Sharing the World’s Employment Woes

“Owing to the relative decline of its economic, and to a lesser extent, military power, the US will no longer have the same flexibility in choosing among as many policy options.”

 Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, National Intelligence Council, PDF version, November 2008

 

The U.S. can no longer export the downsides of capitalism to other countries as easily as in past decades.  Global unemployment and underemployment have always been high.  Even European and other industrial democracies typically had unemployment levels higher than in the U.S. (these higher unemployment rates were often used in U.S. arguments against the expansive safety nets of most of those countries).

With many more nations resisting U.S. global dominance and with the U.S. deeply entangled in dozens of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements and constrained by the rule-making of numerous global institutions, the U.S. is geopolitically compelled to take on a bigger share of the world’s unemployment, underemployment and poverty.

More than ever, whether we have enough job and income growth will depend on whether the world has enough job and income growth to go around.