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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 285 -- India. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 286 -- The Media Definition Of Budget Cuts. »

Quotational Therapy: Part 78 -- Mark Sanford.


Creating textiles in a factory does not require much education or expertise. Textiles can be packed away and shipped safely and rapidly to nearly anywhere in the world, from nearly anywhere in the world. Thus, why would a textile company pay someone in South Carolina many times what someone in Taiwan would make?

Mark Sanford is the Governor of South Carolina, a textile state disproportionately hard-hit (in the short run) by globalization. He is also a libertarian-style Republican, a 1994 GOP Congressional takeover revolutionary (who practiced what he preached on term limits), and a fan of the free market.

It's good to see Mark Sanford not taking the easy way out on globalization, pointing at the foreign bogeyman for stealing all those factory jobs away from America.

But he still has to deal with the topic in a way that shows he is in tune with the concerns of the folks in his state. In his recent State of the State Address, Mark Sanford tackled the issue of globalization head on, not evading his principles, but proudly sticking to them:

The State of our State is that we are a state in transition. Thomas Friedman wrote the book, The World is Flat, and his premise is that the world has changed in ways unimaginable to my father, and even to me or you, over the last few years. In this new found “flat world,” for the first time in world history a kid in Hampton County is directly competing with a kid in Shanghai, New Delhi or Dublin.

I want you to think about that - it used to be that if you were born in a country like Burma, for all intents and purposes, you were just flat out of luck. You may well have had one of the brightest minds in the world but unless you got a ticket out of the place, there was no way to capitalize on your intellect. Now, with globalization and the Internet, you can stay right there and export whatever your brain has to offer to the rest of the world. As a consequence, the level of competition in our connected world is at levels never before seen - there are now 6.5 billion people on earth, there are 700 million more folks on earth than there were 10 years ago, and there are projected to be another 800 million over the next 10 years. These numbers dwarf the 4 million people who make our state great, and in essence, they mean another 200 South Carolinas will be added to earth over the next ten years, or looked at yearly there will be another 20 new South Carolinas each year to compete with - in addition to the 6.5 billion people already here.

Although we have been blessed by God in our geography, and we are at the front end of a wave of graying in America that will have profoundly positive implications for this state, things have to change for us to compete successfully in this new world. The question of a State of the State is where do we want to go as a people and have we begun the process of getting there?


The answer to his own question:

We have been hit hard as textile jobs have moved to China, India and other places around the world. We have been hit hard by Thomas Friedman’s flat world. The good news is that Commerce is now replacing those jobs at record numbers, and at a pay rate 30% above many of the old jobs....

Think about it, if you really believe Thomas Friedman is right - that we live in one of the most transformative times in world history. Then wouldn’t you want to maximize the part of your economy that will change the fastest? This is not about some crusade that says government is bad and only the private sector is good; it is about speeding the rate of change and recognition of the fact that the private sector can change faster than the public sector.


Republicans running in manufacturing states should follow Mark Sanford's lead on this issue. If we live in a rapidly changing world (and we do), then it only makes sense to have an economy ready to change at an according level of rapidity. Government is notoriously bulky and lethargic and slow. Retreating behind the curtain of government nurturing (isolationism, protectionism) may seem nice for a little while, but that can't last forever.


Previous Quotational Therapy Session:


The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy on Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 March 2006 01:41 PM


I am a resident of SC and think that Sanford is an excellent governor. He is forward thinking, so much so that he often times out paces the legislature that is controlled by Republicans in SC. During the last economic downturn, he got the State of SC out doing a lot things that are now managed by contractors and private agencies. He pushed hard for educational vouchers, barely lost when some in his own party went against him on that issue. The textile jobs are a big issue with some in this state. It was tough to lose them, but it was inevitable in this world economy.
As a side note, Time Magazine recently voted Sanford the worst governor in the US. I was relieved, given their totally political evaluation of him. Just confirms we are on the right track.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at March 3, 2006 02:52 PM

Mark Sanford was also brave enough to be in the recent John Stossel report "Stupid in America."

Here's the transcript:


He does seem like a good guy.

Posted by: Henry Cate at March 3, 2006 03:39 PM

Thanks, Henry, I read the 20/20 story. Missed it when it aired on ABC.
I noticed the educational establishment in SC never confronts the issue that kids get a better education in SC at private schools. They argue the point that it cuts spending to public schools. Increased public spending on education does not equate to better educated kids, that is simply a proven fact.
And they also fail to mention the fact that the voucher credits generally amount to one half of the present per pupil spending in the state. If you spend $10K per student on public education and offer a private school voucher for $5K, you have raised the per pupil spending on public education. For each student that leaves public education on a prvate voucher, you have an extra $5K to spend on the remaining students in public schools. A liberal's dream come true, more per pupil money for public education. But, also their worst nightmare, the beginning of the end of the monopoly on education.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at March 4, 2006 07:20 AM