Tags: Failing | Business | Job | Losses

Trade Official Griswold: Failing Business, Job Losses Actually Reflect Progress

Friday, 13 Jan 2012 10:48 AM

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International trade and foreign competition aren't the causes of failing American businesses or the massive job losses that follow, according to a Washington Times article by Daniel Griswold, president of the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones.

He believes factors such as technology, domestic competition and changing consumer tastes are responsible. In a sense, such a trend actually reflects progress.

But the idea that Americans are losing their jobs because of foreign competition is an inflammatory topic for many.

CNN Money reported that President Barack Obama had a meeting this week with executives from 14 companies to encourage them to bring jobs back to the United States.

The latest Labor Department data point to the manufacturing sector as a bright spot in the recovery, CNN reports.

But according to Griswold, the so-called lost manufacturing jobs that many believe have been stolen by free trade have actually been eliminated.

In truth, most of the jobs have been claimed by labor-saving machinery or new products, he wrote.

Griswold points to companies such as Blockbuster Video, Borders, and Kmart to further argue that trade policy isn't the issue.

Not one of them can blame their woes on international trade, his Washington Times article says.

Critics may argue otherwise, but there are other examples supporting his argument. Eastman Kodak, for instance, is getting a lot of press as they consider Chapter 11 bankruptcy if they can't sell digital patents.

Yet, their struggles appear to have little to do with trade policy.

A Forbes article instead blames Kodak's problems on its failure to keep up with the digital revolution.

Forbes says the 131-year-old Kodak isn't really much of a brand anymore.

Not if you expect a “brand” to stand for something meaningful and differentiating in the mind of consumers.

These changes we are witnessing are called “creative destruction,” according to Griswold says is borrowed from economist and political scientist Joseph Schumpeter.

It doesn't feel like it to workers who have lost their jobs or the shareholders who lost their investment, but this is progress, Griswold declared in Washington Times article.

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