Borders and the unstoppable transnational drift
It fascinates me that some cling to securing the borders as a panacea to return the US to peace and prosperity. It is actually an inversion of the reality. The US becomes richer due to internationalization, and globalization is not a trend that can be reversed by a state or Federal legislature. There are many examples of this that remain hidden while the headlines clamor for a fortress mentality.
A tire tariff that the Obama Administration introduced t supposedly protect American tire manufacturers from Chinese imports, in actuality, had the opposite effect. It hurt the American economy more than it helped. The bulk of the Chinese tire imports were manufactured there by companies receiving American investments in China aimed at allowing these self-same American manufacturers to produce low price product there for US domestic consumption. Capital follows where the profits are, and the US companies long decided that they couldn’t compete on manufacturing prices but could still derive product from investing is Chinese “competitors”
The same can be seen in the much-trumpeted trade deficit with China. Again, hidden from the eye of the casual observer contained in that deficit is the money being made by US companies that have investments, interests and personnel working for them in China and delivering products and services back to the US. American businessmen are not stupid, and realize that profit can be made through co-operation as well as competition.
Security also resides in integration, not separation. A national cannot, and never has been, able to totally seal its borders leading to resentment and suspicion from outside and xenophobic paranoia from inside. Countries learn and grow by allowing labor to flow where it can enjoy best opportunities and advancement, and no attempt to police against such a human instinct a la Arizona will stop that. I have been a permanent resident of 3 countries in pursuit of self-actualization, and my exposure to each has made me more of a friend to each. We learn best from each other. We remain vibrant through introducing new blood. We stay wealthy and safer by remaining engaged in the globalization process, not by rejecting it.
Take the rather ludicrous US policy toward Cuba. By denying integration, it means that Cubans look elsewhere for freedom and advancement and so create wealth in other nations. The US loses through its own intransigence, and seemingly humans locked out from a chance for prosperity will always find another way of finding it.
But in a sense, Ecuador has become the new Florida for many Cubans. Since mid-2008, no foreigner has needed a visa to enter this country. Cubans have responded enthusiastically, driven by business dreams, hopes for prosperity, and perhaps a goal of eventually moving to the US.
According to the National Directorate of Migration, 4,783 Cubans entered the country in 2007, a number that grew to 10,948 in 2008 and 27,114 in 2009. Of those Cubans who entered the country in 2009 on tourist visas, some 4,000 stayed on. Most managed to become naturalized and receive an Ecuadorean passport through arranged marriages.
In addition as technology and industrial processes advance, more business becomes transnational. The Internet respects no national border and nor does the collaboration of advanced workforces. A simple example from today’s world:
CA start-up Coda Automotive is set to build factory in Ohio with 1,000 jobs, using Chinese technology to make lithium-ion batteries for an all-electric vehicle.
Batteries are too heavy to ship, so Coda wanted a US-based factory. Until it’s up and running, a previous JV set up in Tianjin will make the initial batteries.
The fortress mentality would shut the US off from the rapidly advancing internationalization of labor, capital and industry. The US chooses that route at its own peril. You can’t stop globalization so you have to make sure you stay engaged and work the opportunities it produces for best advantage.