Does it matter how we conceptualize globalization and its sorrows? Despite daily reports about low-tech jobs going to China and southeast Asia and hi-tech jobs going to India, globalization as an issue lacks valency–it moves the American public to anger, but not to action. There appear to be too many benefits to globalization that cannot be dismissed–is it not better to adapt as the benefits will come someday?

America is not the only nation that feels the pain of globalization. In France, offices and factories close up and move east, some to China and India, others to Eastern Europe and Morocco. This issue, however, has become more volatile in daily political discourse, and the French government has been compelled to act more quickly. Economic minister Nicolas Sarkozy and an inter-ministerial committee announced an 750 million euro investment plan to create “poles of competitiveness“:

These poles, technological or industrial, are associated with enterprise, centers of education and research organizations that are synergistic.

In essence, rather than throwing money at the social problem in a general sense, the committee also defined the problem in term defining the relationship between industry and local resources. I believe that this proposal draws from the model of the European Spatial Development Perspective, which promotes creating access to the European market (and by extension, the global economy).

How the French public conceptualizes globalization may reveal why action was taken so quickly. Indeed, the problem of globalization is not as pressing as the public fears: it is estimated that about 5%-6% of jobs lost were due to globalization. What concerns the public is d√©localisation–the flight of industry and employment from the local and the privation that it causes by displacing the local from the global. Job creation is insufficient if it requires people to relocate (especially to large cities where cheap housing is in short supply), if it disturbs the balance between urban and rural sectors, or if it disturbs the local culture. It’s one thing to fear losing one’s job if another may be around the corner; it is another to say that one’s hometown will lose access to any future economic boom.