Chris Farrell: From American Public Media, this is Global 3.0, an American RadioWorks documentary. I'm Chris Farrell. For many, globalization has meant rich countries getting richer at the expense of the poor. Today, it's not that simple.
Richlu Nemeth: "They said, over half of your jobs are going to be outsourced to India.'"
Farrell: In the new globalization, China buys into blue-chip American companies, Bangladeshis fight over their role in world trade.
Woman: "It's a battle between capital and exports against people's survival and livelihoods."
Lu Chuan: "- more and more money rolling in -"
Akkineni: "The global culture is invading, but it's far better than the Spanish invading the Incas."
Farrell: Faster than ever, the world shrinks, and the playing field flattens, creating wealth, and uncertainty.
Spindler: "There's something around the corner that's going to make what we're doing today obsolete."
Farrell: In the coming hour: Global 3.0, part of public radio's special coverage, Think Global, from American Public Media.
Robert Krulwich: Here's what we're gonna do. I'm Robert Krulwich.
Chris Farrell: And I'm Chris Farrell.
Krulwich: And we're calling this Global 3.0. It's part of public radio's special coverage, Think Global, from American Public Media. The subject is globalization. Now we've all heard about globalization for years. But like all dynamic, really important ideas, this one keeps changing, it broadens, it gets more and more interesting. So, in the tradition of constantly changing software systems where the first version is called 1.0 and has all the mistakes, and then the second version is 2.0, we are taking a 3.0 or a third look at globalization.
Farrell: And the place to start is Pittsburgh.
Krulwich: Obviously. I would always start in Pittsburgh. Why are we starting in Pittsburgh?
Farrell: The trend toward globalization is so powerful that it's affecting everywhere. And the best place to start a discussion about globalization and how it's transforming the way we live and work is over a Primanti's sandwich.
Krulwich: A what?
Farrell: Any kind of meat that you want and, here's the claim to fame, they put the french fries on the sandwich. And the cole slaw.
Krulwich: On the sandwich? All right, let's go to Primanti's.
Farrell: Primanti Brothers is now a small chain but the Primanti family opened its first restaurant in the 1930s, feeding midnight lunches to dock workers. It was a favorite for generations of workers from the steel mills.
Carlo Carrabbia: This place, everyone loves Primanti's.
Farrell: Carlo Carrabbia is one of the guys flipping ingredients on the big griddle behind the bar.
Carrabbia: Okay your steak sandwich is coming right now.
Farrell: And it's a big sandwich. You really need a big mouth to eat this.
Carrabbia: I put all the fries on it.
Farrell: That's the 1970s icon Barry White on the stereo. On the walls are photos and murals of the powerful Pittsburgh Steelers football teams of the same decade. Primanti's seems locked in a time, thirty years ago, just before Pittsburgh's big collapse. In an earlier wave of globalization cheaper and more nimble foreign competitors took away America's hold on steel production.
Christopher Briem (in car): Really, there was a, in that '82, '83 period, you know, you're talking a minimum of a 100,000 manufacturing jobs alone that went away.
Farrell: Christopher Briem is a Pittsburgh native, and a regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh. From the 1970s through the '90s, Pittsburgh lost almost two-thirds of its manufacturing jobs and a third of its population.
Briem: This used to be the Homestead Steelworks.
Farrell: Briem drives the low flat land along the Monongahela River where tens of thousands of workers earned a living for more than a century. But what's left is not just the ruins of the steel mill. In the 1990s developers built something new.
Briem: This is a large mix of retail, residential, light office development. A lot of big box stores. Lowe's and supermarkets, and Pier 1 right there.
Farrell: After Big Steel went away, service industries grew from one-fifth of the Pittsburgh economy to one-third. This was back when lower-paying service jobs replaced factory work in much of the country. Pittsburgh hasn't come close to replacing its lost manufacturing jobs. But it's gained thousands of new jobs in health care, finance, service and high-tech industries. Led by its universities, the city is working to shake its rustbelt image and become an IT leader.
Valerie: Hello, yes, this is Newell Simon Hall. I'll check.
Farrell: Walk into the computer science building at Carnegie Mellon University and you're greeted by Valerie the robotic receptionist. Her cartoonish face is on a swiveling computer screen: blond hair, headset, and a somewhat jaded expression. She can actually help you though you have to type in your questions. Professor Reed Simmons helped create Valerie.
Reed Simmons: She sits out in front of Newell Simon Hall everyday from nine to five, answers people's questions about where various things are. And she's a collaboration with the School of Drama, so we've given her a character and a back story and a life, and if you ask about her, she can tell you all the things that are going on in her life.
Typing: How is your mother?
Valerie: Like most robots I have a motherboard, and like most robots mine won't stop calling me. She says she's just checking up, but it drives me crazy! I'm 35, leave me alone.
Farrell: Carnegie Mellon is a world leader in robotics and some other high-tech fields. President Jerry Cohon says he welcomes the high hopes that Pittsburgh now places on its universities.
Jerry Cohon: I've mentioned globalization as one of our five strategic priorities. The development of our region is another one of those five strategic priorities. Where we as a university have committed ourselves to do what we can to help western Pennsylvania to grow.
Farrell: Cohon says Carnegie Mellon is collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh on business incubation. And it's working hard to turn science into local jobs.
Cohon: There are about 150 start-up companies based on Carnegie Mellon technology, and most of those, about three-quarters of those, are in Pittsburgh, and thousands of people are being employed by those companies. But we want to add to that and get even more going.
Farrell: These days, Cohon says, to stay on the leading edge of science, a school like Carnegie Mellon has to plug itself into leading high-tech corporations, not only in the U.S., but across the world. The competition is stiff. Hundreds of universities at home and, increasingly, abroad are trying to do the same thing. And like Pittsburgh, every city is scrambling to create high-tech jobs. Though even those jobs aren't rock solid.
Rich Nemeth: I'll have the mushroom swiss, minus tomato.
Farrell: We have a more understated sandwich with Rich Nemeth on the suburban outskirts of Pittsburgh. Nemeth turns 40 this year. His family has ridden the waves of the fast-changing economy for several decades, starting with his grandfather.
Nemeth: He spent the majority of his working life at US Steel. He was getting close to retirement, but because of the way the industry was going, he had to take an early retirement.
Farrell: Rich's father worked as a retail manager, then a Volkswagen worker until that factory closed, then a heating and air conditioning technician. Rich Nemeth himself started in retail. But in the '90s, like a lot of people, Rich thought he saw the future and got himself retrained in computers. He landed an information technology job with the big ketchup maker.
Nemeth: I worked for H.J. Heinz company for almost 5 years. I was in their IT department doing data warehouse developing. You know, I wanted a permanent home, and I thought at Heinz, I was going to be there 30-plus years, be able to retire and go on.
Farrell: But last year, Heinz decided to outsource its IT department to a contractor. So Nemeth still worked at Heinz, but as an employee of the outside company.
Nemeth: A few weeks later, they brought us all into a room and they said, "Over half of your jobs are going to be outsourced to overseas, India, within the next so many months."
Farrell: Nemeth's job was one of those headed for India. The outsourcing company said he could still have a job, but probably not in Pittsburgh. The company then switched gears and delayed its off-shoring plan. But Nemeth learned first-hand that the old days of lifelong job security are gone.
Nemeth: The months that led up to the outsourcing and dealing with this and the wondering if and all that, it was just unbearable. Physically, mentally, at home.
I actually went to the doctor and said "I need something or else I'm going to lose it here," you know?
Farrell: Nemeth survived his crisis. He looked for a new IT job and eventually found one. He still thinks computers are a good career choice. Pittsburgh has added a few thousand information jobs in the past decade.
When it comes to the outsourcing of IT work, several Pittsburgh companies have decided that if you can't stop the inevitable, you might as well get a piece of it. We went to see Sunil Wadhwani, the founder and CEO of iGate Corporation. His company has workers overseas who do computer projects for U.S. based companies.
Sunil Wadhwani: We are an outsourcing firm. We have about 5,000 employees worldwide. Of that number, roughly half are based in India.
Farrell: Wadhwani is a slight, balding man with an easy smile. He founded iGate in the late 1980s, before people had any idea how big outsourcing was going to become. The company took off in the '90s. Now Wadhwani sits at one of those big oval conference tables with microphones and a video-conferencing screen on the wall. Besides its Indian workers, iGate now employs 1,500 people across the U.S., including 300 well-paid workers at the Pittsburgh headquarters.
Wadhwani: Over the last ten years, we've paid over a $1 billion, with a "B," $1 billion in wages to U.S.-based workers. We've paid over $100 million in taxes, okay, in the U.S.. The company and our employees, we've donated over $1 million to charity. So if you look at which country, even though we operate in so many countries, which country has gotten the most benefit of what we do, definitely it's the U.S..
Farrell: Beyond that, Wadhwani argues outsourcing has broader, long-term benefits that Americans should welcome.
Wadhwani: Countries that have been impoverished for decades now are getting good jobs, white collar jobs, the standard of living is going up, the level of education is going up, the level of illiteracy is coming down. These are all good things. It makes the whole world more stable, more peaceful, and so on.
Farrell: Wadhwani is one of thousands of engineers and computer scientists who came from India to the United States to make good in business. He studied at Carnegie Mellon in the 1970s and never left. Now Pittsburgh's leaders are worried they're not attracting enough people like him. At one time, people in Pittsburgh might have feared that immigrants would take their jobs. Now the city is reaching out, trying to pull in the foreign talent that tends to concentrate on the coasts.
Farrell: This corner grocery store, Seoul Mart, opened last year along a busy street that runs between Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. Owner Yang Sook, a Korean immigrant, says the store sells a lot of ramen noodles and kimchi to its customers, mostly young Asians.
Yang Sook: Not only are Korean students, they are Chinese, Thai, Philippine, Japanese.
Farrell: A century ago, immigrants poured into Pittsburgh, almost all of them from Europe. Only one in 100 was from Asia. Now it's one in five. But the city's overall immigration rate is well below the national average and that's a problem. In a study, Duquesne University said within a decade, the city may face a labor shortage of up to 125,000 workers. Skilled jobs are already going unfilled. Schuyler Foerster heads the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.
Schuyler Foerster: This region has profited from immigration over the past 20 to 30 years, not in the numbers, particularly in the '90s, that were a reality for many of the sunbelt areas, California and Silicon Valley and so on. We're not going to have a work force large enough, with the right kinds of skills, to be able to remain competitive as a region, particularly as the nature of global competition changes. We're just going to be short of people.
Krulwich: I'm Robert Krulwich.
Farrell: And I'm Chris Farrell.
Krulwich: Now, isn't that interesting. Here's like a leading figure in Pittsburgh saying he has to have more immigrants. Now for Pittsburgh, this was never a problem. I mean, right? Europeans came to Pittsburgh automatically.
Farrell: Work in the steel mill.
Krulwich: Right. And more recently, I suppose if you were from, I don't know, China or India, and you could get into Carnegie Mellon Universality, you'd go in a flash!
Farrell: Absolutely, or Berkeley, Harvard, all the crown jewels of the American University system. But look at what's happening today. There are wonderful universities around the world - China, India, Australia, Philippines - research institutes that are hiring the top scientists.
Krulwich: That weren't around 15 or 20 years ago?
Farrell: No. There's choice today. If you're an Indian, you can decide, "I think my better prospects are here in India," or maybe better prospects in Australia or maybe it's China.
Krulwich: Does Carnegie Mellon know this, notice this?
Farrell: Oh, they're very well aware of it. For one thing, it's getting harder to attract students here, so guess what they're doing. They're going to where the students are. Brick and mortar in different countries, like Qatar in the Middle East, in order to attract students, educate students.
Krulwich: Wait, wait. You mean Carnegie Mellon is building a campus in the Middle East?
Krulwich: Huh. I know NYU is doing this too and Harvard is thinking about it as well. So there must be this very palpable sense that they're not going to come automatically to us, so we have to go and recruit them, even if that means a very expensive form of recruitment, meaning up go the buildings, over go the professors and so on.
Farrell: And this is why this globalization is really different than the previous waves of globalization, that the talent is all over the world, and the innovation, the ideas, are all coming from around the world. So it's no longer that the best and brightest come here to the U.S., the most entrepreneurial come here to the U.S., if you want to pursue an innovative idea this is the freest environment. It has really changed. The game is much more level.
Krulwich: OK, coming up next, we go to the other side of the world to talk about a fight over shrimp in Bangladesh. Now why should we care about shrimp in Bangladesh? Well, says this Bangladeshi, because it isn't really about shrimp.
Enviro: I think it's a battle between capital and exports against people's survival and livelihoods.
Krulwich: This is Global 3.0 an American RadioWorks documentary. It's part of public radio's special coverage, Think Global, from American Public Media.
Krulwich: This is Global 3.0 an American RadioWorks documentary. It's part of public radio's special coverage, Think Global, from American Public Media. I'm Robert Krulwich.
Farrell: And I'm Chris Farrell
Krulwich: We were talking before about the Nemeth family from Pittsburgh, who were looking for some kind of job protection. Grandpa had protection at US Steel. His son kept getting canned and canned and canned again. So the grandson thought, "Alright, I'll learn computer. I'll try to ride computers to be safe." And that turned out to be an iffy proposition. Here was a family reacting to Japanese and Korean steel flooding America and American steel had a problem. Now if we go across the ocean to Asia we've got the same thing going on over there don't we?
Farrell: Absolutely, Bangladesh.
Farrell: One of the world's poorest nations. 144 million people living on an acreage about equal to the state of Iowa. And there's not a whole lot industry in Bangladesh, but one of the strongest parts of their economy was the garment industry. It's a low wage, low skill business. But it has been hurt, thrown into turmoil by China, the world's economic colossus is moving big into that business, and so it has really thrown a lot of people in Bangladesh out of work.
Krulwich: So what do they do?
Farrell: So there's another export industry that a lot of resources are being poured to in Bangladesh. And it's shrimp!
Krulwich: It's shrimp?
Farrell: It's shrimp.
Krulwich: It's shrimp for export.
Farrell: When you go to the grocery store and you go to the frozen food part of the counter and you pull out those frozen shrimp, there's a good chance they came from Bangladesh.
Krulwich: Now here is where the comparison gets interesting. When the Nemeth's in Pittsburgh had to deal with Japanese steel, they had schools, they had social insurance, they had the rule of law for one thing. You couldn't just be thrown out of your house or out of your job with no impunity. But when you go to a very poor part of the world like Bangladesh, and families get hit by international change there, then you get a very different situation.
Farrell: Here's Lucy Ash with the BBC taking a look.
[Sound of water, boat motor]
Lucy Ash: My guide here today on this chilly morning is Morched Ali Kan of the Daily Star newspaper. We've come along because we're trying to find some fry collectors. They're the people who've stretched their nets all the way long this riverbank and they're hoping to catch some fry or baby prawns. We're at the gateway to the Shundebans, the world's largest coastal mangrove belt. They stretch all the way down here south to the Bay of Bangor. We've stopped here now to talk to an old woman who's hunched over a small bowl. She's up to her knees in mud.
[man's voice in distance]
Ash: There's a stiff breeze blowing on this mud bank. This lady looks very cold. What's your name?
Translator: Her name is Muzahan. She came very early morning. She said it's very cold out here. She collects this bowl full of water.
Ash: She's got these very wrinkled hands holding this aluminum pot. She sort of sifts through it with a mother of pearl shell, doesn't she? She is shivering. This water is so muddy and murky. I don't know how she can see anything in it. Can you just ask her how much she earns doing this?
Translator: She says, yesterday she sold for 10 taka.
Ash: That's all she got yesterday?
Translator: And today she doesn't know yet.
Ash: I think I better let her get back to work. Thank you for talking to us.
Ash: Apart from some city-states like Hong Kong, Bangladesh is the worlds most crowded nation. Nearly half the population is landless, with nowhere to live and no fields to farm.
Ash: This is the sort of place where the fry we met earlier ends up, in one of the salty rectangular shaped ponds. This shrimp farm in the middle of the coastal belt near the town of Noa Kali is owned by a Mr. Al Farid, whose name is emblazoned on a sign at the entrance. As we're driving away, about a half a mile down the road, I'm accosted by a group of people, who say they use to live on the land now occupied by the farm. One woman with a small child on her hip is pointing angrily down the road.
Translator: She says, "They did not spare me," and she says that Mr. Farid evicted her. In one night during the rainy season last year they broke down her house. She now lives in that house over there sharing with somebody else. She says, "Where shall I get the land? They took away the land that I was cultivating over there."
Ash: What about working on the shrimp farm. Is that an option?
Translator: She says she will not accept any job. She says there must be respect between any two people to work and to get employment. So that respect is absent.
Ash: And how does she know that it was Mr. Farid that was responsible for evicting her from the land?
Translator: She says it was because they were going to set up this shrimp farm. That's why they were evicted. There's muscle men that told her, "We're going to start a business here. Get out of here or you're going to lose your lives." They were also torturing women, taking them away and forcing them to leave their homes.
Ash: Do you want to leave this area now?
Translator: She says, "If I had a place to go to I would not be suffering here."
Ash: Human rights campaigners have accused big shrimp cultivators of hiring criminal gangs to intimidate traditional farmers and force them off their land. Groups like Nijera Kori claim that 150 people have been killed, thousands injured, and many women raped in clashes linked to prawn production. That figure is hard to verify. But since many prawn farmers use armed guards to protect their ponds, the potential for violence has certainly increased across the coastal belt of Bangladesh
Ash: Mohammed Farid, the owner of the farm we just visited lives, like most absentee landlords, in the capital, Dhaka. I'm told he has another home in Saudi Arabia and that he used to run a business supplying casual workers to the Gulf States, but was later sued for deception and lost his manpower license. He flatly denies that anyone has been evicted to make way for his 800-acre shrimp farm. And he insists that he's the real victim in this story. He says that in the summer of 2003, he was kidnapped by the landless peasants whom he refers to as bandits. And he says he asked the governments help to flush them out of his farm.
[Mohammed Farid speaking]
Translator: He says that "They simply do not want me there and they want to make their home there." He also says that from every acre he takes, the government gets about 1500 taka per acre per year in taxes. But those people are totally illegally occupying that land, depriving the government of revenues.
[Sounds of busy street]
Ash: At the seafood exporters fair here in Dhaka three months ago, the Prime Minister Khaled Azia urged the prawn industry to pay more attention to human rights and the environment. I'm going to see the Prime Minister's chief advisor Kamal Sidikhi.
Kamal Sidikhi: Very well damages are being done. Very well people are taking law into their own hands. We are taking action against them. You see the problem is there is a demand for shrimp and prawns in the international market. The private sector is only motivated by profit, nothing else but profit.
Ash: You talked about the profit motive. What I've noticed traveling around the country is that because prawns are so much more lucrative than the other crops, a lot of land is forcibly turned to shrimp against the wishes of the people that farm that land. And what will happen to those people?
Sidhiki: Your point is very well taken. All I'm saying is that I'm not at all justifying these things, which are horrible things that happen, but it has calmed down tremendously, because of government intervention. That is what I know to be true.
[Sounds of street vendors]
Ash: No wonder he's sensitive. Almost all the shrimp produced here is for export. Most Bangladeshis can't afford to eat them. Although street stalls sometimes sell the discarded heads, deep fried and coated in batter. Some pressure groups might like to ban the trade, but commercial prawn farming is clearly here to stay, especially now under new trade rules, when the country's other big export earner is threatened by cheaper Chinese garments. Many fear up to a third of textile factories here might have to close. So is it realistic to expect one of the poorest nations to take a long-term view? Could it be persuaded to share the profits of the pink gold more fairly?
Krulwich: Lucy Ash of the BBC. So in Bangladesh - by the way I'm Robert Krulwich.
Farrell: And I'm Chris Farrell.
Krulwich: Yeah right, so in Bangladesh and in Pittsburgh, in these times of change, you really get the same question. You have some winners you have some losers. And the issue is can we make it fair in the end? We don't want the winners to win too big. We don't want to the losers to get too grim, and for Bangladesh, clearly the question is rule of law. You want to have some kind of protection so you don't have either pirates taking over the property or, as I frankly suspect is the case, goons chasing people out of their homes.
Farrell: Absolutely. There's corruption. There's just total disregard of private property rights. But we shouldn't loose sight that all the economic evidence we have is that there are more winners than losers with globalization. A case in point: India.
Krulwich: So let's go to the BBC's Nigel Cassidy.
Nigel Cassidy: I'm standing on the rooftop of a computer company. I'm looking out over a hillside. It's full of trees, film studios and large swish-white painted houses in their own grounds. It may look like the Hollywood hills. But we're actually 8000 miles from North America. Welcome to the Jubilee Hills, the smart end of the bustling city of Hyderabad in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Now we all know about India's call centers in places like this, but things are moving on fast. I'm meeting some of a new wave of Indian computer and business types who are coming back to their homeland after years in the U.S. or overseas. People like Narena Yer here, managing director of Globarina, a computer learning company. They not only put American university courses online, so students can study them all over the world. They now devise and write the actual course work to order. So what lesson did he learn for himself in the U.S.?
Narena Yer: I think we have this social leftist kind of a hang-up. And we pretend that money is not important. But money is the most important thing. It can buy most things in life. Most things. Not everything. The second thing Americans are good at is, they're absolutely ruthless in terms of taking hard patience in business. You and I may be working together and you may be my boss and we may be partying and golfing yesterday. Today, it will take nothing for you to come into my office and say "Narena, bad luck. You're not required anymore by the organization. Let's continue to play golf, but we can't work together." I mean, Americans can look you in the eye and say that.
Cassidy: And Indians?
Yer: Indians would never say that. [Laughs] Indians would give up the business for friendship.
Cassidy: Now, of course, there are another billion people in this country who are not enjoying this kind of new success and new wealth. Do you think it will trickle through to very many in the foreseeable future?
Yer: Yes, absolutely. It's already doing that. For example, we were selling off our TV and refrigerator. So we put up a notice outside our apartment saying that "refrigerator and TV for sale". My maid came and said that "I would like to buy that." And that is something you can't imagine in India a few years back. So the middle class wealth is increasing. Consumerism is increasing. And for every company that sets up office, there are 1,000 jobs of service industry that's created; people catering to the employees who are eating their lunch, people who are providing Xerox copies for office stationary. A whole lot of work gets created.
Cassidy: Well, this is the sound of a new computer chip that can turn your mobile phone into an all-singing, all-dancing machine. Hyderabad has a big hand in the design of the next generation of mobile phones. I'm struggling to keep up when Padma Wati tells me what it actually does.
Padma Wati: In the phone, the chip will be running and on the chip the encoded signal is decoded. And uncompressed PCM samples are given back to the speakers.
Man: What we are demonstrating right now is how far we are ahead of other countries. This is the quality what you are going to hear from the new cell phones.
Cassidy: I've come to another go-ahead company founded by a returning Indian entrepreneur. In fact he's been so successful he sold it for millions of rupees to ATI technologies of Canada. What I find extraordinary about this company isn't so much its continuing success or it rapid rate of growth. It's the fact that its founder, Dersorada Gudei, came from a desperately poor farming family and had never set eyes on a computer until he was 19 years old.
Dersorada Gudei: I actually grew up in a small village called Malduram. I was the first Indian who graduated from my village. My parents are farming. My mother has no education. To go to school, we had to walk 5 miles everyday up and 5 miles back. We had to study in front of candlelights or something like that.
Cassidy: And for those who are still living in places like your former home, do you think they celebrate the success of people like yourself, or do you think they resent it a bit?
Gudei: They're very happy with my success. And somehow I want to go back and help them also.
Cassidy: I've now come to the village of Dundigal, just a three-quarter hour drive from Hyderabad. As pleasure flies buzz overhead, whole families can be found in the open air making bricks in these kilns. The pay is the equivalent of about 55 pence, or 1 U.S. dollar a day, below the minimum wage. Project officer VJ Kumar tells me about their daily routine.
VJ Kumar: In the early morning, he wakes up. He is very busy in mixing this mud for the bricks. In that process, wife and children bring water to mix this mud. From the afternoon, they start making bricks. Children mix it around. Then he gives that mud to the molder. Then he molds the bricks.
Cassidy: I meet Bunima Rimava an exceptionally lively woman, her eyes bright, but her face etched with lines from years spent working in the open. She doesn't know how old she is, though VJ thinks she's about 35. She's here with her husband and three children who also go to the school. She says if they learn how to read, they'll be able to help find the kilns by reading the signs when they're traveling. Beyond this, she has no other ambitions or expectations.
[Bunima Rimava speaks]
translator: "My name is Bunima. How can I know my age when I can't even read or write? I have two boys and a girl. They have to come with us. We have come a long way to find work here. If anything should happen, there's nobody to take care of us. If I die, I'd be buried here. I don't know where my life is going."
Cassidy: Do you worry who will look after you when you're old?
translator: I've been doing heavy work in these brick kilns for ten years. I'll probably do another ten. After that I'm going to die.
Krulwich: That's not the most generous view of globalization I've ever heard. I'm Robert Krulwich by the way.
Farrell: And I'm Chris Farrell. And, clearly, it is a tragedy. But let's take a step back and look at the over all trend. India in the 1970s, before it liberalized its economy, opened itself up to the United States and Russia and all other kinds of nations to trade, more than half its population was in poverty. The number today: one in three. And it's going in the right direction. So, globalization is not a panacea. Life is hard. Life is hard in many places of the world.
Krulwich: But you're thinking that her kids will leave the brick works and grow up and put on a blouse or put on a tie and end up in an air-conditioned office somewhere?
Farrell: There is a chance that that will happen to her kids. I don't know about her children. But perhaps the woman who's working in the next lot on the next set of bricks, maybe it's her children. They will have an option, they will have an opportunity that didn't exist 20 or 30 years ago.
Krulwich: So that really is the gamble here. We're going to sit here and we're going to have to wait for the final count. I sense from your eyeballs that you believe that in the end, this is a winning proposition. There will be more people moving up than down. I myself, I'm an agnostic. I want to see what's going to happen. And if it turns out that another third of India is middle-class in the next 20 years, hurray! But if it turns out that another third of India didn't quite make it, then from me you'll just get a sigh.
Krulwich: Still to come: going to the movies, and not just Spielberg movies or Coppola movies or Disney movies or Lucas movies or Pixar movies. How about Lu Chuan movies?
Lu Chuan: I feel very sad that only Kung Fu films show in United States. But I try to change the situation.
Farrell: To learn more or listen to this program again visit AmericanRadioWorks.org. Major funding for American RadioWorks comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support comes from the American Transportation Association.
Krulwich: You're listening to Global 3.0, part of public radio's special coverage Think Global from American Public Media.
Krulwich: This is Global 3.0, an American RadioWorks documentary, and part of public radio's special coverage Think Global from American Public Media. I'm Robert Krulwich.
Farrell: And I'm Chris Farrell.
Krulwich: And while we are talking about globalization, let's back up for just a second and recall that for most people, this noun, globalization, has a certain flavor. That flavor is: Americans and Europeans make stuff and then the rest of the world has to suck it up. So America makes Coca-Cola, and quite literally people all over the world drop their local beverages and put straws in our beverage. Ice-T - I'm not talking about the beverage here, but the rap singer - Ice-T is downloaded by one-third of everyone who steals music everywhere in the world. He's huge. And then you get the English language taking over and Microsoft taking over, and there's a sense about this that it's some kind of act of imperialism, you know, that it's ruthless, us over them, not us and them.
Farrell: Right, and I think that was Global 1.0 or Global 1.5, but we're now in Global 3.0. And just think about anime and all the young people who read anime books. I watched my younger son read a book from back to front, which is how the anime books are written.
Krulwich: Right, these are Japanese designs. But on the other hand, as you will report when you go to China in just a second, if you not only notice that this exchange of ideas and goods is moving now east to west and west to east, north to south and south to north, traveling alongside the goods is the anxiety. People who are at the top of the pyramid - what was the company you went to?
Farrell: Intel, which is in Santa Clara, California.
Krulwich: And so these people who are at Intel, whether they be from Delhi or Czechoslovakia or whatever, they're like the winners, right? They're probably pulling down wonderful salaries, they should be proud of themselves, their mamas should be proud of them. And yet, they seem to be frightened.
Farrell: Right. These are the best and the brightest from around the world, but I don't think it's any coincidence that Andy Grove, the legendary co-founder of Intel, a Hungarian immigrant, the title of his book was Only the Paranoid Survive.
Farrell: Let's go get a cup of coffee at Intel.
[Sound of cafeteria]
Farrell: Intel, the maker of silicon chips and other computer components helped define Silicon Valley. For a corporate giant with $34 billion in sales last year, it has a modest world headquarters: a box of blue glass in Santa Clara. What's more impressive is the diversity of faces and accents among the company's California-based employees.
Barista: Large Americano?
Farrell: This is Intel's sprawling, brightly colored cafeteria and espresso bar. At tables here and there, employees with company-issued IBM ThinkPads hold morning meetings in small groups.
Intel employee 1: You're gonna get dome-shaped, symmetrical structures.
Intel employee 2: No, I agree.
Farrell: At one table, a half dozen men sit and stand in a tight cluster peering at an image on a laptop and having a technical debate. They're a mini-United Nations. One man appears to be South Asian, two or three East Asian, one perhaps Middle Eastern, and there's one white guy with a North American accent.
[Intel employee conversation]
Frank Spindler: We don't even notice that sort of thing, because it's the way it is. It's just the way it's been for so many years.
Farrell: Frank Spindler is Vice President of Technology Programs at Intel. He says the company that was co-founded by an immigrant in the 1970s never stopped finding talent from across the globe.
Spindler: A small company may be able to draw from resources in one location, but Intel has over 80,000 people, and we want to get the best 80,000 people that we can anywhere in the world.
Farrell: U.S.-based companies and the American economy increasingly rely on foreign talent. Hans Mulder came to California from the Netherlands in the mid-1980s to study electrical engineering. He now leads some of Intel's cutting edge technology research.
Mulder: When I went to Stanford, roughly 50 percent of the graduate students in the engineering Ph.D. programs and computer science Ph.D. programs were foreign born. Now it's 70 percent. So it only has intensified.
Farrell: Even, so a lot of American economists and business leaders worry the U.S. is losing its edge in science. While other nations increase spending and train more and more engineers and scientists, the United States is cutting government support for research and science education. The people sipping espressos and leaning over their ThinkPad laptops at Intel are at the leading edge of the world economy. Still, they have one thing in common with those rice farmers in Bangladesh who fear getting pushed off the land to make way for a shrimp farm.
Spindler: Yes, absolutely, we're paranoid. That has not changed. I don't think that will change at Intel.
Farrell: Frank Spindler says insecurity is a real feature of the globalized world, for almost everybody.
Spindler: Because we're always assuming that there's something around the corner that's going to make what we're doing today obsolete. So we want to be the ones that find that technology around the corner. We want to be the ones that build it.
Farrell: Spindler says the kind of person who gets a job at Intel embraces insecurity and thrives on the need to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Farrell: Does that aspect of the culture translate when you set up overseas, say, in China or India?
Spindler: It's absolutely not an American-only type of a trait. Today, almost half our employees are outside of the United States. We have large facilities, over 1,000 people, in places like Israel, Russia, India, China.
Wee Theng Tan: You know this is our twentieth year here in China.
Wee Theng Tan is President of Intel China. He's at the Beijing office.
Wee: Well, we're now approximately more than 4,000 employees, China-wide. The market is obviously extremely significant. It is already the largest, if you will, PC consumption country in the world.
Farrell: Intel has several manufacturing plants in China, but also testing and research facilities. That reflects an important trend, and perhaps for Americans, an unsettling one. China isn't just a center of cheap labor anymore. Chinese economist He Jun.
translator: Chinese manufacturers are making not only toys and clothing but also cell phones, computers, and semiconductors - more high-end, high-value products. China won't forever be a manufacturer of shoes and socks, jeans and t-shirts.
Farrell: Right now you can go to Sears and buy a washer and dryer made by a Chinese company: Haier. Russians are buying Chinese-made SUVs and the Chinese carmaker, Brilliance, is sending its first sedan to Europe this year. Soon you might be buying a computer, made and designed, in China.
At a huge three-story electronics market in downtown Beijing, crowds of shoppers look over computers made in the U.S. and Japan and those made by Chinese companies like Lenovo or Fang Zheng.
[Woman speaking Chinese]
translator: We don't have a computer at home. That's why am here today, to buy one for my child. I am thinking of buying a Lenovo.
[Man speaking Chinese]
translator: For me, Chinese and foreign technology don't have big differences. Chinese brands are cheaper, and easier to get serviced. Like Lenovo, they have very good service.
Farrell: Robert, here's a sign of the new world. China's biggest computer maker is Lenovo, and it recently bought IBM's PC division - those Thinkpads?
Krulwich: Those are now owned by Chinese?
Farrell: They're now owned by the Chinese - $1.75 billion. So, an American icon owned by a Chinese company, which, by the way, is partially owned by the Chinese government.
Krulwich: All right, so you're interested in strange new world bedfellows? I'll give you a bed and a fellow and a lady. Listen to this: In China, when it's time to go to the movies, new thing? You go to Korean movies, 'cause they're hot, they're sexy, the guys are beautiful, the girls are beautiful, it's very, very tasty, if you're a kid. But they now let you go to a movie theater where, instead of just the normal chair, they have like a couch, a couch which you can unfold, it's like a make-out couch. Is this a good idea, I mean if you live in a small house with parents around all the time? Don't you think this idea will travel? That's coming to a movie theater near you. Let's go to the movies in China.
Farrell: Hollywood films are popular in China. A cinema not far from Tiananmen Square - yes, it has those seats you can fold out into sofas. It's screening the latest Nicholas Cage movie, National Treasure, overdubbed in Mandarin.
Farrell: But young Chinese also watch films from their own country, and from Europe, Japan, and elsewhere.
[Huang Shan speaking]
Farrell: At a DVD store in Beijing, Huang Shan, a 19-year-old student at the International Economic and Trade University, flips through the stacks of discs in their plastic sleeves.
[Huang Shan speaking]
translator: Oh, this is a Korean movie, called You Have to Believe in Fate. This is the most popular Korean film in China in 2004 after My Sassy Girl. It is very popular among young people in China because of its romantic and beautiful scenes. 90 percent of the students in my university have seen this movie.
Farrell: Huang says things have changed a lot since she was a small child in a rural village. Then, she says, Chinese films were the only kind allowed. They were shown once in awhile on an outdoor screen. Now the world's movies are readily accessible, though often on pirated DVDs. Some recent Chinese films have had box-office success, at home, and in the West - especially martial arts pictures like House of Flying Daggers and Kung Fu Hustle.
Lu Chuan: I feel very sad that only Kung Fu films show in the United States. But I try to change the situation.
Farrell: Lu Chuan is a young Chinese director. His latest film Kekexili: Mountain Patrol tells a story about deer poachers in the high mountains of Tibet. The film has been shown at festivals from Tokyo and Taiwan to Berlin and Sundance. Lu says his film was one of 260 made in China last year.
Lu: The Chinese industry produce more and more films because more and more money rolling in and more and more young directors got their first chance to make a movie.
Farrell: Lu says he's been influenced by Japanese, European, and American directors. He cites Coppola and Scorsese. He sees himself as a Chinese artist, drawing lessons from the best filmmakers wherever they are.
Lu: For maybe 50 years, China didn't open their door to learn to bring the good things from outside. It's bad, it's not good. But now the door is open and you will never shut. I think, first, we should learn from Japanese movie, especially we should learn from American movie. We should learn everything. Then, second, we should make Chinese movie.
Krulwich: So here's a Chinese filmmaker who knows not only about American movies, but Japanese movies, probably Indian movies, European movies, movies at those little obscure film festivals. There is now the opportunity for people who want to know, who are curious, to find out about pretty much everything. And that's a big difference. If we were looking for one really fundamental change about globalization, there are now highways for people to whisper to each other, to pursue ideas, to seek information. And while there are dictatorships that will try to cut you off at the pass, and there are things about human beings that are mean and will never go away, here's something new: a chance to whisper to the whole world. That's, to me, a very big change.
Farrell: It's not only a very big change. It makes the whole issue of globalization and all the turmoil and paranoia and insecurity, worth it. It's also something else. If we take a step back, the great tragedy of the global economy has been the enormous gap between a handful of rich nations and a lot of poor nations. Now, we don't have the solution, but what's going on right now is by increased trade, communication, the whispers going on in area after area. There is a hope that other nations are going to enjoy the bounty, the standard of living, that's been enjoyed by only a handful of Western industrial nations plus Japan. And that's the real difference. India, China - they point to a future.
Krulwich: And really, no matter who you are, no matter where you live, if you just have a computer, you've got a channel to everything. That feels sort of like Tinkerbell, or something wonderful.
Farrell: Yeah. You're part of a global community.
Krulwich: Global 3.0 was produced by Chris Farrell and John Biewen in cooperation with BBC News. It was edited by Catherine Winter. Senior Producer: Sasha Aslanian. Project Coordinator: Misha Quill. Mixing by Craig Thorson. Production assistance from Ellen Guettler, Ben Schmidt, and Marta Berg. Web production by Ochen Kaylan. The executive editor is Stephen Smith. The executive producer: Bill Buzenberg. I'm Robert Krulwich.
Farrell: It's not colonialism, it's not exploitative, it's not the north-south divide. What's happening is that knowledge -
Krulwich: No, it's some schmuck making all these people work for nothing to make bricks, that's what it is. Who cares whether the villain is from Moscow or New York? If the villain is from downtown in my own town, he's still a villain.
Farrell: Because the tragedy used to be when the villain was only in New York or London or in Frankfurt. And now the villain is in Shanghai or Beijing.
Krulwich: Or up the block.
Farrell: Or up the block. And that's what's different. And the knowledge is spreading about how you make a factory, how you create a business, how you -
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