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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Former Economist editor pitches globalism at Eller

    Bill Emmott, a former editor in chief of The Economist magazine, delivered a speech to students yesterday evening in McClelland Halls Berger Auditorium. He spoke about and in favor of globalization of business.
    Bill Emmott, a former editor in chief of The Economist magazine, delivered a speech to students yesterday evening in McClelland Hall’s Berger Auditorium. He spoke about and in favor of globalization of business.

    Although globalization brings “”disruptive change,”” national economies should unify and trade barriers should be relaxed, said Bill Emmott during last night’s lecture titled “”Looking Back, Looking Forward: Making the Case for Globalization”” in McClelland Hall.

    In his hour-long speech that was part of the Eller College of Management’s Fathauer Lecture series, Emmott, a former editor of The Economist, highlighted globalism’s role in aiding the world’s poor and easing international tensions through growing interconnection of markets.

    “”Globalism is bringing higher living standards to many people and shrinking the world’s worst poverty, but not fast enough,”” Emmott said.
    Increased dealings with juggernaut economies like those of China and India have given opportunities for resource-rich emerging nations to embrace global trade and get on their feet, Emmott said.

    Emmott said the number of people living on less than $1 a day dropped from 22 percent in 1997 to 17.8 percent in 2001 and is expected to fall to 9 percent by 2015, if current trends in the global economy continue.

    “”Perhaps I should tell that to workers at plant closures and see how calmly they escort me from the room,”” he joked.

    Resistance to such trade policies occupied a large chunk of Emmott’s speech. Globalism has become a centerstage issue of worldwide concern, having migrated from boardroom discussions to barroom debate and street-level protests in recent years.

    Concerns for the environment, corporate abuse, child labor and corruption, while valid, were some of the leading reasons Emmott provided for discord against the free-trade movement.

    “”While there are genuine issues, they should be brought up and dealt with separately,”” Emmott said. “”Globalization is disruptive change, which will bring up local resistance.””

    Political instabilities, including the possibility of war with Iran, Chinese aggression toward Taiwan and nuclear terrorism have threatened globalism’s progress over recent decades, which could change the “”political calculus”” and result in trade restrictions, Emmott said.

    He also said immigration is a benefit to globalization, and while it presses on those who are less skilled or in labor-intensive fields, the free movement of workers should be supported.

    “”The process of allowing individuals to find their best opportunities should include allowing them to choose what country they want to live in,”” he said. “”As much of (immigration) as possible should be legalized.””

    Emmott said there is little new about the trend, whose roots lie in 19th-century economic issues between Britain and Brazil.

    The respected weekly political magazine that he helmed for 13 years, while increasing circulation to 1.1 million worldwide, centered its first story on the benefits of free trade 163 years ago.

    “”You’ll notice progress has been somewhat fitful,”” Emmott said.

    The need for UA students to recognize the importance of global trade was one of the reasons Emmott was invited to speak, said Paul Portney, dean of the Eller College.

    “”Globalism is something that affects people all over the U.S. and across the world,”” Portney said. “”While it’s quite immediate in Tucson, it would be hard to find an area unaffected by it.””

    About 325 people made reservations to attend the event, the largest crowd ever for the lecture series, said Julie Krell, spokeswoman for Eller College.

    Krell said Emmott was asked to speak at the college to impart wisdom on students and attract the community.

    “”We really like to bring in someone who has broader experience in political
    economics,”” Krell said.

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