October 12, 2022
Baby Boomers (as American kids born between 1946 and 1964 are called) learned a lot about World War II. From Pearl Harbor thru the atomic bomb drops, our history classes made sure we knew what our grandfathers, fathers, and uncles had done to defeat the Axis powers. In recent years our children and grandchildren have even learned what contributions American women made, both in and out of uniform. Today is the 75th Anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy and many are surprised to learn, thanks to the Internet that our boys did not go into battle alone. Globalization is viewed as a bad thing in many countries. Our industry, for example, was once very nationalistic. Trade barriers often prevented country A from selling its gearboxes in country B and design philosophies diverged depending upon local economic conditions. The Common Market in Europe led to free trade in many other places and over time jobs moved to lower cost locations. Some of these dislocations caused tremendous hardship for certain populations but our experts insisted it would all be better in the long run. Around the globe we are now feeling a backlash from those who never got “better” following the rapid departure of entire industries from their towns and villages. Unlike the heroic vignettes in war movies, the sacrifices made by textile workers in the United States, auto workers in the UK, or people in other disadvantaged areas are never brought to the silver screen. I am reluctant to hold their “losses” up to those of our honored war dead, but our political leaders must begin to deal with the long term effects of globalization on our towns and cities in the First World. Unless we do this we will be seeing similar problems in Third World nations as they enjoy a temporary boom with “good jobs” passing thru on their way to an even lower cost location. It does not have to be “us vs. them.” Many nations fought side by side in WWII for the prospect of a fairer economic system. A return to such a cooperative attitude would be a great way to start. Look through the pages of Gear Technology and you see how globalization has opened new opportunities to our companies.