Reich to IT: Don't Fear Globalization

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 09-18-2006

DALLAS—Education is our most important weapon in fending off the challenge of the global economy, according to former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

With world labor markets supplying low-cost employees in a number of fields, including IT, U.S. IT professionals will have to ratchet up their education and training to add value on top of that cheap labor, Reich told 600 of the nation's top IT executives at the annual Society for Information Management SIMposium here on September 18.

"It's all about human capital and education. We need to invest in education and our children," Reich told the gathering of senior IT leaders from a broad spectrum of industries.

Reich, whose duties as labor secretary included stumping for the Clinton administration's NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), said the global economy is a good thing and not to be feared.

"The rising tide will lift us regardless of where the headquarters of the global company is," said Reich. "NAFTA did not result in a gain or loss of jobs—just a new allocation of jobs. What matters is the value that we are able to add to a global supply chain."

He said that technology advances, not globalization, are eroding manufacturing jobs worldwide, even in China.

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