Wrestling the Elephant in the Living Room: In (feeble) Denfense of Outsourcing
With admitted reluctance, I should address the whole globalism/outsourcing issue, lest I be taken for a stooge in this process. I suppose I’ve hesitated thus far about the topic because, frankly, the size and scope intimidates the hell out of me and I’m cowed by the towering minds of economists who come out on both sides of this topic.
When I told acquaintances that I was traveling to
This bit of populism played fairly effectively under John Edwards’ “Two Americas” banner, but I really don’t buy it.
First, the only circumstances in which outsourcing is inherently and absolutely bad for
At some point, making a case for or against globalism starts to sound like a discussion of how long it would take a one-legged monkey to kick all the seeds out of a dill pickle, to borrow a metaphor forever embedded in my mind by a high school teacher of mine. It has its benefits and its ugly sides and any country whose leaders don’t think long and hard about how to do business with
Secondly, implicit in the anti-overseas outsourcing argument is the notion that a person, by virtue of being a tax-paying American citizen, is entitled to produce buggy whips until he drops dead. In that scenario, the implications for innovation and entrepreneurship – the two movements that catapulted
Third, poverty. This is the morally dodgy piece of the argument, since a government has an obligation to concern itself, first and foremost, with the welfare of the people it governs. But I’m not a government official. I’m a traveler who’s seen just a sliver of the kind of third-world poverty that most Americans can’t comprehend and will never witness firsthand. Anti-globalists gnash their teeth about sweatshop scandals and wage rates that resemble the pittances paid during
If you take a truly egalitarian mindset to outsourcing, then it’s tough to look away from people living in absolute squalor and insist that the opportunities that could uplift them should be reserved for Americans, where new business creation, job growth and GDP expansion are each, in both relative and absolute terms, greater by an order of magnitude. Now, I know this can be a pretty self-righteous spiel to deliver to someone whose job just got sent to India, but, in my case, it’s coming from someone who’s every bit as unemployed and upon whose head rests nearly six figures’ worth of student debt. Anyone who thinks MBAs are somehow immune to outsourcing and other economic ebbs never spent any time in the Bay Area in the past few years.