We cannot sever the connections that have enabled so much progress and so much wealth. For when competition for resources is perceived as zero-sum, we put ourselves on a path to conflict both within countries and between countries. So I firmly believe that the best hope for human progress remains open markets combined with democracy and human rights. But I have argued that the current path of globalization demands a course correction. In the years and decades ahead, our countries have to make sure that the benefits of an integrated global economy are more broadly shared by more people, and that the negative impacts are squarely addressed. (Applause.)
And we actually know the path to building more inclusive economies. It’s just we too often don’t have the political will or desire to get it done. We know we need bold policies that spur growth and support jobs. We know that we need to give workers more leverage and better wages, and that, in fact, if you give workers better wages businesses do better, too, because their customers now have money to spend.
We know that we have to invest more in our people — the education of our young people, the skills and training to compete in the global economy. We have to make sure that it is easy for young people who are eager to learn and eager to work to get the education that they need, the training that they need, without taking on huge amounts of debt.
We know that we have to encourage entrepreneurship so that it’s easier to start a business and do business. (Applause.) We know that we have to strengthen the social compact so that the safety net that is available for people, including quality health care and retirement benefits, are there even if people aren’t working in the same job for 30 years, or 40 years, or 50 years.
We have to modernize our infrastructure, which will put people back to work. We have to commit to the science and research and development that sparks new industries.
In our trading relationships, we have to make sure that trade works for us, and not against us. And that means insisting on high standards in all countries to support jobs, strong protections for workers, strong protections for the environment, so that even as we freely trade, people and workers in all countries see the benefits of trade in their own lives, not just benefits for the bottom line of large, multinational corporations.
These are the kinds of policies, this is the work that I’ve pursued throughout my time as President. Keep in mind I took office in the midst of the worst crisis since the Great Depression. And we pursued a recovery that has been shared now by the vast majority of Americans. We put people back to work building bridges and roads. (Applause.) We passed tax cuts for the middle class. We asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more taxes — their fair share. We intervened to save our auto industry, but insisted that the auto industry become more energy efficient, produce better cars that reduce pollution.