Germany’s a free-trade country, and so is America. All American economists are also feverish proponents of free trade. But lately a few have been getting nervous about the coming offshoring of the service industry. Prominent American economist Alan Blinder points out that free trade has begun destroying millions of service-industry jobs in the United States:
It’s going to be painful because our country offers such a poor social safety net to cushion the blow for displaced workers. Our unemployment insurance program is stingy by first-world standards. American workers who lose their jobs often lose their health insurance and pension rights as well. And even though many displaced workers will have to change occupations — a difficult task for anyone — only a fortunate few will be offered opportunities for retraining. All this needs to change.
Hmm. Generous unemployment benefits, portable health insurance, and government-funded retraining schemes for displaced workers. Sound like any countries you know?