The European Union as Cardoso and Ferreira (2000) asserts is currently the most successful example of regional economic integration which reflects the present Era of globalization. Portugal as a member of it since 1986 and as consequence of the European integration process has been experiencing considerable political, social and mainly economic changes. According to the above mentioned author, the various Portuguese areas of economic activity have been profoundly influenced by the European regulations and policies. With the creation of a common European market and a single currency, several constraints that limited in some extent the efficiency of business organizations and the full employment of their resources have been suppressed, the Portuguese companies gained the opportunity to explore economies of scale and to specialize in certain good and services through comparative advantage, improved their position to negotiate internationally, eliminated the exchange rate uncertainty, reduced inflation rates and enhanced competition which stimulates greater economic efficiency. Moreover, Cardoso and Ferreira (2000) further affirms that the gains of greater economic integration and interdependence between countries due to the globalization of the economy through the European Union also involve savings in foreign exchanges and transport costs. Furthermore, according to Lima et al. (2006), the above mentioned regional economic integration with its respective technological development of telecommunications and transport also permitted for example the organizational and technological restructure of the banking sector and stimulated employment in the service sector, mainly in the tourism sector. Considering the case of tourism, as Cardoso and Ferreira (2000) explains, this sector that in Portugal assumes significant social, cultural and particularly economic importance in creating jobs, increasing income per inhabitant, in the development of skilled labour, economic diversification and infrastructures has been profoundly positively affected along with different various areas of economic activity by the globalization and the European regulations and policies. Currently the total contribution of Travel and Tourism to the Portuguese Gross Domestic Product, including its wider economic impacts, is “forecast to rise by 2.4% from â‚¬25.7bn (14.7% of GDP) in 2011 to â‚¬32.6bn (16.2%) by 2021” (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2011) and one may deduce that the above mentioned economic facts are due to the present globalization that made the tourism industry grow mainly with the fusion of cultures, transports revolution and deregulation policies as Wahab and Cooper (2001) assert. In addition, Lima et al. (2006) corroborates the above mentioned arguments by pointing out the fact that jobs in the hotel and restaurant sector increased by 9.4% between 1998 and 2004 and it also asserts that there has been noteworthy investments in transport and telecommunications, 30,000 jobs were created between 1998 and 2004 in this sector and it represented in 2006 7.4% of the service jobs. Furthermore, as a positive impact of the globalization in the country’s economy, Portugal since its integration in the European Union has always benefited from various structural funds and programs to encourage economic growth, higher competitiveness and to help reduce disparities among regions. As an example, one may consider the Portuguese archipelago island of Madeira which according to Beirman (2003) has been apportioned since 1986 structural funds to develop and modernize the region that made possible the construction of numerous infrastructures as roads, bridges, schools, airports, ports and health clinics.
On the other hand, globalization also affected negatively the economy of Portugal in various aspects. According to Lima et al. (2006), the liberalization of the global economic markets encouraged the relocation of national and foreign industries from Portugal to other countries with more profitable production costs, which ultimately resulted in increasing unemployment in certain economic sectors, particularly in the automobile, footwear and textile sectors. As Lima et al. (2006) explains, the effects of the above mentioned aspects are considerably different in the various economic activities. In the case of industry, according to Lima et al. (2006), the number of jobs has been cut significantly by 105,000 jobs between the year 2000 and 2006. In contrast, over the same period, approximately 417,000 new jobs were created in the service sector. However, the above mentioned author further notes that precarious work situations are more common in the service sector. On one hand, from the analysis of the above mentioned arguments one may notice that globalization in Portugal creates in some situations new jobs and opportunities to expand companies, but on the other, provokes significant qualified and unqualified unemployment. According to the European Commission cited in Lima et al. (2006), the sluggish European economic growth combined with the acceleration of the liberalization of World Trade resulted in a loss of 860,000 textiles and clothing jobs in EU between 1998 and 2010; sectors that are considerably important for the Portuguese economy. The footwear and textile industries are the source of a considerable amount of jobs in Portugal and they have been severely affected by the relocation of enterprises to countries that offer fewer bureaucracies, less strict labour criteria, financial benefits and cheaper factors of production. According to the Portuguese national statistics institute cited in Lima et al. (2006), Portugal lost 90.000 jobs between 1998 and 2004, reducing its industrial employment from 23.5% in 1998 to 19.4% in 2004. In addition, at the above mentioned period, as Lima et al. (2006) asserts, Chinese entrepreneurs have been investing in the textile and clothing sector, a phenomenon that has previously occurred in Italy where the Chinese business management method, based on production at considerable low margin of profit and high volumes of sales has raised several issues regarding unfair competition. Although one may initially suppose that the above mentioned foreign investment is beneficial to the economy of the country, in reality it may be perhaps considerably prejudicial in several aspects since local small and medium size industries possess difficulty in competing with the Chinese production costs. Regarding other industries, particularly the automobile industry, according to Lima et al. (2006), has also been affected since 1990 by industrial relocation for mainly the above mentioned reasons; “There was a 9% drop in jobs in this sector between 1998 and 2004” (ibid). As the above mentioned author further notes, the closing of the Opel factory in Azambuja in 2006 left 1.200 people without a job and Renault closed its Setubal factory and invested in various new factories in Brazil and Slovenia. Consequently, unemployment as Lipsey and Chrystal (2007) point out, involves numerous micro and macroeconomic issues that damage the economy of Portugal, including the loss of the individual’s income, a decline in their living standards, social deprivation, negative multiplier effects, a loss of potential national output, a waste of resources (labour) and fiscal costs since the government loses tax revenues and possesses the necessity of spending more on welfare payments for unemployed family members. Moreover, as Sloman (2006) make clear, due to the current global and regional interdependence Portugal is affected by the economic health of other countries and by their governments’ policies, issues in any area of the world can significantly affect Portugal through trade and financial markets, despite the eventual geographical distance. The present Portuguese economic situation reflects the vulnerability of the country to financial crisis. Finally, the European Monetary Union that is one of the examples of today’s globalization, may be prejudicial to the Portuguese economy if Portugal possesses for example higher rates of inflation and if consequently its national enterprises possess difficulty in competing with the rest of the European Union. With a separate currency Portugal could allow its currency to depreciate and prevent being a depressed region of Europe with rising unemployment.
In conclusion it seems apparent that the economy of Portugal has been profoundly affected by globalization. This essay has shown that it is possible to identify in Portugal numerous positive aspects and a significant amount of negative consequences of the global and regional increasing interdependence. One may deduce that the current concerning economic Portuguese situation is in part a reflection of the international financial crisis and the country’s vulnerability to the exterior. Nevertheless, from the analysis of the above mentioned arguments and despite the referred serious prejudicial implications of globalization, it seems undoubtable that globalization in recent years has contributed to the economic prosperity of Portugal. Hence, this essay suggests to minimize the negative effects of globalization in the Portuguese economy, the investment in education to qualify the work force and gain competitiveness, creation of more jobs in viable sectors as tourism, possible greater monitoring of financial institutions to prevent unexpected issues and increased international co-operation to solve the current and future economic problems.
The American Economy And Wal Mart Economics Essay
This is a summary of the Analysis of a research carried out in order to indicate that the United States of America may become more protectionist of the American economy than it is currently, using Wal-Mart as a case study.
Wal-Mart is accountable for approximately 9.3% of the total United States imports from China, between the years 2001 and 2006. The Wal-Mart trade deficit effect displaced 111,400 jobs in the year 2001 and also 308,100 jobs in the year 2006. This research shows that, Wal-Mart’s effect resulted in displacing at least 196,700 U.S. jobs in this period alone. While Wal-Mart was responsible for 9.3% of U.S. imports in this period, it was responsible for 11.2% of the U.S. job losses due to growing trade deficits with China. (Fishman, Charles, 2006)
In conclusion, it is clear that the United States is gradually losing its export capacity and accumulating foreign debt while China is becoming more and more dependent on the United States consumer market for its employment creation. Wal-Mart’s benefits from this unfair trading system is clearly an impediment to the future economic growth of the nation, which is why it is apparent that the United States may adopt a protectionist policy in order to protect its economy.
Wal-Mart, a profound American public multinational corporation, was founded in 1962, by Sam Walton; the company was later incorporated in 1969, October 3rd. Wal-Mart was publicly traded in 1972, on the NYSE. Located in 15 countries, with 8,986 stores, under 55 different names, Wal-Mart currently stands as the biggest private employer and the biggest grocery retailer in North America. The impact of which, on the American economy, cannot be over emphasized. Presently, Wal-Mart is serving more than 176 million customers a year and currently employs 2.1 million associates, 1.2 million in the U.S alone. The effect of Wal-Mart spans from the positive to the negative, but the impact of the negative outweighs that of the positive. (Fishman, Charles, 2006)
The effect of Wal-Mart spans from positive, in terms of the availability of consumer products and consumer savings and to the negative, in terms of the local market and job reduction in the manufacturing industry. The United States is a big consumer nation, with the nation’s consumer spending at about 70 per cent of the economic output, it is clear that Wal-Mart has a big role to play in this.
Presently, Wal-Mart is serving more than 176 million customers a year and currently employs 2.1 million associates. More than half of all Americans live within 5 miles of a Wal-Mart store. For most people, that’s about a 10 to 15 minute drive. 90 percent of Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has become the most powerful and the most influential company in the world. By providing more jobs than any other employers in the United States economy, Wal-Mart retains a high level of power that can easily determine the direction of the nation. The effect of Wal-Mart’s low prices is a boon to majority of consumers, most especially the less privileged ones, giving them the ability to exercise their buying power since they find the consumer products affordable, thereby, enjoying an opportunity to be a part of the forward trending environment. Not only does the effect of Wal-Mart keep the standard of living high, it also helps to keep the U.S currency in check against inflation. The action of Wal-Mart has made other strong competitors, who remain in the business despite Wal-Mart’s thriving and continuous success, to become low cost providers.
As a low cost provider, the most damaging visible effects, as seen by Wal-Mart’s competitors would be the fact that, smaller retail establishments can never stand in a competition with Wal-Mart, majority of them have been forced out of business from downsizing due out of customer-base decline, unjustified price reduction as a result of Wal-Mart’s prices, which in turn led to outright loss and shutdown. Through the times of Wal-Mart’s operation, 31 other supermarket chains have filed for bankruptcy, claiming a loss of their customers to Wal-Mart. In actual fact, the magnitude of the economic effects of Wal-Mart goes beyond the mere competition; there is a direct negative impact on the United States economy which results from Wal-Mart’s high level of importation from China into the United States. Exportation supports job creation in the United States, whereas importation displaces the jobs. However, increase in exportation will not be in support of the creation of new jobs, for example, if a domestic company exports assembly parts that used to be shipped to a local domestic automobile assembly plant and the shipped products are used in building cars that are then sent back to the United States. Therefore, the net effect of the trade flows on such factor as employment should certainly be based on a solid analysis of the trade balance.
The United States exports to China in the year 2001, supported 189,000 jobs, but the United States imports, displaced the production that would have supported the 1,190,000 jobs, as described in the lower level of the Table below. Therefore, an $84.1 billion trade deficit in the year 2001 displaced One million jobs that year alone. The displacement of jobs escalated to 2,763,000 in the year 2006. Development in trade deficits with China has dropped down demand for goods produced in all region of the United States, which has led to job displacement in all the states and the District of Columbia.
Wal-Mart is accountable for approximately 9.3% of the total United States imports from China, between the years 2001 and 2006. This estimate is derived from widely reported statistics which is including Wal-Mart’s documented estimates of its imports from China.( Bianco, Anthony. 2006)
The United States imports from China did increase by $185 billion between the years 2001 and 2006, as shown in the top half of the table above, an augment of 181%. Wal-Mart’s share of the United States imports from China was steady at this point. Its imports increased from $9.5 billion in the year 2001 to $26.7 billion in the year 2006, an increase of $17.2 billion (181%). Being retailer and not a manufacturer, Wal-Mart is able to exports only a negligible amount to China, accounting for at most 0.2% of the total United States exports to China. Wal-Mart was responsible for a $17.1 billion increase in the U.S. trade deficit between the years 2001 and 2006.
The Wal-Mart trade deficit effect displaced 111,400 jobs in the year 2001 and also 308,100 jobs in the year 2006. This study shows that, Wal-Mart’s effect resulted in displacing at least 196,700 U.S. jobs in this period alone, as shown in the bottom half of the table above and in Figure A below. While Wal-Mart was responsible for 9.3% of U.S. imports in this period, it was responsible for 11.2% of the U.S. job losses due to growing trade deficits with China (Table above). Since the effects of Wal-Mart’s exports to China were insignificant, the speedy growth of its imports had a significant proportionately bigger impact on the U.S. trade deficit and job losses than the overall United States trade flows with China (since the rest of the United States trade with China includes significant U.S. exports to that country). On average, each of the 4,022 stores Wal-Mart operated in the United States was responsible for the loss of about 77 jobs due to Wal-Mart’s trade deficit with China in 2006.
These job loss estimates are conservative because goods sold at Wal-Mart are primarily durable and non-durable consumer goods such as furniture, apparel and textiles, toys, and sporting goods. These are particularly labour-intensive manufacturing industries and support more jobs per $1 billion of imports than more capital-intensive goods such as machine tools, automobile, and aircraft parts imported by other U.S. firms.
Job losses in manufacturing account for 68% of total jobs displaced due to growing imports from China in this period. Employment in the manufacturing sector pays higher salaries and provide better benefits than most other industries, especially for workers with less than a college education. Manufacturing also employs a greater share of such workers than other sectors. (Robert E. Scott, 2007)
The rising trade deficit of the United States with China has caused a huge displacement of jobs in the American economy and has been a major factor contributing to the crisis in manufacturing employment in the last 5 years. Wal-Mart alone displaced nearly 200,000 jobs in the United States alone due to its own trade deficit with China. The current trending unbalance found in the U.S – China trade relationship is not a good thing for both countries and Wal-Mart has played a significant role in making that imbalance. The United States is gradually losing its export capacity and accumulating foreign debt while China is becoming more and more dependent on the United States consumer market for its employment creation. Wal-Mart’s benefits from this unfair trading system is clearly an impediment to the future economic growth of the nation, which is why it is apparent that the United States may adopt a protectionist policy in order to protect its economy.