Economics, Ethics and Public Policy
Chapter 8: The inputs: labour
One view is that enterprise will locate where the input it requires is available in abundance: ëCountries tend to export goods whose production is intensive in factors with which the countries are abundantly endowedí (Krugman, Obstfeld and Melitz, 2012: 121). A modified view is that the endowments themselves will cross the national frontiers. The previous chapter discussed the migration of capital, often under the aegis of a transnational company. The present chapter will discuss the international mobility of blood and bones. There is a link. Often a transnational corporation will practise rotation from the centre to the periphery and back again. Before the world was one, the English Channel was a wall. Labour, gain-seeking and ambitious, was mobile between industries and sectors. Given enough time, workers would disinvest in sunset skills and retrain in the next big thing. But they would not go abroad. They would not relocate to produce the service in the consumerís own territory. Times have changed. In the new global economy, the skilled and the unskilled move about freely in fields such as finance, football, information technology (IT) and education. Healthcare is yet another area where transferable how-to is being sucked in by a scarcity of can-do at home. Doctors and nurses, radiologists and researchers, are especially mobile. Both in the exporting and the importing countries, the statistics are bound to cause unrest. Elections are won and lost by popular reactions to GATS Mode 4.
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