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Henry Schein CEO defends globalization, a target of Trump

Henry Schein CEO Stanley Bergman on Feb. 11,

Henry Schein CEO Stanley Bergman on Feb. 11, 2014. Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

The chief executive of Long Island’s largest public company by revenue and market capitalization is defending “globalization,” a trend that has come under attack as a job-killer by President Donald Trump.

Stanley M. Bergman, chairman and CEO of health care products distributor Henry Schein Inc., Wednesday posted a blog on business-focused social media website LinkedIn that says globalization is the reason “extreme poverty” has declined worldwide from 85 percent of the population 200 years ago to 11 percent now.

“The free movement of goods, capital and information globally is the single greatest force for eradicating poverty,” he said.

Bergman cited a 2016 World Bank study that said globalization has lifted more than a billion people out of extreme poverty since 1990 and narrowed economic inequality.

By contrast, Trump has said globalization and free trade are the reasons U.S. companies are moving jobs overseas.

“Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy . . . but it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache,” Trump said at a June campaign stop in Monessen, Pennsylvania, former home to a large steelmaking operation.

Bergman acknowledged that the “free flow of goods, capital and information” means that groups of people can temporarily face distress as capital flows elsewhere.

The Henry Schein CEO said that such dislocation is “unfortunate — and inevitable.”

In response to that distress, Bergman proposed a “new globalization” that funnels investment to regions hit hardest by economic dislocations.

“Why not, for example, build the next-generation alternative energy plants in coal-mining country?” he said.

Bergman said he wrote the blog after returning from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January and contemplating the anger directed at globalization and discontent directed at political and business leaders.

Melville-based Henry Schein provides products to the offices of dentists, physicians and veterinarians. The company has almost 19,000 employees and operations or affiliates in 33 countries.

In 2015, Henry Schein posted global net sales of $10.6 billion; $3.8 billion, or 36 percent, came from countries other than the United States.

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