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The United States, France, Germany, and postwar Japan all experienced a common p

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The United States, France, Germany, and postwar Japan all experienced a common phenomenon; as their manufacturing-based economies matured, they became more diversified and increasingly gravitated towards knowledge-based economies built on services for both their domestic populations and their national audience. In fact, some of the most important companies in the global economy, such as Microsoft, IBM, Siemens, and Unilever are as much known for their intellectual services as they are known for their manufacturing prowess. Indeed, most economists agree that as manufacturing-based economies begin to mature, they necessarily diversify and increasingly require a higher skilled and educated workforce prepared to meet the demands of a global marketplace.
Thus, developing nations such as China, Vietnam, and India are in many ways at a crossroads: they continue to dominate global manufacturing, yet must position itself in such a way for the inevitable transition to a knowledge-based economy. This, of course, produces very serious questions about what will happen when that transition occurs. Think for a moment about the sort of challenges developing nations will experience as its economy matures. Be sure to consider the following questions as they relate to organized labor: how will social stability be affected by a transition from a manufacturing to a service-based economy? What political pressures will organized labor face if and when this transition occurs? To what degree, if any, should other global economic powers (e.g., USA, EU, Japan, APEC) play in helping developing nations be more embracing of organized labor?

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