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The Global Workforce will consist of Three Groups
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bayan Tabbara" <btabbara@escwa.org.lb>
To: "Globalization E-Conference" <globalization@lists.worldbank.org>
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 2:56 AM
Subject: [globalization] Marginalized countries

This is a great opportunity to exchange views on issues as globalization.

My name is Bayan Tabbara and I work for the Human Development Section at the Economic
and Social Commission for Western Asia.

At present I am researching the social impact of  globalization on the labour markets of the ESCWA region. The outcome of my work so  far is very pessimistic. There is no way out for developing countries that have followed inward economic development over the past thirty years, where the government was providing everything from free education to employment to free services etc, to restructure overnight and be ready to open up. Globalization means competitiveness on a global scale. Developing countries in Western Asia do not have the basic elements for competition: most of their labour force is unskilled, the educational systems do not produce  the type of skills required in the global market (heavy reliance on rote learning), and more crucially, people lack the attitudes and work disciplines to boost their productivity. Such factors are difficult to be created overnight.

As a result, countries of the region will be marginalized in the new globalized world.

All research on emerging global labour force (See for example Reich, 1993; Ratinoff, 1995; Hallak, 1998 and Castells et al, 1999) forecast that during the next decade the global workforce will be divided into three groups:

1. The Elite world class group with first class skills and competencies that makes them the core of any  enterprise. They count on secure and highly paid jobs as well as international social prestige. They will constitute some 10 to 15 percent of the global workforce.

2. The second class group of employees on hire and fire contracts, to serve the Elite group and implement their ideas. They are also responsible to entertain the first group in the luxurious resorts around the globe. This group will constitute some 30 to 40 percent of  the global workforce.

3. Lastly a large group of underprivileged, destined at best, to irregular employment at very low wages, and will be totally marginalized from globalization. This group that constitute half of world population will serve as a cushion of cheap labour.

Such a gloomy picture reminds us of the old days of Phereon some 5000 years ago, where the privileged strove on the account of the improvished.

To illustrate this scenario, I was visiting Jordan last week, a country that is counted as a great success in implementing SAP. All hotels and resort areas are fully booked, yet the benefits were all going to the foreign companies operating the resorts, with minimal trickle down effect to the local population.  Unemployment is
about 25% and is much higher for the educated. There were demonstrations and sit-ins for Doctorate holders as they cannot find jobs. The country is becoming more and more expensive, but locals cannot afford it. Is this the outcome of a success story in terms of World Bank?

How can globalization and opening up to foreign investment trickle down to the local population? I think this is a major issue to be discussed in such a forum.

Castells, Mauel and others (1999): Critical Education in the New Information Age; Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc.

Hallak, Jacques (1998): Education and Globalization; International  Institute for Education Planning, Paris.

Ratinnof Luis (1995): Globalization and Education: The Culture of Globalization; in Prospects, vol XXV No. 2, June.

Reich, R (1993): The Work of Nations; New York: Simon and Shuster.