Rethinking Labor Mobility

Trade, automation and other facets of globalization have eliminated some careers. One solution is for government to provide an unconditional basic income, but that may not eliminate resentment. Historian Harold James examines how artisans recovered after losing work during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries: “many displaced workers emigrated – often long distances across oceans – to places where they could take on new forms of work, and even prosper.” During the 20th century, governments managed disruptions with populist policies including subsidies, price protections and other protections that shielded the agriculture industries of Europe and the United States. James points out that mobility requires skills and initiative. He urges workers “to embrace adaptability and flexibility, rather than succumb to resentment and misery,” and concludes that modern mobility is no longer limited to physical relocation but encompasses social and psychological forms, too. – YaleGlobal

Rethinking Labor Mobility

Mobility – physical relocation and new social and psychological mindsets – helps individual workers cope with the disruptions of globalization
Harold James
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

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Harold James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation. A specialist on German economic history and on globalization, he is a co-author of the new book The Euro and The Battle of Ideas, and the author of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle, Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm, and Making the European Monetary Union.


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