‘Globalization’ as a Dirty Word

As the Democratic presidential contenders (plus assorted TV commentators) hammer away at NAFTA every day, and few public figures dare say a good word for free trade, “globalization” has become a bad word among the public in general. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll asked registered voters whether the increasing globalization of the U.S. economy is good (“because it has opened up new markets for American products and resulted in more jobs”) or bad (“because it has subjected American companies and employees to unfair competition and cheap labor”). “Bad” trounced “good” by 58 percent to 25 percent, with 12 percent volunteering that it has been “equally good and bad” and 5 percent unsure. It’s a far cry from the results of a similar 1997 poll, in which “good” lagged just slightly behind “bad” (42 percent vs. 48 percent).