No country is an island: Labor expert warns of economic isolationism

Salon's Carrie Sheffield discusses America's place in a globalized economy with Nicholas Wyman, author of "Job U"

By Carrie Sheffield
Published March 12, 2017 1:00AM (EST)

This Salon video was produced by Kevin Carlin

Labor force expert Nicholas Wyman, CEO of the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation, offers a warning about the impacts of avoiding integration into the global economy.

“I suppose you could say it’s like the CEO of a company, or the head of a company, their first interest is with that company, but you need to be a part of a larger, broader community,” Wyman said in a recent Salon Talks interview.

Wyman, author of “Job U: How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need,” said that a country cannot “operate in isolation in the 21st century.”

“I think it really has to be about getting the balance right, getting the levers right,” said Wyman.

Wyman talked about his home country, Australia, and its interdependent business relationships with other countries.

“Well, there is a whole world out there, from Australia,” he said. “You know, we’re an island, we’re a long way away. Australia really suffers the tyranny of distance, so it really has to fight to be in the global economy . . . . Australia has a lot of neighbors who produce things a lot cheaper. Two years ago, Australia had four automotive manufactures — today, none.”

Wyman thinks employers, not governments, need to take the lead on workforce development. Companies can appreciate that the government is creating a productive environment for them, he said, but also need to create a business and recruitment strategy of their own accord.

“That would be my wrap up advice: it’s interesting what the government is doing, but don't put all your eggs in that one basket,” Wyman said.

Carrie Sheffield

Carrie Sheffield is a Salon Talks host, founder of Bold and adviser to Lincoln Network. She previously wrote editorials for The Washington Times, covered politics for POLITICO and The Hill and analyzed municipal credit for Goldman Sachs and Moody's Investors Service.

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