Wal-Mart War Goes Global

First D.C., now the world:

Representatives from some 900 unions said on Tuesday they would start organising workers in several countries to pressure multinational companies like retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for better benefits and wages. “We’re trying to use globalisation to raise working standards,” Stephen Lerner, a director with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said on the sidelines of an international union convention held in Chicago.

Good news Mr. Lerner–globalization is already raising working standards and living standards. Here’s Johan Norberg:

Take just about any statistic, any indicator of living standards in the world, and you can see the progress that has been made over the exact period that worries globalization critics. In the last 30 years we’ve seen chronic hunger and the extent of child labor being halved. In the last 40 years, we’ve seen life expectancy going up to 64 years in developing countries. We’ve seen literacy levels approaching the maximum in most countries in the world. According to World Bank statistics, 200 million people have left absolute poverty — defined as living on the equivalent of less than $1 a day — over the past 20 years. What’s more, the most progress is found in the countries that increased trade and contacts with the outside world.

Reason interview with Norberg here. Wal-Mart article here.