Job losses, multinationals and globalization: the anatomy of disempowerment

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Job losses, multinationals and globalization: the anatomy of disempowerment


Abstract This paper examines the anatomy of the pervasive current job cuts and job losses occuring in multinational enterprises. It raises the question of the social and economic costs to countries and workers around the globe, and specifically in Latin America and the Caribbean. It analyzes the growing disempowerment of national authorities in the face of the significant growth and concentration of multinational corporations and their penetration in Latin America and combines current job cut information assembled by the author with the ECLAC Investment and Corporate Strategies Database for Latin America and the Caribbean. It discusses the region's double disadvantage in the globalized economy. Its wages are higher than its poorer global competitors. At the same time its skill levels are lower than its richer global competitors and even some of its poorer global competitors. It documents multinational job cuts in 2001 in the region by sector, firm and country, and discusses the basic inadequacy of data for understanding the magnitude and importance of what is occurring. It concludes with an appeal to national policy makers to monitor carefully the impact of multinational corporate investment and employment practices and to develop proactive, informed polices that benefit from corporate investment, but not at the expense of workers and national decision making.