Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Two Cities, One Global Economy

September 10, 2006|From the Associated Press

The Becks, the Ralphs, the Hoisingtons. They do not know the Espinozas, the Lozanos or the Lopezes. They live nearly 2,000 miles apart in Greenville, Mich., and Juarez, Mexico.

But their lives, and those of many others in both places, are connected -- even if they are only abstractly aware of what binds them.

The jobs lost in Greenville when a refrigerator factory closed became jobs gained in Juarez when a new plant opened there. Juarez is poised to become one of the great manufacturing centers of the world in the 21st century. Greenville, meanwhile, is trying to reinvent itself, looking to other sources of economic activity.

It's an all-too-common story: A big corporation closes a factory to save money. Americans lose their jobs to workers in cheap-labor countries, where workers are thought to be exploited. An American town, usually rural, often somewhere in the Midwest, falls into decay. Fathers and mothers struggle to provide, and children suffer.

But the truth about places like Greenville and Juarez is more complex. The loss of a job sometimes forces a worker to learn and grow and take chances. And what seems like exploitation is a windfall and a boost.

It is neither perfect, nor easy, for people on both sides of the border. Some will make more of their opportunities than others. In the end, only one thing is certain: The citizens of Greenville and Juarez will have plenty of company coping with the tides of globalization.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|