Saturday, August 30, 2008

Public opinion in the Muslim world about globalization

Bryan Caplan draws attention to a just released public opinion survey conducted in seven Muslim countries by From the WPO press release:
The poll finds that most respondents also view international trade as good for their countries and themselves. At the same time, many are concerned about trade's effects on workers and the environment. However most express interest in addressing these effects, not through protectionism but through an international, cooperative effort integrating labor and environmental standards into agreements on international trade.

Caplan nails it:
When economists look at anti-globalization protestors demanding "labor standards," they often see them as thinly-veiled attempts by First World unions to make Third World firms uncompetitive. But this self-interest story just doesn't fly. Not only do large majorities of Western citizens want labor standards; so do the people of the Third World.

Let's hope that unresponsive elites ignore these benighted supermajorities long enough to allow economic growth to raise "labor standards" the one way that really works: Making workers more productive.
As I've said before, be careful what you ask for: rights have costs for those who get them.

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