Daniel F. Jacoby
Explores the history, theory, and institutions that affect labor's position in an increasingly globalized labor market. Fosters critical inquiry upon the globalization of labor markets and makes connections between global markets and local employment conditions. Required background: BIS 324 or microeconomics or macroeconomics.
In the 80s workers worried lest Japan and Germany take over our manufacturing. In the 90s we worried that less developed countries with low labor standards would usurp our remaining industries. Before the economic collapse of 2008-09, the twentieth century promised a new knowledge economy which contained new threats to service jobs, too, can be outsourced to countries like India. However in our post financial crisis period the entire economic landscape appears to have shifted, and the threatens even the dim prospects we once entertained of an upward leveling in labor standards across the globe. How should we think about these questions? In this class we will consider how global labor markets work. In doing so, we shall be concerned with one over-riding question: Can we square our concerns about job loss and wage pressure in the US with concerns about human rights and fair labor treatment abroad?
To this end we will be looking first at standard economic theory to consider how trade is presumed to influence labor markets. We shall then consider how the impact upon domestic markets differs from that on countries abroad. In this course we'll emphasize 4 questions: 1, How are labor standards set and what can be done to improve them? 2. Using China's experiences first and foremost, how has trade changed labor markets in the US and abroad? 3. Using Mexico's experience first and foremost, we ask, "How should we think about immigration?" 4. Finally, we ask, "Is it truly a "flat world," in which education provides the surest road towards success in a global market?
Student learning goals
Understand the challenges in achieving social justice for workers here and abroad.
To apply economic tools and political analysis to global labor issues.
Increase awareness of global labor conditions.
Understand the relationships between trade and currency and labor movements, on the one hand, and worker welfare, on the other.
Be able to discern for yourself, what are the most promising ways to actively influence labor conditions at home and abroad.
General method of instruction
The class will involve a mix of standard economic analysis, film, discussion and debate.
A background in economics equivalent BUCSP 200 (Microeconomics) is required. Macroeconomics is helpful.
Class assignments and grading