British companies will benefit in the long-run from letting some jobs migrate to India and China, he told merchant bankers at Goldman Sachs Investment Bank here on Monday. In his first major economic speech since elections, Mr Blair backed the outsourcing of call centre jobs to the developing world.
He pointed to a recent report by the Mckinsey Management Consultancy on outsourcing which showed that, contrary to every instinctive reaction, such methods are not merely necessary for business to survive, but can increase the provision of jobs if the extra competitive advantage is properly used.
The prime minister admitted that he was shocked by the pace of globalisation, including the massive rise in computer and technocratic specialists in the Far East, but claimed UK had no alternative but to compete.
While conceding that not all British people felt comfortable with globalisation, he said, through this change comes greater possibilities for people - new consumer goods, travel, tastes, experiences, but a deep and abiding insecurity.
In this whirl of different businesses, cultures and changes, people look for some security, for some fixed points. They know they cannot alter the way the world is, but they want help to get through it. We have to take on and defeat the resurgent voices of protectionism, Mr Blair said. Globalisation presents us with a choice: embrace it and make it work for us, or try to thwart it.
This is the choice hanging over the World Trade Organisation round. Without hesitation we believe in embracing globalisation and making it work.