Hundreds of Ethiopians living in London have staged a protest outside the Saudi Arabian embassy on Monday.They were protesting against a clampdown by Saudi authorities against illegal migrant workers. Officials say more than 20,000 Ethiopians have surrendered to the country's authorities since the clampdown began.
The globalization of labor must be policed and checked because it exposes and even weakens the only globalization we have had, that of capital. In the ideal world of economic textbooks, there is a thing called comparative advantage. What this means is a country must focus its economy on things it can grow or produce cheaply. Portugal, for example, should focus on wine production because it has an advantage (type of soil and amount of sun) over, say, Scotland (this is the example offered by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations). But in actual fact, the globalization of capital has not really been about comparative advantage but instead arbitrage—the search for and exploitation of price differences between markets. In the case of globalization, it has been a matter of price differences between labor markets. Globalization, then, comes down not to comparative advantage but raw arbitrage. And it is this system of exploitation that would be (fatally) destabilized if labor was globalized.