Millennial Views on Trade: James Lee

In this ongoing series, we ask current and former students of trade about their views and experiences with international trade, negotiation simulations, and globalization. In this installment, we interview James Lee, a 2019 Masters of Science in Foreign Service candidate at Georgetown University.

On Views of Globalization

I think globalization can be a very personal term and everyone attaches their own meaning to its significance. For me, globalization is about life on the move. As far back as I can remember, I have not lived in a country for more than five consecutive years. Globalization has brought greater cultural diversity to human interaction facilitated by the evolution of technology. Whether the current generation likes it or not, this is the direction that the world economy is going – constant relocation of both human and non-human capital. Thus, I believe that cultural awareness and the ability to look at an issue from multiple perspectives is a core requirement for the modern workforce.

On Trade and Career Prospects

Without even realizing its full effects, trade has consistently had an impact on my life. To a large extent, the opportunities that were afforded to me today originated in the trade liberalizations of South Korea in the 1980s and its subsequent economic rise with other “Asian tigers”. I think the beauty of trade comes from the fact that it creates opportunities that were previously unimaginable. Openness to trade not only increased the varieties of goods and services entering a country, but it also had a positive lasting impact for the next generation in terms of social mobility. Trade leads to greater productivity and increases in income that culminates in a happier standard of living.

Standing at the crossroads of career paths ahead of me, I expect to pursue a career in development that focuses on bringing greater financial and educational opportunities in newly liberalizing emerging markets. While the world is still very unequal, how we tailor technology will ultimately lead to greater equality in all dimensions across the globe.

On Trade Negotiations

While the empirical evidence on the benefits that a country gains overall from trade is well established, there are clear industrial winners and losers resulting from trade. My current coursework on Offshoring, Outsourcing and Trade Services has highlighted the importance behind making compromises for essentially the greater good of a country. Offshoring is a politically heated issue as it is closely linked to mass lay-offs as these jobs are outsourced to developing countries with relatively lower wages. While offshoring allows domestic firms to experience greater productivity and become more competitive, fiscal policies may often by colored my misguided biases that requires the intervention of trade negotiators. In many ways, trade negotiations are the drivers of globalization—connecting countries to bigger markets and integrating new economies in to growing density of trade relations.

On Consensus

The strength of Consensus lies in the fact that it brings organization and structure to a simulation scenario. Having been part of a Crises Simulation Strategies club in my undergraduate years, I realize that structure is just as important as the content that is generated within any simulated environment. Frequently, the rich discussion produced in the simulation is lost due to the absence of a mechanism that allows participants to keep track of what was being said or negotiated. Most importantly, I think Consensus would allow students participating in a negotiation to understand how a particular outcome was reached in the process.

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