they necessarily be so. Economic problems sometimes require astute intervention by government or central banks; superior governance often requires overriding well-established political constituencies only out to protect their own narrow interests.

That's why many outside observers all over the informed world hope that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will survive this weekend's Upper House elections, so that at some point the blistering sore of Japanese protectionism can someday be addressed by a strong government with an adequate popular mandate. The last thing Japan needs is yet another shackled prime minister revolving through the circular door. And, looking at America, worries about an upsurge in protectionism also explain the widespread hope that Sen. John Kerry's selection of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is no portent of a turn-back-the-clock Democratic platform that would propose to undo the economic globalization policies of former two-term Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The Kerry and Edwards records are sensible on the issue of global trade and similar enough to raise the hope that campaign rhetoric this fall will not be translated into protectionist policy in a putative Kerry-Edwards administration. But the Democrats need to raise so much money to counter the incumbent Bush administration cash-machine that somewhere along the campaign trail promises will have to be made that may have to be kept. Edwards is already on record as having opposed the North America Free Trade Agreement, a sterling example of positive globalization at work.

Watch Edwards carefully. With his populist flair, the millionaire one-term senator and former plaintiff trial lawyer will easily be able to exploit the anti-globalization, outsourcing anger that simmers just beneath the surface of American life. The Bush administration will have no effective counter to Edwards because it's in the back pocket of the U.S. corporate world, for one thing, and, for another, the Edwards argument is primarily demagogic hash.

The ethically correct and pragmatically effective answer to job loss via outsourcing is the retraining of workers at capable existing institutions, such as America's community colleges. America can put its head in the sand if it wants to; but the smarter course is to get with the globalization program and make American workers smarter and better than ever.

Fortunately or otherwise, the main campaign issue this time around is likely to be lost troops in Iraq, not lost jobs in America. Still, the selection of Edwards is a development that every foreign nation that depends on relatively open trade relations with the United States needs to watch -- very warily indeed.

 
 

論壇主頁

今日短評

快訊快評

今日幽默

今日妙語

新聞述評

網友論壇

縱論天下

脫口秀

兩個兩岸

獨語天涯

咖啡廳

人生自白

美國筆記

景涵文集

天才兒童

西雅圖夜話

網友漫筆

楓葉傳真

劍橋偶拾

美國札記

千里帷幄

情詩欣賞

燕山夜話

千載清謠

瑞典茉莉

聚焦香港

澳洲思絮

洛城夜話

創業雜誌

法律世界

新科技

網友來函

喜馬拉雅

財經趨勢

自由言論

華府鉤沉

星條旗下

社區服務

日耳曼專稿

銀幕縱深

硅谷清流

 

 

 

對本網站有任何建議或有任何體會要與大家分享,請發往 tangben@tangben.com

一九九九年七月二十二日正式上網
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 TANG BEN